Because riding a motorcycle requires balance, improperly loaded cargo can easily lead to a crash. If you are planning a trip with heavy cargo, sacrifices may not need to be made.
However, make sure to give yourself a refresher on best practices for loading cargo properly to ensure your ride is safe.
You should not carry heavy or large cargo on a motorcycle if you have less than five months of experience riding. More than half of all crashes involve riders with little experience.
Preparing the bike
Before heading out on the road, there are a number of measures you should take to load cargo properly:
- Check the air pressure of both tires — incorrect inflation pressure can cause a wobble, which could easily lead to an accident
- Adjust suspension — some bikes may require a suspension adjustment if the heavy cargo weighs the rear down too much
- Adjust your front headlight — use adjusting screws to fix your headlight into the same spot it is normally after you have applied the weight of the cargo
Preparing the cargo
Depending on the method you choose for packing your cargo, you will have to adhere to different safety precautions. Here are a few safety tips for different ways to load cargo onto your motorcycle:
- Avoid exceeding the gross vehicle weight rating when traveling with cargo
- Pack low — heavier items should be placed in the front of the tank bag and lighter items should go in a luggage rack behind you
- Place the cargo over or in front of the rear axle if possible
- If you cannot pack low, use saddlebags
- Saddlebags should not be overpacked and should both weigh the same amount with cargo loaded
- If cargo is in a backpack, strap the bag snugly to remain secure
- If applicable, use elastic cords to secure cargo to the bike
- Mount and strap the tank bag securely so as not to obstruct your view, the controls, brake lines, etc.
While riding make sure to take frequent stops to check that the cargo has not loosened. Accidents can easily happen if cargo is overloaded, snags the wheel or causes imbalance. During group rides, it is especially important that all riders carrying cargo make these considerations while preparing for the trip.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident due to another rider’s negligence to proper packing procedures, contact a personal injury lawyer for help. An attorney can help you make a case to recover damages for your injuries or property damage.