In many ways, safety on a motorcycle involves the same principles as safety on a bicycle.

A different kind of bike

I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class early in October. I didn't have any interest in riding a motorcycle. My daughter wanted a motorcycle, and in order to get affordable insurance, our insurance company recommended that I get a motorcycle license. I took the motorcycle class to learn how to ride the motorcycle.

I have heard that the League of American Bicyclists' Smart Cycling program teaches bicyclists many of the same things that the Motorcycle Safe Foundation teaches motorcyclists. That is true.

Control your bike: Over half of motorcycle crashes don't involve another vehicle. Over half of bicycle crashes don't involve another vehicle.

Pre-ride inspection: Bicyclists call this the ABC Quick Check. Motorcyclists call it T-CLOCS. Either way, routinely inspecting your vehicle and taking care of problems before they become serious decreases your crash risk.

Obey the law: A major contributor to motorcycle crashes is alcohol. Many bicycle wrecks involve bicyclist going the wrong way or other traffic rule infraction.

Lane position: We teach bicyclists to ride in the center of the lane or the right-tire-track. Motorcyclists are encouraged to use the full lane to achieve maximum visibility, while avoiding obstacles, debris, and slick spots.

Intersections: For both motorcycles and bicycles, most collisions occur in or near intersections. Lane position, obeying traffic rules, and being aware of other vehicles minimizes intersection collisions whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle.

Helmets: Because of their speed, a higher percentage of motorcycle crashes are fatal than of bicycle crashes. The helmet is even more important for the motorcyclist than for the bicyclist.

Countersteering: A sharper turn can be achieved by leaning the bicycle or the motorcycle instead of turning the handlebar. This is a fun part of riding any two-wheeled vehicle!

Despite the similarities, there are important differences, such as speed, weight, and an engine. Bicycle proficiency doesn't necessarily translate to motorcycle proficiency and vice versa. So take the right class for a better, safer, and more fun ride on your two-wheeled vehicle.