DEKRA experts give tips for the start of the motorcycle season
Harley-Davidson Insurance 2024

DEKRA experts give tips for the start of the motorcycle season

Prepare well – technically and mentally

  • Warm up in familiar surroundings  
  • Drivers often don't expect motorcyclists 
  • Mentally train behavior in dangerous situations 

When the first sunny days arrive in spring, people like to take the motorcycles out of the garage. If you want to be safe on the road, there are a few things you should keep in mind, especially at the start of the season. Here are the most important tips from the experts at DEKRA Accident Research.

There are a few things to check before your first trip:

  • Tires: The law only requires a tread depth of at least 1.6 millimeters, but much more is recommended. Of course, the correct tire pressure is also important. “Especially in curves, too little inflation pressure noticeably changes the driving behavior,” says DEKRA accident researcher Luigi Ancona. If the tires show any abnormalities - such as damage or cracks, punctures or dents - or if the tire is over six years old, you should contact a specialist.
  • Brakes: Keeping your brakes in top condition is essential for safe driving. In addition to checking the brake system, checking the brake fluid is on the agenda. It makes sense to replace the brake fluid every two years at the latest, unless the manufacturer requires an annual change. On a test drive in a safe environment with sharp but always controlled braking maneuvers, the system shows whether it is working reliably. The following applies not only to the brake test, but also to every exit: Before braking, you should take a quick look in the rearview mirror.
  • Lighting: Before you get started, you should definitely check the headlights, taillights, indicators and license plate lights.
  • Fluid levels: It is important to check the engine oil and coolant levels before your first trip.
  • Electronics: battery is reinstalled after the winter , it is important to check the function of important safety systems such as slip control and ABS when starting the on-board diagnosis and to contact a specialist workshop if there are error messages from the vehicle electronics.

The risk of accidents on a motorcycle is significantly greater than in a car: based on the number of registered vehicles, around four times as many motorcyclists die in Germany as car passengers. This makes it all the more important to be particularly safety-conscious when riding your motorcycle - not only, but also at the start of the season.

From the DEKRA expert's point of view, the optimal preparation for the new season is safety training . The driver gets a feel for his two-wheeler and becomes familiar with the physical peculiarities again. Among other things, he learns to estimate the speed at which he can approach a curve in order not to get off track when braking.

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Even without safety training, DEKRA accident researcher Ancona recommends that bikers take it slow and first get used to familiar surroundings until the feeling for the weight and handling of the motorcycle is back. “Of course, you don’t really forget how to ride a motorcycle over the winter, but even as an experienced rider, I need a warm-up phase after the break.”

If you get back on your motorcycle for the first time in a long time in the spring, you will also have to adjust your speed assessment . “It makes a difference whether I accelerate from zero to one hundred in ten seconds with a car or in three with a motorcycle,” says Ancona. “Sometimes you’re shocked at how fast you’re going.” That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself mentally.

drivers also have to adapt : ​​they often don't expect motorcyclists at the start of the season. That's why the risk of overlooking a motorcyclist or misjudging distance, speed and acceleration is even greater now than usual. The appeal therefore goes out to all road users to show consideration for one another and to be attentive. “Motorcyclists should always expect others to make mistakes, especially when overtaking and changing lanes or when turning in and out.”

The DEKRA Road Safety Report 2020 “Mobility on Two Wheels” provides more information on the safety of motorcycles and is available online at .

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