6 bad riding habits you must get rid of

Most motorcycle riders here in the Philippines learned handling their two-wheeled machines the “informal” way.

Once we learn how to balance a bike, we approach a friend or probably a relative who’d bark instructions while we fiddle the levers and step on the gear shifter. Coughing up money for formal training is kind of unheard of.

So we gain our “riding expertise” though experience without even noticing that we have been picking bad habits along the way.

These habits seem harmless until we meet our first accident. Hassle, ‘Yes?

So what are these things that we have to get rid of?

1. This thinking that you’re an expert rider (even though we're not)

Experience alone does not make one a proficient rider. I found this out while joining the media challenge at the Honda Safety Riding Center (HSRC). I’ve been riding for more than five years now, but going through the course made me discover I was lacking in proficiency.

Unless you approach and learn from real experts, you’ll never realize the dangers you’re exposing yourself to.

Solution? Be honest with yourself and assess your skills. Undergo real training. You can pay up for riding courses at the HSRC or undergo free training with rider groups like the Ride Guardians to upgrade your knowledge about proper bike handling.

Make sure that you practice what you’ve learned to keep ‘em skills sharp.

2. This thinking that you’re always visible

Whenever you ride, you should always assume you are invisible. Specially when you ride near cars, buses and large trucks.

Four wheeled-vehicles have blind spots so it would be hard for car drivers to see if you’re there or not. So avoid putting yourself in areas where you’d be vulnerable.

To help improve your visibility, wear something that will make you noticeable.

Black is cool, yes, but you have to include your safety into the equation. Add reflectorized decals on your bike if needed. Others install loud pipes to improve their road presence (but too much noise could also be an issue).

3. This thinking that you’re invincible
This fault is common among those who love to weave in and out of their lanes (at high speeds). Overconfidence can cause you to become complacent in recognizing potential dangers.

It causes you to disobey traffic rules (You're thingking that your bike is fast and you're not going to be caught), overlook the tiny problems in your bikes (like loose chains), and disregard public safety.

Solution? Always be vigilant on the road. Get into the habit of recognizing clues that should alert you to threats. Be conscious about riding safely.

4. This thinking that the coast is clear

Most accidents happen in intersections or blind curves. There are riders who always assume they are fast enough to squeeze in even while a truck is making a turn.

A lot of riders also assume the coast is clear around corners. while assuming there’s no oncoming vehicle. They always “assume” because they thought that the coast is clear.

5. Your refusal to wear gears
This one is not limited to just helmets. Some riders ride their motorcycles even in their “short-shorts.” Some riders straddle their bikes even while wearing flip-flops. 

The longer the distance you have to ride, the more complete your riding gear should be. If you’re riding your way to work, make sure you wear a jacket and a pair of long pants. If you’re a guy, wearing short-shorts is a no-no on a bike (as in NO-NO!), whether you’re travelling near or far. Kahit girls (waw sexy!).

If you’re going for a long ride, make sure you have shoulder, elbow and knee pads to protect your joints against impact in case of a spill.

Wearing a helmet is a must while riding.  A wise man once told me that there’s no difference between this pavement near your house and that pavement away from your head.

6. This habit of being an idiot
Yeaaah… just being stupid.

Like letting destructive influence affect your ego while riding.

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