Monthly Archives:January 2017

Proper Motorcycle Lane Positioning

28 Jan , 2017,
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More than just riding between the lines

Being smaller than the majority of road users is both an advantage and disadvantage of riding a motorcycle. However, many riders don’t give much active consideration to how they can apply a motorcycle’s advantages to help mitigate its disadvantages. Thanks to lane positioning options afforded by a bike’s small size, we can take proactive steps to keep those big, lumbering cars from becoming overly intimate with us.

The width of cars pretty much limits them to one place within a lane. If their driver can just keep it between the lines, they’re golden. Motorcycles, thanks to their being narrow, single-track vehicles, have a seemingly infinite number of slices within a lane that they can occupy. However, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll divide the lane into thirds: left, right and center. Think of these as lanes within the lane. Your choice of position within the lane can do two important things.

First, by creating a protective bubble of space around you (a “space cushion” in MSF parlance), you can give yourself more time to react should an inattentive car driver start claiming more than his fair share of the road. If you are traveling in the left lane overtaking a car on your right, you will be less vulnerable if you ride in the left third of the lane when passing through the car’s blind spot. Similarly, if a car is overtaking you, move to the third of the lane opposite that vehicle.

Motorcycle Lane Positons: Beside Pickup

Riding this close to an inattentive driver gives you no time to react. Make sure you have a space cushion.

The second benefit of lane positioning is that you can make yourself more visible to other traffic. If you’re following a car, stay in the center third so that your headlight can’t be missed in a car’s rear view mirror. Do the same when traveling in front of a car, too – but remember that a tail light doesn’t capture a driver’s attention as well as your high beam. When overtaking a car on its left, you can combine space cushioning with lane placement for better visibility.

As you approach the car, make sure you are in the right third of your lane, keeping your headlight in the car’s side mirror. Just before you enter the car’s blind spot, move to the left third of the lane and immediately move back to the right third once you are safely past the car. This keeps you as far as possible from the car when the driver can’t see you, but inserts your motorcycle back into their field of vision as you move in front of them. Your movement from the left to the right third of the lane should also attract the driver’s attention, pointing out that there’s someone new in front of them. As you navigate through traffic, you will constantly need to adjust your lane position to maximize your space cushion and visibility.

Unfortunately, traffic situations don’t always occur in ways that allow you to deal with them individually, as you could in the previous examples. Sometimes, if you pause for a moment, they will naturally separate in the flow of traffic, but in most cases, you’ll have to take what you’re given. In these instances, address the issues simultaneously.

Motorcycle Lane Positons: City Street

Maintain your cushion until you are past the vehicle and can place your bike into the driver’s line of sight.

If cars are both on the left and the right of your intended path of travel, choosing either side of the lane would compromise your space cushion with one of the vehicles. So, you’ll need to split the difference to get the most separation possible from both by passing them in the middle third of the lane. While this is not an ideal situation with either car, it does give you the best option for this scenario.

Make a game out of plotting the route you’d take while observing traffic – even if you’re not riding at the time. After all, isn’t having to constantly interact with your surroundings in an intellectually active way one of the attractions of riding? If you just wanted to sit on your ass traveling from point A to B, you’d be in a car…talking on a cell phone.

Finally, many riders neglect to consider the message they are sending to drivers with their lane position. The sad truth is that, as fewer people use their turn signals, drivers are being forced to make assumptions based on limited information about what the other road users are going to do.

Motorcycle Lane Positons: Wet Road

This rider has placed himself in a position to be more visible to the driver. If the car is overtaking the motorcycle, moving to the right would increase the space cushion as the car passed.

So, consider the signals you send to other road users through your actions within your lane. For example, how you would appear to an oncoming car when you ride in the left third of the left lane as you both approach an intersection? Your lane position could be misinterpreted as preparing to turn left, which could prompt the other driver to initiate his turn right in front of you. Instead, shift to the right third of your lane as you approach the intersection.

Could your shift to the right third of the lane be sending a different message when it occurs on a two-lane road rather than a four-lane one? Moving to the center of your lane on a two lane road would not give you as much of a space cushion, but there is less of a chance that your move will be interpreted as preparing to turn right than if you’d moved all the way over to the right third.

