Riding a motorcycle is a risky game, it's as simple as that. Recognize that fact and you'll stand a chance of survival. Ignore it, and things will inevitably go wrong. Don't ever forget you can die on a motorcycle – hundreds of us do just that each year.
Don't think it can't happen to youThe good news is that there's a very good chance you will stay alive – all you have to do is use your loaf and take things seriously.
Your brain is your very best tool for risk reduction, so use it constantly. Let it trigger your eyes, ears and nose to assist you too. Being aware of exactly what's going on and what's likely to happen is your very best defense against danger. You're gifted with some pretty fancy biological equipment – use all of it at all times.
Concentrate on the jog in hand and always have your head in gearIf it drops into neutral and start thinking about non-biking stuff like what's for dinner. Which pub's best tonight etc, then you're not going to be on top of your game.
Being realistic is also crucialRoad use is dangerous, simply because roads are inhabited by humans. As long as they're involved, then things can and will go wrong. People's mistakes can prove fatal – for you as well as them.
All sorts of people use the roadsMost are decent, many are not. They range from being ignorant and inept to callous and downright dangerous. Look out for them. They are your enemies and they can kill you.
Life on the roads is not always fair an justBe prepared for that. Realize in the traffic food chain, you're right near the bottom. Look after yourself and treat everyone and everything with a healthy level of suspicion. And do your very best to avoid getting wound up when someone compromises your safety. It usually just aggravates the situation. Besides, anyone with a steering wheel is armed with a life-threatening weapon.
Be honest about your abilityThere's only one Valentino Rossi, so don't get ideas above your station. Confidence is a friend, conceit is a foe.
Accept the motorcycle-riding game is a learning process, and no one has got it totally sussed yet.I'm still discovering new stuff after thirty years of riding, and I don't mind admitting that. If you're newer to biking, don't be too proud to consider some training. It might sound a bit funny but there are some good and experienced people out there who can give you some potentially life-saving tips.
Knowing your motorcycle and the route you're going to take will serve you wellAll motorcycles are better at doing some things than others. Being aware of their strengths and weaknesses can be a real advantage. Big heavy tourers aren't always suited to rush hour city traffic in the wet. Fast and focused sportbikes aren't either, but they can also be a handful on a really tight, twisty and undulating backroad. Know your horse, and know your course.
Knowing what to expect from the weather aids biking lifeMany riders don't like the wet, everyone hates the cold. Being ready for all of it with the right kit and frame of mind can lighten the load.
Biking is a thinking man's game and with the right mental preparation and attitude you'll stand a much better chance of dealing with all its challenges. Without it, you won't.