Four major riding risks

As it’s the time of year when motorcyclists dust off their leathers ready for the first ride of spring, we thought we’d put together a post to remind everyone who loves their bike of four big risk areas for riders. (And it won’t hurt for other road users to know this too!)

Bends

Riding into and out of bends is potentially dangerous and riders who fail to ‘read’ bends properly are at a greater risk than riders who are comfortable with the technique and know how to use it effectively.

How does it work? Well, in short, you need to understand what the ‘vanishing point’ is. Imagine you’re riding along at a comfortable 50 mph and you see a right-hand bend ahead. The vanishing point is the area of road where the left and right verges appear to meet or, to put it another way, the furthest piece of the road that you can see in front of you.

If the vanishing point starts to rush towards you at pace, it’s a sign that the bend is getting tighter and it’s time to roll off the throttle. Once the vanishing point starts to steady, you can hold your speed and lean angle until the end – or exit – of the bend starts to appear.

Of course that’s not the whole story – there’s also getting the right speed, the right line, the right gear and countersteering techniques to consider. If you’re in any doubt, we recommend you speak to a trainer for some additional advice.

Filtering

Riders who decide to filter past stationary traffic near junctions and lay-bys are at risk of bored drivers pulling out on them – or even ‘dooring’ them.

The number of vehicles packed together in a confined space makes this a very dangerous area, so assess the level of risk before you make the decision to filter. Stay alert to the possibility of sudden decisions from other road users and don’t filter near potential hazards.

Overtaking

Safe overtaking involves checking the road in front of and behind your bike, as well as assessing the speed of vehicles on both sides of the road. You also need to make decisions based on factors such as the distance you can see ahead of you and the presence of side roads and junctions.

There’s a lot of information to process and you’ll need to use the other side of the road to pass vehicles in front of you.

In short, you shouldn’t attempt to overtake before you’ve looked for safe opportunities and hung back to get as much information as you possibly can about what’s beyond the vehicle you’re trying to pass.

Braking

Smooth, panic-free braking is one of the fundamentals of solid riding technique. Unfortunately, too many riders create problems for themselves by snatching at the brakes and increasing their risk of locking the wheels.

If that sounds like you, then you can improve your technique by practising your braking skills. You can also get advice from an instructor or an advanced riding manual. Remember – you should be trying to get to the point where you can stop smoothly and quickly from any speed that’s appropriate for the conditions.

We hope that this short tour of riding risk factors will help you to stay safe and enjoy the best of the Great British spring and summertime.

This blog has been adapted from content in ‘Pass the Bike Test’ by Sean Hayes. If you’d like to learn more about better biking – including the full gen on braking, cornering, overtaking, filtering and much more – visit the TSO Shop and pick up a copy.