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How To Accelerate Your Motorcycle Skills – To Infinity And Beyond

21 Apr , 2017,
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Hack Your Ride

 How To Accelerate Your Motorcycle Skills – To Infinity And Beyond

What’s the difference between the average Joe rider and VR46?

We all steer, brake, throttle, lean, look …

Everyone has arms, legs, brain …

So why are some riders better than others?

Apart from fitness, riding motorcycles is all in your head and here’s why.

 Does Your Ambition Outweigh Your Talent

The first thing is to be honest with your ability.

Here lies a big problem, because humans are programmed with a cognitive bias.

Unskilled riders can suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability much higher than is true.

This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their incompetence.

In English please …

Many unskilled riders think their skill level is much higher that reality.

Say thanks to Dunning-Kruger for the scientific evidence and be honest with yourself.

You may be significantly more unskilled that you perceive.


Road riders need good skill to ride safely and proficiently, reducing the chance of a panic reaction on the street and racers need high skills to win!

If you are a road rider think about this, nearly half of motorcycle crashes on the road are single vehicle accidents.

This means riders are crashing all by themselves.

A small-unexpected trigger such as gravel, an oncoming car across the white line, riding too hot into a corner … often leads to a panic reaction making a minor problem into a big problem which could have been avoided with higher skills.

The rider often lacks adequate understanding of their own limit and the limit of their bike and tyres.

Its way too easy, to get a motorcycle license and getting your license is only the beginning of your journey.

Plus, having higher skills would almost certainly help you avoid other typical crashes involving cars.

Check out the typical skills gap of licensed riders to proficient riders below.

(Data from motoDNA Riders Academy, QLD, Australia)

 Training Environment

Practice in a controlled environment where you can make mistakes with low risk.

Hint, this is not on public roads.

I’ve been through that and trust me it’s a whole world of pain or worse.

Now, most controlled environments tend to be race-tracks.

This clearly doesn’t mean that all training at these venues is for racing – duh.

I hear a lot of BS about “that’s just for racers” normally from the small minded and training companies that only train on the open road.

The importance of practicing in a controlled environment is even recognized by government these days with Queensland’s new pre-learner course now part of the licensing process.

Think for yourself, benefits of training on a track are plenty.

One way, no furniture, no police, heaps of space and no speed limit in a fun and engaging environment with other like-minded folks.

On the track you can run wide, you can run off line and over shoot corners without too much of a problem and you are learning by making small low risk mistakes.

On the road you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

 Find A Ride Hacker

A coach’s job is to inspire, guide and nurture you safely through your riding journey.

First thing, what’s your coaches safety record?

I’m amazed at the attitude of some trainers that you need to crash to learn?

This is rubbish.

A good coach can spot a rider trending towards a crash and bring you back on track with the correct attitude and techniques for your ability.

But to get good you need a coach that understands flow.

 What is flow?

The Psychologist Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as an exhilarating feeling of transcendence.

You trust your skills and ride intuitively without worry or doubt; resulting in feelings of joy and effortlessness.

Flow is the ultimate performance state where you feel and perform at your best.

To achieve flow a person’s body or mind need to be stretched in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

Flow appears between boredom and anxiety in what scientists call the flow channel – the spot where the task is hard enough to make us stretch but not too difficult enough to make us snap.

You don’t need to be the best rider in the world to experience flow but you do need to overcome challenges to achieve a sense of mastery in your riding.

The coach’s job is to guide the rider through this flow path, balancing out the challenge to skill ratio.

If the challenge is too low you won’t achieve flow.

You will also not increase your skill and you will stay in your comfort zone.

If the challenge is too high, you will make mistakes, be inconsistent and at a higher risk of crashing.

The trick is to ride slightly outside your comfort zone, increasing your challenge in 5% steps.

Then practice riding at this new level until it becomes intuitive.

This could be increasing your braking performance, leaning the bike over further than you have done before, lifting your eyes to improve vision or increasing your precision and consistency.

Your skill level has now gone up by 5%.

Everyone is different and some riders improve quicker than others, but a good coach can help you find your unique access points into flow which helps play to your strengths also creating more fun with your riding.

So stop spending large on the bling and go faster bits, when the biggest performance gains come from investing in the spacer, you know, the one between the handlebars and seat.

Hack Your Ride


Think you can speed safely? Think again.

23 Mar , 2017,
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Think you can speed safely? Think again.

A new Easter road safety campaign is urging drivers to rethink their speeding habits on Queensland roads.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the campaign – ‘Let’s change the way we look at speed’ – highlights the dangers of low-level speeding.

