New riders, beware!
It would be great if you were to avoid country roads if you’re only on your first year of riding a motorcycle. It’s better to practice and amass as much experience on safe roads in the beginning and only then try your luck on rougher ones.
If you do have to ride through the country, though, and there’s nothing you can do about it, our advice to you is to stay alert and read the road well-ahead to make sure that you know what’s going to happen.
Furthermore, you have to travel at a speed that actually matches your ability, and give yourself some time to adapt to the new road conditions so as to minimize any vulnerable point. Usually, new motorcyclists ride less powerful bikes, and to a certain extent, these are safer.
If you’ve ever heard the rumor that many rural motorcycle accidents occur on corners, we’re sorry to tell you that it is actually true. If you have poor control of your bike and use excessive speed, you’re in for a nasty surprise because you can’t steer the vehicle properly.
Depending on where you’re going to do your riding, you might have to slow down to assess the quality of the road ahead. In Australia, for example, there are plenty of country roads with poor surfaces, and they’ll have a variety of potholes, as well as gravel, so you need to adjust your behavior (and that of your bike, too) depending on these conditions.
Adjusting your road position and speed has to be done in accordance with these things, so try to scan somewhere between the road surface and the vanishing point to discover them.
In 2008, there were 17 fatalities in Texas, 15 in Wisconsin, 11 in Iowa, 11 in Michigan, 10 in Ohio, and 9 in North Carolina and Pennsylvania that involved bike animal crashes. Animals can be well camouflaged and unpredictable, and they know absolutely nothing about the rules of the road. You can’t prevent your interaction with them, but the fact of the matter remains that a deer impact can even be fatal.
And deer are not the only animals that you will encounter on country roads. That’s why riding your motorcycle during the nighttime can be so dangerous, because you can come across elk, moose, and caribou, but also cats and squirrels and other small animals. In some areas, you can even hit an alligator.
In many parts of the country, sheep and cattle range freely and can always get on the road. Besides, herders are known to use public roads so as to move stock. There isn’t a biker in the world who hasn’t heard of another biker that has crashed into an animal or come close to it.
But let’s not forget about carnivores, and we’re not only referring to loose dogs. In some areas, you can encounter panthers and mountain lions, but also a host of other predators. The biggest problem is that many motorcyclists don’t slow down as they ride through the forest, and that’s a mistake.
Even if you are the most experienced rider in the world and you know that you have great reflexes, there are situations that even you can’t anticipate.
Wooden bridges and cattle guards
Now that we know that animals are a danger that you’ll have to manage as best as possible, there’s another thing that could make your trip to the country hazardous.
Wooden bridges can be very treacherous because you can’t know just how wide the gaps between their parts are, and as a general rule, it is a good idea to ride your motorbike in the vehicle track rather than the middle. Some wooden bridges can be very slippery when wet, so do your braking ahead of time and ride with a steady throttle as you get to the other side.
Cattle guards are largely used in many parts of the United States, but also New Zealand and Australia. These can be very treacherous, too, and that’s because many of them are made of iron or some sort of metal that turns slippery when it rains. Use the same riding technique we’ve recommended for going across wooden bridges.
If you have a group of friends that are motorcyclists just like you, but the difference between them and you is that you’re a complete newbie, it might be very tempting for you to want to keep up at all times. The truth is that you have to assess your capabilities as best as possible and stay within the limits of your comfort zone.
It’s not a good idea to not want to be left behind – and those guys, as cool as they seem, should consider your abilities and adjust their speed to that of your bike if they want to ride alongside you.
If you’ve taken a motorcycle safety course and it hasn’t involved tips on riding country roads safely, there are still some things that you can do to get more informed.
One of them is to ask one of your motorcycling friends if they’ve ever been in a dangerous situation and how they’ve managed it. Another tip that we can give you is to join a motorcycle club and use a motorcycle-related online forum. You have no idea just how many useful pieces of advice you can get from other riders.