4 things to do before riding your new motorcycle

Last updated: January 1

If you've just purchased a motorcycle, you may be itching to take it on the road. But before you take your first ride, it's a good idea to take some steps to help prepare yourself and your motorcycle. Consider these four tips before you put on your protective gear and hit the open road.

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1. Register your motorcycle

Typically, you'll need to register your motorcycle with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and get motorcycle license plates. Check with your state's DMV to find out what is required in your state. You may need to pay a fee for licensing and registration.

2. Perform a thorough inspection

Help ensure that your motorcycle is in good working condition by getting a checkup performed at an accredited motorcycle dealership or by a motorcycle repair professional. If you decide to do the inspection yourself, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers a checklist to help guide the way.

3. Take safety precautions

No matter how experienced a rider you are, it can take time to get used to a new bike. Riders should know how to handle uneven surfaces, high winds, and wet or sandy roads before driving in heavy traffic, the MSF says. Consider refreshing your motorcycle riding education. The MSF offers many types of rider courses, even some designed specifically for an experienced rider. In addition to riding education, research what types of personal safety gear you might need to help keep you safe and comfortable during your rides.

4. Buy motorcycle insurance

When buying motorcycle insurance, it's important to review all of your options so you can choose the coverages and limits that fit your needs. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most states require riders to have a minimum amount of liability coverage. You may also want to consider adding other types of protectionto your policy, such as collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.

Whether you're a new or experienced rider, motorcycle ownership comes with responsibility. By taking some precautions to help ensure you and your bike are ready for the road, you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're better prepared for the adventures ahead.