Motorcycle Ride Essentials

Motorcycle Ride Essentials

Updated March 3, 2016 . AmFam Team

Discover the smartest motorcycle riding tips to make rides safer and more fun for everyone. Helpful hints for people new to cycles and experienced bikers.

Ask anyone on two wheels and they will probably tell you – there’s no better way to experience the simple task of getting from point A to point B, than on a motorcycle. Being a biker offers the allure of wind in your face, captures the independent spirit, and lets you connect with the freedom of the open road each time you throw your leg over the engine.

Get the most out of every trip and protect yourself on the road with smart motorcycle riding tips:

Inspect your ride. Before you head out, make sure your lights, horn and directional signals are working. It’s an easy way to increase your visibility to other riders and drivers. By checking the tires and drive mechanisms, you’ll be prepping your machine for miles of reliable use.

When it comes to your helmet, use your head. Being proactive about your helmet use goes a long way in keeping you and the pursuit of your dreams moving forward. Replace any helmet that’s been damaged and replace any helmet after five years, because the sun and oils from your hair and skin can deteriorate the effective components.

Ride defensively. Keep your defensive driving techniques in mind. If you’re ready for any situation, you can make up for the person in the car next to you who isn’t. Some drivers simply don’t double check for motorcyclists, so your proactive approach can go a long way towards keeping you safe.

Know the rules of the roads you’re on. Rules for motorcyclist vary from state to state—from helmet laws to eye protection requirements and the equipment you must have on your bike. Researching the local laws whenever you ride into new territory keeps you from any unwanted detours and on a clear path to your dreams.

Join a group ride. Just because you have a little bit of the rebel spirit in your heart doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. No matter what type of bike you ride, there are often other riders willing to go out with you. Group rides are also a great way to improve your own skills by learning from other riders.

Riding a motorcycle is irresistibly fun. And you’ll get a lifetime of great rides if you do it with the right gear, the right approach and the right amount of practice. Whatever your riding style, you and your American Family agent  (Opens in a new tab)can help you protect yourself, your bike and the dreams you’re cruising towards.


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    What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

    Motorcycle accidents can be sudden, swift and severe. If you can get through the immediate shock, though, you can do much to protect yourself and others in the aftermath. That’s why we wrote this 9-step guide on what to do after a motorcycle accident. Read on to learn how you can stay safe, document the incident, and more.

    Quick Checklist: 9 Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident

    Before we go over each step in detail, here’s the full list for your convenience:

    1. Get Out of Harm’s Way: If you’re physically able, pull yourself out of the road.
    2. Get Help: Call 911 and receive medical care, even if you don’t think anything’s wrong.
    3. Check Yourself Out: Carefully feel around for any injuries or sources of pain.
    4. Don’t Remove Your Gear: Your helmet and other safety accessories might be helping you even now.
    5. Scan Your Surroundings: Take in the details at the scene of the accident to avoid danger, then remember them for later.
    6. Get Pictures of the Scene: Any shots you snap may be useful as visual evidence.
    7. Talk with Anyone Involved or Present: Record insurance info and eyewitness accounts.
    8. Get a Copy of the Motorcycle Accident Report: The info in the police report can come in handy when talking with insurance agents.
    9. Contact Your Insurance Company: File a claim right away!
    1. Get Out of Harm’s Way

    2. If possible, move to the side of the road. Some motorcyclists’ first instinct after an accident is to worry about their bike. For now, though, leave it as it is. You just got into a motorcycle accident — put yourself before your ride and reach a safe location.

    3. Get Help

    4. Whether you feel perfectly awful or perfectly fine, you or an able bystander must call for emergency services. If it seems unnecessary, just say this aloud: “I was in a motorcycle accident.” . Trained medical professionals may notice what you can’t, so call 911 right away.

    5. Check Yourself Out

    6. Emergency services will appreciate any info you can provide on how you’re feeling. Get in a position that causes the least strain on your body. Once you’re as comfortable as you can get, try to perform a careful and basic medical check on yourself. Slowly test which limbs you can move. Assess where you feel pain. Consider if you’re nauseous or dizzy.

    7. Don’t Remove Your Gear

    8. Motorcyclists wear safety gear to minimize injuries and reduce risk . Your jacket and helmet might be protecting you from problems you don’t even notice in the post-accident rush of adrenaline. Leave your gear on until a medical professional says otherwise. They can help you safely remove it if needed.

    9. Scan Your Surroundings

    10. If possible, look around at the scene of the accident. Do you see anyone else with an injury? Are the motorcycle and its parts in the way of traffic? How are the weather, conditions of the road, lighting in the area? Use this information to avoid any further threats. Try remembering it afterward for a more accurate motorcycle accident report.

    11. Get Pictures of the Scene

    12. Law enforcement agents will be among the emergency services to arrive at the scene. As you wait for everyone to arrive, take pictures of everything. Don't touch the motorcycle or any parts, though — their placement is evidence of what happened, and the effort might worsen your injuries. Shoot the photos from as many angles as you can while staying safe, and show the weather conditions as well. The visual evidence may come in handy.

    13. Talk with Anyone Involved or Present

    14. Sometimes, motorcycle accidents only involve the motorcyclist. Other times, it may involve another driver, or someone whose property was damaged in the incident. Everyone involved should be aware of everyone else’s insurance situation. It may also help your case to get quotes and contact info from eyewitnesses who are otherwise uninvolved. Ask anyone else present for their account and record it with their permission.

    15. Get a Copy of the Motorcycle Accident Report

    16. When the police investigate accidents, they compile their findings into a document. As someone involved in the incident, you can request a copy for yourself. The motorcycle accident report includes statements from involved parties and witnesses, recorded observations of the scene, and more. All this information is essential when filing an insurance claim.

