How to turn ON and OFF your motorcycle?

How to turn ON and OFF your motorcycle? In my recent Facebook post, I asked “How do you switch off your motorcycle after riding” there were mixed answers and I appreciate all the comments given.

Whilst this is debatable over the years, I’ll share my opinion and I may be wrong but you can either agree or disagree with me.

The Details

As you know, there are various ways how to turn ON and OFF your motorcycle, be it via the ignition, kill switch or side stand, but what is the proper way?

First of all, Let’s try to understand the basics.

The Ignition Switch


The Ignition switch feeds electric to the kill switch on its way to the fuel pump relay and engine control relays. It is a series of connection. The ECU powered up the same way regardless of the switch (kill or ignition).

The Kill Switch


The kill switch is really just an engine turn-off switch, not a full-power shut-off switch. That means if you leave your key in the “ON” position when parked, your lights and gauges are still on. Obviously, this will drain your battery.

That said, the kill switch only affects the fuel pump and engine control. The remaining power loads to lights, horns & etc.

This kill switch is created for safety/emergency purposes, an emergency is when there is a dire need to turn off the engine immediately for various reasons. I.e. When the throttle is jammed at high speed and there is no time to take the hand off the handlebars to turn the ignition off. Just use the kill switch and the engine will be off and the motorcycle can be slowed down.



One should always remember where and what it’s for, by having your key ignition switched off, you are assured that all power is off to your bike including the engine circuit which is what the kill switch does. The kill switch is meant for Emergency situation BUT using the kill switch on a STATIONARY bike is NOT the same as using it when RIDING.

Some said, the frequent use of the kill switch can also cause the switch to stick and fail in the OFF position due to wear and tear of the contacts within but how often does this happen?

As you can see in the kill switch warning message above, it says do not operate this button while riding and you can actually use it when the bike is in a STATIONARY position but what is the proper way?

Therefore, the proper way to shut OFF/ON the motorcycle in a stationary position based on my personal opinion, i.e. when you parked can be via below:

To shut OFF:

Firstly, set the Ignition key switch to OFF position followed by setting the kill switch to OFF OR the Ignition key switch to OFF position, lay down the side-stand (If your bike has the cut-off sensor).

Note: You can just leave the emergency kill switch to ON at all times and just use the Ignition key switch to turn ON/OFF your motorcycle.

To turn ON/Start:

Firstly, turn ON the Ignition key switch, set ON the Kill switch (If you haven’t) and raise the Side Stand (If you have the stand sensor).

One of the comments that I’ve received from Hylife below makes sense too and perhaps it is the best practice.

“The side stand switch, the emergency kill switch and the tipover switch ground the coils to immediately kill any spark leaving all other circuits unchanged. The ECU recognises the grounded coils and cuts power to the fuel pump and injectors. Use of the kill switch instead of the key switch will shorten the life of your coils. The lock position on the key switch is to extend the steering locking pin after turning the handlebars to the far left.”

These are some of the common steps, either way, it’s all matter of preference and how you used to it but try not to use the kill switch button when you’re riding unless it is an emergency situation.

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