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How To Enhance Motorcycle Safety Before You Ride -- the Pre-Ride Check

By Walter F. Kern

Motorcycle safety begins by inspecting your motorcycle before you ride. Never ride without first checking these motorcycle safety items. Your life depends on passing these motorcycle safety checks.

Here's How to Do a Pre-Ride Check of Your Motorcycle:

  1. Move your motorcycle so it has at least five feet of space all around it so you can easily do the motorcycle safety check.
  2. If the motorcycle has a centerstand, place it on the stand.
  3. If the motorcycle has a windshield, clean it and check for any defects.
  4. Turn on the motorcycle ignition so the lights will work.
  5. Check the high and low beams in the motorcycle headlight.
  6. Check to see if the taillight works. A motorcycle safety check fails if any step fails.
  7. Depress the motorcycle brake pedal and check to see if the brakelight comes on.
  8. Squeeze the front brake lever and check to see if the brakelight comes on.
  9. Check the left and right turn signals both front and rear.
  10. Check the motorcycle horn.
  11. Run your hand along the sidewalls and portion of the tire that touches the road looking for foreign objects. If you find any, don't ride until fixed. Motorcycle safety checking of tires is important.
  12. Check the air pressure in the motorcycle tires and set to the specifications for the tire.
  13. Walk around the motorcycle and check for any loose bolts, antenna mounts, plastic, or other items detracting from motorcycle safety.
  14. Check the oil level in the motorcycle engine.
  15. If you have a chain, check that it has proper free play and has been oiled recently.


  1. Always make sure your motorcycle headlight is on and set on high beam during the day. At night, set it to low beam for increased motorcycle safety.
  2. Check that the Kill switch is off or the motorcycle won't start. This motorcycle safety part is often overlooked.
  3. If the motorcycle has a gas shutoff petcock, check to make sure it is ON.
  4. Don't forget your own motorcycle safety. Wear safety vests and always wear protective clothing. Check that clothing items do not touch mufflers and chains.

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