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Motorcycle Riding Tips for Low Traffic Riding

Don't fixate on the on-coming traffic. Scan the road for possible hazards such as potholes, manhole covers, pedestrians, etc.


Starting Out
Think like a rider.
Choose a motorcycle.
Learn basics of Clutch, Throttle and Brakes.

Practice riding
Throttle & Clutch
Parking Lot practice
motorcycle exercises

>Low Traffic riding
Shifting gears
Riding conditions
Traffic situations

Progressive riding
Counter steering
Highway riding
Wind Turbulence

Carry a Passenger

Click here to get into the Ride Mind!

Practice motorcycle riding skills in a parking lot for at least 10 to 15 hours before taking it to the street.

Don't rush the learning process. Trust your instincts, only you will know when ready to advance. Confidence in your abilities is necessary for riding a motorcycle on the road.

With a better grasp on slow speed maneuvers you should be ready for low traffic riding. Having driving experience will definitely help you here. Be aware of the surroundings. Shoulder check often and scan the road ahead for hazards.

Still not ready for the street? Boost your confidence on a deserted section of road.

A business park (after hours) has similar obstacles you'd face in real traffic such as corners, stop signs and simple two way intersections.



Live in British Columbia?

Visit Local riding section to read about my experience as a new motorcyclist in British Columbia.

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small pylonStay Safe, Be Alert

Learn to spot potentially hazardous situations in the riding environment. Other traffic is an obvious threat but there's more...

Road conditions;
tar strips, gravel, debris, potholes  and other uneven surfaces.

Weather conditions;
rain, snow, fog and temperature changes.

Always scan the road. Check the mirrors, signal and shoulder check before turning or changing lanes.

Remember to ride according to the road conditions and your abilities.

Click for more on Riding Conditions.

Have a quick tip?
Got a question?

Comments & Questions


small pylonShifting Gears
The following tips refer to a motorcycle that is already in first gear and in motion.


Pull in clutch while easing off throttle.
Click shifter lever up firmly (bypassing neutral).
Smoothly release clutch and roll on the gas.

Slow down by braking or easing off throttle.
Pull in clutch while easing off throttle.
Push shifter lever down firmly.
Smoothly release clutch and roll on the gas.

small pylon Practice in the real world

Obey traffic signs and maintain a safe distance from traffic to increase reaction time.Have an experienced motorcycle rider along with you and plan a short route from home. Choose simple intersections and roadways if possible. Ride during low traffic times and gradually increase the complexity of the intersections and volume of traffic as you gain confidence.

When comfortable riding a motorcycle in low traffic gradually increase to moderate traffic situations. Use a route you're accustomed to during higher traffic times.

Although intersections are familiar, traffic situations vary with each passing moment. Never let your guard down, always scan the road and shoulder check often. When turning or changing lanes don't rely on your mirrors, always shoulder check BEFORE moving over.

small pylonRiding Conditions

Reduced visibility can affect your riding whether blinding headlights, night riding or weather conditions. Potentially hazardous surfaces are bridges, overpasses and intersections with slippery road markings. Slow your riding speed accordingly.

Riding in the Rain

  • Wear bright reflective gear, keep faceshield clean.
  • Scan roadway more frequently, slow down and allow more following distance.
  • Choose a lane position that keeps you away from oncoming traffic and parked cars.
  • Use low beam headlight when visibility is limited due to fog or mist as high beam causes glare.

Riding at Night

Overriding your headlight can be a problem at night. This means you're not able to see the road beyond the headlight. This is especially dangerous on a curved road. Slow down and be certain you can stop within the light's range.

  • Wear bright reflective gear, keep faceshield clean (don't use tinted one).
  • To avoid oncoming headlight glare, glance to the right.
  • Keep scanning for hazards as you slow down and maintain a safe following distance.
  • Choose a lane position to allow better visibility to other traffic.

Reduced Traction

Sometimes road conditions cause loss of traction. Prevent this by scanning ahead and looking for an escape route.

If you can't avoid the problem, never panic. Just slow down, avoid sudden movements and straighten the motorcycle as much as possible before meeting the obstacle/slippery surface head on.

  • As you ride, keep head and eyes up.
  • Slow down gradually using the brakes and roll off the throttle.
  • Just before riding over rough surface, such as gravel, release brakes to prevent locking them up.
  • Keep bike as upright as possible with a firm grip on handlebars.
  • Avoid sudden moves and leave extra stopping room.

Ready for the next level?

Progressive riding
Highway riding
Wind Turbulence

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