The wind in your hair, the smell of the black asphalt: Memorial Day motorcycle safety tips for the advanced rider

By Michael Pines, San Diego’s Safety Ambassador

Every Memorial Day, we can count on a few things: warmer weather, a good barbeque, and the sound of motorcycles burning rubber on the open highways.

If you drive a car, you may have seen “Share the Road” marquees throughout the San Diego area. Motorcycle tips are not just for bikers, but for drivers as well. As a safety advocate for the San Diego community, I aim to educate the public on increased safety awareness to end car accidents and motorcycle injury once and for all.

As Motorcycle Awareness Month wraps up in May, it’s never been more important to keep these safety tips in your back pocket as Memorial Day approaches, especially for advanced riders who may already be aware of proper riding etiquette.

Motorcycle safety tips for the advanced rider

Be loud

Nothing says “hello!” better than the sound of a blasting throttle next to a vehicle who has not noticed you. If you drive a car, you may often notice the loud sound of exhaust pipes blaring as motorcycle riders approach a stop sign. The loud sound helps to alert drivers of an oncoming motorcycle. Bikers, simply flick your wrist a few times to let others know you are approaching.

Be bright

Wearing black is cool, but wearing a bright pop of color can help identify you rather than allowing you to blend into the pavement. Consider wearing reflective gear, especially in the late evening when the blare of sunshine can actually inhibit the driver’s vision.

Expect that drivers won’t see you

Unfortunately, the routine of driving can cause drivers to switch into auto-pilot mode – and that means they probably won’t see you or expect you to be in their lane. Even advanced riders must remember that drivers may not see them immediately. Own your lane, and expect that other drivers will cut you off. The solution? Always follow the 2 second rule – and consider adding a few extra seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, especially if you have another rider in tow.

Rainy roads are even worse for motorcycle riders

If you are caught on your bike during a rain storm, consider pulling off to the side of the road until the rain clears. Even advanced riders may not be prepared to handle emergency braking or swerving to avoid hitting a vehicle that has lost control. You may feel like you can handle it, but know you cannot control or predict what another driver’s experience level will allow for. The first five minutes of riding in rain is the most dangerous for drivers and motorcycle riders alike. As oil on the road becomes moistened by the rain, the chance for a motorcycle accident increases tremendously.

Check your gear before riding

As an advanced rider, you probably wear good protective gear like helmets and leather. If you don’t, you must absolutely invest in motorcycle safety equipment. But, know that even good gear can come loose or become a problem if unattended. Common sense practices like tucking laces into your boots and tightening your helmet are important and should be done with every bike stop. Do not attempt to adjust or fix your gear while riding.


  • Change lanes to the left (NEVER pass to the right)
  • Consider purchasing a high beam modulator for increased visibility
  • Never drink alcohol and ride (even if you think you are under the legal limit)
  • Avoid riding over sandy surfaces
  • Avoid riding behind a pickup truck – objects can fly out unexpectedly
  • Always preplan an “out” in case driving conditions worsens

For more motorcycle safety tips, go to or follow us on Twitter. And don’t forget to join in on the conversation and share this story with your fellow road warriors on Facebook.

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Posted by Social Media Staff on May 25, 2011. Filed under Columns, Michael Pines, Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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