Common Mistakes Motorcyclists Make

Common Mistakes Motorcyclists Make

Riding a motorcycle offers a unique sense of freedom and exhilaration, but it also requires a high level of skill and responsibility. Unfortunately, even experienced riders can make mistakes that compromise their safety on the road. In 2021, there were 6,084 motorcycle rider fatalities in the United States and most of these could have been preventable. In this blog, we’ll explore some common mistakes motorcyclists make and provide tips for avoiding them.

Assuming Other Drivers See You

One of the most common mistakes motorcyclists make is assuming that other drivers see them on the road. Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars, making it easier for drivers to overlook them, especially in busy traffic or adverse weather conditions. To avoid accidents, always ride defensively and assume that other drivers may not see you. Use your headlights, signal your intentions clearly, and maintain a safe following distance.

Not Practicing

Like any skill, riding a motorcycle requires practice to master. Some motorcyclists make the mistake of becoming complacent or overconfident in their abilities, leading to lapses in judgment or technique. To improve your riding skills and stay safe on the road, regularly practice fundamental maneuvers such as braking, cornering, and evasive maneuvers. Consider taking a motorcycle safety course or participating in advanced riding clinics to hone your skills further.

Improper Gear

Another common mistake motorcyclists make is not wearing proper protective gear. In the event of an accident, wearing gloves, a jacket, durable pants, and boots can significantly reduce the risk of injuries like road rash. Unfortunately, some riders choose to forgo protective gear or opt for inadequate gear that offers little protection. Always wear a DOT-approved protective gear whenever you ride, regardless of the weather or distance.

Quick Turns

Quick or abrupt turns are a common mistake among inexperienced motorcyclists, especially when navigating tight corners or unfamiliar roads. Making sudden movements can upset the balance of your bike and increase the risk of a loss of control or a low-side crash. To avoid this mistake, practice smooth, controlled turns at a safe speed, and gradually increase your cornering skills over time.

Riding with a Passenger

While riding with a passenger can be enjoyable, it also requires additional skill and attention from the rider. Some motorcyclists make the mistake of taking passengers without adequately considering the added weight and dynamics of the bike. Before riding with a passenger, ensure that your motorcycle is equipped to accommodate two riders safely. Practice riding with a passenger in a controlled environment before venturing out on the road.


Overconfidence is a common pitfall among motorcyclists, especially those who have been riding for many years. Some riders become complacent or underestimate the risks associated with riding, leading to careless or reckless behavior on the road. It’s essential to recognize your limitations as a rider and approach each ride with humility and caution. Never let overconfidence cloud your judgment or compromise your safety.

Stalling in the Road

Stalling your motorcycle in the middle of the road is a potentially dangerous mistake that can leave you vulnerable to oncoming traffic. Whether due to mechanical issues or operator error, stalling in traffic can create a hazardous situation for both you and other road users. To avoid this mistake, practice smooth clutch control and throttle modulation to prevent stalling, especially when starting from a stop or navigating slow-speed maneuvers.

Riding Without a Helmet

Riding without a helmet is not only illegal in many states but also extremely dangerous. Helmets are the most critical piece of protective gear for motorcyclists, offering vital protection for your head and brain in the event of a motorcycle crash. Some riders make the mistake of riding without a helmet, either out of convenience or a false sense of invincibility. Always wear a DOT-approved helmet whenever you ride, regardless of the distance or speed.

Weaving Through Traffic

Weaving through traffic or lane splitting is a risky behavior that increases the likelihood of a collision. Some motorcyclists make the mistake of riding between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic in an attempt to save time or bypass congestion. However, lane splitting is illegal in many states and can result in serious accidents if not executed safely. Avoid weaving through traffic and always ride in a predictable and lawful manner.

Putting the Bike in Neutral at Stop Lights

Putting your bike in neutral at stop lights is a common mistake that can compromise your ability to react quickly in an emergency. Some motorcyclists make the mistake of shifting into neutral and coasting at stoplights, assuming that it saves fuel or reduces wear on the clutch. However, riding in gear with the clutch engaged allows you to accelerate quickly if needed and maintains better control over your bike. Always keep your bike in gear and remain alert at stoplights to respond to changing traffic conditions.

In conclusion, avoiding these common mistakes can help motorcyclists stay safe on the road and enjoy their rides to the fullest. By practicing good judgment, wearing proper gear, and continually honing your riding skills, you can minimize the risk of accidents and enjoy the freedom of two-wheeled travel responsibly. Whether you’re a novice rider or a seasoned enthusiast, always prioritize safety and awareness when riding your motorcycle.