beginner motorcycles

15 Most Stupid Mistakes Beginner Motorcycle Riders Make

15 Most Stupid Mistakes Beginner Motorcycle Riders Make

Riding a motorcycle is one of the best feelings one can have. The freedom of the open road is always inviting. For motorcycle enthusiasts, the wind in your hair and the sun on your face is the real meaning of life. But before you open the throttle, you need to know that even the most perfect roads have potholes and hazards. This is especially true for new riders who are in the process of learning how to ride and be safe.

While there can be some minor shaky moments during the early days of learning how to ride a motorcycle, some stupid mistakes made by beginners can prove to be fatal. If you want to avoid getting into trouble as well as to ensure your safety as a beginner, continue reading this article to learn about the 15 most stupid mistakes beginner motorcycle riders make. This article also explores the different ways to help you avoid these stupid mistakes.

1. Not Investing in Safety Gear

Not Investing in Safety Gear
Photo Credit: Lerner & Rowe

New riders are likely to view riding gear as a mere accessory and they are widely seen riding without a proper helmet and clothes. Such an approach becomes a huge mistake made by beginners. Bikers are vulnerable than car drivers and an accident can occur even when they are not speeding, resulting in severe injuries. It is common for riders to have scratched knees and elbows. Broken bones and head injuries are also common with motorcyclists if they don’t pay attention while riding.

Wearing proper safety gear is one of the best investments riders must consider. To make your riding experience safer, there are other essential equipment besides a DOT-approved helmet.

To protect your upper body, wear a leather jacket or any other strong fabric that does not easily wear out or get damaged.

Thick gloves safeguard hands and motorcycle pants and boots cover legs and feet respectively. Protective gear and a good-quality helmet may appear costly at times, but it is far better to wear them than pay for medical bills and suffer from extreme pain.

2. Getting Ahead of Yourself

Getting Ahead of Yourself
Photo Credit: Uploaded by Macx Converge on Pexels

As with most other things and technology, new riders want to try out all of the features at once. The thrill of riding at high speed, maneuvering through curvy roads, and taking on challenging tracks may be adventurous but it is not for beginners.

Motorcycles are quite sensitive than cars and if you choose to be irresponsible, unexpected situations are likely to arise. In such an event, you will not be able to react safely if you don’t have the required experience and training to avoid crashes.

Just to remind you, safe motorcycle riding is a process that takes time and effort until a person masters the art of riding. The basics must be mastered before moving on to expert levels.

It is recommended that beginners look for a large empty parking lot and spend some time getting familiar with the motorcycle. Practice low-speed riding, maneuvering, braking, and turning corners. You will eventually gain confidence and become a better rider.

Do not compete with other riders or try to match up to someone you consider more skilled than you are. Focus on your growth and the processes of learning. It is crucial to remember that the more comfortable and controlled a person feels while riding a motorcycle, the sooner you will be able to fully enjoy the ride.

3. Basic Blunders

Motorcycle riding does not appear to be a big deal if you are familiar with the basics but indeed it demands a lot of attention and consciousness. Beginners, especially those who have just bought a new motorcycle are likely to forget basic safety practices that they were taught during training.

It is also important to use the turn signals before lane-changing or turning. You must also make it a habit to look in your side mirrors before attempting to change lanes. The blind spot inspection is also important as well.

4. Leaving the Turn Signal Blinking

Leaving the turn signal blinking is another relatively common stupid beginner mistake. It is not only annoying to other road users but it also creates confusion. A turn signal that is mistakenly left blinking can give a false indication to other vehicles on the road regarding your intention to take a turn when you are not intending to do so.

Therefore, the next time you go for a ride, you should always check your instrument cluster. Also, check it again while stopping at a traffic signal. This glance will help you check whether or not the turn signal is off.

5. Target Fixation

This one may sound weird to beginners but the experienced riders will agree. Target fixation is a real threat for new riders and can result in a severe crash. Consider you are riding on a road and you see a huge pothole ahead. You start focusing on it so you can avoid hitting it. However, such a focused concentration can potentially send you right into the pothole. Our subconscious is always processing the things we want to avoid. However, on a motorcycle, it can invite threats to your safety.