“Around half of all speed-related crashes which kill or seriously injure people on our roads happen at just 10km/h or less over the speed limit,” Mr Bailey said.

“Speeding contributed to nearly a quarter of the road toll last year, but many motorists still think they can speed safely.

“The new advertisement shows how everyday people can be adversely affected by speed through one wrong choice on the road.

“It challenges viewers to change the way we look at speed by showing the negative effects of speeding from the different points of view of those involved.”

Mr Bailey said the campaign will run for three weeks throughout the busy Easter school holiday period.

“We know the Easter holidays are a busy time on Queensland roads, with many families driving to their holiday destinations,” he said.

“Unfortunately, when we see an increase in traffic, we often also see an increase in the number of crashes on our roads.

“More than 250 people lost their lives on Queensland roads last year. They aren’t just statistics – they are loved ones.

“I urge all motorists to put safety first every time they get behind the wheel – especially during the Easter holiday period.

“There are no excuses for speeding. It is up to all of us to take responsibility for our driving behaviour if we want to prevent these avoidable tragedies.”

Mr Bailey said the campaign was part of the Queensland Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan, which aimed to drastically reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on state roads, and included 57 initiatives totalling more than $500 million to be implemented over two years.

The ‘Let’s change the way we look at speed’ campaign includes television and radio commercials, online/digital advertising, outdoor billboards, regional press advertising, a strong social media presence, and a comprehensive speed section on the Join the Ride to Save Lives website.

For more information about the campaign, visit

Tips to stay safe on the roads during the Easter period:

– Plan ahead to avoid driving after drinking – organise a lift, catch a cab or public transport, designate a driver or stay at a mate’s place.

– Never use your phone while driving – it is little different to driving drunk.

– Don’t rush – stick to the speed limit and allow extra time for your journey.

– Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road and make sure you take regular breaks on long trips – fatigue kills.

– Always buckle up.

– Drive to the conditions – increase your following distances and drive slower than the signed speed limit if stuck in bad weather (or delay your trip until the weather clears).

– Download the new QLDTraffic app for the most up-to-date traffic and travel information.


RACQ joins Ride to Work Day

28 Feb , 2017,
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The RACQ is supporting the first annual Ride to Work Day tomorrow (March 1, 2017) organised by the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland.

RACQ technical and safety officer Steve Spalding, a Suzuki Bandit owner and frequent motorcycle commuter, says he hopes the ride will alert motorists to the number of riders on the road.

“These Ride to Work days also help raise awareness of motorcycles on the road and remind other road users to think about their safety and give them a safe space in city traffic,” he says.

“It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of motorcycles as an option for commuting where parking cost savings can be made.”

RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding takes Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey for a ride on his Bandit

RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding takes Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey for a ride on his Bandit

Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns says riders are “often overlooked or ignored” when it comes to seeking solutions to transport issues.

“For every motorcycle or scooter that is used instead of a car there is a space saving on the road and a fuel use reduction of approximately 50% which results in a considerable positive outcome for the issues of congestion and pollution,” he says.

He hopes that message will be delivered to the authorities by establishing Ride to Work Day as a major event in coming years.

Several other states have Ride to Work days and the MRAQ used to organise an event more than a decade ago. Now Chris wants to resurrect the event.

He says this year will be a “soft start”, but he hopes it will be “bigger and better in coming years”.

Chris says now is a good time to kickstart Ride to Work Day as Queensland recently celebrated the second anniversary of the introduction of lane filtering.

He says the the MRAQ was “heavily involved” in having the welcome legislation introduced.

“So there is even more benefit now to making a motorcycle or scooter the means of transport to work due to our ability to move through road congestion more swiftly,” he says.

Ride to Work even if you work from homeRide to work day MRAQ

Motorbike Writer works from home, but will ride into Park Rd tomorrow morning in support of rider/commuters, regardless of the weather conditions.

If you work from home, too, you are invited to join us for coffee and a chat.

Motorbike Writer believes that more riders visible in commuter traffic might encourage motorists to see us and/or leave a gap for filtering.

Who else plans to ride to work tomorrow? Please share this article with your friends and encourage them to join you.


Motorcycle and scooter riders urged to ride to work

23 Feb , 2017,
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Queensland riders are being urged to ride to work next Wednesday (March 1, 2017) in an effort to re-establish the annual Ride to Work Day and raise awareness among motorists of motorcycles and scooters.

Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns says riders are “often overlooked or ignored” when it comes to seeking solutions to transport issues.

“For every motorcycle or scooter that is used instead of a car there is a space saving on the road and a fuel use reduction of approximately 50% which results in a considerable positive outcome for the issues of congestion and pollution,” he says.

He hopes that message will be delivered to the authorities by establishing Ride to Work Day as a major event in coming years.

Several other states have Ride to Work days and the MRAQ used to organise an event more than a decade ago. Now Chris wants to resurrect the event.

“As this is the first year we are attempting this, we are only going with a very soft start with the intention to get it bigger and better in coming years,” he says.

“Accordingly, we are only promoting it through social media with the intention for this year that it be just an awakening.”

Chris says now is a good time to kickstart Ride to Work Day as Queensland recently celebrated the second anniversary of the introduction of lane filtering.

He says the the MRAQ was “heavily involved” in having the welcome legislation introduced.

“So there is even more benefit now to making a motorcycle or scooter the means of transport to work due to our ability to move through road congestion more swiftly,” he says.


Ride to Work challenge to all riders

So, next Wednesday, we want to see as many riders as possible riding into work on their motorcycle or scooter.

We often complain motorists don’t see us or leave a gap for filtering … well now is a chance to make our numbers known.

It might be difficult because of forecasts for rain next week, but Motorbike Writer challenges you all to suit up and ride with pride!

Who plans to ride to work next Wednesday? Please share this article with your friends and encourage them to join you.

Motorcycle and scooter riders urged to ride to work

170301 MRAQ Ride to Work Day


New QLDTraffic technology lets you check, plan, go

21 Feb , 2017,
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A new traffic and travel information system has been launched to help more Queenslanders better plan their journey before hitting the road.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey launched QLDTraffic at the Brisbane Traffic Management Centre today, which will replace the old 131940 website.

“Our new system will provide dynamic and real-time travel information through a new website and smartphone app, as well as a phone service and on social media,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’ve listened to Queensland motorists and considered their needs in developing simple, intuitive tools to share vital traffic information.”

On the refreshed QLDTraffic website, users can view all available traffic information on both an interactive map and filterable list.

“Motorists can plan their journey by address or popular location names and select their preferred route based on multiple travel modes, estimated travel times, and live traffic information,” Mr Bailey said.

“Users can also filter traffic information by event type such as crash, flooding, roadworks or hazard, while looking at active and future events.”

Mr Bailey said the updated technology, including the new app, would be helpful during the upcoming Easter holiday period.

“QLDTraffic displays alerts and warning messages about incidents impacting a particular road, area or region, and allows you to view live traffic camera feeds.”

The new smartphone app is a response to continuing growth in smartphone access to the QLDTraffic website and its predecessor,

Mr Bailey said the QLDTraffic app provided users with personalised push notifications for important traffic alerts that affect their favourite routes and places.

“It also lets us reach out to drivers about nearby traffic alerts in a safe way by giving them audio notifications while they’re on the road,” he said.

QLDTraffic data is updated in real-time and around the clock by state traffic management centres and other trusted partners.

“Our information is based on intelligence from members of the public, Queensland Police and our emergency management services, the RACQ and other Government agencies, just to name a few,” Mr Bailey said.

“As soon as we get verified information about traffic incidents, we will share it with motorists via our website and app, the 13 19 40 phone service and our Twitter feeds.”

“We also support the private sector in producing traffic services, having offered our live information as free, open data.

“This is all about delivering great services for Queenslanders and responding to their expectations for a safe and efficient transport network.”

QLDTraffic is the State Government’s official service for accurate and timely traffic information, helping Queensland motorists get to their destination safely.

Visit , download the QLDTraffic app, follow us on Twitter or call 13 19 40 to check and plan before you go.


On-Road Motorcycle Rider Training Program Returns To the Gold Coast

16 Feb , 2017,
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There have been plenty of calls in recent times for an affordable road based rider training program to be re-introduced on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Rising crash rates and increased injuries and fatalities in the region have created concern among both authorities and rider groups.

As fatalities in the region reach numbers not seen in almost 10 years, the Australian Road Safety Foundation and Motorcycle Life have joined forces with the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast to develop the SMART Rider Program.

The SMART Rider Program will help riders to identify risks, give them strategies to avoid those risks and to make better decisions on the road.

Whether you’ve been riding for a while, you’re just new or coming back to riding after a long break, the SMART Rider Program will help you to be a better rider.

