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I remember back when I started riding (many years ago) somebody gave me this list. The more I rode, the more sense it made to me.

1) Never ride without a helmet. If you think it looks uncool, think about how "cool" it would be living with brain damage. Road rash heals, smushed gray matter doesn't.

2) Never ride after drinking alcohol or on drugs.

3) Lose the fear of riding - this makes you stiff. Never lose your respect for the bike.

4) Always maintain safe stopping distance. Minimum of two seconds, more if conditions are less than optimal.

5) Always watch the road ahead - keep scanning the sides for cars entering, kids running, animals, etc. Also look for "escape routes" you can take if trouble appears ahead.

6) Practice panic stops and other evasive maneuvers. The 10 feet you shave off a 50mph-0 stop may be the difference between a trip to the hospital and nothing worse than a stalled engine.

7) Some people on the roads are a danger to themselves and others. Learn to recognize the signs, and stay the heck away from them. Dangerous people can be found in cars, trucks, buses, and (unfortunately) on motorcycles.

8) Know your limitations. Don't ride if you are tired. If heavy rain makes it hard to see/control the bike, pull over till conditions improve.

9) Keep your ride in safe condition. Check tyre pressure, tread depth at least weekly, and before taking the bike out after it has been sitting for more than a couple of days.

10) Drive defensively: Never assume that other vehicles will give you the right of way. If you see a vehicle you think may pull out in front of you, flash them with your hi-beam, and "cover" the brakes in case you have to stop quickly.

I know this list is far from complete, but it sure has helped me avoid some nasty situations. If anyone has any additions, I'd sure like to hear them.
 

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Get a hold of the book "Proficient Motorcycling" and read it. That should help.
 

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Good list. I'd like to add 1 but it kind of falls into your (10

11) Make sure you are visible.
a. During daylight hours ride with High Beam on
b. Use the brightest headlight bulb available. (My Harley delaer told me there's a new bright headlight bulb available; they also told me there's some type of kit that changes your rear turn signals into brake lights)
c. The military bases require (when I was in) bright colored clothing or a vest. But I just can't see myself riding my new black 03 bike with a bright orange vest.

Thanks for your post.
 
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