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Who hasn’t dreamt about riding a classic bike? If you are lucky enough to own one, or plan to get one, there are a few safety issues that you should be aware of.
The lights on classic motorcycles are not as bright as we’re used to. So, when you’re doing the restoration or just right now, consider switching to a 12v battery and modern LED lights.
The rear-view mirror on lots of classic models is aesthetically small. For your own safety, you’d be wise to install a big mirror on either side so you can actually see what’s coming up behind you.
Old machines break down. Though they were often designed to be repaired by their user, you can’t rely on YouTube videos to learn to fix them—and especially not when you’re sitting on the side of the road. Be sure you have information about towing options or a willing friend to call before you leave home.
Practice riding your classic in an empty parking lot or somewhere similar before you take it into traffic. You may well find differences in the suspension, slower controls and acceleration, and more difficult cornering. Many riders, after experiencing the differences, make sure to allow more time so they can travel more slowly and also allow more following distance.
If your golden oldie just can’t go very fast, so you can’t at least keep up with traffic, you risk an accident. Choose a time and route that your bike can manage. Some try to avoid heavy traffic altogether.
You will probably need to listen to the engine while you’re riding, so earplugs are out.
And when you’re enjoying your classic motorcycle, keep an eye out for traffic behind you. Wave motorists through when it’s safe to do so.