The lure of a Harley Davidson is hard to resist. The good news is that there are more quality used Harleys for sale than ever before. The bad news is that driving a motorcycle is vastly different from any other vehicle. New motorcycle riders tend to get into accidents that could have been avoided if following these common-sense safety tips.

Take That Motorcycle Safety Course

It’s romantic to think that a new rider can just spring onto a Harley and chug off into the sunset but this is a recipe for disaster. Before risking life, limb and a good Harley, invest in motorcycle driving courses. Successfully completing a course can give you discounts with some insurance companies. If a company offers a discount, then the discount winds up reimbursing the rider for the safety course. Check the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for course places, times and costs all over the United States.

Police Will Ticket Speeding Motorcycles

In the early days of radar speed guns, motorcycles were too small to be detected. Those days are long past. Now police speed radar can detect a speeding bicycle, let alone a Harley. Speeding also raises a rider’s risk of getting into an accident. Resist the temptation. Do not speed.

Wear Protective Clothing

There used to be a myth that motorcycle jackets should only be worn in cold weather. They should be worn for every ride. The jackets protect the skin from painful injuries should riders fall from a moving motorcycle or slide across the road. Invest in leather gloves, pants and boots that go over the ankle as well as a good jacket.

Check the Harley Before Every Ride

Never assume that any motorcycle is in tip-top condition. Just like a pilot goes through a checklist before trusting his or her life to an aircraft, go through a quick checklist before hopping onto a Harley. Make sure the chain, belt and shaft are in the right place. Check tire pressure and for wear. A blowout at 65 mph is no joke. Check the brakes.

When In Doubt, Slow Down

Even the best motorcycles easily spill when encountering road hazards like wet leaves, oil spills or black ice. Motorcycles are just not as stable as a four-wheeled vehicle. If there looks like there is something on the road that could cause the cycle to lose balance, do not take a chance. Slow down.