Either way, by moving away from the other car, you’ve increased your space cushion and clearly stated that you have no intention of turning left. Another benefit is that by switching positions, you’ve caused your headlight to waver, drawing the distracted driver’s attention to you.

Lane Positions: Three Motorcycles

As with any other riding skill, the more you use it, the more natural it becomes, so practice on every ride. Gradually, your choices of lane positioning will become intuitive, leaving you to use more of your concentration analyzing the traffic ahead of you – or just having fun with the wind in your face.

Ride To Survive – Ten Tips by motoDNA

13 Jan , 2017,
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Unfortunately for riders, its more perilous than ever riding a motorcycle these days.

Congestion, drivers using mobile phones, tailgating, poor road surface and just a general disregard for fellow human beings by aggressive drivers is making riding a motorcycle around Australian cities just not that much fun.

Here are ten tips to help you Ride To Survive.

1.  Wear Good Gear

Good riding gear is a must and can help hugely in reducing injury should the worst happen. There is a lot of cheap rubbish out there so always buy the best protective clothing and helmet you can afford.

Road Rider Kawasaki Bridge

2.  Attitude Shift

Its not fair that drivers use their mobile phone or tailgate but its important for riders to take responsibility for spotting these hazards as we are the ones that get hurt if it all goes wrong.

3.  Cover Brakes

Sometimes you need to react quickly and having your fingers on your brake lever reduces time trying to find it in an emergency.

4.  Scan

Riders should always be scanning for hazards, whether it is the road condition, mirrors, blind spots, texting drivers, etc . Make sure you are looking far enough ahead too.

5.  Training

As a trainer I see huge student skill gains even after one day of advanced training. Motorcycles are a lifelong journey and you should get regular training to keep your skills sharp. It’s a lot of fun too.


6.  Emergency braking

Emergency braking should be intuitive and practiced regularly. Start with using only the front brake and practice your way to including the rear plus changing down into first gear – just in case you have to make a hasty getaway from the tailgating cagers.

Start off by finding a quiet area with a slight uphill and make sure no one is behind you.

Think of braking in two stages. First setup; with light pressure, this will make the bike pitch forward, transferring vertical load onto the front tyre which increases grip.

Then squeeze the brake lever progressively, until you come to a complete stop. Never snatch at the brakes as this can cause the tyre to skid.

If the tyre begins to skid quickly release the brake and reapply.

15% of motoDNA students have the throttle on when they first practice emergency braking. We recommend you also pull the clutch in when you apply the brake, which negates this common issue.

7.  Road position

Your road position is dynamic which means it should change depending on the risk around you.

Imagine you are at the center of a safety bubble, the dimensions of which change in relation to the proximity of other road users, junctions and the condition and width of the road.

Safety Bubble

This creates a buffer zone between you and hazards, giving you more time to see, be seen and react.

Resist pressure to get pushed along by cars following too closely behind you.

It’s important that you keep that 3-second gap to the car in front so you can react in time to any hazards.

This also makes you more visible to other traffic users and you can also see more clearly around the car in front.

8.  Get To The Front

Bikes are lighter, narrower and more manoeuvrable than other vehicles, which is great for lane filtering. Getting to the front of the traffic at the lights means you can zoom away from the cars and get some space.

9.  Never Trust A Green Light

When you approach any junction you should be scanning for hazards. Never accelerate through the junction, cover your brakes, adjust your road position and scan that a car is not going to run their red light or stop sign and come out in front of you.

10.  Watch Your Speed

If you are fanging around the city in a rush it’s not going to end well for you. Chill out and and reduce your risk by watching your speed.

Practise Makes Perfect

There’s so many ‘experts’ online these days, so its super important to learn the correct techniques and then do lots of practise.

Make a plan, get training and improve your riding.



10 Jan , 2017,
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Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service Ian Stewart gives his personal road safety message to motorcyclists, and what Ridesafely4me means to him.

Who gives way at a roundabout?

5 Jan , 2017,
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Who gives way at a roundabout?

When approaching a roundabout you must give way to all vehicles already on the roundabout.

