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Few activities are more exhilarating than riding a motorcycle for the first time. Motorcycles offer a fun ride and a fuel-efficient way to get around. Yet even with their many benefits motorcycles can be deadly when used improperly. The following are some top riding tips for first-time motorcycle owners.

Know the Law

Before you hit the open road be sure that you are properly licensed. Depending on your state’s laws you may be required to take a special motorcycle license test to obtain a motorcycle permit or license. If your state requires a test, taking a DMV practice test can help you learn what to expect.

Buy a Helmet

It is always a good idea to wear a helmet even if your state does not require it. When choosing a motorcycle helmet there are two basic types that you will find: full face and three-quarter. Helmets that have face shields can help protect you from bugs, debris, wind, and inclement weather conditions. Some motorcyclists prefer goggles rather than face shields but these are less useful as they leave much of your face unprotected.

Make Yourself Visible

Wearing reflective clothing and gear can be a life saver. It is important to always make sure that you are clearly visible to drivers at any time of the day or night. In addition to wearing reflective clothing, bright colors can also help increase your visibility. Always make sure your headlights and taillights are fully functioning before taking off as these are crucial for staying visible on the road.

Check the Weather

Before getting on the road take some time to check the weather. Try to avoid weather like rain or snow as it can make the roads slick. This can increase your chances of being involved in an accident, especially on a motorcycle.

Keep up with Maintenance

As a motorcycle owner it is critical that you keep your bike properly maintained at all times. Before leaving the house always make sure that your brakes and lights are in full working order. Get your bike checked at the first sign of any issues, and keep up with regular maintenance just as you would with a car.

Ride Defensively

Although you and other drivers have a responsibility to share the road never assume that another driver can see you. Driving defensively every time is the best way to ride. Double-check before turning or merging, using your directionals, and avoid lane-splitting as much as possible. The idea is to ensure that you’re not in a vulnerable position if another driver is being reckless.

Your first motorcycle ride is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Follow these quick tips and you will be well on your way to a safe ride every time.