As a new rider and as someone I care about and love, I am really excited to introduce you to motorcycling! Motorcycling is something that gets under your skin. The phrase “four wheels moves the body, two wheels moves the soul” is exactly right.
However, as a new rider and as someone I care about and love, I want to make sure you are as safe and as responsible as possible. I came up with a list of rules for you to follow.
These are non-negotiable.
- All the gear, all the time (ATGATT)
This means all of the gear, all of the time. Helmet, jacket, boots, gloves. Bring a change of clothes if you want, but when you’re riding, you’re protected.
- Follow all traffic laws at all times
This should go without saying, but just in case there is any question, now it’s been said. Obey speed limits. Obey stop signs. Obey all traffic laws at all times.
- Be a courteous rider
People have a misconception of people on motorcycles. Let them have the right of way. Let them go first. You shouldn’t be in that big of a hurry.
- Recognize that you’re invisible. Ride defensively because everyone is out to get you
When you’re on a motorcycle, people in cars tend not to see you. They’ll turn into your lane. They’ll merge right into you. They won’t see you at stop signs. Be aware of what and who is around you.
- No riding after dark until I say okay
This is kind of a state law anyway, but just for clarification, no riding after dark. If you are out and it’s getting late and you’re not sure if it’s after dark or not, it probably is. If you have a question as to whether it’s dark, just ask.
- We have to “buddy ride” until I say okay
Two reasons for this… first of all, riding *with* someone is a lot more fun. Secondly, until you are skilled enough, we need to make sure you’re safe. If you have an accident or if the bike fails, I want to be there to make sure things are solid. I also want to observe you and make sure that you are following the rest of the rules.
- After solo rides are authorized, no spur of the moment rides until I say okay
This is to make sure you’re being thoughtful and deliberate and that you are properly planning for the ride.
- All the gear, all the time (ATGATT)
I mention this again because it is the most important thing. All of the gear, all of the time.
- No passengers
Riding solo in traffic is hard enough. The additional weight of a passenger makes it exponentially more difficult.
- No stunts
This includes burnouts. This includes wheelies. This includes stoppies. This includes anything that not just riding around.
- Practice T-CLOCS before you ride
T – Tires/Wheels
C – Controls
L – Lights/Electrical
O – Oil/Other Fluids
C – Chassis
S – Stands
- You’re putting the miles on, you pay for gas
Without gas, the engine won’t run. Riding is a privilege and a joy, but it carries responsibilities.
- We will do service on it together
Learning about the motorcycle by working on the motorcycle carries benefits far beyond the financial. If you have a breakdown somewhere, you might be able to make repairs and get going again if you understand how the bike works. Plus you can then work on other things like lawn mowers and snow blowers. It’s just a good skill to have.
- If you aren’t feeling like riding, don’t ride
Riding is exciting and exhilarating, but is also dangerous. If your mind isn’t right the danger factor increases. If you’re distracted by other things, you’ll be thinking about them instead of thinking about traffic and other vehicles around you. If your sixth-sense tells you not to ride, listen to it and don’t ride.
- Do as I say, don’t do as I do
I may not follow all of my own rules. That’s no excuse for you not to follow them.
- When parking/leaving the bike it must be secured
This is more than leaving it in a brightly lit place with a lot of people around. This includes using the fork lock. Bikes are easily loaded onto a truck and stolen.
More rules will come as I think of them.
The bottom line is that you’re a good and responsible young person. If you weren’t, riding a motorcycle wouldn’t even be an option. These rules are here for your protection and my peace-of-mind. The fastest way to get these rules relaxed is to show me that you take them seriously and to keep following them without fail.