Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Are you ready to get back on your motorcycle this spring?

Spring is a time of celebration and renewal, and that means different things to different people. Parents with young children may look forward to outdoor play, Easter baskets and egg hunts. Those who enjoy riding motorcycles, however, may feel excitement about getting their bike out of storage and back on the road after a long, cold Connecticut winter.

It's only natural to want to get your motorcycle going as soon as possible, but you should definitely take the time to ensure you're safe before you start it up. Spring is the perfect time of year to perform maintenance on your bike and make sure that your safety gear is up to standards.

Check your bike for signs of wear or potential performance issues

Most motorcycle enthusiasts will take the time in the fall to ensure their bikes are properly stored and maintained. That often includes changing the oil and filter, as well as putting an additive in the fuel tank to avoid problems. If you did that, your spring maintenance will be even easier. If not, changing the oil and filters should be your first step. You should also check the fuel, as well as the injectors.

First, check for any signs of rust or damage from storage. Rodents can chew through wiring or cushions. Batteries can lose their charge. Check your brakes, tires, battery, fuel, oil, suspension and electrical systems for signs of problems. If you aren't very handy, have a skilled mechanic check everything out for the start of the season.

Check and upgrade your safety gear, if necessary

Some of the same dangers that could result in damage to your bike could degrade your safety gear as well. Helmets, for example, could freeze or crack in the cold, especially if they get wet beforehand. Mice and other rodents could chew through padding and safety straps, as well as leather gear.

While Connecticut law only requires that those under 18 wear a helmet while on a motorcycle, adults should do so as well. A helmet can make the difference between walking away from a crash and dying (or ending up with permanent brain damage). Make sure your helmet still fits securely and protects your head properly. Check the visor for cracking or discoloration that could prevent you from seeing everything on the road.

You should inspect riding gear for holes, tears or other damage. Your boots or heavy-soled shoes also need a careful examination to ensure you're safe on the road. Try everything on to make certain that it fits properly and that you can move safely when wearing your gear. Finally, take your time re-familiarizing yourself with your motorcycle. Start with shorter drives, ideally at lower speeds, to get comfortable with your bike again before you go for that first spring weekend cruise.

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