The Program is a full day training course involving theory sessions, demonstrations, facilitated discussions, and a mentored road ride in the environment where riders spend most of their time – public roads.

The program begins in March and riders from the Gold Coast and surrounding areas can now register for the course at

One of the aims in developing the course was to keep it affordable, and the program has been funding has been provided by the Queensland Government Road Safety Grants.

That has allowed the course fees to be kept to just $95 per day.

For more information go to or call 1300 961 335.

MRAQ New Design-3 crop

MEDIA RELEASE Reporting of motorcycle crash statistics

14 Feb , 2017,
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The MRAQ is always in full support of the promotion of safety issues targeted at all road users and more specifically motorcycle riders and pillions and actively encourages all riders to gain addition training and skills plus to always ride with-in the limits of each individual’s ability, however it is far too often the case that inaccurate or misleading data and statistical information is used when referenced in some media and Government output on these items.

Most commonly the raw figure of fatality numbers is used to highlight the need for action to be taken in relation to motorcycle safety and although this information does form part of the necessary statistical data that should be used for the generation of discussion or action it does not tell the whole story of what is happening on the matter and the consideration of other available statistical information should also be included. The most common information that gets ignored either by ignorance of its existence or by wilful exclusion is the relationship between crash rates and the number of vehicles on the road. This relationship cannot be ignored as it obviously will have a great impact on the possibility of being involved in a crash if the number of vehicles greatly alters.

For a considerable period of time motorcycles have represented the highest percentage increase group for registrations of all road users year on year. This increase rate can be best highlighted by comparing the registered amount of motorcycles on Queensland roads for the years June 2005 and June 2016. In this period the number of registered motorcycles increased by almost 100% from approx. 101000 in 2005 to approx. 198000 in 2016 and yet the fatality rate for these two years is almost the same with a number of individual years in between at a lower rate. This represents a decrease of approx. 50% in the fatality rate versus registered vehicle for the period. No other registered vehicle road user group has had such a percentage decrease. When this additional information is considered, and although as previously stated that the MRAQ encourages all riders to increase and accurately consider their own skills levels it can justifiably be claimed that in fact there has never been a safer time to be riding a motorcycle.

The MRAQ calls on parties that may be at any time considering the statistical data associated with motorcycles to use all the available information to its best effect and not ignore any part of the whole picture.


Chris Mearns

MRAQ President

Motorcyclists over 40 more likely to die on Queensland roads than young men

Men aged 40 and over account for 75 per cent of all motorbike deaths in Queensland, with the latest police figures challenging the long-held notion that young men are the biggest risk.

Eight people have already died in motorcycle accidents on state roads this year, with six of them aged 40 or over.

There were 12,028 motorcycles registered in Queensland in 2014-16.

In 2016, motorbike riders made up less then 4 per cent of all road used in Queensland.

Sixty-two riders and pillions died in 2016, accounting for a quarter of all road fatalities.

Queensland police Inspector Peter Flanders said speed, inexperience, and loss of control were the main contributors.

“Disproportionately, people dying on motorcycles are blokes my age,” he said.

“It’s not girls, it’s not the younger people — it’s blokes my age — and if you need to know I’m just over 50.

“We need to understand what switches on in blokes my age on a Saturday morning.

“[They] change from this calm, considered, collective, loving husband during the week, to this total fool on the weekend.

“I’ve been riding bikes for a long time, and I shudder when I see the figures every year.”
Other road users not the problem

Police statistics also debunk another commonly held belief that other road users were the main cause of motorcycle crashes.

Figures for 2016 showed two-thirds of motorbike crashes were caused by the rider.

The year before, 971 people were treated in hospitals after coming off a motorbike.
Loss of friend prompts safety campaign

Richard Wall’s best friend Dave Bailey died when he crashed his bike on the popular weekend route on Mt Nebo, north-west of Brisbane in 2015, just eight weeks after his wedding.

It was Mr Bailey’s 34th birthday and he had done the ride dozens of times before.

“He came off the road on a left-hand turn … hit a tree, and received fatal injuries,” Mr Wall said.

“The level of guilt that you feel when you’re supposed to be there and you feel like you could have done something to prevent it from happening.”

Mr Wall organised a memorial ride this month for his friend and started the RideSafely4Me campaign, aimed at reducing rider impulsiveness.

“RideSafely4Me is effectively about making people think twice when they throw their leg over the bike, and think about the people that would miss them if they were to do something stupid,” he said.

The Queensland Government recently launched a safety campaign featuring five-time world MotoGP champion Mick Doohan.

