I think the attitude is the single most iportant thing to master when riding motorbikes.
Leaving without even a helmet puts you in the half dead category right away (accident statistics) and it's all about mindset...
Focus on the fact that you are about to be riding a bike and small mistakes carry big consequences. Acknowledge the fact that you can always slip and fall on oil or that an idiot can hit you and always wear as much of your gear as it's practical (I won't pull my leather pants for a trip to the grocery store...but helmets? it's about how much you value your head, I guess).
When in traffic, distrust every other vehicle. Assume they will do the unthinkable at every moment. Be alert and look far ahead and scan for patterns. When you do recognize a pattern (many red lights ahead on the freeway or cars moving suddenly) don't wait: prepare and start to react right-away.
Sounds paranoid? Yes, you should be a bit paranoid.
This is a statistics game and it's better to keep the odds in your favor. Always do the safe thing, it will at least keep you busy and focused:
- look far ahead
- cover the brakes when in traffic or populated areas
- move to the right when climbing up the crest of a hill: you can't see what's coming and maybe an idiot is passing another
- enter turns with a speed lower than what you think you can handle
- mess with the bike if you must, but only when there's no cars (on and off-ramps are my favorites)
- change lane position to be far from trucks
- change lane position to see better
- change lane position to stay away from possible situations (cars weaving in and out, Volvos etc)
- heck, you might as well change lane position just for the sake of it
- if the car behind you is tail-gating - slow down and make it leave more room (at least you'll have more room). Or change lanes and let him pass.
- I believe that speed differences (and NOT the absolute speeds) are one of the biggest causes of accidents, so stay within a reasonable speed compared to the traffic around you.
- some say that police riders are taught to go at traffic +10kmh on the freeway. I do it all the time and didn't have many surprises with traffic cutting me off or worse. It allows ME to choose where I want to be and what I want to do rather than have others decide for me.
See more in: Razie Enduro School
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