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Motorcycle pre-ride checklist

May 9, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Use the “T-CLOCK” inspection method before every ride to help prevent a motorcycle accident

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As a motorcycle accident lawyer, and especially given the 2012 Michigan motorcycle helmet repeal, it’s more important now than ever to discuss additional ways motorcycle operators can stay safe on the roads.

We’ve seen several critical motorcycle accident injuries and a fatality in the last month after the helmet law repeal, where the motorcycle operators were not wearing their helmets. According to the Detroit Free Press, a Flint motorcyclist died Monday after losing control and being thrown from his motorcycle. Also, a man in an Algonac crash suffered a severe head injury that investigators said could have been prevented with a helmet, according to The Times Herald.

The good news is, at a recent bike rally called the Blessing of the Bikes in Holland,Michigan, that attracted between 2,500 and 5,000 motorcyclists , The Grand Rapids Press reported that nine out of 10 riders were wearing their helmets.

Below is an excellent pre-ride checklist that uses the “T-CLOCK” method. T-CLOCK is a mnemonic developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for helping bikers complete a comprehensive pre-ride inspection of a motorcycle before each and every single ride. The individual letters stand for the specific areas to check:

T – Tires and wheels

Brakes: Check that each brake keeps bike from rolling, and that pads are greater than minimum thickness.

Tire condition: Check for tread depth, weathering, bulges, embedded objects, wear.

Air pressure: Check when cold, adjust to load.

Spokes: Check for bent, broken, bent, missing or tense.

Rims: Check for out of round and out of true = 5 mm.

Bearings: Check top and bottom of tire and flex, no free play and no growl when spinning.

Seals: Check for cracked, cut, torn excessive grease.

C -Controls

Levers and pedal: Check for broken, bent, cracked, tight mounts, ball ends on handlebar, adjustment, lubrication.

Cables: Check for fraying, kinks, lubrication, no interference or pulling, suspension, no sharp angles.

Hoses: Check for cuts, cracks, leaks, bulges, chafing, deterioration, no interference or pulling, suspension, no sharp angles.

Throttle: Check that it moves freely, snaps closed and no revving when handlebars turned.

L – Lights

Battery: Check that the terminals tight/clean, electrolyte level OK, secured, proper routing of vent tube

Wiring: Check for fraying, chafing insulation, especially important at steering head.

Head lamp: Check for cracks, reflector, mounting and proper adjustment.

Tail/brake lamp: Check for cracks, cleanliness, tightness and activation upon brake application.

Turn signals: Check that they’re flashing.

Mirrors: Check for clacks, clean, tight mounts, swivel joints and proper adjustment.

Horn: Check that it works.

O – Oil

Leaks: Check for leaks in coolant, brake/clutch fluid, engine oil, final drive.

Levels: Check oil level on center stand when cold.

Air filter: Check for blockage, clean and not torn.

Fuel lines: Check they’re not bent, leaking or cracked and properly secured with clamps.

Brake/clutch: Check for correct fluid levels, no leakage, no hose deterioration.

C – Chain and Chassis

Drive chain/belt: Check for wear, proper adjustment, lubrication, master link clip.

Sprockets: Check for wear.

Chain guard
: Check that it’s securely mounted.

Frame: Check for for cracks, accessory mounts, steering head and engine cradle.

Shocks and Forks: Check for leaks, smooth operation, air pressure, alignment.

K – Kickstand

Side Stand: Check that it’s not bent, retracts fully, proper ground clearance.

Center Stand: Check that it’s not bent, retracts fully, proper ground clearance.

– Source, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Michigan-motorcycle-awareness.org

Please stay safe on your motorcycles and always wear your motorcycle helmets.

Steven M. Gursten is a motorcycle lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law. Steve has received the highest motorcycle injury settlement in the state, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He frequently appears in the media on motorcycle safety and the proposed helmet repeal, and is available for comment.

Related information to protect yourself:

Michigan motorcycle accident law FAQs

What motorcycle insurance is required after the helmet law repeal?

Gov. Snyder signs repeal of Michigan motorcycle helmet law

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our Michigan motorcycle lawyers.

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