Managing your risk as a motorbike rider

Staying safe on the road is a matter of managing your risk. Here are some factors that contribute to keeping your rider risk as low as possible.

Risk Awareness

  • Riding motorcycles is intrinsically more risky than driving a car. 
  • They lack stability (they must be balanced). 
  • They lack protection or armor around you. You are naked to anything that may hit you. 
  • Bikes are not as easily seen as cars ( smaller in size ). 
  • Bikes are particularly vulnerable at intersections

How safe you are in a car often determines your level of safety and risk avoidance on a motorcycle. If you are impatient and extremely aggressive in a car, you’ll probably be the same way on a motorcycle.

Safety on the road is something that everyone must participate in. No one factor triggers an accident. Everyone and everything is involved.

Risk Acceptance

Everyone takes on a certain amount of risk in their life. You should be aware of how much risk you’re willing to take as motorcycle rider. Motorcycle riding is intrinsically more dangerous than driving a car. You should be aware of this and accept these risks.

When you become aware of the amount of risk you’re willing to accept, you must take the proper precautions to offset as much of that risk as possible. As a motorcycle rider you are more likely to suffer injury, paralysis and death during any skirmish on the road.

You must become aware of what causes crashes. Many factors go into any accident. Rarely, does a single factor cause an accident. 99% of the time, it’s an accumulation of factors that lead to a crash. Accidents can be prevented and predicted to a large degree.

A number of factors can lead to an accident. The accumulation of more and more of these factors will eventually lead to an accident. Some factors include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Your skill level 
  • Speeding relative to road conditions 
  • The condition of your tyres 
  • Suspension system 
  • Traffic on the road
  • Congestion on the road
  • Intersection features of the road 
  • Road environment
  • Road curve
  • Glare
  • Rider experience
  • Rider level of risk tolerance
  • Inattention

Good riders should be prepared to maintain a “margin of safety”. They need to minimize the “factors” that can lead to an accident.

There are hazards during any riding experience. Be aware of them and proactively try to minimize them. Road debris, sun glare, other traffic, etc..

Risk Management

A good motorcyclist can be defined as someone who is constantly looking to minimize the risks around them that could potentially lead to a crash or accident.

To be a good motorcyclist, you must have superior riding skills, experience, a good attitude and a well functioning bike.

A good motorcyclist always has a plan to avoid hazards. They have a strategy to avoid and minimize risks on the road.

A good motorcyclist is always thinking before acting. Consider the consequences of your actions as a rider.

Manage your risks as a rider by understanding the existence of all risks on the road and looking to then minimize them. See the potential for problems and then look to minimize or avoid them completely.

Consider your personal “margin of safety”. Given your riding experience, skill, road conditions and traffic, how much time and distance do you need to remain within your “comfort of risk”?

The acronym S.E.E. stands for Search, Evaluate, Execute. Basically means that you need to See or be aware of your environment. Evaluate this environment in terms of safety and risk and then Execute a strategy to minimize and remove potential hazards. Its like creating a series of “what if” scenarios and then evaluating and executing a strategy to minimize any “what if” factors that could lead to an accident or crash. Give yourself the proper “time” and “space” or “distance” to be safe.

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