Get ready to hit the open road!

As the warm weather approaches, many riders are dusting off their bikes and getting ready to take a leisurely cruise down the open road. But as this happens, drivers and riders alike must be cautious and try to make our roads as safe as possible. With these motorcycle safety tips, we can keep each other safe—this goes for both drivers and motorcyclists.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders

1. Wear a helmet!

This one, we feel, is pretty self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised how many riders don't do this. Helmets are essential in keeping riders safe—the studies have proven it. In Colorado, riders 18 and over are not required to wear helmets, but it is definitely encouraged. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), "65% of fatally injured motorcycle riders were not wearing a helmet," based on a 2006 study. Wear a helmet, please!

2. Check your bike before you ride—every time.

Anytime you get ready to ride, check that it's in working order before you hit the road. Check your tires (pressure and depth), turn signals, hand and foot brakes, and fluid levels. Here's a handy pre-ride checklist.

3. Obey the rules of the road.

Just because you're on a bike doesn't mean the rules of the road aren't applicable. Follow all lane markings, posted signs, and be aware of speed limits. CDOT has a full list of the traffic laws motorcyclists must follow while out on the road. It's not just for your safety, but for those around you.

4. Keep your eyes on the weather.

In Colorado, the weather can change on a dime, so as part of that aforementioned pre-ride checklist, check the forecast for your area—both current and intended destination. While this could mean your trip gets postponed, it's better than heading out in unpredictable weather and slippery roads. Have a backup plan ready, just in case you do get caught in the worsening weather.

5. Don't drink and drive!

Honestly, this should be pretty self-explanatory, but we're gonna include it anyway. Don't drive under the influence.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers

1. Know your blind spots.

In comparison to your car, motorcycles are much smaller—this means they're that much harder to see when turning or switching lanes. So double-check before switching over or making a turn.

2. Use your signals.

You should use your turn signals always, regardless if motorcycles are on the road or not. Use your signals!

3. Don't tailgate!

Motorcycles are fast and agile, more so than most vehicles. This means that they can take turns and make other maneuvers quickly, but that leaves you in a vulnerable position. Be sure to give you and the motorcyclist enough space to react should a quick decision be made. When I was learning to drive, my dad would tell me to leave the length of two cars in between my vehicle and the motorcyclist.

4. Dim your headlights.

This is especially true at night time. Your headlights may help you see, but be sure to dim them when passing motorcyclists (and other vehicles), as it can be fairly blinding.

5. Don't drink and drive!

Again, very self-explanatory. Should you have had a little too much to drink, don't get behind the wheel. There are plenty of ride-share options out there for you to utilize and get home safe.

*Bonus: Have good insurance.

This goes for both drivers and motorcyclists; have good insurance. As tempting as it may be to want cheap, minimum liability coverage, it won't do you any favors in the long run—especially in the case of an accident. 

Any other safety tips we missed on our list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.