With a new riding season almost here, most of us are busy finalizing those over-the-winter bike projects we started as the snow started to fall. Adding some chrome here and there, maybe a new slip on or wiring in that swank GPS system you got for Christmas? With all that attention focused on prepping our bikes it can be easy to overlook our own mental readiness. Getting ourselves into the right state of mind is important considering we’ll soon be hitting the streets and highways with drivers not entirely re-acclimatized to sharing the roads with motorcyclists. So here are a few tips to help get your brain back into gear safely:
1. What can you see?
When considering managing yourself in traffic always try to be mindful of the fact that you are your first line of defence. This means doing your best to choose a lane position that maximizes your line of sight. In other words, you should always try to “be” where you can “see” the most of what’s happening around you. This will most likely end up being the correct blocking position for your lane, but can change depending on traffic, the size of vehicles around you or natural obstacles.
Being mindful of these road sharing tips will go a long way to getting you safely through those first few weeks of the riding season and beyond. Additionally, it’s never a bad idea to look into a spring refresher course to help keep those skills honed. Remember that motorcycling can be a life long sport with life long learning opportunities, and we’re hoping to see you in the saddle for many years to come.
2. Everyone’s got a blind spot
As motorcyclists we never perform blind lane changes… right? Unfortunately we can’t say the same about every driver. The reasons for our own diligence should clue us in to why we should never spend too much time in their blind spots. It’s all too easy to be caught off guard, especially cruising for long stretches on the highway, realizing too late that we’ve spent the entire time smack dab in that pick up trucks big-ole blind spot. Do what you can to avoid this scenario, even if it means changing lanes or backing off.
3. Left turners aren’t evil
Sometimes they just can’t see you. We’ve all heard the horror stories about drivers making quick left turns in front of riders with tragic results. We now have good evidence that demonstrates the steps we can take to help increase how visible we are to drivers when approaching from perpendicular angles. When approaching a turning vehicle, a slight deviation out of a straight-line path can help to break the camouflaging effect that motorcycles are prone to. A telltale visual clue involves looking for background movement against the vehicle you are approaching. If you can’t see the background moving as you approach, there’s a distinct possibility that the driver can’t see you. Learn more about motion camouflage by viewing this Youtube Video.
A national, not-for-profit motorcycle licensing and skills development school, the Rider Training Institute has built its reputation on promoting paths toward long-term, safe and enjoyable motorcycling for riders from all walks of life.
Check out the Rider Training Institute at the RTI website.