Purchase all the chocks and straps you want, but safe driving is still crucial to safe towing. If your motorcycle is properly secured on a trailer, then towing it is much like towing any other trailer. Your cargo essentially becomes an extension of your towing vehicle, affecting vehicle maneuverability and various aspects of performance. You're not just driving your truck anymore. You're driving a truck and a trailer.
If you're towing a large motorcycle trailer that's designed to hold more than one bike, the trailer may be wider than your vehicle. If this is the case, you'll want to keep this size difference in mind when making turns. In addition, be careful when braking. You don't just have to bring your vehicle to a stop; you have to bring thousands of pounds worth of cycle and trailer behind you to a stop, too. More mass means greater momentum and inertia, so be prepared to start applying the brakes early.
Of course, you won't have to worry about hitting the brakes too early if you avoid driving too fast to begin with. Many trailer manufacturers recommend keeping it down to 45 mph (72 kph). Keeping your speed down has the added bonus of helping to preventing three unwanted results: overheated trailer bearings, a jostled motorcycle and trailer sway. Trailer sway occurs due to an unbalance in the trailer, such as shifting cargo, a low tire or suspension problems. Whatever the reason, the trailer begins to sway back and forth behind the towing vehicle, much like a fish tail. If the sway worsens, the trailer can wind up jackknifing. Luckily, motorcycle-towing trailers are typically designed symmetrically and experience little or no weight redistribution during travel, so long as they've been properly secured. You can also cut down on sway by using friction bars, which absorb some of the trailer's momentum while braking.
Don't be like Larry. By following basic motorcycle trailer safety, you transport your ride and avoid unnecessary death and destruction in the process.
Explore the links below to learn even more about motorcycle driving and towing.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Towing Your Trailer Safely." 2007. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648pt12.htm
- Fast Master Products. Oct. 17, 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.cruiserlift.com/
- Hayes Trailer Sales. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.hayestrailersales.com/
- "The Little Known Pitfalls Of A Motorcycle Tow." Custom Choppers Guide. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.custom-choppers-guide.com/motorcycle-tow.html
- "Motorcycle Tie-down Procedure." Sport Utility Trailers. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.sportutilitytrailers.com/motorcycle-tie-down-procedure.htm
- MotorcycleTrailer.com. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.motorcycletrailer.com/
- Rocket Motorcycle Trailers. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.rocketmotorcycletrailers.com/
- Sports Utility Trailers. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.sportutilitytrailers.com/
- "Stinger Motorcycle Trailer." Wikco.com. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.wikco.com/stngrtrlr.html
- Strickland, Jonathan. "How Trailer Towing Safety Works." HowStuffWorks.com. Sept. 30, 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) https://auto.howstuffworks.com/trailer-towing-safety.htm
- "Towing Guide." Sports Utility Trailers. 2008. (Oct. 22, 2008) http://www.sportutilitytrailers.com/motorcycle-utility-boat-trailer-towing-guide.htm