5 Tips for an Exhilarating Motorcycle Road Trip From the East Coast to West Coast
Thinking about a motorcycle trip from Oakland Park, Florida, out west to Nevada or California? Motorcycle riders can use cross-country trips to explore all the U.S. has to offer — all while in the open air.
If you’re starting your trip from Oakland Park, you’ll want to make sure you follow a few ground rules as you make your long way to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or another destination. These tips can help you stay safe — and have an exhilarating trip from start to finish.
Motorcycles are good for putting you in the middle of the travel experience. Rather than looking at the scenery through your windshield as you speed along the highway, a motorcycle can put you in the desert, mountains, or coast.
To get the most out of your motorcycle road trip, try these five tips:
Inexperience plays a major role in causing motorcycle accidents. Young riders and unlicensed riders have the highest crash rate among motorcyclists. Unlicensed riders make up about 20% of riders but suffer 40% of motorcycle fatalities.
For example, in Nevada, the age group most likely to suffer motorcycle deaths from 2015 to 2019 was between 21 and 25. And 45% of motorcycle fatalities were under 35 years old.
Go on a few rides before your road trip to brush up. Motorcycles require balance and skill to operate safely. Make sure you can maneuver your motorcycle without losing control of it. Some skills you should practice include:
You might even consider taking a rider safety course. The same course providers that offer the basic rider course required for licensing also offer an advanced rider course. These courses usually take only a day to complete and can help you get ready for your trip.
Not every motorcycle fits every trip. If you are planning to travel on the freeways as you travel west, you probably do not want to ride a dirt or sport bike. On the other hand, if your road trip includes camping or off-roading, you might not want to take your expensive and heavy touring bike.
Some considerations in picking a motorcycle for your road trip include:
Weight will have a direct effect on your fuel economy. The heavier your motorcycle, the more fuel you will use. Conversely, more weight will also make your motorcycle more stable and less prone to wind.
If you are planning a long road trip on freeways, you might value stability over fuel efficiency. But for camping trips or exploring national parks, you might want a motorcycle that is more maneuverable and light enough for you to lift if you lay it down.
Rushing air can windburn your skin. And a windshield can protect your face from everything from sand to bugs. For long road trips, consider riding a touring bike with a windscreen and fairings instead of a cruiser or standard bike without them.
Sitting upright puts less strain on your shoulders and back. Standard bikes and touring bikes will put you in an upright position. Leaning forward on a sport bike or leaning backward on a cruiser will stress your back and make it harder for you to ride for long periods or on consecutive days.
Cars are safer and more comfortable than motorcycles. You should not try to ride your motorcycle the same way you would drive your car. You will probably need more frequent breaks during your drive to rest your ears, face, and arms. You will also need to get off the motorcycle saddle and stretch your legs and buttocks.
The great thing about a road trip from Oakland Park is that you can take breaks along the beach! For example, while traveling to the West Coast, you can make a point to stop at Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, or Boynton Beach.
You likely chose to take your motorcycle on your road trip to feel closer to the road and its sights. You should consider getting off the interstate and taking highways to your destination. You will see more and probably experience less traffic congestion.
When you leave Oakland Park, you’ll likely spend some time on I-95 and I-10. However, you can take the scenic routes and experience the best of Florida. I-10 and I-95 are two of the most dangerous interstates in the country. By taking lesser traveled highways like Route 710, you can prioritize scenery and safety.
You’ll want to consider sticking to the highways when you make it out west, too. This habit will ensure you see the best sites at your own speed. For example, instead of taking I-15 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, consider taking Route 66 to Kingman, then taking US-93 to the Hoover Dam and into Las Vegas.
To do this, Route 66 tends to mirror I-10 and CA-110 to Pasadena. You can then follow Route 66 in Pasadena until it merges with I-210. Take I-210 to I-15 and continue on I-15 to Victorville. From there, you can ride Route 66 to Barstow, Amboy, Goffs, Needles, Oatman, and Kingman.
Not only is this ride more scenic than the ride on I-15, but it is also safer. The stretch of I-15 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is one of the most dangerous roads in both states. In Nevada, the NDOT Crash Data Map shows 1,865 crashes on I-15 between 2016 and 2020. These crashes caused 90 fatal injuries and 4,463 non-fatal injuries.
You should always try to use the buddy system when taking a long road trip. Mechanical breakdowns, bad weather, poor road conditions, and careless drivers can sideline you or worse. Having a riding buddy will ensure someone can call for help if either of you runs into trouble.
Riding buddies also help each other avoid taking bad risks. Your buddy can tell you when you need to rest or take a break to allow bad weather to pass.
At the same time, your riding buddy gives you someone to share your experiences with. Your partner might even know some interesting sights or challenging routes that will make your road trip more exhilarating.
You can enjoy your trip more if you are not worried about safety. Wear a helmet to protect you in case of a crash. Check your motorcycle, or have someone else check your motorcycle before you leave to make sure it can make the trip. And make sure you do not overload your motorcycle with bags.
Motorcycle road trips can provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences. With a little bit of preparation up front, you can enjoy your trip with few or no problems.
If you get into a motorcycle accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. You should also exchange contact and insurance information with the at-fault driver. If you suffered serious injuries or property damage, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation.
However, it can be hard to know who to call if you live in Oakland Park but got into an accident in Las Vegas while on your west coast road trip. In this example, you would call a local motorcycle accident lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada, for help. A local lawyer who practices personal injury in the city where the accident took place will be in the best position to help you navigate your claim.
They will help you comply with state laws and follow local court rules as they pursue your injury claim. Contact a lawyer today if you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle crash.