There is nothing better than taking your motorcycle out for a nice afternoon ride on a warm spring afternoon. However, it is important to remember that with that freedom comes risk as well. Stay safe with some of these motorcycle safety tips:

Always wear a helmet with eye protection. Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against head injuries and having eye protection can help ensure that nothing flies into your eyes or face during your ride. A full-faced helmet is the best option as it protects your entire head.

Wear appropriate gear. Make sure that your gear and clothing will minimize the number of injuries in the event of an accident. Wearing things like leather clothing, nonskid boots, and gloves can protect your body. Adding reflective tape or fabric to your clothing can make it easier for others to spot you on the road.

Follow traffic rules. Obeying the speed limit and following all traffic rules will help ensure you remain safe on the road. Stay updated on all local traffic laws and keep an eye out for any road hazards or construction.

Ride defensively. Don’t assume the other drivers can see you. You should always ride with your headlights on, stay out of driver’s blind spots, signal well in advance of any changes in direction, and watch for vehicles that are turning or changing lanes.

Stay awake and sober. Don’t drink and ride as you could cause harm to yourself and/or others. Fatigue can cause drowsiness that can impair your ability to react, make sure you are well rested before hitting the road.

Be prepared. Making sure that your motorcycle is prepped for a ride is just as important as practicing safe driving on the ride. Double-check your tires, lights, and fluids before heading out. Once mounted, check the mirrors, brakes, and clutch, and throttle to ensure they are working properly. If something is wrong with your bike, it is better to find out before a ride rather than during.

Check the weather. Before a ride, it is always a good idea to check the weather. Slick and icy roads or high winds can make a ride dangerous. It is important to evaluate the weather and adjust your trip as needed. Know your limits and make sure not to ride if you are uncomfortable doing so in certain types of weather.

For more safety tips visit the National Safety Council.