Like most of our parents warned us, riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, and you are taking a big risk every time you hop on your bike. It doesn't matter if you've been riding for decades or for a few weeks, safety should always be every rider's top priority. Regardless of how confident you are on a motorcycle, none of us are exempt from Murphy's law, which is "anything that can happen will happen."

It can range from riding over a pothole you didn't see in the road, to making a split-decision of veering out of the way of a giant truck stopped on the highway with only seconds to spare. If you don't take the proper time and effort to increase your skill on a bike, as well as take the necessary precautions, there is always the possibility a casual weekend ride could end badly. As fun and exciting a motorcycle is, they are still machines that can be replaced. You, on the other hand, are not. So let's take a look at some additional safety practices that will boost your confidence and keep your rides incident-free.

Related: May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

1 Wear A Full-Face Helmet

A driving 2022 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
Side and front view of a moving 2022 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

Whether you're riding a Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, or Ducati, any rider worth his/her salt will always recommend wearing a full-face helmet. Mainly because they provide full 360-degrees of protection to your head. A full-face helmet will protect your eyes and face from getting peppered by road debris, dust, tiny rocks, and bugs. While some riders prefer to wear 1/2 face helmets and 3/4 helmets, they don't provide the same amount of coverage one would experience with a full-face.

They are even more necessary for whenever you find yourself involved in an accident, and protecting your dome is much more important than how you look. They are also aerodynamic, so they can comfortably cut through the wind without any neck strain. They also come is a wide range of colors, styles, and patterns, so you can find the one that best matches you and your fashion sense.

2 Put Your Left Foot Down

MY23 1290 Superduke GT
Photographer: Sebas Romero-KTM
Static side profile of KTM Superduke GT 

This may sound like the basics of the basics that we learned during a motorcycle safety riding course, those are usually some of the most important. Whenever you find yourself coming to a complete stop at a red light, or if you're stuck at traffic, it should always be standard practice that you come down on your left foot first. Some may not think of this as a big deal because they'll put their right foot down all the time. Unfortunately for them, that is the wrong foot.

If you are not convinced, the next time you come to a stop on your motorcycle, drop your right foot first and notice how uncomfortable that feels. The same goes for when you're taking off from a complete stop too. So make it a habit of bringing the weight of your body over to your left leg every time you come to a stop. This will free up your right foot to reach the rear brake to activate your brake lights. Because letting the people behind you know that you're slowing down and/or stopped is important.

3 Re-Take a Safety Riding Course

Harley-Davidson Riding Academy Class
Harley-Davidson Riding Academy Class

If you have not ridden a motorcycle in a while and don't feel fully confident getting back on the road just yet, sign up for a motorcycle safety riding course to refresh your memory. You will feel a lot better knowing you were able to dust off some basic riding habits, as well as iron out some bad habits that you may have picked up at some point. But, if you are just oozing with confidence, then you may be interested in taking an advanced motorcycle riding course. This is meant for those that intend on taking their riding to the next level, as well as for motorcycle police officers where the standard for skill is much higher than the average rider. Like the saying goes, "practice makes perfect." So fine-tuning your skills is definitely worth it in the long run.

Related: 10 Safety Tips While Riding A Motorcycle On The Highway

4 Have A First-Aid Kit

first aid kit
Medisave UK via Flickr
First Aid Kit

Sure, if you're a confident and experience rider then chances are you will never have to open up a first-aid kit. But then again, Murphy's law. A small, compact pouch that contains the bare essentials that can be easily stowed in the corner of your saddlebags is another investment worth the money. Think of a first-aid kit as something that you'd rather have and not need, instead of need and not have. Because if you, another rider, or a passenger has a medical emergency that needs to be tended to, and you're in the middle of nowhere, you'll be thankful you picked one up from the pharmacy for safe keeping.

5 Be Seen And Heard

A red 2022 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special
Action shot of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special

A big part of motorcycle safety has less to do with the motorcycle itself, and more to do with everyone else on the road. With distracted driving being one of the main causes of auto accidents, making other drivers aware of your presence will work in your favor. You've probably seen the bumper sticker that reads, "loud pipes save lives." That is because they do. Whether other people consider them to be obnoxious and unpleasant to hear is irrelevant.

