Being safe out on the back roads is important! There is no quicker way to ruin your ride than an injury that cuts the day short, or even worse waiting for a ride to the hospital!
There’s lots of great safety information, including commonly used hand signals that you should know, available at http://www.backroadstouring.org/kansas/safety.htm as well.
Even though Kansas isn’t a helmet required state, you should absolutely always wear a helmet with a chin bar, with good eye protection – goggles if you’re wearing an MX helmet, or a face shield for your full face.
Even a minor spill can result in a serious head injury if you’re not wearing a helmet, and a chin bar will save you a lot of pain and suffering over a half or three quarters helmet.
There are lots of good options for helmets, and we recommend that you visit a local dealer to try on various models to ensure a good fit – a poorly fitting helmet can be either a less than pleasant day of riding if it’s too small, to a serious injury if it’s too big.
Properly equipping yourself can mean the difference between enjoying your ride, and limping home or waiting on a ride the hospital.
Many minor injuries are easily prevented by having a basic set of protective gear; and major injuries can frequently be avoided with suitable equipment.
Gear and bike parts are cheaper and far more replaceable than People Parts.
- Full fingered gloves
- Heavy pants
- Sturdy boots with ankle protection
- Knee protection – Frequently built in to riding pants as CE armor, or a set of Knee/shin guards
- Sturdy riding jacket with CE Elbow and Shoulder armor
- Hip armor – Frequently built in to riding pants as CE armor
- Hearing Protection – a full face helmet will help here
‘Operational Safety’ – sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Operational Safety means making sure that your ride plan is safe. Remember: accidents can happen to anybody, anywhere, any time!
Tell somebody you’re riding.
Make sure that somebody knows where you are and when you should be expected back from your ride. Even minor incidents like a flat tire out of cell phone range can make for a bad day. If someone knows what you’re up to, they can know to come look for you to render assistance.
If a major problem happens, especially while you’re alone, you will appreciate somebody calling out a search party if you’re lying in a ditch with a broken leg.
Carry insurance and contact information
Carry your bike insurance & title as required by state law, but make sure to also have your health insurance card and personal identification in case of an unexpected trip to the hospital.
Ride with a buddy.
While you may not always have a friend to ride with, riding with a buddy increases your operational safety by orders of magnitude. It’s easier to fix minor issues like mechanical problems or flat tires with a couple more hands; and if there’s a major incident you have somebody to get help right away.
Maintain your ride
Basic routine maintenance is important if you want to enjoy days of trouble free riding. Keep your oil topped up and changed, inspect your spokes routinely, and check tire pressure regularly.
Make sure to stay on top of the maintenance schedule in the manual for your machine. If you don’t have the original manual, purchase the Clymer manual for your machine.
Before each ride, do a basic inspection of your machine to check in no particular order:
- Break and Tail lights are working
- Headlight is working
- Turn indicators are working (use ’em!)
- Tire pressure
- Suspension operation
- Break operation
- Wheel Spokes
- Chain Tension & Lubrication
- Throttle operation
- Shifter operation