3 Tips ALL Motorcycle Riders Should Follow
When I first started to ride a motorcycle, I had to learn a ton on my own. I learned a little bit about Friction Zone when I first bought the top-of-the-line girls' bike, the Harley Davidson Sportster. I’m going to explain a few tips that I have developed since then.
Look For The Uncommon Thing
You know when you get that gut feeling when you see something weird? Trust that when you are riding. This is what I call an “Uncommon thing in a Common situation.” Headlights pointed at you in your lane? Car riding the line right next to you and creeping over? Rows of brake lights on the highway? Is a soccer ball rolling into the street in a neighborhood? I can keep going and going. These situations should raise your alertness and you need to prepare yourself for something. How do we do that? Cover those brakes, find those escape routes, and be prepared for emergency maneuvers. The PLAN Method is a great way to keep yourself in tune with your surroundings. Focus, zone in, and ride with a PLAN!
Intersections Are More Deadly on a Motorcycle
While watching crash after crash after crash during the live class sessions on YouTube, I noticed a pattern. Intersections are super deadly. No question about that. Vehicles in that left turn lane just cannot see aaaaannnnyyything. Especially motorcycle riders and our small physical profiles. As a DDFM Crew SMART Rider, we utilize the Color Code Chart. Yellow Stage is Zoned in (more on that later) and Orange Stage is prepped and ready for action. Remember covering those brakes and looking for escapes? That is Orange Stage.
So when you are entering an intersection, look for those left turners and prep yourself for evasive maneuvers. I typically roll off the throttle, cover the brakes, and “present myself” to be seen better. Presenting yourself is moving back and forth between lane positions. For example, moving from the Center position to Right to Center to Right, allows the driver to catch movement and not be a victim of motion-induced blindness.
Zone In, Not Out
You probably ride a motorcycle to “Zone Out.” What you actually mean is to Zone Into the motorcycle ride. The goal is to focus, not be unfocused. Focusing on the ride removes the distractions of life, therefore getting that “Throttle Therapy.” So let’s use the term Zone In. When you focus on riding and nothing else, you begin to see those uncommon things happening. If you think about your work deadline, or why you have to poop so bad, you are not thinking of that left turner in the intersection up ahead.
So how do we stay focused? Check your mirrors often, find your escape routes often, search for road surface hazards, and make sure you PLAN your ride. Imagine being surprised because you were un-focused on the ride? Panic braking, freezing up in an emergency, and target fixating on the hazard. This is what we call…”Brown Stage.” Take a moment and think why. The goal is to Zone In and not Zone Out.
Take these 3 tips and let me know what you see on your next ride. If you want to learn more and have an in-depth lecture on these tips and MORE…then join the MTC Rider Academy. I’ll see you in class.