The question is: how do you avoid this stupid mistake? Do not focus excessively on what you do not want to hit such as a pothole, but rather look at a better and safer road to follow. Start practicing how to look at the road that lies ahead and to look for the possible escape routes. As you practice where to look, you’re removing the target fixation problem.

6. Panicked Reactions

Novice riders are likely unaware of the fact that motorcycles are sensitive to abrupt movements. When you are scared and nervous, you start to shake the handlebars unintentionally and disturb the equilibrium of the bike. This will make you lose control, resulting in a motorcycle accident.

Practice is the key and beginners should make sure that they do not fall into this trap. If you are a novice rider, find an open area such as a parking lot, and practice the different techniques used during emergency braking. This will help you to control and safely stop the bike in emergencies.

7. Maintenance Mishaps

Maintenance Mishaps
Photo Credit: Speedy Fleet Towing

You should love your motorbike like you do your loved ones. This is the first thing you should be learning before you get into motorcycling. Just like you don’t want to see any of your loved ones or friends in poor health or bad condition, you should feel the same for your bike.

Neglecting maintenance checks can be dangerous for your motorcycle. Riding with worn-out tires is dangerous as they are prone to get punctured during the ride, creating a very unsafe situation. Low oil or coolant can cause overheating of the engine and it is not good for your bike. If the chain has either become loose or tight, it can break during the ride, causing the motorbike to immediately stop and resulting in an accident. Besides, there are many other good reasons to keep your bike in good shape. A neglected bike simply isn’t fun to ride.

It is possible to eliminate many problems associated with maintenance mishaps. Most beginners fail to take some time to go through the owner’s manual before they take their bikes for a ride. A motorcycle owner manual will tell you what checks are necessary and how often they should be done.

For safely riding a motorcycle, you are required to spend some time to perform a brief check. There are also many online resources and tutorials for you to learn from.

8. Stalling

Stalling of the motorcycle is a situation that arises when the power produced by the engine is seized. This causes the motorcycle to stop during the ride. It is a very common mistake made by new riders, yet it proves to be extremely dangerous sometimes. Accidents can occur when you are in traffic and you suddenly slow down, mainly due to stalling. It is also very frustrating and embarrassing for the rider.

One of the critical areas that a beginner rider needs to master to prevent stalling is clutch control. While accelerating from rest, use a small amount of throttle and gradually disengage the clutch. You need to locate the ‘friction zone’ where the engine starts to move the bike. It is best to practice this in an open area. It is important to note that stalling, to a certain extent, is fine during training to prevent discouraging beginners. However, you must keep practicing.

9. Using Just One Brake

New riders are observed using only the rear brake to stop as they believe it is sufficient. This is a big mistake. Why does a motorcycle possess two brakes? Another important safety feature of motorcycles is the use of two brakes, the front one being more powerful than the rear one. Relying only on the rear brake alone will cause the wheel to lock and this will make the motorbike skid and ultimately lose control.

It is recommended that the rider should apply both brakes to ensure that the motorcycle comes to a stop smoothly. First, apply the front brake gently by squeezing it with your hand. Then, briefly press the rear brake using the foot pedal. It is recommended to practice smooth braking techniques in an empty parking lot.

10. Poor Clutch Control

New riders struggle with the clutch and that is evident when the bike stalls. It is unwise to take the motorcycle out on the road if you have poor clutch control as it makes the riding both uncomfortable and unsafe. Due to poor clutch control, your clutch wears faster due to constant jerks while accelerating and shifting gears.

Having a good clutch control is an art and it comes naturally with the practice and experience. For a beginner, you must practice finding out the ‘friction zone’ as you release the clutch lever when your bike is in the first gear. As soon as you realize that the motorcycle has started accelerating, this is where the friction zone starts. After that point, you must be considerate about how much power you need so you disengage the clutch accordingly.

11. Riding in Shorts and Sandals

Riding in Shorts and Sandals
Photo Credit: Blackbox My Car

Some beginners and motorcycle squids prefer riding in shorts and sandals. They probably think that riding in such attire makes them look cool and is appropriate for riding on a hot day. However, it is a bad idea and can prove to be a fatal one.

Skin abrasions are the most common type of motorcycle injuries. Abrasions caused by a motorcycle crash are not only painful but take a long time to heal. Similarly, sandals fail to protect your feet and ankles. A slip or a fall can lead to severe injuries, including a broken bone.

