What types of motorcycle maneuvers should I know to help avoid a collision?

biker in rush hourBikers have specific risks and vulnerabilities on the road, and they need to know how to react when something goes wrong. Incredibly, some riders avoid learning difficult maneuvers because they hope they'll never have to use them—making them woefully unprepared when they need an untested skill to avoid an accident.

Motorcycle Maneuvers All Bikers Should Know

It's far better to practice difficult motorcycle riding skills in a safe environment than to rely on luck to avoid a crash. Even experienced riders may need to brush up on safety skills every few months, especially if they've bought new bikes or plan to add another rider. Most bike safety maneuvers can be practiced in an empty parking lot, and are done in a matter of minutes.

Motorcycle riders should practice the following skills:

  • Slow speed riding. Coasting down an empty road is far easier than moving at a walking pace on a motorcycle. Nevertheless, bikers must ride at slow speeds in parking lots, on city streets, and any time they start moving from a stop. Slow riding depends on using the rear brake only (keeping the front wheel stable) and keeping the throttle constant level.
  • Sharp right turn. The ability to turn right without swerving into the lane of opposing traffic can save a biker from a head-on motorcycle collision, but very few riders master the tight right turn. In order to turn sharply so the bike stays in the right lane at all times, keep the throttle smooth off the stop and aim for a 90-degree angle with your head up. Keep your speed low, as gunning the motor will push the bike to the outside of the turn and into oncoming cars. Only increase speed when the turn is complete.
  • High-speed braking. Performing an emergency stop can prevent anything from a rear-end accident to falling over a guardrail. Simply pick a stopping point ahead of you, accelerate in a straight line, and apply both brakes simultaneously along with the clutch to stop as quickly as possible. The goal is to stop safely, hit your mark, and avoid locking up the rear wheel. Make sure to keep the motorcycle straight and upright to get the maximum of road impact on the tires.
  • Controlled reflexes. An overcorrection to a traffic problem can often cause an accident. Small corrections are vital when controlling a motorcycle, as extreme braking can throw a rider from the seat or cause the bike to lay down. Practice staying on guard and noticing your surroundings: scan as far ahead as possible for hazards and quiz yourself on the colors of the cars around you. Practice what-if scenarios, such as how you would react if the car ahead of you braked suddenly.

Do you know someone who needs a refresher course on motorcycle maneuvers? Please share this article on Facebook to remind your friends to stay safe on each and every ride.