In Florida, there are over 585,000 registered motorcycles. Every day, riders get out on the road commuting to work, enjoying activities or running errands. For some, it is a way of life. To others, the rides are only on the weekends. 

Wanting to feel the freedom of riding a motorcycle may involve more responsibilities than driving a truck or a car. Staying safe when riding is not only looking out for other people, but also taking precautions for yourself. If you are riding, your safety should start the minute you look at your bike and continue as you are out on the road. 

Once you buy a bike, get to know it inside and out. Look at the tires, controls, lights and electronics, oil and other fluids. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation provides a checklist to help you remember.

1. Check your tires

What are the air pressure and the depth of tread? In cold weather, you may need more air in the tires. Just as on cars and trucks, brakes are essential and wear down. Your brake pads may have an indicator groove. The groove disappears when the brake pad wears down, indicating you may need to replace it.

2. Look over the controls

These include handlebars, levers, cables, hoses and the throttle. Make sure all are free of cracks, splits and leaks. Check that the handlebars turn smoothly. Confirm the throttle returns quickly and easily to the closed position.

3. Test the lights and other electronics

These include all headlamps and turn signals. If you have problems, verify the battery is secure, and the terminals are clean and tight. The main fuse may be to blame for any electronic issues. A bike with a faulty main fuse may make the bike run poorly or die at the most inopportune times.

4. Check fluids

Is there liquid on the floor underneath the bike? If so, the problem may come from any of the hoses, the fuel lines or seals. If there is no evidence of leaks, check all the fluid levels. Keep the bike level when looking at the fluids.