1. Get trained and licensed 2. Wear protective gear. Remember ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time). 3. Do NOT ride while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. 4. Ride within your own skill limits. 5. Be a lifelong learner by taking refresher rider courses.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course (BRC) should be your first step if you are new to riding, or want to learn how to ride a motorcycle properly. Also, if it has been years since you've been on a bike, the BRC will get you back into riding, safely.