Riding Tips


Riding Over Potholes, Small Obstacles, Small Curbs, Cracks

Try to use 2/4/12, SEE and your "Quarterback Eye"s to avoid them. If you have to ride over them, use the technique we teach in the BRC1 & BRC2; approach them as close to a 90 degree angle as possible (and no less than 45 degrees). If you can, rise off the seat slightly so you can use your legs as shock absorbers. Lean slightly backward and roll on the throttle to lighten the front wheel to make it easier for the front wheel to go over the obstacle. The technique is the same you use to ride over an obstacle on a bicycle. You can practice this technique by taking the BRC1 and/or the BRC2 with us.

Be careful entering gas stations or other entrances that have a small curb. You will have to angle your motorcycle before riding over the small curb. Same with lanes of a highway that have been newly paved. One lane may be higher than the others. Angle your motorcycle before riding into that lane. 

Avoid riding over cracks and creases in the road and certain sewer gratings. Your front tire may get stuck in them.

SLLR Your Turns

When going through turns and curves, use the SLLR technique we teach in the BRC1 & BRC2; SLOW down well before the entrance to the turn/curve by using the brakes, engine braking or rolling off the throttle. (Your slowing down should be completed by the time you reach the entrance of the turn/curve - don't use just the clutch to slow down unless you're engine braking). LOOK where you want to end up but keep scanning the road back and forth, up and down for any hazards. LEAN and press in the direction you want to go, just like making a turn on a bicycle. ROLL on the throttle slightly before leaning to equalize the suspension. Once you see the exit of the turn, you can speed up. You can practice this technqiue by taking the BRC1, the BRC2, and/or the APBRC with us.

Wheels Rolling, They're Probably Going

The number one place where multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur is at intersections - a vehicle pulling out in front of you because they didn't see you or misjudged your approach speed. When you approach a "hot" intersection (one where there is a vehicle present that can pull out in front of you), look at the vehicles front tires and "cover up". If they are moving or start to move, be prepared to stop. "Cover up" means cover the brakes and clutch. This will shorten your reaction time which will help to shorten your stopping distance. We cover more tips to avoid an intersection crash in the BRC1 and the BRC2.

Group Riding

Watch this video produced by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for some great tips about Group Riding.

Watch Out for New Tires

Whether you bought a new motorcycle or just put new tires on your motorcycle, be aware that new tires can be slippery. Sometimes a silicone substance is used to help with tire mounting and this slippery substance can cause you to slide and crash. It takes about 50-100 miles of use for the slippery substance to wear off. So ride nice and easy for the first 50-100 miles with new tires.

If you get a flat tire, you can plug a tubeless tire. But get a new one as soon as possible. Tires with spokes have tubes. You can't plug those.

DRY ROTTED tires - if you're buying a used motorcycle that has been sitting for awhile, the tires may be cracked or have dry rot. It's a good idea to get new tires when buying a used motorcycle.

Develop "Quarterback Eyes" to Stay Alive

Back in the 1940's, a process called SIPDE was developed by a driving instructor to help drivers recognize hazards in advance so they could do something to avoid a crash. Years later, the trucking industry developed a similar system called the Smith System. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recently developed another similar system called SEE. The military uses a term called "Situational Awareness"  - to be aware of everything going on around you. If you're good at spotting things in advance, you have time to do something about it. You have time to respond instead of react. We developed the term "Quarterback Eyes" and use it in our BRC1 and BRC2 courses. What does a good quarterback do when he drops back to pass? He's looking for hazards (defensive players that can tackle him, defensive players that can intercept his pass) and offensive receivers that can catch his pass. If you develop good "Quarterback Eyes" when you ride (and drive), you'll spot hazards in advance and have time to avoid them. Car driving research indicates that drivers who move their eyes often to scan the road ahead, the road behind and to the sides are involved in fewer crashes.


Starting Off On An Incline

This can be a white-knuckler for many. Instead of avoiding hills, watch this video and see how easy it is. Whichever method you use, the key is to find the friction zone, then SLOWLY ease out the clutch while you SIMULTANEOUSLY roll on the throttle. Stay in the friction zone longer than usual when taking off on an incline.

Making a Tight Turn From a Stop

Ever have to make a tight right turn coming out of a driveway into one of two lanes of traffic without going wide into the far lane? Watch this video to see how to make perfect tight turns from a stop. Practice both methods on an incline with no traffic around. Use the one that works best for you.

