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Early season motorcyclists must prepare

In some parts of Illinois and the St. Louis metro-area, motorcyclists are already out on the road, enjoying the freedom, the wind in their hair, the camaraderie with fellow riders and the chance to travel on familiar or unexplored paths. Each spring, rising temperatures bring about such a rite of passage. Yes, ’tis the season … for motorcycles.

Most motorcyclists look forward to this time of year when they can get their bike out of storage and hit the road. And every year, the experienced motorcyclist has a routine in place in getting ready for some new travels.

A few guidelines for early riders

Of course, you need a license and have insurance, but early season riders must be extra prepared in other areas. Here are some of the things you should do:

  • Give your bike a thorough check-up to ensure that there are no problems. For example, make sure to check the tire pressure on your bike, which has been in storage for months.
  • Roads will likely still contain traces of road salt and sand, which was used to melt the ice. This salt can damage your bike, causing corrosion. Wash it off as quickly as you can.
  • Beware of hazardous potholes. Winter weather often damages roads, causing large cracks and potholes. Motor vehicle drivers may experience bent rims and flat tires, but a motorcyclist may suffer from a serious crash when hitting a pothole.
  • Take it easy in the early part of motorcycle season. You still need to acclimate yourself just as an athlete does in training. Don’t be aggressive, and don’t speed.
  • Always drive defensively, too, and be vigilant as many motor vehicle drivers take for granted the presence of motorcycles. Some just don’t see them, or simply don’t care. And with the increased amount of inattentive drivers who use electronics behind the wheel, motorcyclists must be extra careful.
  • Enroll in a motorcycle safety class. Experienced riders can benefit from doing so. If your skills are a little rusty, please consider taking a motorcycle safety class.
  • Avoid alcohol. Please don’t celebrate the new season by drinking excessively at several bars on a pub crawl. Know your alcoholic limits. This is a rule that should always be maintained. The Governor Highway Safety Association noted that 27 percent of U.S. motorcyclists killed in accidents in 2015 were intoxicated.

Following these guidelines will help you enjoy another motorcycle season. We want you to stay safe and be prepared. Enjoy the rides.

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