illustration of young man riding a motorcycle

5 Most Common Beginner Motorcycle Rider Mistakes

Last Update: January 2020.

Riding a motorcycle is fun and exciting. It’s liberating regardless of whether you’re riding across the country or commuting around town.

 

However, new riders often find jumping into this world overwhelming due to as many rules and regulations. This is usually too much information for most people, which is why beginners tend to make more mistakes than most other riders.

 

Some errors are more common than others but equally as dangerous. Luckily, most are easy to avoid with a simple research on the topic.

 

Take a few minutes to check the 5 most common beginner mistakes in motorcycling and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1

Inattentive to Highway Codes

Most beginners are 16 to 17 years old, and the most common error they make is not reading the Highway Code. Understanding the Code is practically a rule that can save your life and that of many other riders.

 

People usually think they have this figured out by knowing road signs. While recognizing the signs is essential on its own, there’s more to the Highway Code than just that.

 

Not reading it is one of the primary reasons behind many mistakes on the road. Errors that you could otherwise avoid cause many crashes and even those with fatal outcomes (see common injuries here).

Ilustration of most common traffic signs

How to Avoid It

There’s no other way about it but reading the Highway Code. Make sure to read the latest version since it always changes.

Mistake #2

Terrible Clutch Control

Clutch is one of the biggest things riders struggle with. Even car drivers sometimes struggle to understand its purpose and how to control it. For bikers, it’s that much more difficult because bikes are more lightweight.

 

Getting the concept of the clutch is critical for your riding quality and overall safety. The best way to master this is by listening to your instructor and doing exactly what he/she tells you.

 

Don’t just assume that you already know without an expert showing and explaining it to you. Sit through the lesson and make sure to practice all the time, especially on an incline or a hill.

How to Avoid It

As we said, you should listen to your instructor. Also, practice using it on hills and inclines, but make sure to be gentle with it as that will give you more control in general.

Mistake #3

Show-off

illustration of young couple riding a motorcycle

Most beginners always rush to ride with someone and show off their new motorcycle. While this is tempting, it’s also very dangerous. The dynamics of a motorbike are entirely different when you have someone on the back seat. This makes the bike more difficult to control for beginners.

How to Avoid It

This is what most beginners do very early on. For this reason, you should first take some time to master handling your motorcycle before you can bring someone along for a ride. Ride by yourself for a while until you’re ready to take on the responsibility of riding with another person. As a beginner, you have a lot to learn about maneuvering your bike safely.

Mistake #4

No Fuel Range

New riders tend to forget that the fuel range depends on many things that have nothing to do with distance. This makes it easy to run out fuel at any time.

 

Fuel range depends on how you ride. Most bikes have fuel gauges, but some don’t, which is why you should try and learn how long you can go with the amount of fuel you have.

 

Learn to work out your average range and stop for a refill before you run out of it. Running out of gas in the middle of the road is quite inconvenient and annoying. Although it can happen to anyone, experienced riders are less likely to make the mistake.

How to Avoid It

You should set your trip meter to zero after each time you fill-up. If your bike features a petcock, you should switch to reserve. As we said, figure out how long you can ride with the amount of fuel you have. Since it depends on your riding style, the same amount of gas might not last you as long as it would last a more experienced rider.

Mistake #5

Countersteering or Corner Speed

Countersteering might seem a bit complicated at first, but you can get a hand of it with more practice. In essence, it’s using your body to help with steering.

 

For your bike to turn correctly, you need to learn how to countersteer and be comfortable with it. Pressing right on the handlebars will turn right, and pressing left on the handlebars will make the bike turn left.

 

Corner speed is equally as critical as it’s often the cause of many accidents. The most important thing to do is either brake or ease off the throttle.

motorcycle in city traffic illustration

How to Avoid It

The best way to avoid this is by practicing. Ride whenever you have the chance, but you might want to choose roads with less traffic. Listen to your instructor and learn to be comfortable with handlebars and throttle in order to have more control.

Conclusion

Riding a motorcycle always seems so simple and easy, but it’s really not. It takes lots of practice to be completely comfortable and secure in what you’re doing.

 

For this reason, practice is critical in avoiding most of these mistakes. However, it’s important also to be very careful and not rush to show off immediately after buying a motorcycle. Take your time to master handling the vehicle in all situations.

Road Racerz