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Motorbike Safety Check

Riding a motorcycle well is an art form! A combination of skill, grace and smooth lines. The rider is alert, relaxed, in control, confident and assertive
This means that when you ride - you ride! Nothing else. It is just you, the road and the other road users. You do not ride when you are angry, upset, distracted, sick, cold, tired, drunk or high. RIDE magazine Dec 2003 showed that riding cold, tired or stressed affected your riding as severely as being far over the legal alcohol limit - 63 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath (UK legal limit 35 micrograms per 100 milliliters)

As a new rider you will be 100% dedicated to the ride because of the novelty but between your second and third year of riding, statistics tell us that you are riding for a fall. You forget that riding is an all or nothing activity and you start giving it only a portion of your attention. It takes a close call or an accident to remind you that driving your car and riding your motorcycle are two totally different things

Pre-ride Check Off Bike

1) Tyres..

Check both front and rear tyres. Check for adequate tread, foreign objects and correct tyre pressure - a slow leak after your last outing must show up before you open up the throttle!

2) Oil

Check for any obvious oil leaks on the bike and on the ground surrounding it. This is not the best time to do a dipstick test as most bikes do not give accurate oil level readings cold and thus ensure that you do this when you next pull in for petrol. (See the DIY page for more details or your motorcycle manual)

3) Brake Fluid.

Check the front brake fluid level through the indicator glass.

4) Chain

Check the chain for the correct tension and adequate lubrication. Also do a quick visual inspection for anything out of the ordinary e.g. slight kinks etc

5) Front shocks

Check the front shocks for any oil leaks.

6) Mirrors

Physical inspection for cracks, properly secure etc

7) Luggage

Check that your panniers and top box are properly secured and locked.

Pre-ride Check On Bike

1) Mount the motorbikewhile applying the front brake.

2) Take it off the stand. The examiner will look to see that you are comfortable will the saddle height as you go through the rest of this list.

3) Open up the petcock (fuel tap) (This took me awhile to get used to!) Check the odometer reading to see how many kilometres you have done since you last filled up. Bear in mind what you did on your last outing. High speed riding or rough trail conditions will require you to fill up sooner. Open up the tank and do a visual inspection, especially if you are planning an out of town trip.

4) Check indicators, front and back, left and right. You can do this by placing your one hand in front of the lens and watching for the reflection off your hand.

5) Check headlamp - both hi and low beam. Your headlight must be on throughout your test and while you are riding generally.

6) Hooter (horn). Ensure that it is working

7) Adjust rear view mirrors.

8) Turn on the ignition. Check that the neutral light is on. If not, take the bike out of gear.

9) Rock the bike forward and backward to ensure that it is indeed in neutral. Also ensure that you have removed your disc lock if you use one!

10) Choke. If the motorbike is cold, open the choke. If not, tell your licence examiner that the bike is warm and you will not be using the choke.

11) Pull in the clutch and start the bike.

12) Allow the bike to warm up so that it runs smoothly and evenly with the choke in the off position (this should take less than 30 seconds under normal conditions) A motorcycle that stalls as you are changing gears and negotiating a corner may lock up the rear wheel and toss you onto the tarmac.