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4 Beginner Motorcyclist Mistakes That Can Prove Fatal

Getting a license to operate a motorcycle provides you with an opportunity to explore the freedom of America’s roads. However, beginners fail to recognize that their riding skills are still developing, so they tend to make dangerous and avoidable mistakes. The following guide explores the most common of these mistakes, which can lead to fatal accidents.

Wearing Improper Head Protection

Except for Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire, every state requires that motorcyclists and their passengers wear safety helmets. The reason this is becoming such a universally accepted law has to do with head injuries being the most frequent injuries people suffer after a motorcycle accident. While a good quality helmet won’t prevent all head injuries, it will reduce the likelihood of experiencing a fatal injury. 

Your helmet should fit your head snugly once it has been strapped into position. It should be free of cracks or dents in the shell. The interior should also be free of damage. If you notice any damage, replace the helmet before your next ride.

Stalling Out

In most cases, stalling out your motorcycle will not result in a fatal accident, but it depends on the circumstances. If you’re on a busy highway when it happens, an unobservant driver may not notice that you’re still stopped and may run into you. You can avoid this by paying closer attention to the operation of your bike as you resume traveling at an intersection. 

There are three common ways you can stall your motorcycle. These are failing to give enough throttle, holding the clutch for too long, or letting go of the clutch too quickly. These mistakes are usually made when the rider tries to anticipate when the light will turn green. Instead, wait for the light to change before you release the clutch and start to throttle.

Panic Braking

When you’re operating a car or truck, a sudden obstacle can throw you into a panic and cause you to slam your foot down hard on the brake pedal. As a result, you may throw your vehicle into a skid that can lead to a collision with other vehicles on the road. 

That situation can be dangerous to motorcyclists because panic braking will cause you to put most of your force into the front brake. As a result, the back end of the bike can flip, throwing you from your motorcycle. The front brake provides 70% of your stopping power, so it’s important to practice leveraging braking power between the front and back brakes. This will help you handle sudden stops with better skill.

Gravel and Speed

It’s easy to let your speed get out of control on a motorcycle, which may not pose much of a problem on a straight thoroughfare. However, once the road turns or curves, you can find yourself in a perilous situation. Trying to brake in the middle of a curve can make matters worse, so it’s better to ease off the accelerator and focus on making the turn safely. Once the road straightens out, you can lightly apply the brakes. 

Similarly, riding on gravel can create a hazard by causing rocks to be thrown up toward your face. It also creates an uneven driving surface that could throw you into a hazardous skid. These dangers can be reduced by driving with more caution. Ease up on your speed and focus on driving as straight as possible. If you avoid making abrupt turns with the front wheel, you’ll have better success in navigating unsteady surfaces.

As you spend more time riding your motorcycle, that experience will help you develop better skills. However, you should review safety practices frequently and guard against making mistakes. Staying safe on your bike will help you avoid the most hazardous conditions so you can continue to enjoy the ride.