Riding Distractions to Avoid

Posted in: Rider Training and Safety | March 16, 2017


Most people see tips about the distractions of riding a motorcycle as self-evident and common sense, and they are right. However, like everything else that seems simple and straightforward, recognizing the potential for distraction before you get on your motorcycle and planning ways to avoid or eliminate those potential distractions could, at worst, make your ride a little less stressful and, at best, keep you out of a potentially devastating situation.

1. Using Your Cell Phone While Riding… Really??

avoiding riding distractions

Talking on your cell phone while you ride is a major source of distraction at best and a recipe for a dramatic accident at worst. Ontario has banned cell phone use while driving… but as a motorcycle rider do you really need that
incentive to leave your cell phone in its holster while you ride? Hands free devices are legal in most provinces, but this activity still reduces your focus on the road to a significant extent. The safest action is to pull over if you need to make a call. We find it hard to believe that we would even have to bring up the concept of texting while riding, but just in case… don’t. do. it.

2. Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking while riding

Again, just like cell phone use, occupying your hands and attention with anything other than controlling your bike is certain to increase the chances of your getting into an accident by an incredible margin. Sit and relax in the restaurant while you enjoy your lunch. Concentrate on your cigarette while your motorcycle is on its kickstand and the ignition is in the off position.


3. Take regular breaks during long tripsavoiding riding distractions

When you’re riding for long periods of time, take a break at least once every couple of hours. Rider fatigue is a contributing factor in a high
percentage of accidents. Taking regular breaks allows you to maintain your focus and helps manage your fatigue level. Besides, what fun is it to ride when you aren’t fully aware of the sights and sounds around you?

If you start to feel drowsy, find yourself drifting out of your lane or struggling to keep your eyes open, find a safe place to pull over and rest as soon as possible. Don’t be a hero; arrive alive.

4. Operate the radio, CD player, GPS safely

If controls such as volume are on your handlebars, so much the better.

If you have a GPS unit that requires adjustment directly on the unit, for example, the only safe way to make adjustments is to pull over at a safe spot, stop your bike, and be in a situation where you can concentrate on that task. At the risk of seeming repetitive, you need 100% concentration on the road to operate your bike safely.

5. Your Safety is Entirely in Your Hands avoiding riding distractions

Own your lane. See your escape path at all times.

Get ahead of or behind trucks (and cars) on multi lane roads. Make eye contact with vehicle drivers who could cut you off if they don’t see you. Know your braking  limits and your skill level when it comes to emergency maneouvres. Practice. Learn from professionals.

6. Stay calm

It’s easy to succumb to road rage. But here’s an illuminating fact for you: there will always be poor drivers doing stupid, dangerous things on the roads. You want to stay out of their way. You can’t teach them anything in the few seconds that you may engage them out there, and venting your anger merely distracts you from the deadly serious business of keeping yourself upright and out of danger. Shake it off, stop and relax if you must, but don’t let them get to you. You’re bigger than that.

Even with the most focused, most aware frame of mind, you will still encounter distractions, things that temporarily capture your attention when all of your attention needs to be focused on the job at hand. Realizing this fact helps to keep those distractions brief; train yourself to get back to business. Good habits become engrained, and by fostering those habits you will certanly be looking forward to a very rewarding season of safe, fun riding.

join the conversation

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.