Text size selector icon

Motorcycle Safety


Tips for Riders:
- Before riding, complete a rider's education course and obtain a class "M" endorsement on your driver's license.

- Wear a helmet and eye protection every time you ride.  Motorcyclists should also wear bright, thick protective clothing.
- Always ride sober. Operating a motorcycle takes a great deal of mental focus and physical maneuvering, so alcohol or other impairing substances and motorcycles just don't mix.
- Riders should strategically use their lane position to see and be seen on the highway.  Motorcyclists should also combine turn signals and hand signals to draw attention to themselves when switching lanes.

Tips for Motorists:
- Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the highway; always allow a motorcyclist the full lane and never try to share a lane.

- Make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.

- Allow more following distance when traveling behind a motorcycle to permit enough time for the rider to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

- Never tailgate a motorcyclist.

It's Kansas Law

Any person operating a motorcycle which is registered in Kansas shall be the holder of a class M driver's license (KSA 8-235). 

- Penalty for no class M License
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Fine up to $1000 and/or Imprisonment up to 6 months.

Avoiding crashes with animals is nearly impossible. Animals are unpredictable, often well camouflaged, and don't know the rules of the road.  We can't prevent or control animal interactions and an impact can be fatal.  

Our best bet with animals is to be aware of the sorts of places and times animals are more likely to be found, to be extra vigilant for animals, to slow down and cover the brakes.

Wild and domestic animals caused over 10,000 crashes in Kansas in 2021. Large herbivores, principally deer and cattle, cause the most fatal crashes involving animals in Kansas.


It's essential to know when to expect deer as they can be encountered almost anywhere. Deer like wooded areas near water with access to grassy areas, but they can be encountered anywhere, including cities.

Deer are seen more at dusk and dawn, and, as they don't like insects any more than humans do, they sometimes move out of the trees and into open spaces near roads to avoid them. If you are getting a lot of bugs on your visor, you might also look out for deer.  

An obvious sign to look out for are the yellow diamonds with the deer silhouette. Road authorities generally put the signs up in response to reported deer crashes or deer carcasses found by the road. Be aware that not all localities do this.  Deer carcasses by the side of the road are another clear sign to look out for. 

If you see one deer, there may be more close by, because they are herd critters. Your best bet is to carefully look out for deer, and when you know there's a good chance of some being around, take extra precautions. Slow down a bit, maybe cover the brake. Bikers have the advantage of height and no blind spots improving the chances of seeing deer. The usual visual scanning rules apply. Our chances of seeing a moving target are better in our peripheral vision, so keeping our eyes moving improves our chances of seeing the deer.  

Swerving to avoid deer or other large herbivores can be problematic. They are capable of changing or reversing direction unexpectedly, or being caught in your headlight and freezing. There's no way of saying what they'll do if spooked by your bike.  

This leaves braking as the evasion best bet in many cases. If you decide on braking as your default deer measure, you can cut the decision time by covering the brakes, and practicing emergency braking improves your braking performance. Slowing down as little as 5 or 10 miles per hour also cuts vital feet from your braking distance, and more is better.  

You don't necessarily have to be able to stop the bike to miss the deer.  Braking, even if you hit the deer, should reduce the impact. Bikers in deer crashes who walked away attribute their survival to good protective gear. As the most critical times for deer are dusk and dawn, even in summer it might be a good idea to stop and put on the best gear you have with you.  

Deer crashes are common where bikers like to ride, in the countryside and on winding roads. There is no really good way of avoiding them. Extra vigilance and preparedness, knowing when and where to expect large herbivores, slowing down and being ready to brake hard is the best bet for avoiding and mitigating the dangers from deer. Personal protective gear in high-risk areas is a great idea.  Although deer and other large herbivores are the main animal killers of bikers, there are a number of other potential animal hazards out there.  


On small rural roads in cattle country, you might see things like cattle guards in the road or at side roads. You might also see cattle, sheep or other animals grazing freely and no fence between the road and the grazing land. You might even see dead animals by the road. As herbivores, if they get on the road, they might act like deer, suggesting the deer strategy of observation, slowing down, covering the brakes in preparation for an emergency stop, and wearing all the protective gear you have with you. Be prepared to meet a herd of sheep or cows being moved along the roadway. The drovers will generally let vehicles by, but be patient and let them do their thing. 


Insects, venomous spiders and scorpions There's nothing worse than getting a stinging insect under your visor or inside your jacket, but the major hassle from critters like this, while you are actually riding, is keeping your eye protection clear. Another good time to cover up and get the eye protection straight.

Small Animals

Small animals, like squirrels, cats, rabbits, or rodents sometimes dart across the road. They usually move very fast and don't give you much reaction time. The conventional wisdom for small critters of 5 lbs. or less is just to ride right over them. Swerving is problematic, as they move fast and can change direction unpredictably, and you'll probably be very close before you see them.  There's usually no good way of predicting when small critters are around, unless you see others around. If you see a lot of squirrels, for instance, you might want to slow down and be extra vigilant. Same might be true of prairie dogs and the like.  


Riders also occasionally hit birds. There's no warning, no way to avoid them, and wearing good gear is the best counter-measure.  

Be Safe. Be Seen.

None of the motorcycles in the picture above can be seen in the trucker's mirrors or other blind spots. When riding on highways, try not to "hang" around tractor trailers or any large trucks. Not only do they have a hard time seeing you, but there are other hazards associated with being near trucks, especially flatbeds and dump trucks which spew stones and pebbles behind them.


AMF Commitment to Safety

Pledge to become a safer driver.

Change the page font size to large Change the page font size to medium Change the page font size to small