Doohan said riders had to develop a high level of awareness so they could read the road, the conditions, the potential hazards and stay focused and in control.

Inspector Flanders said buying a sports bike or cruiser was often an emotional decision.

“The majority of trips are for pleasure and not for work, so the challenge is to sell the objectivity — and I don’t know how we actually do that,” he said.


Motorcycles Are Learning to Save You From Your Own Recklessness

11 Feb , 2017,
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We all like to open it up every now and again, and Bosch is outfitting superbikes with the tech to make it safer.

A decade ago, rider skill was the last word in motorcycle performance. Until then, the dream for many riders was that in some far-off future, with enough practice, you might just be able to master your motorcycle. In the dream, you’d slide sideways into corners and spin up the rear tire on the way out, pull big wheelies at will, then haul it up safely in the worst of conditions.

The vast majority of riders never achieved this level of mastery—the job has instead been completed by PhDs around the globe who have been working feverishly to ease the rider’s workload. Their efforts have made the bikes themselves so capable that all riders will forever be playing catch-up—and none will ever succeed.

Even if computers haven’t quite “solved” motorcycling the way they’ve “solved” chess—and, more recently, the ancient Chinese strategy board game Go—the most advanced riding aids can now interpret a rider’s throttle and brake inputs and then dispatch more appropriate outputs with a level of precision and accuracy that even the world’s most skilled riders cannot hope to match.

Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control.

At first glance, it might seem that these technological advances could demoralize a rider—or a board game player—who wants to polish his skills. He’s no longer measuring himself against human, fallible giants like MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, or Go world champion Lee Sedol. His ultimate match is now against the unbeatable Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) and its Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) (or in the case of games, Deep Blue and AlphaGo).

The Bosch MSC system runs behind the scenes of the top Ducatis, BMWs, and KTMs, and it uses a 6-axis accelerometer—the IMU—as well as suspension sensors to infer the instantaneous dynamic state of the motorcycle and send that information to a group of advanced safety systems. Thus informed, the rapid-pulsing ABS can brake at the limit, redistributing braking force between the front and rear wheels to help keep the motorcycle on track, even in mid-corner. Traction control minimizes rear-wheel slippage to ease rider workload and improve acceleration.

Anti-wheelie systems on older bikes worked by comparing front and rear wheel speeds—as soon as the rear wheel went faster than the front, the computer cut power. By interpreting the accelerometer’s data, however, Bosch’s system can deduce the bike’s pitch, and allows the front wheel to rise into the air without cutting power to the engine. The Super Duke GT also have semi-active suspension that can change damping settings thousands of times during a ride.

After a few highway miles aboard KTM’s 180 bhp, IMU-equipped Super Duke GT, it’s easy to wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s blindingly fast, but not faster than many conventional superbikes built in the last twenty years. In fact, during normal riding there’s only one clue that there’s a powerful gyroscopic brain lurking inside: when you lean into a bend at night, a bank of cornering lights turns on to light up the inside of the corner. If you don’t push the bike’s limits, you’ll never get a whiff of the IMU’s brilliance.

Fire the Super Duke GT down a mountain road, however, and prepare to recalibrate your idea of what a motorcycle can be.

The combination of the ABS and IMU systems can so effectively evaluate the interface between the tires and the road that the bike frees up the mental effort you had dedicated to assessing—or rather estimating—available traction. Instead of concentrating on the whole picture—deer, crests, slight changes in camber, etc.—you find yourself riding faster than ever before, and yet you remain mentally fresh when you finally stop.

However, to experience the magic of the IMU, your riding style must change. You must trust the computer. Leave the throttle wide open and the front wheel will lift over every crest, but the anti-wheelie will bring it back down again—sometimes many times on one straight. Your job becomes to avoid sand and diesel spills, and avoid coming into corners way too hot. Do that, and the bike will take care of any lingering worry you had about your ability to perform a mid-corner panic stop if you find yourself faced with an unanticipated obstacle. The IMU and ABS units are always waiting in the wings, waiting to take over and finesse the brakes at a moment’s notice.

At night, in the wet, the systems are even more impressive—and easier to exploit. On a motorcycle, both tire’s contact patches provide a constantly varying amount of grip as they cross over paint stripes and manhole covers, or are weighted and unweighted during acceleration and braking. On a conventional bike, the rider must avoid demanding more from the brakes or throttle than the available grip can provide—otherwise the tires will slide. On the KTM, the systems provide the rider with the option to keep each contact patch at the limit, effectively using the maximum available grip at all points during a maneuver. The effect is to reveal shocking amounts of available grip, even when there are a few slippery portions of road.

