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.
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.
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.
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.
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.