How to Pick Up a Motorcycle

Click here to see the proper way.

Loud Pipes

There will always be a debate whether loud pipes save lives. There isn't any research that proves it. Keep in mind that the majority of multi-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles occur at intersections - a vehicle pulling out in front of you. The noise from the pipes goes to the rear. Those vehicle drivers in front of you won't hear you coming. They replied that they didn't SEE the motorcycle or saw it but MISJUDGED it's approach speed. We've also been to many accidents scenes that involved motorcycles with loud pipes.

Loud pipes are illegal under EPA law. Here's the law;  A noise limit of 88 decibels applies to motorcycles manufactured after 1969 and before 1973; 86 decibels applies to motorcycles manufactured after 1972 and before 1975; 83 decibels applies to motorcycles manufactured after 1974 and before 1986; 80 decibels applies to motorcycles manufactured after 1985. The fine can be as much as $250. Police officers will give you a ticket without testing the decibels and tell you to "tell it to the judge".

Motorcycle Tool Kit

What tools should you carry when you ride if you should break-down? Besides a good pair of vice grips, click here to find out what else to carry.

Follow Us On Facebook & Instagram for More Riding Tips

"Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram by clicking the Instagram icon at the bottom of this page so you will receive more riding tips as we post them. We are your Motorcycle Safety Adviser.



The price for motorcycle insurance depends on many factors; your age, marital status, residence, type of motorcycle you buy, driving record, credit rating, etc. Insurance experts highly recommend that you purchase at least $250,000 bodily injury coverage for one person. Some insurance companies will give you a discount for taking a motorcycle safety course. One of our instructors, Don Daves, is an insurance broker. Give him a call for the best advice on motorcycle insurance and any other kind of insurance - (201) 254-1856.

If you're going to ride a motorcycle, make sure you have a good health insurance policy that will pay for your medical bills if you get injured and a good disability insurance policy that will pay you if you're out of work for a period of time.

What Motorcycle Should I Buy?

We get this question constantly. The answer is "It depends". How much riding experience do you have? What kind of riding do you want to do? When you sit on the motorcycle, can your feet touch the ground? How heavy is the motorcycle? How comfortable is the motorcycle? Some of our students buy a big motorcycle before taking the BRC1, have no riding experience whatsoever and expect us to teach them how to ride it. We teach people how to ride on small training motorcycles. Motorcycles most can easily handle. Sometimes these people discover they bought a motorcycle that is too big for them.

Go to several motorcycle dealerships and sit on some motorcycles keeping in mind the questions listed above. Almost all the major motorcycle manufacturers have their motorcycles on display at the NY Motorcycle Show held annually in the winter time at the Jacob Javitts Center.

Most of the time, go with your gut. Your intuition is a good guide. If you feel a motorcycle is too big or heavy for you and the salesperson tries to convince you to buy it saying you'll outgrow a smaller one in six months, leave. You may crash and drop the bigger one for the first six months. What fun is that? (But it's a bigger commission for the salesperson).

You may want to buy a decent used motorcycle for six months to a year, then sell it and upgrade to a new and bigger one.

Answers to Motorcycle Controls BRC1 Handbook Quiz

1-speedometer, 2-tachometer, 3-engine cut-off switch, 4-engine start button, 5-side-view mirrors, 6-front brake lever, 7-throttle, 8-rear brake pedal, 9-foot pegs, 10-gear shift lever, 11-horn button, 12-turn signal switch, 13-clutch lever, 14-high/low beam switch

Discounted Riding Gear

Good deals on riding gear can be purchased online at Motorsports Superstore, Bike Bandit.com or by going to the Cycle Gear store located on Rt. 17 South in Hasbrouck Heights. There's also a Cycle Gear store located in Edison.

Dead Battery

You can jump a motorcycle battery with a car battery. Just make sure the car is off. If you have a motorcycle with a carburetor, you can bump jump it. Roll down an incline with the motorcycle in 2nd gear - keep the clutch in. Make sure the key and Engine Cut-Off switch are on. Once you have enough momentum, let go of the clutch.