There is no longer a need to warm up mentally, or even to warm up the tires. All you have to do is keep the contact patches off zero-grip surfaces. The sketchiest part of my alpine blast was when I crossed a patch of gravel on the inside of a corner that had recently been resurfaced. The wheels slid sideways. Today’s electronics packages, impressive as they are, cannot handle this situation, However, Fevzi Yildirim—head of Bosch’s motorcycle safety group—dreams of a day when gyroscopes or outriggers or air blasts could deal with this type of loss of traction.

The KTM’s various electronic-aid packages can be turned off individually, but after you change the settings, you have to retune yourself. Without ABS, a panic stop demands more finesse at the levers. Do away with traction control and beware opening the throttle while leaned-over. Oh, and traction control and wheelie control are part of the same package—turn them off, and IMU will no longer intervene to help you tame that rising front wheel.

You’re faced with a now-eternal conundrum: are you able to recalibrate yourself well enough to justify the increase in fun against the increased risk of an accident? Reconfigurable electronics lead to second-guessing while riding at the limit—never a good thing.

Pushing one of these bikes to the limit is the thrilling intersection between science and sport. More than 100 years of development in tires, brakes, engines, and now electronics work together to put you in danger and simultaneously protect you from it.

There are instances where the electronics find themselves at odds with the spontaneous nature of motorcycle riders. The machine doesn’t know in advance when I’m going to want to wheelie for a group of kids, slide into a corner, or do a stoppie when I come up alongside one of my friends at a stoplight. At the same time, I can’t know when a deer is going to cross my path mid-corner, or when there will be a bit of sand in a braking zone. Maybe one day, bikes will deduce what electronic aids we want during a given maneuver by interpreting our control inputs. Until then, riders must choose in advance what electronic aids they want.

Recent flagship superbikes without IMUs upset the balance between road and machine. They were too powerful to deploy on unpredictable roads—either you were a poseur or a menace. Now, the electronics have enlarged the margin of safety, particularly at high speeds. The meanest bikes and the world’s most challenging and enjoyable roads once again find themselves in harmony.


Stricter quad bike laws are now in force

1 Feb , 2017,
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FROM today 1/2/2017 all quad bike riders and passengers will need to wear a helmet.

Previously riders could use registered and unregistered quad bikes on private property – such as farms – without one.

The changes that have come into effect also ban children under the age of 8 and kids who can not reach the footrests from riding on any quad bikes or utility off-road vehicles (also known as all-terrain vehicles).
Anyone who breaches the new helmet law will be fined $365 and hit with three demerit points.

This offence will also be subject to existing motorcycle helmet double demerit point penalties.

So if a rider commits two or more motorcycle helmet offences occur within 12 months, the second and subsequent offences will incur double demerit points.

But Bundy farmers are ahead of the safety game.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Allan Mahoney said while the farm he manages already does what is now legally required, he was pleased safety was becoming a priority for all quad bike users.

“Everyone is on board with the rules,” Mr Mahoney said.

“The change doesn’t impact registered vehicles which already had these rules, but it’s good to see everything stepping up,” he said.

“Anything we can do to keep safety a priority is great – any death is one too many.

“Hopefully it will keep new riders safe. It’s about respecting the equipment.”

Quad bikes have evolved to become a key aspect of farming.

“They are great for just getting from farm block to block, because there can be a great distance in between,” Mr Mahoney said.

“They are also used when we do spot spraying and carrying equipment.

“They are a great tool – I don’t know where we’d be without them.”

According to the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, the new rules apply to conditionally registered quad bikes and ATVs being used on Queensland roads and road-related areas.

The changes were put in place to make quad bike and ATV rules more consistent with road rule laws.

Queensland Workplace Health and Safety said current exemptions from wearing a helmet would still apply, provided the vehicle had seatbelts and roll-over protection.

They also had advice for quad bike riders not keen on wearing full-face helmets.

“A major quad bike distributor has developed a helmet specifically for quad bike use that will be available in the coming months.

“The Shark brand helmet is made for Australian conditions and is lightweight, cooler and does not impact vision or hearing.”

Mr Mahoney said he used open-faced helmets on the farm and, while they are uncomfortable and hot, he’d rather be safer.

He hasn’t tried the new Shark helmet yet.

“But it’s supposed to be lightweight so I’m sure it will be welcomed on farms,” Mr Mahoney said.


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.