Whether you’ve been riding for years or just getting started, your experience and safety on the road is only as good as your bike. Because of the heightened risk that motorcycle riders face, it’s essential to take every safety precaution possible. Motorcycle safety inspections save time, money, and ultimately, they can save lives. Make sure your bike is in good condition before you hit the road by running through this safety check:


While looking at the tires of your motorcycle, find the DOT line of text and the four numbers grouped together at the end. These indicate the tires’ birthdate, which is important because tires frequently age out before they’re worn out. To see if your tires are worn out, study the rain grooves and siping for adequate gaps. By ensuring that your tires aren’t too old or worn down, your bike will have proper traction for varied weather conditions.


Examine your brakes to verify there is no damage to the rims, rotor, or brake pads. When analyzing brake pads, observe the fiber glued to the top of the metal-backed plate. It’s crucial that the fiber of your brake pads is not worn down because compromised brake pads could jeopardize your braking distance.


Most motorcycles nowadays have a specialized roller chain called an O-ring chain, and there’s a common misconception that these chains don’t need maintenance. The O-ring holds fluid inside the chain which should actually be lubricated to keep the chains from failing. Also, evaluate the chain’s tension – there should be some slack, but the specific amount can be found in the rating on the bike or in the owner’s manual.


If your clutch lever is hydraulic, check the fluid. If it’s cable, squeeze the clutch open and check the gap for wiry strands or failing cable sticking out. Do not ride your motorcycle if you see these strands when you pull the clutch open.


Scrutinize the fork legs of your bike to make sure no fluid is leaking from them. If there is, the suspension won’t work properly and the brakes could potentially be compromised as well.

Final Checklist

Before you hit the road, try your lights and switches. You should have fresh bulbs on your headlight, taillight, brake light, and both turn signals. Look at your oil cap to confirm your motor is functioning properly. Use your kickstand to make sure it snaps back into position and won’t slide down while the bike is in motion, and give your horn a few trial honks. If everything looks as it should, you are ready to ride!

It’s a Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety, and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families, and our communities.