In some cases on a multi-lane roundabout, it may be necessary to change lanes before exiting. If you are changing lanes you must give way to vehicles in the lane you are moving to.

Video of giving way at roundabouts


Rising road toll drives campaign push

1 Jan , 2017,
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The New Year has heralded a renewed push for greater safety on Queensland roads following a rise in road deaths for 2016 compared to the previous year.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the rising road toll, and in particular motorcycle fatalities, was alarming.

“As we start a new year, sadly we are reflecting on the terrible carnage on our roads in 2016,” Mr Bailey said.

“The 2016 road toll stands at 250 – which is seven deaths more than for the previous year and 27 deaths more than our lowest figure of 223 lives lost in 2014.

“For the victims and their families, life will never be the same and this is absolutely heartbreaking.”

Mr Bailey said the government was committed to lowering road trauma and distractions like mobile phones and drink driving would be priorities in 2017.

“Taking your eyes of the off the road to look at your phone, even for a moment, means you could miss something critical happening ahead of you.

“Updating your status or checking your snaps isn’t worth risking your life or those of other road users.

“Drink driving continues to contribute to around one in every five people killed and one in every 12 people seriously injured on our roads.

“Next month we will ask the community what they think about tougher responses to drink driving through a discussion paper.”

Mr Bailey said a new Road Safety Action Plan would be released in July.

“This will show Queenslanders exactly what we will be doing over the next two years to make our roads safer,” he said.

“Our goal remains to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our roads, but as we have repeatedly warned that cannot be achieved by government alone.

“Our roads, our vehicles and our drivers have never been safer – the big challenge now is to reach out to individual Queenslanders who continue to take risks or fail to heed road rules.

“I urge drivers, riders, pedestrians, passengers and cyclists to all take ownership of their behaviour and travel safely and considerately.

“I especially plead with every motorcycle rider in Queensland to do the right thing on the road – ride to the speed limit, slow down in wet weather, wear a helmet and protective clothing, obey the road rules and don’t ride under the influence.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. If we all make a little effort, together we can have a huge impact.”

Mr Bailey said although Christmas and New Year was now over, the Palaszczuk Government would continue to urge motorists to keep safety top of mind when driving over the holiday period and into the future.

“Over the holiday season our “Memories” road safety campaign featured vintage holiday memories and experiences in a powerful message about the enduring impact of road trauma,” he said. “The campaign also encouraged people to get involved through social media by sharing their holiday memories on the Join the Drive website, and encouraging their family and friends to drive safely this holiday season.

“A new version similar in tone will also appear in the lead-up to Australia Day and other long weekends in 2017.

“People continue to enjoy holidays into the New Year and often travel to and from holiday destinations and I want people to remember to drive safely this holiday season.

“There will also be road safety reminders at the Brisbane Heat Big Bash games throughout January at the Gabba.

“Please drive safely and ensure your holiday memories are happy ones, as we all want a great, safe start to 2017.”

Road safety initiatives 2016-17

In February announced $5 million in funding for Round 5 of Community Road Safety Grants.
Held the fourth Safer Roads, Safer Queensland Forum, initiated by the Premier after the horrific Easter road toll in 2015
Road safety campaigns throughout the previous year will continue over the remainder of the school holiday period.
Delivery of road safety programs included:
Improved road infrastructure targeting highest risk locations
Rolling out the ‘Wide Centreline’ highway project
Motorcycle licencing reforms to ensure that testing and licensing requirements adequately prepare novice riders and encourage skill development. The changes include an off-road practical pre-learner training and assessment course, a minimum learner licence period of three months for all learner riders, an extension of the minimum RE (restricted) licence period to two years and stronger emphasis on riding behaviour and higher order skills in Q-Ride courses.
The installation of four new point-to-point speed cameras and 10 red light/speed cameras over the next two years to enhance the current program. (These cameras will be installed at locations that have a history of speed-related crashes or crashes involving motorists disobeying traffic lights.)
The Government is also continuing to address speeding in school zones and will install flashing school zone signs at a further 200 school zones in the next two years.