Road craft includes every aspect of riding and can be acquired only by a systematic approach to hazards and constant application of basic rules. Good road craft enables a rider to avoid awkward and possibly dangerous situations. It not only prevents accidents but makes riding less arduous. Use your skill to keep out of trouble.
Good riding requires continual planning and correct decisions which must be put into operation with deliberation. There is no place for the half-hearted manoeuvre born of doubt or uncertainty. If it is not completely safe it should not be attempted at all. Overtaking should always be completed in the minimum amount of time to leave the road clear for approaching or following vehicles. Deliberation eliminates uncertainty.
When safe, go!
Motorcycle sense is the ability to get the best out of your machine without jerks or vibration. Before a strange motorcycle is ridden fast the rider should acquaint himself to its controls, acceleration, braking capabilities and handling characteristics. Never expect more from them than they are able to give. Motorcycles, like riders have their limitations.
Rider and machine must blend to ensure skilful riding.
Use the signals given in the Highway Code. An ambiguous signal is misleading and dangerous. Use of the horn is a form of signalling much neglected by some and overdone by others. It should be used as a person uses his voice, neither aggressively nor rudely. Flashing the lights is an efficient form of signalling at night and on fast roads. Give good signals in good time.
Concentration is the keystone to good riding. It is a primary duty but often a neglected one. Complete concentration will ensure that every detail is observed. It is often the smallest detail that gives the clue to what is about to happen. If it missed an accident, or at least a nasty experience, may result.
Concentration assists observation.
The good rider makes progress so smoothly and with so little apparent fuss or effort that to the uninitiated he appears to respond to automatically. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that by continuous concentration and thought he has raised his riding to a fine art. Every hazard and riding operation presents problems which can only be resolved by thinking. Thoughtful riders apply the appropriate features of the system, carry out every operation and manoeuvre in plenty of time and consequently are always in the right place at the right moment.
Think to avoid accidents.
To hold back is to follow a vehicle at a safe distance until road traffic conditions allow it to be overtaken. This will call for restraint especially when in a hurry. Overtaking, or any other manoeuvre must never be attempted unless it can be completed with 100% safety. Accidents are caused when a situation has been wrongly assessed.
When in doubt, wait.
Cornering around a curve demands the application of the principles for cornering and a thorough knowledge of the forces acting on the motorcycle. The most common faults are entering too fast or accelerating before the exit of the bend is clearly seen.
Lose speed or lose the machine.
High speeds are safe only when a clear view for a considerable distance and there is time to assess each hazard as it appears, but speed at all times must be related to the view. Safety with speed depends largely upon ability to recognise danger and slow down in good time.
Any fool can ride fast enough to be dangerous.
The Highway Code sets out rules for highway safety on the road. A failure to observe them could establish a liability in any legal proceedings. The rules must be known and complied with if a rider’s own behaviour is beyond reproach and before he can presume to advise others. The Highway Code urges all to be courteous. A good rider goes further and acknowledges the courtesies extended to him.
Ride according to the Highway Code and you will ride safely.
First appeared in the September 1995 edition of progress. Kindly sourced by Trevor Ambrose
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