WHERE'S YOUR HEAD AT?
This month we’re looking at factors that are hard to measure - Attitude and Risk Management.
Enjoying motorcycle riding means you will not only arrive home in one piece, but enjoy the scenery and roads and take some satisfaction from being at one with your bike.
The first ten minutes of your journey is the period of the highest risk, we need to ensure we are focussing at the start of the ride and not thinking about other external factors (what present to buy Aunty Jo, the lawns really need mowing etc). We also need to develop our awareness about the potential hazards on the road and our ‘risk acceptance’.
To manage the risk of riding, we need to ‘apply’ ourselves every single time we get on our bike. We need 100% focus on the job and if we recruit all of
our senses, these will all help us ride smarter on the road – mental fatigue is more dangerous than physical fatigue on a bike.
Remember: Risk assessment is largely a learnt skill and no one has a more vested interest than the rider themselves.
WHAT RISK FACTORS ARE THERE?
Generally speaking it is not the rider who is a risk to other drivers or property, however the rider is the one who needs to weigh up the risks and act accordingly.
Risk factors to consider:
• Other drivers and vehicles – cars have become very comfortable! Do they have your best interests at heart? Do they see you? The car has come a long way in comfort and luxury and as a result is more of a mobile lounge room than a conveyance vehicle. By comparison, on a motorcycle every drop of rain, gust of wind or slight movement is felt by the rider.
• Road Conditions nearly always seems to be an issue on our roads, even newly repaired roads can deteriorate rapidly with high traffic volumes – even the roads we travel every day can quickly alter. There could be a pile of gravel, an oil spill, an effluent spill, a truck making a turn, or that wayward sheep that decides to run across the road. You can’t escape the fact that public roads are full of hazards that can end your motorcycling.
• Intersections – recent statistics in New Zealand would indicate that during the 2009 and 2010 year 37% of motorcycle accidents occurred at intersections. Are you looking ahead far enough and aware of other road users? Are you making the correct decisions and prepared for any evasive
action you may need to take?
Continually assess your risk factor as you are riding, as this will change with the roads, weather, rider fatigue, traffic, daylight etc. You can assess your risk as a factor out of 10, with 10 being the highest risk.
Here’s a scenario – you have been riding for most of the day, it’s getting dark, you are in a rural area where there’s cattle wandering, there are lots of blind corners and it’s just starting to rain…You will probably be a 9/10 and in line with that risk factor you need to ride accordingly… your speed, focus and attention will all play an integral part of getting through that situation safely.
DONT PUSH THE ENVELOPE ON THE ROAD
Riders that are willing to push the envelope on the road generally have very short riding careers, not to mention picking up the odd fine! New Zealand is a great place to ride where there are twisty, scenic roads in abundance. The satisfaction comes from riding at the right speed for that situation. At all times you need to be in control of the motorcycle, rather than it controlling you. If you have ridden around a corner and thought “I could have gone faster around there,” then you have probably taken it at the correct speed, you have something in reserve, giving you a margin to deal with anything
unexpected. Focus on good riding techniques before adding speed, as this is the key to riding safely.
Remember – you are being asked to make hundreds of decisions while riding, the things that you do not understand could potentially take up most of
your attention. There is no compromise when it comes to safe riding practices, understand what you are doing on the bike and the conditions you are riding to.
With safe riding practices you will be in a much better position to make smart decisions while riding. Smart riders – live longer! Take the time to stop and appreciate the scenery, focus on the hazards, reassess the risks and employ your safe riding practices and enjoy why you are actually on the motorcycle. Remember, you could stay at home and mow the grass or decide what to buy Aunty Jo!
Where would you rather be?
For more information visit www.prorider.co.nz or
Freecall 0508 Pro Rider.