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Three tips to stay safe on your motorcycle ride this fall

Even as summer comes to a close, it is still prime motorcycle season. Many motorcyclists look forward to long rides along Tennessee's beautiful scenic roads and seeing the fall colors.

However, no matter the time of year, you must always make sure you are on your guard and putting safety first every time you ride. Therefore, here are three important tips that new and experienced motorcyclists alike can benefit from to reduce the risk they face.

1. Stay defensive

Motorcyclists rarely need reminding that other drivers do not see them on the road.

Since motorcycles are one of the smallest vehicles on the road, drivers in cars and trucks often do not see them - even if they are not in a vehicle's blind spot. You may have direct experience with this, having large vehicles pull out in front of you or attempt to merge into your lane.

To stay safe, you must think fast. That is why you must always be defensive on the road. You should:

  • Never assume drivers can see you
  • Expect - and prepare for - other drivers to be reckless
  • Do not get distracted
  • Always wear a helmet. In Tennessee and some other states, it is required. Even in the states where wearing a helmet is not required, doing so will reduce your risk of a traumatic head or brain injury.

Even enjoying the scenery can be a distraction. Make sure you stop at a specific scenic point or in a safe space to look at the scenery, so all of your attention is on the road when riding.

2. Avoid alcohol

It is common to stop at a brewery or bar on a long motorcycle ride. However, alcohol plays a role in many fatal motorcycle wrecks. It can affect a rider's judgment and reaction time - both of which are critical to avoid a serious wreck.

This is not to say motorcyclists cannot stop for a drink, but you must make sure you take great care. For example, on a long motorcycle trip, save the time for a drink when you stop for the night. That way, you will not be impaired on the road.

3. Maintain your bike

Ideally, inspect your bike before every ride. It pays to take some time to check:

  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Brakes and controls
  • Fluids and battery

It is also critical to keep track of when you take your bike in for professional maintenance, so you know your motorcycle is in good condition to ride.

Going for a ride may be freeing and exhilarating, but it is never without risk. A motorcycle wreck could be catastrophic, and you must make sure you take your safety seriously every time you head out on the road.

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