Monday, August 13, 2012
Touring Tip: Exercising Good Riding Judgement
Written by: RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel
A young man on a sportbike was following a heavily laden dump truck on a four-lane city street in front of my place of employment. The rider apparently became frustrated with the truck’s slow rate of progress in the left lane and, in a split second, swerved into the right lane to pass. What the rider didn’t realize was that the truck was slowing to make a wide cross-lane turn into a construction site on the right. It took first responders quite a while to dislodge the motorcycle and its rider from beneath the truck’s rear wheels.
There are several factors, all of them mental, which can compromise a rider’s otherwise good judgement:
Here are my five recommendations for exercising good riding judgement:
1. Take Your Time: If you’re late for a meeting or some other important appointment across town, it would be better to park your bike and take a cab, rather than pushing your limits through traffic. Whether you’re riding in the country or in an urban environment, motorcycling is supposed to be fun. Always ride at a safe speed.
2. Look Before You Leap: Don’t rationalize known riding risks and always be observant and thoughtful about identifying those that aren’t immediately obvious. I think there is a little voice in the back of our minds that tells us when we’re doing this—listen to it and ride accordingly!
3. Leave Your Ego in the Garage: Just like in a lot of other life situations, if you have an overly active ego, you can find yourself in a predicament. Because a motorcycle provides little, if any, crash protection, a rider has to be on top of his or her safe riding game at all times. Don’t take your ego along on a ride, it really is excess baggage that can cloud your riding judgment.
4. Stay Within Your Comfort Zone: If you’re ever feeling a little unsafe on a ride, that’s because you are unsafe. Exercise an “iron will” by always staying within your riding comfort zone. Your subconscious mind let’s you know when you’re outside your own personal safe riding envelope. Don’t ignore it! Really do “ride your own ride!”
5. Learn from Your Mistakes and those of Others: It’s important during and after a ride to reflect on any errors in judgement that you might have made and resolve not to repeat them. There is also much to be gained by learning from the mistakes of others so you can avoid those also.
Of course, not every random act of nature or acts of other humans can be anticipated and avoided, but riding with good judgment can go a long way in reducing your risk of an accident.