Make sure to gear up for safety. Wear pants, a leather jacket, gloves, and appropriate motorcycle boots, along with the helmet, to keep yourself covered. These are to protect your skin and bones. It may be boiling outside, but it’s better than ending up in a hospital due to an accident.

12. Riding With a Passenger

It may be very tempting for riders to take a friend for a ride but this is very dangerous for someone new to motorcycling. You’re still trying to find your footing when it comes to managing the weight of your motorcycle. Riding with a passenger results in a change in the weight distribution of the bike as well as the way it handles. This is quite difficult for a beginner to manage, particularly when approaching turns or applying brakes.

Do not ride with a passenger until you have acquired a few months of riding experience. It is better to take time and polish your skills. After that, ensure that your passenger is familiar with motorcycle safety measures and wears riding gear.

13. Not Anticipating Cross-Traffic

Another big mistake beginners are likely to make is assuming that a green light means that the road is clear and it is safe to cross the intersection. The new riders usually forget that not everyone adheres to traffic rules. The reckless drivers or riders not stopping at the red lights can easily cause accidents resulting in serious outcomes.

Risks involved in motorcycle riding are slightly higher than in cars because they are compact and can easily go unnoticed by drivers. Motorcyclists on the road are generally vulnerable due to the presence of drivers who are distracted, speeding, or unaware.

14. Using Tinted Visor at Night

Although they are useful when it comes to avoiding bright light during the daytime, tinted visors prove dangerous when riding a bike during the night. The tint minimizes the light intensity, making things less visible. It provides you with a challenge when it comes to perceiving the road, curbs, and other vehicles. This is especially true if you are riding in poorly lit areas during the night.

This makes beginners fail to identify potholes, road signs, and even pedestrians, owing to poor visibility during the night. It can take some time to identify certain risks which is why using tinted visors can be risky.

To ensure safe riding at night, use a helmet that comes with a clear/transparent visor. This leads to better visibility to enable you to have an enhanced vision of the road and surroundings. Riders should have a clear visor with them to swap easily in case they have to continue riding even after the sun goes down. It only requires several minutes to prepare for the ride during the night so you can enjoy your ride without any danger.

15. Riding with a Nearly Empty Gas Tank

Riding with a Nearly Empty Gas Tank
Photo Credit: Green Light

Riding with a low fuel level is extremely dangerous, especially for motorcyclists. Firstly, it is embarrassing to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere because it is a sign that you are an irresponsible rider. You may be compelled to wait and hope to get assistance to take your bike to the nearest gas station.

In the worst-case scenario, riding frequently with a low fuel level causes engine issues. Modern motorcycle engines employ a fuel injection system and use fuel in the tank to cool the fuel pump. It is also important not to run on fumes because it stresses the pump and can cost you a hefty amount to fix it. Also, water sediment and other debris may sink to the bottom of the tank. If your fuel is low, your bike can draw this gunk in and choke filters and cause problems with your engine.

Avoiding an empty tank is simple. Riders should plan their rides and refill their fuel tanks before it reaches their reserve level. A fuel meter or low-fuel warning light is an essential accessory that is found in most motorcycles.

Find out how many miles you can travel on a single full tank. Next time, make sure to refuel the tank when the bike is close to the halfway mark. Don’t wait for the bike to run out of fuel. This way, you’ll never be in a position where you are stranded in the middle of a road during the ride. You will also reduce the chances of endangering your life or your motorcycle.

16. Takeaway

By avoiding the most stupid beginners’ mistakes and following the tips provided above, you are set on the right course to become a responsible motorcyclist. We have to admit that riding is not only about fun and adventure, it is also about being responsible. Finally, remember to always operate safely, wear appropriate protective gear, and never forget the tips mentioned in this article for safe operation.

It is wise to ride safely and be responsible if you don’t want to give the impression of a rookie to other riders. While being fully covered and wearing a DOT-approved helmet is the first thing to consider, also keeping your bike in top shape can help you earn a reputation as an experienced rider. This will not require you to make any major alterations to your bike or upgrade the engine for performance gain. Simply installing a few aftermarket parts , such as the saddlebags , sissy bars , backrests , crash bars , fairings , tank bags , and backpacks available at Viking Bags , will work.

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