In the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) latest blog, Chris Parr an assistant chief driving examiner in their driver and rider policy team, reminds motorcyclists about the need to ensure their bike, kit and skills are still up to scratch.
Below, Chris shares some simple safety checks for bikers to undertake before getting back on the road:
How are those tyres looking?
Even if a bike hasn’t been sat in the garage for the past few months, it’s always a good idea to give it a check over before taking it out.
Is there anything loose or a big puddle of oil underneath it? How are the tyres looking? Are all the lights and indicators still working?
It's a good idea to check its chain, steering and suspension. The chain should be the correct tension, not too slack. Make sure the handlebars are free to move smoothly and remember to give the brakes a quick squeeze before heading out.
These checks shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes and will help make sure the bike is safe when it's out on the road.
You’ve got the P.O.W.E.R
The POWER acronym is a good way to remember the essential checks riders need to carry out before setting off. It stands for:
Petrol – does the bike have enough - does it need filling up?
Oil – check your oil level is okay before riding
Water – for both rider and bike!
Electrics – are all lights and signals working properly?
Rubber – tyres are the only point of contact with the road, make sure they’re in good condition
Gloves, helmet and boots
So, the bike's looking good, but what about your kit? Can you remember the last time you changed your helmet? Like all good things, they do have a shelf life.
Have a quick look inside the helmet's lining - there should be a date showing when it was made. The DVSA would recommend changing helmet every 3 years for regular riders, or sooner if it has been dropped.
It’s important to wear the right clothing however short the journey might be, even when it’s sunny outside.
Motorcycle riders should always wear a good pair of gloves, jacket and trousers and make sure they have a bit of protection built in. To see how important proper gear is, check out Highways England's video on the cost of riding without protective clothing.
What are your skills like?
So, you have the kit and you bike's in good condition, but hang on a minute – when was the last time you had their own riding checked out? Investing in yourself is just as important as your bike and kit.
Even riders with many years of experience need to refresh their riding skills after a few months out of the saddle. If it's been a couple of months (or more), you may well be rusty. Take the time to get reacquainted with you motorcycle before heading out on a long journey.
Taking an advanced training course
Another way of improving riding skills might be going out with a friend. You may also want to consider an advanced riding course.
DVSA’s Enhanced Rider Scheme covers everything from cornering and bends through to overtaking and filtering safely.
The training day starts with a chat about your riding, closely followed by an assessment ride. Once that’s all done and dusted, you can work on any development you might need with your trainer.
Read DVSA’s enhanced rider scheme syllabus to find out more