College student, business executive, entrepreneur, activist — it doesn’t matter who you are once you’re on a Harley or other motorcycle. There’s something unifying about that kind of freedom, and it’s been fueling adventurous spirits for decades and decades.

With summer’s arrival, there’s no better time to plan a road trip on your favorite two wheels.

We’re here today to go over a few guidelines that will keep you safe during your summer motorcycle excursion.

Plan Your Route

If you want your roadtrip to go off without a hitch, then spend some time planning your exact route before you leave. It’s easy to rely on your phone’s navigation, but it can also give you peace of mind to download offline maps or to bring along a paper map (remember those? Yes, they still sell them) just in case you go a little farther off the beaten path than you think. In Colorado, many of our beautiful lakes, forests, and canyons are outside coverage zones, so it is always in your best interests to have your route and destination planned before you go.

Give Your Bike a Tune-up

The last thing you want to do is take a road trip on a motorcycle that isn’t in tip-top shape. You need to ensure that the engine, tires, brakes, and other elements are operating at optimal performance. You can do this yourself, of course — you’re not one to outsource your own maintenance, after all — but it doesn’t hurt to as a professional to conduct a quick safety check in case anything is amiss.

Always Wear Protective Gear

Motorcyclists typically understand the need for protective gear when they’re out on the open road, whether it’s a long road trip or a quick jaunt down the street. But, in case you’ve gotten a little cocky over the years because you’ve never been in an accident, here’s a quick (and sobering) reminder: wearing a helmet is the only thing protecting your brain from serious injury in the chance you’re struck by a vehicle. In fact, when worn correctly, helmets protect against traumatic brain injuries 67% of the time.

Know All Traffic Rules

It should probably go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway because most accidents occur when people aren’t following traffic laws. If your roadtrip is taking you to another state, be sure that you know that particular state’s individual rules, both on the highway and on the street. Even if you don’t get into an accident, you definitely don’t want to get ticketed simply because you didn’t know that something was against the law. For example, lane-splitting is legal in California, but not in Colorado. And remember: motorists aren’t always looking out for bikes. Err on the side of caution, and always assume they don’t see you.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

It’s so important to get a good night’s rest even before you try to operate your coffee maker, let alone operate your motorcycle. If you lose even 1-2 hours of sleep over a few weeks, your brain functions as if it hasn’t had rest at all in two days. Many accidents occur because drivers nod off, and motorcyclists aren’t immune to these “microsleeps.” Plus, staying alert will help you avoid potential accidents due to other drivers or debris on the roadway. Be sure that you get plenty of rest before you start your trip and then make frequent stops along the way, especially at night.

These tips will help keep you safe, and we certainly hope everything goes off without a hitch and that you have amazing road trip stories to tell when you return home. If you do suffer an accident, however, you’ll want experienced attorneys like those at Mintz Law Firm to have your back. Reach out to us at your earliest convenience and we’ll provide you with a free case evaluation.