If you outfit your motorcycle with some louder exhaust pipes, you are letting other drivers know that you are in their physical area, and that they need to be a little extra careful. The same goes for wearing bright and/or reflective clothing. Everybody loves a leather biker jacket. But if it's dark out, and you can't be seen by the naked eye, you better be extra careful on your midnight run. Many motorcycle dealerships and apparel stores carry bright, eye-catching clothing that are usually neon-orange or bright lime green. Why? Because these are the same colors that traffic cones come in. These are colors that don't normally show up in our everyday lives, so the moment you see it, they are impossible to ignore.

6 Always Be Scanning

A driving 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout 117
Front action shot of the 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout 117

Anyone that rides a motorcycle should always keep an eye out for potential hazards in every kind of environment. On the highway you should constantly be aware of irresponsible drivers, road debris, torn tire treads, oil slicks, highway patrol vehicles, speed limit signs, and deer (especially deer).

In a more urban environment, you should keep an eye out for potholes, construction, unpaved roads, cracks in the street, litter, pedestrians, and other aggressive drivers. Hazards come in all shapes and sizes, and it is your responsibility to be aware of them at all times. It serves to your benefit to have a plan when dealing with these kinds of obstacles, and the more prepared you are, the safer you will be.

7 Wear All The Safety Gear

Black 2022 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 tearing down a trail
Vivid Black 2022 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 tearing down a trail

In many cases, confidence can turn into cockiness. This is evident whenever you see someone blasting by on the highway while riding a Kawasaki Ninja at 110 mph wearing a helmet, tank top, basketball shorts, and sneakers. Many experienced riders call those kinds of people "organ donors" because being that reckless on a bike with such little protection has a high probability of ending poorly.

So when it comes to checking off the boxes for necessary riding gear, that means a helmet (see recommended full-face above), a protective motorcycle jacket, motorcycle gloves, motorcycle boots, and long pants/jeans. Bare skin on hot asphalt at a high speed is a recipe for disaster, so take your well-being into consideration and get a decent biker wardrobe together.

Related: This Innovative Riding Gear Will Make Each Ride Safer Than Ever

8 Check The Weather

SoulRider.222 via Flickr<\/a>"">
Harley-Davidson Panhead
SoulRider.222 via Flickr
Harley-Davidson Panhead in the rain

Almost every dedicated biker opens us their weather app at least once a day. If the weather looks sunny and moderately warm, this is all that it will take for someone to take their motorcycle out for the day. But in some areas, the weather can change on a dime. It may look nice in the morning, but the afternoon can look wet, drizzly, and gross.

Getting caught in the rain on a motorcycle is never a pleasant experience, as well as a potentially very dangerous one if you are not careful. So make it a habit to look at the forecast for the day, as well as incoming days to plan your rides more thoroughly. A hot afternoon may not require that super-rugged leather jacket and chaps that you love so much. The same goes for a cooler evening that requires something a little warmer than a light riding jacket. Dress for the occasion, and take a literal rain check on those wetter days.

9 Get Rest And Stay Energized

Harley Davidson static shot
Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson Road Glide in Yellow, facing right

Riding a motorcycle is a physical activity, and hours of it can really wear you out. The wind, sun, and the energy to operate your bike can slowly drain you. So it is always important to give yourself a break from time to time. Either pack some snacks and drinks, or pull over at a restaurant and relax for an hour or two while you recharge.

Riding for hours without stopping to stretch, eat, or relax will only do more harm than good. Giving your body a chance to recover will extend the energy required to tackle however long of a trip you've planned for yourself for the day. The same can be said if you are riding with a passenger. They, too, could use a break to get something to eat, drink, or use the bathroom.

10 Ride With A Group

Vulcan S

There are hundreds of motorcycle clubs around the world that encourage enthusiasts to meet up and enjoy this pastime with other like-minded individuals. There is also the element of having safety in numbers. If you felt safe and confident riding around by yourself, imagine how protected you will feel knowing that a group of motorcyclists has a greater chance of being seen and heard by other drivers on the road.

Riding with a group also means that everyone has each other's back, and that includes you. So if the leader sees a hazard on the road ahead, he/she will alert everyone else in the group as they gradually get closer. If you are a newer rider, you can also absorb some riding knowledge from the more experienced riders in the group.