Ride better Tips worth listening to
How building on the experience of others will make you a better rider ‘Exhibit A is the warehouse of crashed 125s’
Just over 28 years ago I bought a really sharp kitchen knife. It cut veg well, and for the first few years it also cut my fingers. But eventually I learned to apply the right amount of concentration when using it (right amount = no blood).
This is exactly how almost everyone learns to ride a bike. Metaphorically speaking, you cut yourself occasionally, until you finally work out how to prepare a meal with fingers intact. Exhibit A is the warehouse of crashed bikes at MCE’S insurance repair centre. By far the commonest bikes are 125s. There is a snag with this method, of course. In the kitchen a slip-up can be sorted out with an Elastoplast. On a bike, picking things up as you go along is an approach that leaves much to be desired. My friend Adam (a nonrider) has a grim way of putting it: “I’m fascinated by motorcyclists,” he says. “Evolution in action.” Happily, we can learn in other ways too.
By far the most powerful method is building on the achievements of others. Take your bike’s engine, for example: a wondrous invention that turns dead dinosaurs into forward thrust. Think about that for a minute. As concepts go, it could hardly be more incredible. But the designers didn’t start from scratch. They used knowledge already laid down.
So where is the equivalent stuff for people who want to avoid falling off motorbikes? Here are some of my answers: 1. What police collision investigators know. Unlike so many road safety people, these guys don’t generally harp on about how ‘speed kills’. What they say instead is: a) pay attention, and b) know your limits. 2. What your friends know. If any have crashed, you can ask in forensic detail about what led up to it. 3. ROSPA’S online leaflet (see below), says the five commonest crash types are a) left bend A-road, b) right bend A-road, c) junction, d) overtake and e) riding too close/ignoring slippery roads. Handy to know, eh? Go to www.rospa.com/road-safety/ resources/free/motorcyclists/