THE SIX THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO ON A MOTORCYCLE
By Jay D. Johnson
I’m always amazed by the number of people who have never ridden a motorcycle, but still feel compelled to give riding advice to those of us who do. “Motorcycles are dangerous!” they state as if this is something that never would have occurred to us had they not pointed it out. “No kidding, Lady?” Well, if you’ve never experienced a rear tire blowing and coming off the rim at 50 miles an hour on a twisty mountain road, you have no concept of the meaning of the word “dangerous.”
“What do you do when it rains?” is another of my
favorites. “Well, living in
When you’ve done something for a couple of decades, you
start to think you may have insights on how to do it. After four decades you get
downright arrogant about it. That’s where I am today. I’ve made a list of
rules about riding which come from 40+ years of making mistakes and living to
tell about it. These are rules I’ve made for myself. Breaking these rules will
put you at risk of life and limb. I have the bent motorcycle parts to prove it.
A few years ago I broke four of these rules and that’s why I found myself
lying on my back staring at the leaves waving in the branches of the oak trees
above the center of
Rule #1 Never get on the motorcycle when you are tired. Or, if you are riding and feel the slightest bit drowsy, stop and get off the bike.
Rule #2 Never get on the motorcycle when you are angry or upset.
Rule #3 Never get on the motorcycle when you have had a drink.
Rule #4 Always have an escape maneuver in mind for your current riding situation.
Rule #5 Never ride in anyone’s blind spot or assume other drivers see you or know you are there.
Rule #6 Never let distractions take your attention away from traffic ahead, behind, and to the side of you.
One sunny afternoon in
You may have noticed that I didn’t say anything about maintaining the mechanical condition of your motorcycle. I figure that if you don’t know that you shouldn’t start a 2,000-mile trip with 1,000 miles of tire tread, you are beyond hope. Tires and brakes are the two most important devices between your legs. Everything else is just “accessories.” For example, if your spark plugs fail, you may end up pushing your Cavalcade. If your brakes or tires fail, you may end up pushing up daisies.
The irony is that I have friends who ride with bald tires, old batteries, weak brakes, unwashed motorcycles and have ridden that way for years. On the other hand, my best friend and business partner kept his motorcycle in immaculate condition, but one careless moment cost him and his wife their lives. (Never ever use a throttle lock!)
There is a lot of luck in surviving life on the highway. But, I still believe that the more you put the odds in your favor, the better your chances of survival. That’s why I have six rules for riding. I try to remember them every time I have my cycle keys in my hand. What are your rules?
Last updated: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
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