How to Turn on a Motorcycle – The Beginners Guide



If you are a complete novice, you might not know how to turn on a motorcycle. While riding a motorcycle is not very difficult, you have to remember that these vehicles can be rather dangerous and that, consequently, you have to be very careful while operating them. As a beginner, you should never overestimate your abilities and you should always wear protective equipment.

As a beginner rider, there is nothing more intimidating than having to tackle turns, especially if they are sharp. Still, you should never let this aspect prevent you from enjoying riding. After all, even more, experienced riders have to work on their ability to turn corners. 

According to the specialists, once you understand the mechanical aspects of taking a turn, and, provided that you put in the necessary practice, you will no longer have any issues with this aspect of bike riding. 


Normal turning

To efficiently turn as a novice, you have to have a good view of the road ahead of you. By knowing how the road goes, you will be prepared to tackle all the obstacles that come in your way.

Once you approach the turn, you also have to gradually reduce the speed. To do so, you need to slowly release the throttle and, if necessary, to gently press the brakes. In the case you get to the turn more quickly than expected, the best thing that you can do is to apply both the brakes at the same time. This will allow you to turn more safely.

As you spend more and more time on the road, you will eventually be able to tell how to handle each turn, intuitively. However, before you get there, it is recommended that you practice on low traffic roads where you are in a safe environment. 

Another important aspect that you should not overlook is that you have to check the traffic conditions before you turn. When you are riding on public roads, you always have to be aware of the other traffic participants. You have to pay extra attention to those riders and drivers who are riding/driving erratically.

If you notice such drivers, it is recommended that you allow them to overtake you. If this is not possible, be sure to allow for some distance between you and them, to avoid an unfortunate accident.

One crucial mistake that many novice riders make is that they only rely on their mirrors. If you do so, you won’t be able to fully see what’s going on behind you. This happens because, usually, part of the view that the mirrors offer is blocked by your shoulders or your arms.  


Counter steering

One of the easiest methods that you can use to turn on your motorcycle is counter steering. Counter steering implies that to turn in the desired direction, the rider has to briefly steer the vehicle in the counter direction. So, if you want to go left, you have to lean right and vice versa.

According to seasoned riders, counter steering is an efficient method that you can learn easily. As you counter steer, keep your eyes on the farthest point that is visible to you. This way, in case you see any object that is obstructing your sight, you can easily maneuver your ride to avoid it.

After you pass halfway through the turn, you should increase the throttle. This will help your bike to stand upright when you get out of the turn. To avoid losing your stability, you shouldn’t try to throw your weight one way or another. Instead, try to maintain your normal balance. 


Sum up

If you do not know how to correctly turn your ride, you are prone to experience a lot of issues. This is why it is essential that you learn how to do so safely and accurately. To improve your ability to turn, it is advisable that you go out on the road and that you practice.

As you turn, keep your body close to the tank of the ride, and your forearms parallel to the ground. Your hands should also feel relaxed on the bars. Before you reach the turn, and you have to brake, get into position. 

Finally, instead of pushing the motorcycle under you, go with the bike and try to maintain the necessary balance so that you won’t fall off.  


Motorcycle courses

While it is legally necessary that you take a training course in order to obtain a motorcycle permit, there are some skills that you might not be able to master in the short time that you have available with your instructor. 

If this is the case, it is advisable that you take a motorcycle safety course as well. A class of this type consists of around 10 to 15 hours of instruction. The lessons that are taught to riders in these classes include how to brake, shift gears, accelerate, make U-turns, and change lanes safely. The best thing about these classes is that they provide a hands-on experience, rather than a theoretical one. 

Moreover, if you feel like there are some skills that you have not successfully mastered – for instance, if you have trouble when it comes to taking turns correctly, you can ask the instructor for extra help. 

If you have not ridden in a while, and you want to get back on the road, you should also consider signing up for a course of this type.

A report from the Motorcycle Industry Council states that almost half of all the motorcyclists on the road today are either self-taught, or they learned from friends and family. Most (92%, to be more precise) of the riders involved in accidents, have never completed a formal motorcycle safety training course. 

Therefore, if you want to make sure that you are not one of the riders who will get into an accident, signing up for such a course is the way to go. For increased convenience, you can also find online motorcycle safety classes that allow you to receive the necessary training in the comfort of your home!


Riding safety habits you should learn

As a novice rider, you have to prioritize safety. This is essential as these vehicles are dangerous and, in case of accidents, you might be seriously injured. One of the must-have steps that you should not ignore is wearing protective eyewear and a helmet. 

The belief that wearing a helmet makes it more difficult for you to see the road is simply not true. In fact, a study carried out by the National Highway Safety Administration has indicated that helmets only limit as much as 3% of the rider’s peripheral vision. 

According to studies, helmets can reduce the risks of you suffering from 33% of face injuries, and 65% of fatal injuries. You should also invest in and wear protective clothing such as boots, jackets, and gloves, as they can also protect you from getting scratches and other more severe injuries. To make yourself visible to other traffic participants, it is recommended that you attach some reflective tape to your ride and your clothing. 

According to statistics, around two-thirds of the accidents that take place on public roads are the result of one of the vehicles violating the right-of-way of the motorcyclist. This often happens because drivers don’t see the oncoming riders. 

To make sure that you are easy to spot by drivers, it is recommended that you use headlamps during the day and that you ensure that the front of your ride is visible.  


Follow the rules

Even though riding at high speeds is fun and exciting, you should avoid breaking the speed limit. Just remember that the faster you ride, the longer it will take you to stop. On top of that, you should also have a good understanding of the local traffic rules in your area.

When you are on the road, you should never simply assume that all the other drivers can see you, as this might not be the case. Therefore, to avoid accidents, seasoned riders recommend that you ride defensively.

Furthermore, you should never ride when you are not sober. Some statistics show that around 27% of the motorcyclists killed in accidents were legally intoxicated. Similarly, if you are on the road for hours on end, remember to take constant breaks. 


Prepare for the ride

Before you go for a ride, you must make sure that your motorcycle is prepared. By this, we mean that, before you get on the ride, you have to check for cracks and signs of wear and low pressure on your threads. Additionally, you have to look for signs of gas or oil leaks, and the content for the hydraulic and the coolant fluid. Moreover, you should test the headlight and the taillight as well as the other signals. 

Once you get on the ride, take a few seconds to also check the clutch and the throttle work as intended. Plus, check the mirrors, the brakes, and test the horn.