A motorcycle sits parked off-road next to a field and fence.

Riding off-road is always an adventure and there aren’t many things that match the thrill. Adventure riding will take you off of paved roads and onto dirt trails, into forests and across other rugged terrain. Whether you’re new to off-road adventure riding or an experienced rider, you’re guaranteed to have a thrilling experience. Being prepared for adventure riding will help you stay safe off-road and help you have a more enjoyable ride.

Here are four tips for staying safe on off-road motorcycle rides.

1. Choose the right motorcycle: Before you take your bike onto adventurous terrain, you need to select the right type of bike. If you’re going to drive both on- and off-road, it’s best to have the proper bike to handle everything that’s thrown at you and to get you to your destination safely. Specific types of motorcycles called dual-sport or adventure bikes are designed to be driven, both on normal roads and off of pavement. These bikes are built tough, have the necessary suspension and the power to handle different terrains.  Your off-road bike should match your skill level, as well as be powerful enough to take on the challenge.

2. Plan your route: Part of riding off-road is exploring new areas, but it’s still important to plan your adventure before taking off on your journey. Make sure you research local forests, trails and parks that allow motorcycle riding, and make sure you don’t need a permit or permission to ride in certain areas. Never trespass on other people’s land without permission. Many areas built for adventure riding will have maps in place for you to check out. Bringing a GPS on your motorcycle will also help if you need a little extra help navigating. Don’t take on any trails that will be too difficult or above your skill level. You’ll want to make sure you have enough fuel or a place to stop and get some if needed, so you don’t become stranded in the wilderness.

3. Wear the right riding gear: Adventure riding can be very risky and you should have the right gear to stay safe. Safety should be prioritized. Many trails have regulations for safety gear and some require wearing a helmet, which should be DOT approved. Having proper gloves, boots and a riding jacket will keep you protected from the elements and other hazards on the trail. For extra protection and to keep your bike in the best condition, you could install components like handguards, engine guards and skid plates. Make sure you bring any tools you may need for quick repairs, as well as a first aid kit in case of any minor injuries.

4. Practice your off-road riding skills: Riding off-road is much more difficult for many riders than riding on pavement. It can be extremely exhausting and by practicing, you can build up your endurance. There are several courses available for riders to help hone on the right skills. Good things to practice are throttle, clutch control, braking and riding in conditions with mud, rocks or sand. When practicing, work on proper body positioning, weight distribution and obstacle avoidance. With the proper skills, your ride will be more enjoyable and much safer.

Once you have the necessary skills and have made proper preparations, you're ready to hit the trails.

Hupy and Abraham, S.C. has helped motorcyclists for decades by promoting safety and awareness for all riders. The firm’s “Watch for Motorcycles” message helps keep motorcyclists at the top of mind for drivers on the road. The message is spread through TV advertisements, billboards, stickers, events and more. The firm also has a ton of motorcycle articles and videos on our website, HUPY.COM.

Sometimes you can do everything to help keep you safe, but the unthinkable still happens. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, call Hupy and Abraham right away at 800-800-5678, so we can start working to get you every dollar you deserve for your injury. We’ve helped over 70,000 people receive more than $1 billion for their injuries.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.