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T-CLOCK: The Motorcycle Pre-Ride Safety Inspection Checklist

T-CLOCK: The Motorcycle Pre-Ride Safety Inspection Checklist

As winter shifts into spring, warmer temperatures and clearer skies give motorcycle enthusiasts a hard-to-refuse invitation for taking their bikes out for a relaxing ride.

However, the exposed nature of a motorcycle presents unique dangers to riders in the event a traffic collision occurs. This blog discusses safety tips and a memorable mnemonic device on how to perform a comprehensive safety inspection before you hop on the saddle of your bike and ride off into the sunset.

For more information, contact Morgan & Murphy, LLP today!

Massachusetts Motorcycle Helmet Law

Wearing a protective helmet while riding a motorcycle is not just a good idea, it’s the law in many states. Massachusetts has a strict universal helmet law, meaning that all motorcycle riders regardless of age must wear a helmet on the road. Under Massachusetts Law, chapter 90, section 7, “Every person operating… or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle…shall wear protective headgear conforming with such minimum standards.”

However, other states don’t have universal motorcycle helmet laws. For example, Rhode Island only requires helmets for riders who are 21 years old or under.

Although riding with the wind in your hair may feel and look great, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) strongly recommends wearing a helmet. According to NHTSA crash data, approximately 37 out of every 100 motorcycle fatalities with no helmets could have been prevented by a helmet.

A proper motorcycle helmet will protect a rider’s face and eyes while providing full horizontal range of visibility. A helmet will also reduce wind noise while riding so motorcyclists can identify and respond to traffic noises and emergency signals like sirens. Motorcycle helmets should fit firmly on your head to where it’s too tight to wedge a finger between the helmet and your head.

T-CLOCK Safety Inspection Checklist

The T-CLOCK inspection checklist was devised by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for inspecting your motorcycle to make sure there aren’t any equipment or mechanical hazards. Budget adequate time to perform this inspection before you start riding. Alternatively, you can also conduct this inspection after riding your bike.

Motorcycle Safety Checklist

T-CLOCK stands for:

  • Tires & wheels
  • Controls
  • Lights & electrics
  • Oil & fluids
  • Chassis
  • Kickstand

Tires & Wheels

Before hitting the road on your bike, be sure to check that your tire pressure is within safe parameters along with the condition of your tire’s tread. You should also look for unusual holes, cuts, or punctures from sharp, foreign objects.

Inspect your wheels to see if your spokes are firm and intact, your rims are in proper position, the condition of the bearing seals are okay, and the ability for the wheel to spin freely.


Inspect your levers regarding the condition of your pivot bolt, if pivots are properly lubricated, and whether the action and position are correct. Check cables to determine that their ends and shafts are properly lubricated, signs of fraying, and no kinks or binding when turning your handlebars. Inspect your bike’s hoses for any leaks and damage and make sure they connect to the proper terminals. Last but not least, check your throttle to ensure that it isn’t too loose and that it freely snaps closed when released.

Lights & Electrical

Check to see if your brake and taillights are functioning properly. Switch on your headlights to see if they are angled correctly and their brightness level to determine whether they need replacement. Inspect your battery for adequate charge and to ensure that it is secured tightly. Check for any loose, frayed, pinched or corroded electrical wiring from the battery.

Oils & Fluids

Check fluid levels for your fuel, oil, brakes, transmission, coolant, and final drive. Make sure there aren’t any fluid or oil leaks. Furthermore, you should inspect the color of your fluids to make sure there isn’t any grime, carbonation, or contaminants that could interfere with the safe operation of your bike’s essential systems.


Inspect your bike’s chassis for signs of wear and tear – and possibly cracks in your chassis – such as peeling or lifting in the paint along with damaged, loose, or missing fasteners, clips, and pins. You should also check your bike’s chain or belt for proper tension and lubrication. Examine your bike’s suspension system for smooth motion and proper adjustment.

You should also check the bearings for your bike’s steering head and swingarm: While the front wheel is off the floor, pull and push the lower fork legs to see if they are loose. Do the same thing for the rear wheel while it is off the ground.


Inspect your motorcycle’s kickstand to see if it retracts properly. Examine it for warping or other damage. If your sidestand or centerstand is loose when retracted, check the cut-out switch and springs for damage or wear.

Injured in a Motorcycle Collision? Call Morgan & Murphy Today

If you manage to get into a serious, injury-producing motorcycle accident despite your best efforts to ensure safe riding, you might be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. When your accident was the result of another person’s negligence – from either another driver or the manufacturer of defective equipment – they are liable to compensate you for your losses.

At Morgan & Murphy, we have experience advocating on behalf of injured motorcycle riders throughout Massachusetts. We offer personalized legal solutions that cater to the individual needs of your case.

Call Morgan & Murphy at (508) 966-7254 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.


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