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Discussion Starter #1
Motorcycling is about looking. It’s a simple fact.

Many have probably heard the old saying look where you want to go?

There is a downside to this, where the rookie rider will end up going exactly where they don’t want to go because all their focus is on the one thing they are trying to avoid.

During any rider training you will be taught to weave through cones, take small corners etc. The main element tauhgt will be, the further you look ahead the easier it is to complete the turn or the next cone and the less chance you have of making a mistake. This is simply because you have more time to prepare for the situation that will follow the one you are currently engaged in. Looking ahead is most basic component to competent riding but it is not the only ingredient to competently looking ahead.

Is obeying the road rules enough?

Majority of motorcyclists will agree that even though they may have right of way in a situation it’s your responsibility to remain safe. There is little reward in claiming right of way, if you are dead. Reduce the risk of being involved in an incident. Whether traffic on the road with you behaves as you expect to or not, you need to learn to see which actions people may take, when behind the wheel of a car / truck / bus another bike. This is where the ability to predict mistakes of other road users. Looking ahead should enable you enough time to determine if the car coming to the intersection from one of your sides is oblivious to the fact that you have right of way and continues on through, or the driver who continues on through the roundabout who didn’t care you had arrived there first. The most common incident is the one car that is showing intent to turn across the oncoming traffic but decides at the last minute to turn the opposite direction without warning. (This is at the point you’ve overtaken them on the inside and they change their mind) There are plenty of situations that could be listed but this would take up the whole point of this thread. Predict others mistakes or their actions that could be a threat to you.

Motorcyclists need to be very intuitive. The ability of predicting other road user actions and the ability to foresee an incident, so you are prepared to avoid danger is the key. As experience grows, your sixth sense develops to know something is about to happen. Example, another road user, that is about to hit you due to stupidity. You sense this, are aware of what’s about to happen and you are able to diminish the threat and escape this situation unscathed. You will develop a ‘set list’ of mistakes road users make and you will see it before it occurs. The longer you spend in the saddle. The bigger your stupid list will become and the less chance you will be taken by surprise by captain stupid.

It may seem impossible to be able to foresee every action that world of stupid may throw at you during your adventures. However, there is also the unforeseen to be prepared for. An example, the truck coming towards you in the opposite direction, there is the potential that it’s screening a car from your view. Let’s say this car is fed up, being stuck behind its meandering pace, the driver is in a rush to get somewhere. This car decides to overtake, without seeing you oncoming. Another example is a blind corner, hiding a driveway. A vehicle backs out of this driveway and is stationary in the middle of the road as you enter the corner. From these examples you need to be aware that any obstacle screening your view could potentially be hiding an object that could be a threat. (Vehicle / Pedestrian / Animal)

Another totally obscure non visible danger is having the knowledge that it’s a Friday night. A lot of people tend to have drinks after work or are out on the town have a few cheeky beverages. Be extra alert in these instances that what would not be normal behaviour can result in actions you would also not expect.

You can practice a lot of these aspects of being aware by practicing on the highway by checking whether you had foreseen everyone who passes you noticed the oncoming. You should be checking your mirrors more often and should have been better in calculating and remembering. Off of the highway you can practice by telling yourself everything that you notice. Things you didn’t foresee mean that you will learn from this and gain experience in being better at looking forward and Thinking.

The road ahead can also tell you a lot of things to be prepared for. As soon as you seem to lose the road in front of you, you realise how much trust you place in a road to behave as you were expecting. Things along the side of the road like Powerlines or even the tree line can help you predict the route ahead; however, this is not a failsafe measure! There could even be an access point from a property on the side of the road you were not expecting. Be aware of any irregularities that could be ahead. The actual surface of the road could also tell you a lot of what is ahead. Tarred asphalt seals plastic line markings man holes etc. These can all be very slippery in the wet. In most cases studying the road surface whist riding is a given and is done subconsciously. You need to remember to look far ahead so you can prepare for these sorts of things well in advance. Only knowing what is happening in your immediate view (in front of the front wheel) does not allow you to prepare for the next issue. Remember......

Two issues on the road surface combined may require a different plan of attack as opposed to one of these issues on its own.

When lane splitting, one of the most common mistakes is not looking far enough ahead. When concentrating on the objects right in front of you it will make it difficult to remain in a straight line and result in swerving. If you keep looking far ahead you will be able to keep in a straight line between cars. There are some situations though when lane splitting to be aware of. Other motorcyclists are a biggie. When you decide to splityou need to be careful and always check that another motorcyclist hasn’t already decided to do so as well. It will happen a lot that another motorcyclist may hear another bike and decide to split as well. Remember the vehicle coming up behind you has the right of way. So make sure you check your mirrors and even head check to ensure that where you want to go is clear. The same in reverse if you are coming up behind a motorcyclist following the traffic, be very careful that they do not decide to split at the same time you are coming past them as they may not take the extra precaution to check they are clear to split
(THIS I HAVE SEEN ON MY COMMUTE TO WORK)

