That once in a lifetime motorcycle tour can be the best, most memorable experience you’ll ever have. The thought of riding when and where you want, with all the time in the world to get there, is what’s kept you up late so many nights planning the trip–the places you want to see along the way and deciding what to take with you and what to leave behind. The thought of something bad happening that could ruin the trip is something you don’t like to consider–but it’s always a possibility. With that in mind, here are a few safety tips for travelers on a motorcycle tour.
Be prepared. This old Boy Scout motto will serve you well on a motorcycle tour. Some riders prefer to simply jump on their trusty two-wheeled steed and hit the road with nothing on their backs but the clothes they’re wearing. Although a trip of this sort is certainly possible, you will be much more comfortable if you take the time to think about the trip ahead of time. That doesn’t mean you have to plan for every single contingency, but it does mean you’ll be better off if you consider how uncomfortable you’ll be if you get caught in a sudden downpour, or a cold front drops down from Canada and all you have is a t-shirt and blue jeans. Carrying the proper clothing is mandatory if you hope to be comfortable. That means packing raingear and warm clothing. Having a tire repair kit can also come in handy if you get a flat in the middle of the Arizona desert or at the top of a mountain pass in Colorado.
You will need to plan what type of equipment you take with you according to how you plan on spending your nights. Will you be camping or staying in motels? If you intend to get a motel room every night, you won’t have to pack camping equipment. Conversely, if you are planning to camp all or part of the time, then you will have to make sure you have the proper equipment. Spending the night under the stars on your sleeping bag may be exciting, unless it starts to rain or you get attacked by a vicious flock of mosquitoes, so it would be a good idea to take a tent. Unless you plan on eating before you camp, you’ll need cooking utensils and a small stove. Keep in mind that carrying camping gear will add additional weight, and can change how your bike handles. The gear you carry should be packed low, and dispersed equally on each side. A poor handling motorcycle will not only detract from your enjoyment of the trip, but could prove dangerous.
Before you leave on your trip-of-a-lifetime you should make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Check with your insurance agent to make sure you will be covered if you intend to cross state lines. You may even want to find out about trip insurance, which will protect you in the event something happens and you have to cut your motorcycle tour short. If you know you’ll be properly covered for any conceivable contingency, it will give you the peace of mind you’ll need to enjoy your vacation. Although it’s possible to get away with merely carrying liability insurance, having comprehensive coverage will ensure you’re protected against the theft of your bike, or personal belongings while you’re on your motorcycle trip.
Even if you live in, or are traveling through, a state that doesn’t have a mandatory helmet law, you should consider wearing one anyway. A helmet will certainly help protect you if you hit a wayward stone on a curve and dump the bike, but it will also come in handy if the truck in front of you throws up a bunch of stones, or a bird decides your head is located in the shortest distance between where it is and where it wants to be. Add a pair of safety glasses or a visor and you’ll be much safer. Gloves and riding boots are also a good idea. They will add an extra degree of protection from road hazards. Before you leave, make sure you perform a safety check on your motorcycle, and do any routine maintenance that needs to be attended to.
Guest post from Sydney Sommers. Sydney writes about motorcycle insurance quotes for MotorcycleInsurance.com.