A Suggested Practice Routine for BRC1 Graduates

Some graduates feel they are ready for the road as soon as they passed the course. Others feel they need more practice with us. And others feel they need more practice on their own on their own motorcycle. If you had trouble riding our small training motorcycles, you should consider more practice before you venture out in the open road. As you know, it's a jungle out there and you must be prepared. If you feel you need some practice on your own, here's a guide;

1) Go in a parking lot with no one around and practice the Friction Zone rock - the first part of the second exercise of the BRC1. Get to know your friction zone and get to know it well before you take to the street.

2) Practice taking off on an incline. See if you prefer the front brake method or the rear brake method. Videos of both methods are posted on this page. 

3) Practice taking off smoothly. If you keep stalling, you're letting the clutch out too fast. Both hands must work simultaneously.

4) Practice shifting. Roll off the throttle first then squeeze in the clutch.

5) Practice smooth engine braking. After the downshift, coordinate the clutch and the throttle so the motorcycle doesn't jerk.

6) Practice stopping and downshifting to 1st gear when you come to a stop.

7) Practice turning using SLLR.

8) Make sure you come to a stop with the handlebars straight. Otherwise, you'll be watching the video on this page on how to pick up your motorcycle.

Get the basic riding skills down pat before you take to the street.


Tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)

A variety of tips and information can be found on the MSF website under the Library section. Information about helmets, riding gear, ABS brakes, motorcycle equipment requirements for each State, scooter handbook, practice tips, etc. Click here to go to the Library section of the MSF website.

Hurt Study/Report

Click here to read the highlights from the most comprehensive motorcycle study ever done to date. Even though it was conducted in the 1980's, many of the findings still hold true today.

NJ Riding Gear Requirements

Title 39 of the NJ State Statutes explains the motor vehicle laws in NJ. NJ requires all motorcycle riders and passengers wear a DOT (Department of Transportation) helmet with 2 square inches of either red, amber or white reflective tape on each side of the helmet, and the rider must have some form of shatter-proof eye protection (face shield, goggles, glasses) OR a shatter-proof windshield to protect the rider's eyes. 

Since NJ now has self-inspection instead of going to an inspection station or certified repair shop to get your motorcycle inspected, you can get away without the tape requirement. Most police officers will not ticket you for not having the tape. They will ticket you for not having a DOT sticker on your helmet.

As far as motorcycle requirements, the handlebar height must not exceed the rider's shoulder height, there must be at least one rear view mirror. Check Title 39 for other requirements. Keep in mind, a motorcycle is considered a motor vehicle and all the motor vehicle laws apply to motorcycles. Also see "State Motorcycle Requirements" below.

Winter Riding Tips

  • Wear a full face helmet
  • Wear a balaclava 
  • Wear heated gear (jacket liner or vest, gloves)
  • Wear insulated pants
  • Wear wool socks
  • Wear thick leather boots
  • Put your pant's cuffs inside your boot to prevent the wind from going up your leg or wear BVD's and tie the cuffs
  • Don't put too much traction on cold tires. Ride easy for the first 5-10 minutes of your ride until the tires warm up.

Rain Riding Tips

  • Wear a face shield
  • Use a windshield
  • Wear motorcycle-specific rain gear (waterproof jacket, pants, gloves, boots)
  • Ride in the tire tracks for the first 20 minutes
  • Have good tires (proper thread & air pressure)
  • Smooth & easy when taking-off, stopping, turning, shifting
  • Minimize lean angle when turning
  • Metal is slippery when wet (manhole covers for example). Go nice and steady if you have to ride over metal
  • Get off the road during lightning (you are not grounded on a motorcycle) and when you can't see 4 seconds ahead (that means the vehicle behind you can't see more than 4 seconds ahead either)

Sun Glare Tips

  • Wear a good pair of sunglasses
  • Use your left hand to block the sun
  • Move around in your lane so motorists behind you can see you
  • Flash your brake light periodically or put on your 4-way flashers to help motorists behind you see you


Join the AMA to Keep Your Right to Ride

The Federal, State & the local governments have banned or tried to ban motorcycles in one way or another. Stand with other motorcyclists who have joined the AMA to protect their right to ride. Let the AMA's lobbyists, delegates and other members take on the government to fight legislation that is not favorable to motorcyclists. Not only does your membership fund the fight, the AMA offers their members some great benefits and discounts. Click here and check them out. Then join the fight for your right by becoming a member. Enter code RIACNJ for an additional discount.

