When will I know I am ready for the highway?

Shari Ives Instruction Leave a Comment


The answer to this question depends on the rider and their proficiency in basic control skills required to ride safely. This will vary from person-to-person. If you have not practiced basic operations extensively (stating, stopping, cornering, swerving, lane changes, etc.), so that they are intuitive and automatic; it would not be recommended that you move to highway riding just yet.

The best approach is to progress gradually. A plan to build skills to reach highway riding comfortably might look something like this:

  • Start with skill development in a closed environment (e.g., a parking lot), then progress to local neighborhood
  • After comfort in handling real riding situations in these environments develops, you can then

Progress by moving to county roads (which usually involve higher levels of speed and other factors that affect the riding experience:

  • Focus on smooth application of your controls and the motorcycle in all these learning
  • After confidence develops in riding on county roads, you might then entertain moving to highway riding in this manner:
  1. Taking short rides on days when there is less traffic (e.g., Sunday, or before / after rush hour).
  2. Vary the types of traffic and road conditionsyou might encounter. This will help develop the ability to safely manage the motorcycle under challenging conditions, surface changes, etc.
  3. Ride daytime only on highways until comfort develops in managing the motorcycle and the external riding factors involved with speed and traffic.

Once confidence and skills develop ride local (neighborhood and county) roads at dusk. This time of day can be the most difficult for riders because of the change in lighting and the perception of objects and traffic. Both affect the rider’s response in managing the motorcycle effectively. When you are comfortable with dusk riding locally, you can then try riding at dusk on a highway under these conditions. Be sure to always wear full riding gear on every ride, whatever time, whatever the weather, and whatever the road condition. All the gear, all the time (ATGATT).

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