A close-up shot of a motorcyclist wearing a black helmet and protective gear, focused and looking straight ahead

10 Essential Motorcycle Safety Tips

10 Essential Motorcycle Safety Tips, from No DUI Larimer

No DUI Larimer is dedicated to reducing impaired driving and promoting safe practices for all road users. With increased traffic, heat, and other seasonal factors, it’s crucial motorcyclists prioritize safety during the summer months, the deadliest time for motorcyclists.


Although Colorado motorcycle fatalities decreased slightly in 2023 after record highs in 2022, motorcyclists remain one of the most vulnerable groups on Colorado roadways, especially in the summer. While motorcyclists represent just 3% of the state’s roadway users, they account for a disproportionate 19% of roadway fatalities.

A close-up shot of a motorcyclist wearing a black helmet and protective gear, focused and looking straight ahead

Here are ten essential tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride this summer.


Stay Sober, Stay Safe


Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including cannabis, impairing prescription or OTC drugs, or illegal drugs. Alcohol impairment and speed are the top contributing factors in fatal motorcycle crashes statewide. In 2021, 30% of motorcyclists killed in a crash had alcohol in their system, and 34% of riders involved in fatal crashes in 2020 were speeding (CDOT).


If you’ve been drinking, arrange for alternative transportation or wait until you’re completely sober (one hour per drink) before getting on your bike.


Perform a Pre-Ride Check


Before every ride, inspect your motorcycle. Check tire pressure and tread depth, oil and fluid levels, lights, signals, and brakes. Ensuring your bike is in good working order can prevent breakdowns and accidents that leave you stranded and vulnerable.


Wear Protective Gear


If you’ve heard the saying, “Dress for the slide, not the ride,” it’s true. Always wear appropriate protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, jackets, pants, and boots. Lightweight, ventilated gear can help keep you cool while providing necessary protection.


Wearing a helmet reduces your chance of fatal injury by 37%. Half of Colorado riders killed in crashes in 2023 were not wearing one.

A man is silhouetted from the shoulders up against a blurred background with the sun and sun flares

Stay Hydrated


Riding in the summer heat can quickly lead to dehydration. Carry water with you and take regular breaks to hydrate. Dehydration can impair your concentration and reaction time, increasing your risk of crashing.


Ride Defensively


While many campaigns statewide are aimed at improving drivers’ awareness of motorcyclists (“Look twice; save a life.”), assume that other drivers do not see you. Maintain a safe following distance, avoid riding in blind spots, and be prepared for sudden movements from other vehicles. Drive predictably, always use your signals, and make eye contact with drivers when possible.


Adjust to Weather Conditions


Summer weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, especially at high elevation, with sudden rain showers or extreme heat. Be prepared to adjust your riding style accordingly. Slow down in wet conditions and be cautious of slippery roads and reduced visibility.


Be Visible


Increase your visibility by wearing bright or reflective clothing and using your headlights, even during the day. Adding reflective tape to your motorcycle can also help other drivers see you more easily.

A woman wearing a motorcycle helmet and a green jacket is standing outdoors, looking down at a smartphone encased in an orange cover

Ride to Your Skill Level


Know your limits and ride within them. Avoid aggressive maneuvers and high speeds that you are not comfortable with. Take a motorcycle safety course to improve your skills and confidence on the road. Clutch Motorcycle School, ABATE of Colorado, and Chain Reaction Motorcycle School are just a few of the organizations in Northern Colorado that offer motorcycle training for aspiring and advanced riders alike.


Take Breaks to Rest


Long rides can be physically and mentally exhausting. Take regular breaks to rest, stretch, and cool down. Fatigue can impair your reaction time and decision-making abilities, increasing the chance you’ll crash.


Avoid Peak Traffic Times


When it’s possible, plan your rides to avoid peak traffic hours. Early morning or late evening rides can be more enjoyable and less stressful, with fewer cars on the road and cooler temperatures.

A person is standing triumphantly on a rocky outcrop, with arms raised towards the sky. Next to them is a fully loaded motorcycle

Motorcycling is a hobby – or way of life – for riders, centered on adventure and freedom. But motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants. If that’s not enough to get you to ride responsibly, think about the loved ones you leave behind.


Whether you drive on two wheels or four, drive carefully — your life, and others, depend on it.


Every safe ride starts with smart decisions. Stay safe, stay sober, and enjoy the ride!


No DUI Larimer encourages all of our readers: Educate yourself about how substances affect you and how you can avoid driving impaired – take charge of your future. Make the Right Call.


Follow No DUI Larimer on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more ways you can combat impaired driving in our community.

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