As motorcyclists, we encounter the dangers of the road every time we roll our tires onto the tarmac. Due to the inherent risk of riding a bike, beginners are flooded with tips and advice for negotiating public roads. Motorcycle knowledge doesn’t reach an endpoint once you pass the MSF course though. When acronyms like S.E.E. and I.P.S.G.A. retreat into the non-accessible recesses of your brain, it might be time to brush up on some safety information. As YouTuber Dan Dan The Fireman puts it, “every time you ride is a practice session” and in his latest video, he lays out 4 techniques motorcyclists should practice on every ride.
Ride Like People Don’t See You:
More specifically, ride like drivers don’t see you. But that’s not an endorsement for hot dogging or showboating, that means staying conscious of your visibility to other vehicles on the road—or lack thereof. To account for the latter, maintain a cushion between you and the vehicle up ahead. If your visibility beyond the car immediately in front of you decreases, increase your following distance.
Have An Escape Path At All Times:
At stops, DDFM promotes positioning yourself to the side of the vehicle ahead so you have an escape route if a driver approaching from the rear fails to stop. Even if you don’t have a chance to avoid a rear end collision, you’ll be in a position that doesn’t put you directly between the cars fore and aft. Dan also addresses merging on the highway and vacating other driver’s blind spots as quickly as possible. Sometimes the road ahead is an escape path in itself, it’s just one you need to take proactively.
Ride Within Your Limits:
If you’re wondering how to identify your limits, Dan describes it as “a situation that causes a slight panic.” Whether that’s pitching it in at high speeds or making a U-turn at low speeds, riders should constantly reevaluate their skills and stay within their comfort level when on the road. According to Dan, “panic must be avoided because (that’s when) humans tend to make mistakes.” But that’s not an excuse to avoid those situations entirely, that’s an opportunity to practice those skills in a controlled environment like a parking lot or local track.
Choose Favorable Lane Position:
This one goes hand-in-hand with the tip #2 and Dan goes on to say, “good lane position allows you to be seen and for you to see oncoming hazards.” Lane position should be fluid, not static. Depending on the situation, riders should utilize lane positions 1, 2, or 3 to maximize their sight, their visibility to other drivers, and their stopping distance.
Yes, you may be an experienced rider but there’s always room for improvement and more knowledge to gain. Isn’t that half the fun of this sport anyways?