    17. Contact Your Insurance Company

    18. Motorcycle insurance is a must-have, and not just because most states legally require it for riders. It can help cover hospital bills, which can mean paying less or even paying nothing for treatment. Once you’re out of danger with everything else taken care of, contact an insurance agent while you’re recovering. File an insurance claim as soon as you can. As with everyone else, be completely honest about the details of the accident.

    Request a Motorcycle Insurance Quote Today

    We hope that you never have reason to need the information in this guide. With that said, knowing what to do after a motorcycle accident might make a huge difference someday. So can having motorcycle insurance with American Family Insurance. Speak with an agent today about our coverages, including collision coverage, and get a quote.

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    Electric Motorcycles

    Electric motorcycles are becoming more popular every day. And like electric vehicles, they’re disrupting the industry and challenging traditional manufacturers to produce a better bike. With more electric sport bikes entering the market annually, newcomers are starting to draw serious attention.

    And conventional bikers are taking notice. From saving on gas bills to riding a smarter bike, old-school motorcyclists find dependability and decreased maintenance costs a major driver as well. A few manufacturers have electric bikes that have been on the market for about a decade. And others are following this trend — with the new rides rolling off the production line soon. Take a look where the market is at, and where it’s headed, with our primer on electric motorcycles.

    Extended Riding-range for Battery Powered Motorcycles

    Manufacturers are plugging new tech into their electric bikes, scooters and motorcycles. Lithium ion battery R & D continues to produce more energy efficient ways to ride. Here are a few ways these powerful batteries are charging the industry.

    Better mileage

    Many manufacturers have pushed the range that their bikes can travel before running out of a charge with their latest offering.

    Fast charging

    New quick-charging battery systems keep your downtime to a minimum. A few producers are currently promoting a charging pack that’s 50% quicker than previous models. The most aggressive of these charging systems boast a 100% charge in just 60 minutes.

    Battery guarantees

    Some groups are offering unlimited battery warranties that extend for five years.

    Regenerative braking capability

    One big benefit of electric motorcycles is their ability to re-capture energy. By converting braking and coasting momentum into a real-time recharge, that energy is used over and over again.

    Electric motorcycles vs. gas

    When compared to the range that a conventional 1000cc sports bike gets, some e-motorcycles travel just as far on a full charge as they would on a full tank of gas.

    E-motorcycles Accelerate Faster

    One of the coolest things about electric motorcycles is the immediate torque and acceleration they have. By not depending on a clutch or a multi-speed transmission, these rides really move. There’s an electric motorcycle for every kind of rider. Whatever bike you choose, remember to leverage a motorcycle insurance discount with our suite of motorcycle safety course options.

    Motorbikes, race bikes, superbikes — these are the kinds of electric motorcycles you might have already seen on the market. But if you’re more of a cruiser or a tour bike fan, don’t be discouraged. You’ll find there’s perfect ride out there to fit your needs. And best the best part? They’re all lightning fast off the line.

    220 mph, zero to 60 in 2.0 seconds

    The heavyweights on the market can hit 60 mph in two seconds flat with a top speeds around 220 mph. Now that’s cooking!

    Peak performance via onboard energy management

    Newer battery-controlling software allows you to ride like you would with a normal bike. And you won’t have to worry about burning through your battery.

    Hydraulic brakes helps you stop on a dime

    Folding in automatic breaking systems (ABS) technology, these fast bikes come equipped to slow down smartly — and quickly. And American Family’s advanced riding course can help seasoned bikers up their game, which is even smarter.

    Electric Bikes Require Less Maintenance

    One big win for e-motorcycles is that there are fewer moving parts. And that translates to lighter, less-expensive maintenance schedules. It’s true, some of the electronic motorcycles have a higher initial price tag. But the money saved across the life of the bike can help to offset that up-front investment. Here are a few other important electronic motorcycle maintenance details:

    No oil means no oil changing

    Owning an electric motorcycle is just plain easier. No checking and changing the oil or filter.

    Tune ups are a breeze

    No spark plugs, clutch or timing belt to replace. No fuel filter to change. In the long run, less maintenance helps to justify the higher price tag.

    Less moving parts

    Because e-motorcycles are really just an electric motor and drive train, there’s less worry. You won’t have to keep an internal combustion engine up and running.

    Smarter ebike tech

    Bluetooth-enabled smart phones can hook into many of the e-motorcycle’s stats. A sampling includes maps to known charging stations, carbon footprint data and financial comparisons of money saved over conventional gas-powered bikes.

    Electric Scooters Are Gaining Momentum

    With some scooters reaching top speeds around 50 mph, e-scooters are also gaining popularity. The Super Soco is targeting more aggressive riders with their TC MAX, which push above 60 mph. The Vespa Elettrica is made for urban commuting with a more conservative 30 mph limit. Like e-motorcycles, these models also come equipped with an app. You’ll get a wide array of data and stats that inform your ride.

    Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Motorcycle?

    Yes, you should take a look at your motorcycle coverage options to best protect your ride, and remember to check in with your American Family Insurance agent. Reducing your carbon footprint can help you contribute to a greener world, and getting an electric motorcycle might be the way to go. With it, you’ll enjoy performance, convenience, versatility and all the other cool benefits that are part of being a biker. Ride on!

    This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

    This article does not afford or guarantee coverage.

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    Whether cruising to class, work or out for a leisurely ride, a moped or scooter is a convenient way to get from point A to point B — plus, they’re great on gas!

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    So, you’ve decided to buy a used motorcycle. Good for you! You’ll probably save money on the bike itself, and you can reap additional savings by avoiding setup, delivery and dealer fees if you’re buying from a private seller. The last thing you want though is for your used bike to break down or have surprise damage and problems.