Southern California motorcyclists have weather advantages riders elsewhere don't have. But, who says motorcyclists here don't take road trips? Prep work is necessary whether you're riding for the first time, reacquainting yourself with a bike that's been in storage or planning to visit areas where seasons are well defined.
The urge to hit the road can be strong, but it's worth taking some precautions before you act. If spring is your season to bring out the bike, make sure you spend time getting ready to ride. You can pay to have a shop service your bike or prep it yourself.
A motorcycle needs more than cleaning and polishing. Riders Plus Insurance advises pulling off the bike cover and performing your own inspection. Check the battery charge and terminals, fluids, cables, brakes and pads, tires, lights and the drive chain, shaft or belt. Top off fluids and replace worn or broken parts before devoting time to cleaning and waxing.
Practice defensive driving skills, particularly if you haven't been on a motorcycle in a while. This also offers a second chance to make sure all the mechanical issues are resolved. Review the rules of the road and take note of the season's effect on road conditions.
Spring roads are often wet and filled with cracks and potholes. Road surfaces are slipperiest following a short rain. Depending on where you go, you may encounter debris, patches of snow or ice melt, gravel or sand and salt deposits – all potential hazards for motorcyclists.
Avoid sudden swerving or hard braking to prevent a loss of control. Dress for safety and visibility. Communicate with drivers by using turn signals and the horn, taking extra time to make moves in traffic and staying out of blind spots.
Preparation reduces risks but doesn't guarantee you'll avoid a motorcycle accident or catastrophic injuries. Crash victims may file civil claims against negligent parties for compensation.