This logic can be applied in a similar manner when dealing with cars in traffic. Most motorists will want to change lanes to try and achieve an advantage where a lot of lane changing can occur. To avoid being shocked when a car switches lanes right in front of you or beside they do not focus on the cars just in front of you. Always, always, always look ahead and focus on the movement of traffic. You will always see wheels turn before a lane switch or better yet if you can see through windows try and see what the driver it is doing. This has saved me a fair few times as I’ve been able to predict what a motorist is doing by seeing through the car and being able to predict on what they are trying to do. Just a feww weeks ago I noticed a seat belt being removed by a passenger in a car and sure enough, that passenger jumped out of the car right in front of me, I chose not to split until I knew what was going on in that vehicle before I would pass. And thankfully I did as the passenger door flew open right into the path that would have been taken.

When riding, you should be able to keep looking wide in all scenarios. This means not just concentrating on one object, but that you should be able to look far enough ahead to not only see the road or what’s happening beside the road. You should be able to see everything all at the same time ALL THE TIME! The more you practice that the longer you look wide the more information you will be able to process from what you see. You will see something moving not on the road but perhaps something on your right or left a cyclist a runner a small animal or even a car. With this ability you are prepared for the side street well before you even see the actual road. A child playing in a front yard up ahead has the risk of throwing their ball onto the road. This has been seen well in advance and you are prepared because you are seeing this so far ahead. Remember that it is never required to practice to look nearby, this is automatic. The issue is in training yourself to look far ahead and to the sides and to keep scanning ahead like that.

So we are scanning far ahead and taking in all this information. Being able to process what is important and what is trivial is the challenge. When looking wide it’s not about getting more information to process from your eyes to your brain. Learning to look wide is not only about not focussing on one point but also a challenge in making conscious decisions on what your eyes are telling you is coming You need to practice seeing things that you don’t normally notice as your brain will think these things are not important. Just like most motorists will not have seen the motorcyclist they have just driven over. This also happens in reverse as just mentioned most road users you need to be aware that whilst you are scanning wide and taking in all that surrounds and prepared for everything, most motorists will only see what they expect to see as well as what is normal for them. The last point is learning to look and know what others don’t see and be prepared for the consequences. If you are in a situation where you have to look through, or over the top of another vehicle the chances are the other road user you are looking at has probably not seen you.

Motorcyclists have a lot cut out for them to remain safe on the roads. Looking far ahead, scanning the road for potential risks and being prepared for anything that can (will) be thrown at them during any road riding adventure.

Be prepared for any situation and avoid it!

Hot Tip: Always make sure you visor is clean and you have the right visor on for the situation. I.e. tinted for Day Time Riding and clear or High Vis yellow for night time. There is nothing worse than hitting glare and reducing your ability to look ahead due to equipment.
 

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Wow this is a great post. Thanks for sharing.
 

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great read. i just printed this out and im going to hand it out at our bikenight here. This is the year of motorcycle safety and this hits on some stuff nobody even brings up at our motorcycle safety briefings. Thanks man
 

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Just bookmarked. Thanks!
 

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Hurray!
 

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Need to give this to my buddy who just totaled his second 2010 r6 in 3 months time
 

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This should be required reading for all newbies. Maybe all of us?????
Good stuff Arlo.
 

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So did I, However with the number of 'totalled' incidents that occur within the forum members here, this doesn't appear to be the case.
we all need a reminder every now and then.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
On my way to get some groceries this morning, Mrs and I came across an incident at a fairly big intersection near my home

A Rider was down, their bike had been picked up but they were still on the road.
Not sure of the circumstances as there were plenty of people there helping out.

Stay Safe peeps!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
On my way home from work last night.

I was just cruising down some back streets I take home from work on the bike about a minute away from home.

As I come down this street there was a guy in his garden watering a lady walking down the other side of the road. As I came past a parked car I noticed a toddler barley walking well on the road (he was blocked by the parked car in my peripherals.)

I was doing the posted speed limit (50km/h) but had this kid wandered into my path I would have probably just missed him and heaven forbid had I actually hit him I would have killed him.

This little kid was oblivious to what was going on around him, once I passed him I slowed down and looked back, sure enough he troddled along across the road back to the oncoming traffic (thankfully I was it on the road)

I scanned the street for parents or anything but I couldn't see a damn parent anywhere. Even looked around and virtually stopped to see where this kid was going.

Just thought I would share that on this thread as It freaked the living shit out of me a toddler was on the road and that a parked car had blocked him from my view until the last second where it felt like a lifetime of 3 seconds as I reacted.
 

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Great write up Arlo. The story about the kid thou. You didn't see any parents anywhere and the kid was just wondering into the street?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great write up Arlo. The story about the kid thou. You didn't see any parents anywhere and the kid was just wondering into the street?[/QUOTE


I did a quick scan behind and turned around and no, no parents I could see. (Well that matched his complexion)
 
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