Finally! Winter definitely seems to have gone into hibernation. Although different municipalities have not yet finished cleaning up all the gravel left on our roads, there are more and more motorcyclists out there.
Perhaps you are one of these people?
Picture this: a long weekend is coming up, the weather will be ideal and you’re in a hurry to shine your ride before hitting the open road. However, beyond the appearances and the excitement of taking your motorcycle out for its first ride, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Proper mechanical inspection
Most motorcyclists possess basic knowledge of mechanics and this is an asset that is quite valued during training to obtain a licence. That being said, whether you proceed with it yourself or through a trusted mechanic, a proper general inspection of your motorcycle is mandatory and should include: changing the engine oil, checking fluid levels, adjusting the chain or belt, as well as inspecting the differential, the level of coolant, the pipes, the hoses, the lubrication of cables and levers, the brakes, the battery charge, the wheel bearings and, lastly, the tire pressure.
Despite all precautions taken, what happens if something like a flat tire, running out of gas, a breakage or the loss of a key happens while you are out on the road? Check your insurance policy as most insurers offer protection covered under the Q.E.F. No. 33 (Roadside assistance costs) for such situations. If you do not have this endorsement, contact your broker to add it at a nominal cost.
All done! Your bike is ready, clean and safe. Now, where are you going?
Picking a destination
Whether you’re hitting the open road all by yourself or with a group, make sure to plan your itinerary by including pit stops to grab some grub and fill up your tank. Not all bikes have the same number of cylinders and, therefore, not the same appetite. The same goes for the endurance of riders. Moreover, when breaks are well planned, they allow us to fraternize with people from the area that you are visiting or to stop and admire the scenery that you would otherwise miss out on when you are clutching the handlebars. If you do not have a GPS-type device on your dashboard, it is recommended to have a good idea of where you are going ahead of time because you won’t be able to look at your map while both your hands are holding the handlebars. Furthermore, the copilot sitting in the back is not always the best navigator when it comes to interpreting road coordinates…
With that, you’ve taken care of roadside assistance costs. But what happens if you get into an accident with your motorcycle? Once again, I refer you back to the coverages offered by your insurance policy. If you have the Q.E.F. No. 20a endorsement, a replacement vehicle (car or motorcycle depending on availability) may be provided to you during the repair period when the accident is insured. At the same time, you may receive an indemnity to cover additional expenses for housing incurred by this unfortunate event. Evidently, check the limit of the amounts provided by your insurance coverage or contact your broker for more information. Unfortunately, this endorsement does not go so far as giving you back your lost day off.
In the event that you decide to visit the Ontario Highlands or to climb Mount Washington and its winding trail, in short a trail outside of Québec, it is also important to have adequate liability insurance. On this matter, I urge you to read my colleague Caroline Campeau-Schmidt’s blog.
Is your motorcycle adequately insured?
Most motorcyclists like to add a personalized touch to their bike. Depending on the model, it could be changing the air filter or the exhaust system, adding chrome, fog lamps, a seat, rigid saddlebags, metallic paint or a customized paint job. Whether it’s a question of esthetics or performance, these modifications made to the original model represent a significant cost, which is not included in the value of your original vehicle. To avoid another deception — not being indemnified for the true value of your bike — to your weekend that has been cut short, don’t forget to notify your insurer of the added equipment to your motorcycle as well as specifying its value including taxes. Do not worry, such a declaration does not necessarily translate into an additional premium since most insurers have already taken into account an amount for equipment in their premium. However, it is important to make sure that you do not exceed it before a potential claim because afterwards, it’s too late.
Once all of this has been doublechecked, all there is left for me to do is to wish you a beautiful summer! Perhaps we’ll even run into each other on the road?