Beat those Big, Bad Biker Habits! Discover the Top 10 Culprits

Malcolm Lee MotorCycle Direct Posted: December 17th, 2020

It's easy to adopt bad riding habits when you're a motorcyclist. Insufficient training or complacency is often the cause. Still, by reading Beat those Big, Bad Biker Habits, you'll very soon be back on the right road.

1. Neglecting the Once Over

It's easy to take your motorcycle for granted but don't. Every time you walk towards your bike, take the time to give it a quick look over. Doing this will identify an early oil or brake fluid leak, and can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Kick the front and back tyre. Make sure both are inflated, and when sitting on your bike, dab the brakes. While these simple steps are the minimum checks you should make, they will ensure you are safe on the move.

2. Failing to Familiarise Yourself with Your Motorcycle

You don't need to be able to strip your engine with just a screwdriver. However, it is a good idea to make yourself aware of things like miles per gallon and your bike's reserve range. Doing this is helpful when planning journeys and when hoping to avoid those inevitable treks to the nearest petrol station.

Also, be aware of brake pad wear and oil change intervals. A multi–tool, along with spare bulbs and fuses stored under the seat, can also save you from being stranded. Failing to familiarise also covers keeping up with a current MoT, road tax, and insurance renewal dates.

3. Choosing Inappropriate and Unsafe Riding Gear

There is no need to look like an ice hockey goalkeeper! Kevlar–lined jeans, jackets with hidden armour along with trainers featuring toe and ankle protection are all easy to find in the shops and online. What's more, they enable you to look cool and stay safe.

When it comes to crash helmets, never has the range of styles, and prices been so varied. Wear the right gear even for short rides and it will help keep you safe. On the flip side, contributory negligence (wearing inappropriate gear) may result in reduced compensation in the event of an accident claim.

4. Double Take Anyone?

You've taken a quick look in the mirror and it's good to go. Wrong, it takes a second to double–check by glancing over your shoulder.

Anything can lurk in your blind spot ranging from a 16–wheel truck to a lane–splitting motorcycle. The key here is always to look before you make a manoeuvre.

5. Lazy Cornering

Bend swinging may be one of the best things about motorcycling. However, if you've gotten away with braking too late, are poorly positioned, or not looking for the exit of the bend, you may not realise you are doing anything dangerous.

Surf the web. There are thousands of articles and videos on this specific subject. Better yet, enrol on a training course. Improving your cornering skills makes riding safer and more enjoyable.

6. Don't be a One–Brake Wonder

Most motorcycles on the market today have excellent brakes, but that doesn't stop many of us from being lazy brakers. Using one brake all the time or overreacting and exerting too much pressure at the wrong time is bad practice. Remember, the type of motorcycle you ride and the conditions you ride in often dictates the braking method.

7. Never Assume too Much

When overtaking or making any manoeuvre, it's all too easy to assume other vehicles can either see you or anticipate what you are about to do. It pays though to believe the opposite.

An average motorcycle is approximately a quarter of a car's width, which means it can be lost in the driver's blind spot. Also, motorcycles can accelerate and manoeuvre faster than a car, so keep that in mind.

8. Whacky Races

At one time or another, the majority of us are guilty of traffic–light dragging or chasing through the twisties. It may feel thrilling to leave that hot–hatch eating dust or overtake your mate on a bend, but trust me, the dangers outweigh the buzz.

At best, you may get a speeding fine. At worse, you may push yourself or your fellow rider past the point of their riding skill level.

9. Don't Rage Against the Machine

Ride a motorcycle on any day over any distance and you're going to encounter a degree of stupidity from fellow road users. Sometimes you will feel like blowing a fuse!

If your natural default is to scream, shout and conjure up all manner of hideous torture for the offender, then you're not looking at the road ahead. Be aware, this lack of concentration could result in an accident.

10. Self Defence

Short of a one–piece air–bag suit, nothing will save your life more times than defensive riding. Defensive riding is the art of reading the road ahead, remaining in control and acting rather than reacting to other driver's actions.

If you aren't sure what this entails, it's time to get surfing. If you know but have lapsed in practice, that's one bad habit to rid yourself of immediately. Defensive riding is essential to your everyday survival in the same way as making sure your brakes are in order and taking out comprehensive insurance cover.

Lapsing into poor riding routines may feel like no big deal but unchecked they can place you in danger. Beat those Big, Bad Biker Habits will help you address these issues and enjoy your two–wheeled adventures, safely.