Riding, Risks & Getting Started

The most obvious question that hopefully comes to mind for beginner and would-be motorcyclists is the issue of danger and risk, with motorcycles pretty universally recognised as being a sport or hobby fraught with peril.

There’s no two ways around that, and if you’re planning on riding a motorcycle on the road, being an aware, conscientious and careful rider is paramount. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but motorcycling is very unforgiving. It’s not enough to be a good rider, you need to be a defensive rider as well.

If you’re convincing family you need a motorcycle, you may have quite an uphill battle – even if they are motorcyclists, so get a plan together for how you’ll convince them it’s the right choice, especially if it’s you’re first vehicle. Here in Australia there’s some benefits:

  • You don’t need a supervisor like you do in a car.
    • This helps if you don’t have anyone to teach you to drive.
    • This can save time, especially in larger families, or for busy parents.
    • Queensland recently changed their scheme to require a supervisor on L-plates, in a move that will greatly effect new riders’ ability to get licensed.
  • The pre Learner and Provisional courses offer a basic level of training.
  • Extra training is easy to access and a good investment.
  • Often a motorcycle can fit even in locations with limited parking.
    • You can often fit a motorcycle into a car spot with a car.
    • More ideally you can fit heaps of motorcycles into one car spot!
  • Motorcycling parking is also often free.
  • Parking at work or Uni on a bike can save you plenty of money.
  • It can be a cheap form of transport.
    • Fuel costs can be lower.
    • On road costs can be lower.
    • Smaller capacity machines in particular benefit.
  • You can often use bus lanes or filter (where legal) for faster trips.
    • In some cases commuting by motorcycle could save you serious time.
2017 Royal Enfield Himalayan - Image courtesy of Royal Enfield Australia, by Jeff Crow
2017 Royal Enfield Himalayan – Image courtesy of Royal Enfield Australia, by Jeff Crow

It’s not only easy to get yourself in trouble on a motorcycle, with many learner (LAMS in Australia) or beginner motorcycles capable of significantly more performance than most basic cars, but you’re also dealing with other road users.

The other road users, and the various forms of stupidity, inattentiveness and carelessness you’ll encounter are where the defensive riding comes into it. A common quote I’ve heard across motorcycle forums and communities is, “It doesn’t matter if you were in the right, if you’re dead.” The same applies for the less extreme end results too.

A fender bender in a car can be life and death on a motorcycle, so being proactive with your own safety, focused and patient all help keep you safe on the road, as does a certain level of aggressiveness, but that point is for another time!

Kawasaki's Ninja 400 KRT Edition
Kawasaki’s Ninja 400 KRT Edition

So if you’re thinking of starting riding, don’t be discouraged by the danger/risk side of things. Unless you’re the kind of driver who frequently causes accidents, or is not very interested in paying attention to what’s going on around you, then motorcycling can be fun and rewarding.

Having some road experience to start with is a great benefit, but it’s by no means necessary. Just keep in mind, where driving standards are generally abysmally low and road rules are aimed at the lowest common denominator, you can’t expect to get away with that as a motorcycle rider.

Stay safe out there!

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