Stayin’ Safe: Are You READY?

A while back, I dedicated a Riding Well column to the topic of preparing ourselves for every ride. We have T-CLOCS to assess the condition of our motorcycles, but what about a way to gauge the condition of the human at the controls? That’s when I developed the acronym, “READY.” 

Before you ride, ask yourself, “Am I READY?”…

Relaxed and in the right mindset for riding. Is your head in a good place? If you’re angry, stressed or distracted, it may not be the best time to get on the bike. Tired? Don’t press on. Honestly assess your mental and emotional state before you straddle your bike. 

Equipped with proper riding gear. If you’re reading this, you’re likely inclined to wear ATGATT. But is that chinstrap fastened? Do you have gear that’s right when that temperature plummets after the rain storm (you have rain gear, right?). Don’t forget the clear face shield in addition to the dark one that’s on your helmet.

Anticipating the ride ahead. Before you roll on the throttle, roll through in your mind the things you can expect to encounter out there. Consider how the season, the day of the week and time of day can present different challenges and threats. The more you think through, the less chance you’ll be taken by surprise.

Drug and alcohol free. The best bet is to save drinking for ride’s end. If you do have a drink at that bike-friendly pub, be sure to give it at least an hour (per drink) before riding again. And, if you’re on medications, be aware of any side effects that may impair your riding acuity.

Yielding to more aggressive drivers. Maintaining control of a situation sometimes means giving in to aggressive drivers. Engaging with them puts them in control. Decide before you ride how you will respond to antagonistic drivers.

I keep a laminated, wallet-sized copy of this card with me and refer to it before every ride and after every stop along the way. Want a copy of your own? Here’s a PDF of the card that you can download and print out. Then you’ll always have it at the READY!

Stayin’ Safe READY Card


  1. Always look forward to Eric’s column, timely advice, clever tie in to every day live/ circumstances, as I age it is ever more important to do the head checks as listed–really makes me stop and think about my riding, so I will put card into top of tank bag, many thanks, Phil


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