Riding Tips May 2017

By Diane Ortiz – President and founder of the Big Apple Motorcycle School

It was a lovely Spring Day…

On Saturday we were out running a few errands on our motorcycles. It was a lovely Spring day and my friend and I wanted to take advantage of the good weather.

I am still very new to riding – only 650 miles under my belt. Well, while we were on the highway my bike lost total power. I was following my friend and had no way of letting him know my bike died.

Luckily, we were traveling in the right lane and I was able to easily pull off the road. We were going about 70 miles an hour when this happened. My instinct kicked in and I made sure everything was clear around me so I could coast to the shoulder. I didn’t panic and I stopped in a safe spot and looked over the bike to see if I could see anything that would cause the bike to stop running. The only maintenance I did recently was change out the spark plug wires to a different brand. At that time I did start her up and let her run a bit after the change.

Thinking back on it a number of things could have happened to me. I was very lucky to be safe. I was I was able start her back up after a couple of tries. I sat there for a minute to make sure she’d keep running.

My friend did eventually see I was no longer at his right and pulled off the highway. I could see him down the road. I rode up to him and signaled it died on me. We rode on to our first stop of the day and there were no further issues.

This is just an example of how you always need to keep alert and not to panic. Even as a new rider, I was able to get it figured out thankfully. Also, we are going to invest in communication devices as you just never know if something will happen when you are out on the road.

This is just one scenario that many new riders may encounter. What could these riders have done before they left on this trip that would have helped? Hand signals are helpful in communicating with your fellow rider, but you need to know them and talk about them beforehand. In some groups I’ve ridden with we’ve used five short blasts of the horn to indicate danger or “I have a problem and have to make an emergency stop”. If you were the lead rider, how long would it have taken you to notice that your companion is no longer there?  It’s important to check your mirrors and have situational awareness so you can react quickly if appropriate.


Things happen and even a very well-maintained bike can have a sudden problem. When you ride, expect the unexpected, be alert and have procedures in place in advance to deal with the “what if”.


Ride safe!


Leave a Reply