- Ride every day – (or at least try too!) Riding daily will help embed your technique into the memory of your muscles. If you ride every now and then, chances are you spend a good amount of the ride wrapping your head around operating the vehicle rather than paying decent attention to traffic. If that’s not the case then fair play to you. Riding should be reflexive, or as close to it as you can get. There should be very little thought involved about the bike and keeping your lines, so that you can pay attention to the road and have great situational awareness.
- Always ride better than you did yesterday (Keep Moving!) – Do you have 10 years of riding experience, or one months’ worth repeated for 10 years? – Break bad habits – Create good ones – always improve. This is why riding is said to be ‘infinitely rewarding’… There are few other things that give me as much self-satisfaction as constantly improving my technique and knowing that I become safer every day.
- Learn how to stop at a traffic light without revving the throttle over and over… seriously, it’s not a toy.
- ATGATT – All the gear all the time. The majority of motorcycle accidents don’t actually happen on motorways or even duel carriageways. If you value your life, or you reeeeeaaally want that cup of tea requiring you to ride to the shops for milk, you should wear at least the majority of your full gear-set even if you’re only riding round the block.
(American 1983 ‘Hurt’ Report found that the majority of accidents happened during a short trip associated with shopping, errands or friends. It stands to reason that these are exactly the type of journeys that you’re likely to opt for no gear on.)
- You are invisible. There is a mantra that ‘cagers’ use in almost every accident they get into which involves motorcyclists, and this mantra is “Sorry mate. I didn’t see you there”.
No matter if you’re head to toe in hi-viz clothing, have your bike painted bright colours, blinking headlights or modulating your fog lights... you are still aren’t going to be seen by everyone around you. This ties in to the advice my mum kept telling me when first taking my CBT… “Everyone is an idiot and they are out to kill you.” – Ride accordingly and keep these tips in mind, you might just make it out yet.
- DON’T BE A SQUID – Another motorcycle acronym. This one is the opposite of ATGATT and stands for “Stupidly Quick and Imminently Dead”. You see these guys around all the time, though in the UK even more so on smaller bikes and mopeds. You know the type… typically buzzing up the road on their hair dryers wearing nothing but a t-shirt/hoody and tracksuit bottoms. – If this sounds like you, please stop. You are endangering yourself as well as everyone around you!
- Know your power band. Although it is bad for your engine to stay in the region of the power band, it is good practise to know exactly what you need to do to reach it. When you NEED power in a sticky situation, you’ll appreciate knowing how to get it.
That is to say If you don’t have loud pipes. If you have loud pipes, you might want to get rid of them. If you aren’t going to follow that advice, consider not being “That Guy” in residential areas or out where people are walking around living their lives. The only person who thinks it sounds awesome when you’re causing hearing damage is YOU. Is that “but Loud pipes save lives” I hear you cry? The only accident that loud pipes MIGHT prevent, is getting rear-ended. Even then, it is highly unlikely (Look it up if you must). Focus on being seen rather than being heard!!
p.s Yes, an asshat with loud pipes did wake me up this morning….