Turn Right on a Motorcycle

Turning in traffic and staying balanced is essential to basic motorcycle safety. You can learn to properly negotiate a right-hand turn by staying aware of your surroundings, slowing and shifting properly, and leaning into the turn.

If you're curious to learn more about how to countersteer on a motorcycle, read this article.


  1. Examine the turn. As you're approaching your turn, make sure there are no traffic signals, road bumps, pedestrians, parked cars, or other obstacles that will keep you from turning accurately and safely. Look ahead of you to learn anything you'll need to know to make the turn.
    • Be aware of the grade of the turn, to get some idea of how much you'll need to slow down, and what gear you'll need to shift into.
    • Examine closely the quality and texture of the road. Is it wet? Is there any gravel or other conditions that might result in a skid?
  2. Initiate your turn signal. About 100 feet (30.48 meters) before your turn, initiate your turn signal to the right, to make other drivers aware of your intention to turn. If you don't have a functional turn signal, signal with your hand.
    • In the US and most European countries, cyclists signal a right turn by pointing right with the right hand.
    • In vehicles, however, it's common to signal a right turn by lifting the left arm at a right angle. Both of these are acceptable signals for a right turn.
  3. Check your position. First, check your mirrors for traffic behind you. Then check over your right shoulder to double-check your blind spots, and, if safe, move towards the center of the lane as much as possible, to make your turn more efficient. Keep a close watch for traffic behind you and traffic in the adjacent lane and move into position for the turn.
    • The gentler your turn, the higher the speed at which you may turn.
    • The sharper the turn, the more you'll need to slow down.
  4. Check for on-coming traffic and yield, if necessary. Make sure you look to the left for traffic coming through the intersection and straight ahead for traffic turning left.
    • In the United States, turning right on a motorcycle means you need to look for drivers turning left in front of you, pedestrians who may be crossing the street onto which you're turning, and possible bicycle traffic to your right.
    • In the UK and elsewhere in the world, turning right on a motorcycle means you need to yield to oncoming traffic and wait for an opening or an appropriate turning signal before negotiating the turn. You'll sometimes have to come to a full stop in the turning lane.
  5. Slow your speed and downshift. Depress the clutch and brake if necessary to slow the motorcycle to the appropriate speed for making the turn. Shift into a lower gear before you make the turn, to keep the bike at a consistent speed. Gently release or "feather" the clutch as you steadily increase the throttle. This assures that you don't put too much power to the tires and cause them to slide out.
    • Generally, for city driving conditions, second or third gear is appropriate for negotiating a turn at a moderate speed, though some bikes with V-twin engines, like Harley-Davidsons, will be more comfortable to turn at first gear. The higher low-end torque of these engines make back-wheel skid more likely.
    • All your speed adjustments and braking should be done prior to the turning motion, not during. Each turn will require a different degree of speed to make the turn safely, so much of this will have to do with your judgment and your feel of the bike and of the turn.
  6. Countersteer gently to make the turn. Initiate the turn by gently loosening your grip on the left handle of the handlebars, and pressing on the right side of the handlebar, tilting it gently left, and leaning into the turn.
    • Turning is mostly about leaning gently, not about turning the handlebars. You neither need to lean nor turn very much to negotiate the turn properly.
    • Make sure, if you have a passenger, that the passenger knows to lean into the turn, not out of it.
  7. Keep your head up. It's very important to look up, at where you want the motorcycle to go, not down at the front wheel, or directly in front of you. If you look straight at the object you wish to avoid you will likely hit it.
    • Never put your leg down to assist a turn. It's very easy to lose control of the bike and injure yourself this way.
  8. Accelerate out of the corner. Gradually apply power as you come out of the turn. This serves to settle the suspension of the bike and stabilize it.
    • It is a bad idea to brake or shift down in the middle of a corner, unless it is an emergency.


  • In the states the National Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers beginner and advanced courses. In many states these classes are free.


  • This is just a personal interpretation of the process. It's not the official way.

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