There are two types of motorcycle riders
those that have crashed and those that will
Planning for the accident/crash/”lay it down”/minor and major oopses.
As strange as it sounds planning for an event such as those mentioned above takes time, effort and a modicum of intelligence. Unfortunately, few of us take the time to do it or have the brains to realize that the planning involved can help us and those around us. Just in case.
So, having insulted most everyone, here are a few suggestions to make your life and the people you ride with easier.
I’m taking for granted here that you have a proper motorcycle license, insurance, helmet and clothing. You don’t? Well, it’s time to take care of that.
You do have motorcycle insurance right? Your state requires that you do and you should. If the motorcycle isn’t paid for, your bank/credit union/parents will require evidence of financial responsibility. Rather than sign up for the least amount of insurance available, take an hour or so and sit down to talk to an insurance agent. The amount of insurance should be enough to cover you, your passenger, any other driver (make sure the policy does cover a different driver…not all do) or object you might encounter. More importantly, it should protect you and your assets in the event of a lawsuit or other legal proceedings against you. Remember, insurance will help protect you against losing everything you’ve worked for because of a lawsuit or judgment. So, talk to an agent (or better yet, talk to a couple of them).
If you’re underinsured or not insured at all, there are major implications; continuing to pay for a totaled bike, going to prison (that’s the scare tactic) or paying lots of money for the rest of your life. Being uninsured isn’t worth the risk.
Helpful hint here: Use all of the resources available to you including the internet, owners’ clubs and other groups. Some have excellent policies for their members. Also, after checking prices on insurance websites, calling an agent can often get you a better price. And lastly, if you have home and auto insurance, talk to your agent/company about getting a package deal on your insurance. There is a great interview with an insurance agent who has been selling motorcycle insurance for thirty years on our podcast at http://www.themotoworld.com
And lastly on the subject of insurance, make sure you have adequate medical insurance.
Yes, you can save money and worry by doing your homework now.
Let’s go back to your helmet and other riding gear. I won’t get on a soapbox here but dress to crash. Is your helmet current? Is it DOT approved? It should be, that is the law. If you plan on racing or doing ‘Track Days’ it will more than likely need to be Snell approved as well. Helmets have a service life due to sun, ozone, that stuff you put in your hair, and the stuff from your head. Check the manufacture date and look to the helmet manufacturer’s advice about replacement.
Helpful hint: Helmets are made to be used for their intended purpose once. Did you fall down and “just chip the paint” on your helmet? Replace it.
When it comes to getting a new helmet, spend time trying on as many as you can to get a proper fit. Your dealer or accessory store can help you and there are many, many articles in the magazines to help you decide what is best for you. Just don’t go for cheap, it’s your head in there.
Still wearing that old bomber jacket from junior high? Bad idea, current motorcycle wear is designed to keep you comfortable, safe and of course, stylin’. Outwear is available in leather or textile materials. Most will have CE armor built in at impact points like elbows, back and shoulders . There are styles and designs for all weather conditions. Use your local dealer,accessory store, magazines and user group websites for advice and information about the latest in clothing. The same goes for gloves and boots. Gloves should have gauntlets that cover your wrists and boots should be tall enough to protect your ankles. Wear your gear whenever you ride because skin has a poor coefficient of friction and you need it to keep your insides in…
Helpful hint: To keep your helmet and outerwear clean and at maximum effectiveness, read the little tags and brochures that came with them when it’s time to service them. You can also find this information from your dealer or manufacturer’s website.
This part is kind of obvious but I’ll share this wisdom with you anyway. Check your motorcycle before you ride, remember that little book you got when you bought your motorcycle? The owners manual. It has a safety check list for use before every ride. Check the oil, coolant level, chain adjustment (does it need to be lubed?) tire pressure/condition and more. Read the book, see your dealer, and learn what to look for and how to adjust it. I know; blah, blah, blah. A few minutes can save a lot of inconvenience and/or hurt.