Group Rides

Looking for someone to ride with? Looking to ride with a group of good riders who can help you further develop your riding skills? Looking to go for a ride with some new friends to a place to eat on weekends and weeknights? Give Shell Huber, one of our graduates, a call. He organizes some fun rides during the week and on weekends. Call Shell at (201) 887-8700.

The Motorcycle Attorney

If you ever need a lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accidents, contact Jerry Friedman. Click here  for his website.

Motorcycle Permit Holders

You need a valid motorcycle permit from the NJ MVC in order to ride a motorcycle legally on the street. That means you must have passed the NJ MVC written motorcycle permit test and passed the NJ MVC eye test.

You are only allowed to ride in the State of NJ on a valid motorcycle permit. You are not allowed to ride in the dark (after dusk), ride on a toll road, ride on a limited access highway (a public road with speed limits in excess of 35 MPH) and you are not allowed to ride with a passenger.

NJ Motorcycle Inspection is now Self-Inspection

Effective August 1, 2010, motorcycles are no longer required to submit for an inspection in New Jersey. Riders should keep in mind that it is their responsibility to make sure their motorcycles are free from mechanical defects and are operating properly. Law enforcement may still cite a motorcyclist for not wearing a DOT helmet, equipment out of compliance or failure to make repairs.

Traffic Actuated Signal Lights

These are traffic lights usually located at left-turn only lanes or low traffic intersections. These lights stay red until an oncoming vehicle triggers the sensor to activate the green light. The sensors are usually in the ground under the pavement or attached to the signal light. The sensors under the ground are triggered by weight or metal. The sensors attached to the signal light are triggered by motion.

These sensors usually don't detect motorcycles because they aren't that heavy, don't have enough metal or are not wide enough. So you can be sitting at the light for quite some time until another vehicle pulls up behind you and triggers the sensor.

Making a left turn on red is illegal in many States. Some States have passed legislation allowing you to make a left turn on red at a traffic-actuated signal light after waiting a certain amount of time. NJ hasn't passed that law yet. However, if a traffic-actuated signal light doesn't detect your motorcycle, it is technically considered a malfunctioning traffic light. As the law states (N.J.S.A. 39:4-81) , treat a malfunctioning traffic light like a stop sign.


Roadside Service/Towing

 We highly recommend the AAA Premier Membership Plan for motorcyclists. AAA can tow motorcycles and other vehicles on restricted roadways like the GSP and NJ Turnpike. The AMA's MoTow and the towing benefit of insurance companies are not allowed on restricted roadways. Go to AAA.com and sign-up or upgrade to the Premier Plan. You don't want to be sitting on the shoulder of a highway waiting too long for help. 

State Motorcycle Requirements

Each State has their own requirements for what motorcycles must have to be street legal. Click here for each State's requirements.

The Best Way To Check Your Motorcycle

Here's how with T-CLOCS

Road Signs

Road signs are a motorcyclist's best friend. They let you know what's up ahead so you can prepare in advance. Here's a list of road signs and their meaning. Road signs


A helmet should fit snugly. Not too tight and not too loose. If it moves when you shake your head with it on and securely fastened, it's too loose. 

Any helmet that has a legitimate DOT sticker on it is a good helmet. Additional stickers like Snell and ECE just mean the helmet has met their standards also. It doesn't mean it is a better helmet.

For years, helmets were built to cope with linear forces generated by a direct impact. Linear forces will crack your skull or break your jaw. Get a helmet that is designed for rotational forces also. Rotational forces cause brain injuries. Some helmets that have been recently designed for rotational forces are the Arai Corsair-X, Hayden Laguna, Classic V Modern, Depart, the AGV K6, the Bell Qualifer DLX MIPS, the Quin MQ Nero, the Sena Momentum EVO, the Shoei GT Air II. The Shoei GT Air II and the Quin full face helmets have an Emergency Release System that allows emergency personnel to easily remove the cheek pads and helmet from an injured rider with minimal stress on the rider's neck. The Quin helmets (our top pick) have Bluetooth features AND a SMART feature can detect a crash and send a message to 911 and up to three emergency contacts you program into it.

If you're going to spend a lot of money on a helmet, make it one of these. They will protect your brain. And the Quin will send out an SOS.