Getting Started: The First Steps to Riding a Motorcycle

Things you'll need to know before you ride.

Woman riding motorcycle
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So you want to ride a motorcycle? There's more to it than hopping on and riding away; here's a checklist you'll want to consider before you jump in the saddle:

  • Safety Gear
  • Motorcycling is a high-risk activity, and the most vulnerable riders are new ones. Protecting yourself with proper safety gear is an easy way to save yourself from injury, but the cost of gear adds up, and you'll want to add this to your biking budget.
  • Training Courses
  • Though it's common practice to experience your first ride in a parking lot, leave motorcycle training to the pros and take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. The skills you'll learn will last you a lifetime, and MSF instructors will educate you with fundamental skills that will make you a better, more competent rider.
  • Consider Your Bike Options
  • Will you be borrowing a bike? Are you considering buying your first bike? Plan ahead by either borrowing, renting, or buying a bike, and you'll be more committed to following through with your path to motorcycling. You can also check out our Visual Guide to Motorcycle Types for more information on different bike styles.
  • Start Slow
  • As a newbie, you're most likely to make potentially dangerous mistakes. Relax, take it easy, and learn at your own pace; motorcycling is an acquired skill that takes plenty of practice, and it's important that you keep that in mind while you learn.
  • Learn The Rules of the Road
  • Traffic laws are different for motorcycles, and each state's Department of Motor Vehicles has online manuals for motorcyclists. Download one, and educate yourself on the laws that govern motorcycling.
  • Get Licensed