Thousands of Americans use motorcycles for recreation, competition or everyday travel. In fact, there were over 8 million registered in the states in 2011. They remain an important part of our cultural experience, given the American propensity to love the open road.
Many people buy their first motorcycles as young adults. It’s the first step in a lifetime of enjoyment, you might assume. Still, you can only make the most of your motorcycle if you protect it and use it appropriately. Motorcycles, like standard cars, are not toys. However, their multitude of recreational uses lead a lot of people to forget that factor. Motorcycle ownership includes considerable responsibilities. Do all that you can to protect yourself when you hit the pavement.
1. Buying the Bike
Like with buying a car, you will want to do your research on getting a motorcycle. However, you’ll need to think about a variety of specialized factors to make sure you buy the best option for you.
- Not all motorcycles have the same capabilities. Some perform better on standard highways, while others work well off-road. Only buy a bike that suits the way you plan to use it. Trade publications and individual salesmen can help you determine the appropriate models.
- Think about your budget. Bikes for new riders usually cost several thousand dollars. Enhanced models will likely be much more expensive. Also consider if you want a new bike or used bike? In each circumstance, the bike’s reliability and cost of maintenance may vary.
- One thing many new bikers don’t realize is that they must fit the bike. Unlike cars, motorcycles don’t have a lot of flexible items like movable seats. So, riders must consider the overall size and adjustability of the bike upon purchase.
- Never forget to get safety gear at the same time you buy. These items should include, at minimum, helmets, pads and insulated clothing. Many states have laws requiring some or all bikers to wear certain equipment.
2. Obtaining Registration and Licensing
Motorcycles are motor vehicles, and states treat them accordingly. Most require special training and licensing for bikers who wish to ride on public roads.
The difference between motorcycle and driver education involves the unique nature of bikes. Motorcycles, have only two wheels, and most leave riders exposed to the elements of the road. As a result, bikes often pose enhanced safety risks to riders. They require special skills to balance and control.
As a result, most riders must receive enhanced training and licensing. Each state has different qualifications for receiving bike licensing. Most will require some form of written or operational test. Some will issue separate licenses, while others add endorsements to your existing license. To learn how to get a motorcycle license in your state, contact your local DMV.
Keep in mind, you will need to register the bike with your state of residence. Upon doing so, your state will send you necessary tags, titling and other verification.
3. Insure Your Bike Accordingly
After you decide which bike to buy, you’ll want to protect it. One of the first steps in doing so is to get effective motorcycle insurance.
You might think the best way to get bike insurance is to add it to an existing car insurance policy. This is the wrong answer. In most cases you cannot insure a motorcycle using a standard car insurance policy. Motorcycles are unique vehicles. Therefore, they will require their own insurance coverage.
You might find familiar coverage elements in your motorcycle insurance. Yet, the coverage will pertain specifically to the characteristics of the bike. Policies might include:
- Liability insurance: Your state will likely require you to carry liability insurance. It can help you compensate others in case you cause an accident that results in injury or property damage to third parties.
- Collision coverage: Following wrecks, this coverage can help you pay for damage to your bike.
- Comprehensive protection: More than just wrecks can damage motorcycles. Theft, fire, weather and other damage might have coverage under this section.
- Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection: Sometimes called PIP coverage, this protection might help cover your medical expenses sustained in an accident.
Work with your insurance agent to determine what policy best meets your needs. Each policy should pertain specifically to your bike’s characteristics and ownership. Your agent will likely adjust the coverage to more effectively meet your needs.
One of the best ways to ensure you get the most appropriate policies is to work with an independent agent. They can compare the policies of multiple insurers to find one meeting your coverage and cost needs. Therefore, you won’t likely have to go on a long hunt for coverage.
As a piece of parting advice, make sure your bike receives appropriate maintenance. This can help keep it in good working order, and reduce the chances of problems on the road. When accidents happen, don’t be afraid to call your insurance provider. They can help you settle the situation to your satisfaction in most cases. Call us for coverage on motorcycle insurance Atlanta.