Getting on the road for the first time can be pretty daunting for a new biker. You are faced with becoming one of the most vulnerable road users, so we jotted down a few tips to help instil confidence and help to keep you safe.
Learn about your bike
No one is expecting you to know everything about your bike or be able to service it, but knowing a few things will definitely help with your confidence levels. Remember that each bike is slightly different, so getting to know your bike and knowing how to solve any common problems with your specific model will give you peace of mind on the road. The internet is filled with forums that are brimming with motorbike enthusiasts and experts, so search these forums for your bike model and you should discover any weak spots that you can pay attention to.
Never stop learning
Many bikers will say that they learn something new with every single ride, so pay attention to everything around you. Whether it’s learning little tricks to improve your hazard perception or simply learning that most road users don’t like you very much, you will be learning all the time to concentrate and absorb the lessons you learn on the road.
This may sound obvious but some road users (not just bikers) abuse their newfound power after passing their test. Just because you’re on two wheels does not mean speeding is less noticeable, in fact, it’s more dangerous. For those of you who know how to drive a car before passing your bike test, the quicker you learn that it’s completely different, the better.
Assume everything is trying to kill you
This follows on from the previous point, not only should you ride sensibly yourself, but beware of everyone around you. The best way to stay cautious at first is to assume that everyone on the road is trying to kill you. Don’t get too close to other road users and try to avoid them if they get too close. Look out for vehicles emerging from side roads and changing lanes. Drivers often don’t see you while the real idiots don’t even look for you. Make sure you are aware at all times. Assume everyone is an idiot but believe that you have the knowledge and skill to avoid disasters.
Stop looking only at what is immediately ahead of you
It can be difficult at first to look around you comfortably, you may think that taking your eyes off of what’s in front of you for a second will cause a huge pile-up, but it won’t. Opening up your view and using your peripheral vision more can increase the chances of you noticing an idiot before he doesn’t notice you.
Preparation is key and as a vulnerable road user, a certain level of preparation will give you confidence and peace of mind on the road. Some bikers like to carry around a small hose for syphoning petrol if you’re low and are rescued by another road user, some like to carry round puncture repair kits. Whatever it is that you may be worried about when going out alone, there is probably some way you can prepare for it. If you’re worried about accidents on the road then just be cautious and ensure you know what to do if you have an accident. Sorrymate’s upcoming app can help you with this.
At first, you may be a nervous rider, there is nothing wrong with being a little nervous as this often inspires caution, but being too nervous could lead to mistakes. Relax and enjoy the ride, safe in the knowledge that you wouldn’t have passed your test if you weren’t ready. Be cautious and stay aware of what’s going on around you, but relish the journey and never forget why you became a biker.