Riding requires a high level of skill and
concentration. The higher the speed we travel the higher the
demands placed on us. We may be processing information, operating
the machine, planning routes and decision making all at once. All
this may have to happen in a split second. The average person has a
reaction speed of 0.7 seconds. For those with special training such
as pilots and police riders this may reduce further to 0.4 seconds.
However at 60mph you are travelling at 90 feet per second. The
faster you ride, the more is required of you. So the rider can do
much to improve their riding.
Below are some main points to consider when planning to ride.
They are not an exhaustive list and you may think of some yourself.
They are however a guide designed to make you think more about you,
Are you up to the task ahead?
Look at what’s planned for the day. What time did you get to bed
and how do you feel now. If your suffering a hangover stay indoors.
Not only may you be over the legal limit, but your brain won't be
up to the tasks involved in the simplest rides. Are you sick?
Riders need 100% concentration. If anything might affect this, stay
off two wheels. If you have no choice but to ride then ease back
and don’t ride beyond what you can cope with.
What’s the day like?
Riders enjoy or suffer the full range of the British weather. If
it's cold or wet, wrap up warm and wear something waterproof. If
you lose the feeling in your feet/hands then this could be
catastrophic for the rider. Not only do you need the range of
movement in your hands and feet, you also need to be able to move
on the bike. Riders also rely on the feel from the machine and this
can be affected by poor planning and poor clothing. If you can,
carry waterproofs and extra clothing, just in case.
Who’s more important?
Road rage is a rising problem. Road users are often seen in
competition with each other. The motorcyclist can little afford to
be drawn into a battle on the road. A car driver may only suffer a
few dents to their car whilst a motorcyclist may suffer injury or
even death if they let themselves get drawn into a situation. Look
to avoid conflict. Ride with your own preservation in mind and
never rise to the bad manners of others on the road. If you can, be
courteous to other road users and promote good riding/driving.
Remember, a professional is always calm and controlled. Concentrate
on the job at hand and relax into your riding.
Riders should check their bikes before any ride. We will give
you a useful reminder to help with this. Don’t just expect your
bike to be as you left it the last time you went out. All bikes
pick up road debris and nails/screws can be hidden on a tyre
allowing it to slowly deflate.
Petrol - Do you have
enough for the journey?
Oil - No engine can survive
Water - Most bikes have a
cooling system. Check the level.
Electrics - Check lights,
indicators and horn. You need them.
Rubber - Your bike needs
it's tyres more than any car. Check for damage, debris and
Only a lemming follows a fool.
Many riders ride together in groups. This can be both safe and
enjoyable. But don’t be sucked into a situation you know nothing
about. When overtaking and cornering make your own decisions. Just
because the bike ahead is going faster doesn’t mean that you need
to cut corners or take chances that any sane rider would shy away
from. Always assess each situation and make your own decision.
Don’t be lead into rash and rushed maneuvers that could result in a
fall. But always consider what to do if you come round the corner
to find that lead bike on the floor.
Take a break.
Riding can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. If you
don’t have experience of long rides then always plan to take a
break. If you're going far then look for a route which allows you
to stop and rest. In the summer you may lose more water than you
take on. Leathers make very good heat conductors and if you feel
the effects of either heat or cold coming on then stop as soon as
safe to do so. Remember that just because your bike may have a 200
mile range, it doesn’t mean that you have too.
Was that a bit close.
Most riders, from time to time, have a moment. That time when
you cringe and think that luck was on your side. It may have come
from a corner or an overtake. When this happens what do you do?
Some may just shrug it off as one of the risks of biking. Some may
even fool themselves that it was skill, not luck that got them out
the other side. Better would be to look back and analyse what
happened and how you can avoid a repeat. Look for errors and
lessons that could be learnt. Was it your mistake or someone
else’s? If you can identify a problem look to correct it and learn
from it. If you don’t then sooner or later you get caught out. Take
At this point sadly it’s all too late to rethink your
Can you see it coming?
Riders rely on their senses more than car drivers. They must be
at their most alert and nothing should be allowed to interfere with
them. Before setting off check the visor on your helmet and ensure
that it’s clean. A dead fly in your line of sight could mask a
sign, patch of oil or even a car. Take a cloth or paper towel with
you and check your helmet for road kill when ever you stop. If you
have a screen on your bike, which you look through, treat this the
same and keep it clean. Tinted visors are legal if correctly marked
for road use. However if you're traveling a long way remember if
the light fades then you mustn’t ride with one. Several riders have
lost their lives through obscured vision.