You don’t have to be the next Fred Astaire to ride a motorcycle well but the position of your feet is important.
Riding with the balls of your feet on the outer half of the foot pegs is a circuit racing technique. On the road, it has drawbacks. It induces more knee bend, hence less comfort, and your feet are further away from the controls.
For road riding, the best foot position is with both insteps on the footrests and toes neither pointing down or out too much. This lets you use the gear and rear brake levers quickly without lifting off the footrests.
Pushing on pegs makes negligible difference to where a motorcycle steers. It has a role in advanced racing technique but it is countersteering that turns the motorcycle. That’s what you need to concentrate on for road riding.
Using the pegs is important, however. Adjusting your body position is crucial to riding over hazardous surfaces and manoeuvring. Supporting your weight with the bars hampers steering and control. Weighting the pegs, with your lower body in contact with the motorcycle, aids stability.
There are two ways of using your feet. Whichever you choose, always keep the front brake on when stationary.
Support the bike with your right foot, using your left to raise the side-stand. Once you’ve started the engine put your left foot down for support, and right foot on the footrest. Change back to the right foot to select first with your left, then move away bringing your feet up to the pegs.
The main drawback comes where road camber makes the ground hard to reach on the left, or it’s uneven or slippery.
Use the above technique to start your bike. But, when you stop, lower your right foot to support the bike. This lets you cope with steep cambers or slippery surfaces on your left, such as roadside gravel or on a verge (your foot goes down on the firm carriageway.)
Two main downsides. When stopping, you have to take your foot off the rear brake, which is best for low speed manoeuvring. So you need to be static, or very gentle with the front brake, at the last moment. Secondly, when moving off, you need to get your foot up on the peg immediately to cover the rear brake.