Motorcycling is a popular hobby, and one that really pays off on beautiful days. It’s exhilarating to feel the wind whip past you as you ride! But with that rush of adrenaline comes a risk: riding a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous if you don’t follow proper safety precautions. To avoid crashes and keep yourself and your bike intact, follow these safety tips for your first ride on a motorcycle.

Enroll in a Safety Course

Before you take your bike on the road, get comfortable operating it safely. The rules of the road are different—and more stringent—for motorcyclists. You’ll learn how to prepare for unpredictable and unexpected situations and how to maneuver around them. Do a few obstacle courses before you hit the road; the practice is good for you.

Adjust to Your Body

When you ride in an unfamiliar car, you probably adjust the seat at least a little bit for your comfort. If you’re the driver, you adjust the mirror. Do the same for your bike—adjust the seat and mirrors, check your suspension, and check the brake and clutch levers. Make sure you can operate the bike without any discomfort or cramping.

Invest in the Right Gear

Do you know why bikers wear leather? Yes, it’s stylish and warm, but it also protects your skin from abrasion. If you get into a minor crash or fall off your bike, a leather jacket will prevent your bare skin from dragging across the pavement. Wear long pants, gloves, and over-the-ankle boots. And no matter what, always wear a DOT-approved full-face helmet. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than a car driver—a helmet can literally save your life. Remember ATGATT: all the gear, all the time.

Be Extremely Visible

Many collisions involving motorcycles happen because the car driver didn’t see the motorcyclist coming. Avoid car drivers’ blind spots when possible, and turn your headlights on even when you’re driving during the day. You can also wear a leather jacket in a bright color like red or blue to increase your visibility.

Know First Aid

Keep a basic first-aid kit with you when you ride and know how to use it. Motorcyclists are at risk for eye injuries, burns, and abrasions. Disinfecting wipes and sterile gauze will keep injuries from getting infected. Burn cream or gel soothes the pain of a burn sustained from the exhaust pipe. Keep your kit on the right side of your bike and inspect the contents regularly to ensure that nothing is damaged or expired.

Before you and your new bike hit the road, remember these basic safety tips for your first ride on a motorcycle. Wear your full-face helmet and leather jacket with pride. Biking can be extremely dangerous—but it can also be loads of fun!