The Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Safety

There really is nothing quite like the feel of riding – just two wheels, the road, and you. It’s not surprising that riding motorcycles is a pastime that is increasing in popularity.  In fact, ridership has grown almost 100% in the past couple of decades. It’s more important than ever for both riders and motorists to follow safety rules to make sure that we all stay safe on the road under a variety of conditions. Check out the resources and materials in this guide to explore every aspect of good motorcycle safety procedures. Taking the time to research and implement the best motorcycle safety practices could truly be the difference between life and death.

Rider Safety Organizations

The sites in this section are run by groups dedicated to promoting motorcycle safety. They educate the public by hosting events and rides, and through various awareness campaigns. They all offer lots of free materials for you to use in educating yourself and your peers about staying safe on the road. Many also provide training courses and opportunities to get involved.

SMSA — This is the site for the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators. On it, there are all kinds of helpful tools to get you on the road and keep you riding safely. Find an insurance provider, a local riding course, and riding clubs near you.

American Motorcyclist Association — The AMA is an over 200,000-strong organization of motorcyclists who work to promote safety and awareness among riders and those they share the road with. On their site you’ll find news and views about every aspect of motorcycle safety.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation — The MSA website gives you lots of free downloads on specific safety procedures and guidelines, like riding with a passenger or riding in bad weather.

Iron Butt Association — The IBA, sponsors of world-famous long-distance rallies and rides, offer lots of excellent safety materials for long distance riders. Find videos, articles, and the renowned “Archive of Wisdom” — a document containing knowledge and tips gathered from experienced long-distance riders.

Great Riding Safety Pages

These are some of the best motorcycle safety pages you’ll find. All offer a significant amount of accurate and useful information about protecting yourself from being injured. Some have free downloads, some have recent statistics, and all of them are highly recommended by riders. Visit for everything from safety checklists to printable media that you can use to promote safe practices in your community.

NHTSA Motorcycle Safety Page — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has put together an excellent resource page for researching motorcycle safety. Click around to find statistics and studies, articles and guides, how-to videos, printable pamphlets, and lots more.

Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycling — If you’re considering getting a motorcycle (or have one but are not an experienced rider), please read through this comprehensive guide created by Total Motorcycle. There are so many things to consider and understand, and making sure you’re aware of them is the first step toward being a safe rider.

How to Drive Around Motorcycles — This article helps motorists understand how to be more courteous to motorcyclists out on the road. Knowing these safety tips could save a life.

Motorcycles and Weather Conditions — This helpful article discusses the hazards of riding in different types of weather. Learn what you need to look out for and how you should ride in inclement weather conditions like rain or extreme heat. You can also click around the site for more riding-related articles.

Safety Gear and Laws

To protect yourself from harm, you should wear the right gear every single time you ride. This means — minimally — a helmet, protective clothing, and eye protection. Use these pages to learn about different types of gear and how to avoid buying faulty safety equipment. You’ll also find some information about riding laws in each state.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets — This Wisegeek article discusses the different types of motorcycle helmets on the market, so that you can make an informed buying decision and choose a helmet that not only fits your size and style — but one that will provide you adequate protection out on the road.

How to Recognize a Novelty Helmet — This page, from the Michigan State Police website, shows you how to tell a DOT-approved helmet from a novelty helmet that will do nothing to protect you in a crash. Helpful pictures included.

10 Critical Pieces of Motorcycle Body Armor — Consult this “How Stuff Works” article to learn more about protective gear. Click through the gallery to learn how to protect your body with riding safety gear.

State Motorcycle Laws — This simple table outlines motorcycle policy in the different states of the US. Learn which states require helmets, what passenger age restrictions are, whether you can ride two abreast, and more.

Specialized Bike Safety

The organizations in this section exist to promote awareness of specific motorcycle safety concerns, like drunk drivers or accident response. Visit their sites to find out how you can help and for access to safety articles and videos, awareness-raising materials, and much more. You’ll also find some other safety resources designed to educate about particular safety hazards — and there’s an article to help first-time passengers ride more safely.

Bikers Against Drunk Drivers — Bikers Against Drunk Drivers – or BADD – works tirelessly to reduce drunk driving tragedies by spreading awareness and supporting victims and their families. They host events, hold contests, and offer lots of free drunk driving prevention resources.

Road Guardians — This group educates people about how to respond in the event of an accident involving a motorcycle. They offer training and certification programs to help people take responsive actions that increase the victim’s chances for survival and reduce the instance of further injury.

Group Riding Safety — It’s fun to ride in a pack, but there are some steps you should take in order to ensure a good experience for all involved. Follow the 8 safety rules on this page for a safe group ride.

Tips for Passengers — Going for a ride with someone? Make sure you read through this rundown of extremely important tips for the first-time passenger.