A motorcycle is a motorized bicycle with two wheels, usually suspended by a saddle or other platform on which the rider sits. It also has a rear wheel and handles for steering. Motorcycles have been a popular form of transportation and recreation for more than a century. They provide the thrill of a fast ride, as well as easy maneuvering and parking. They are used by police, military and many civilians as well. They are often more affordable than cars and are a convenient way to get around.

A variety of types and sizes of motorcycles are available on the market today. Motorcycles with small engines are called minibikes. These bikes are street-legal in some states but are not designed to be driven on freeways or highways. They are a lot of fun to ride, however, and can be very useful for beginners who want a bike that’s easier to handle than a full-size motorcycle. Honda, for example, has resurrected its Monkey bike, a tiny motorcycle that comes with a 125cc engine and has disc brakes and fuel injection.

To keep from causing a crash, new riders should practice riding in a safe area before taking their motorcycles into traffic. Alcohol and drugs (including some prescribed medications) negatively affect a person’s judgment, balance, coordination, throttle control, and ability to shift gears. They also impair the ability to react quickly to other vehicles and pedestrians.

Older men who buy Harley cruisers, in particular, make up a large percentage of the nation’s motorcycle fatalities. These prosperous middle-aged and older businessmen bring their big motorcycles out of their three-car garage or living room at least once a year for a brief cruise, and they contribute an unfair share to the annual tally of motorcyclist deaths.