Overtaking is a skill that requires experience and the ability to judge speed and distance well. Knowing the capability of your own motorcycle will also ensure you have the best possible gauge for safe execution of an overtake. Even if you feel confident on all of the above, overtaking when approaching bends, junctions, hills or dips in the road is extremely dangerous. Take extreme care when overtaking a line of traffic – car drivers in these conditions are often concentrating on what is ahead of them, not behind. Finally, be a role model. Show other riders what safe and effective overtaking looks like and help us eliminate dangerous riding in the county.
While filtering is legal and a good way to make progress in slow moving traffic, done incautiously, it can be dangerous. The Highway Code advises riders to position themselves so other drivers can see them in their mirrors and when filtering, keeping your speed down as anything above 15-20mph may be deemed a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre. Evaluate these things whilst considering a filer:
– At junctions, will other cars likely emerge?
– Could the vehicles up ahead potentially change lanes or U-turn unexpectedly?
– Does my intended path make me visible enough to drivers ahead?
As motorcyclists, we are particularly vulnerable at junctions. Motorists can fail to see approaching bikers and research has shown that many car drivers have difficulty judging the speed of a motorcycle, causing them to underestimate its time of arrival. Ride defensively and always attempt to make eye contact with the driver emerging from a minor road onto a major road. Think about how visible you are to others and pre-plan how you might react if a vehicle emerged unexpectedly into your path.
There are a few quick and easy steps for taking a corner effectively:
Slow – Before approaching the corner, slow down using both brakes to an appropriate entry speed.
Look – Turn your head and look in the direction you want your motorcycle to go.
Press – Press on the grip in the direction you want to go with a smooth movement and small effort.
Roll – Roll on the throttle, allowing your bike to settle in to the turn and remain balanced as you smoothly complete it.
There are a number of common road surface defects that can cause issues for bikers. Get to know your roads so you’re aware of likely roadworks, pot holes or signage repairs. Overbanding (uneven tar), oil / petrol spills and gravel from spray application are hazards you can’t necessarily predict so are ones we should always be mindful of. If you have a crash as a result of road surface issues, ensure you take photographic or video evidence and report it to the police if injuries are sustained.
Issues relating to potholes, road surfaces, street lighting, street furniture, please refer to Kent Highways Helpline on 03000 418181 or email [email protected]
The conditions from riding in urban areas can vary dramatically at different times of the day. Heavy traffic occurring early-morning, late-afternoon and mid-afternoon (school-run) can result in riders becoming increasingly invisible. Poor driver observations are compounded by vehicle blind spots, pedestrian traffic and a multitude of ‘road furniture’ that can obscure a driver’s view. To minimise your vulnerability in these areas and at these times, stay vigilant, be mindful of all vehicle blind spots, remain focused and clam, avoid rushing and ride smoothly through traffic.
Riding on country roads, whilst often the most enjoyable, presents a range of additional hazards. Unfortunately, most crashes are caused on country roads, particularly left-hand bends.
Most of our training takes place in a city, town or built-up area so country roads often provide challenges we may not be prepared for. Bends can differ hugely from smooth and open, to extremely tight. Read the road ahead by looking for clues as to how it will bend, such as the tree line, the path of telegraph poles and hedges or buildings at the side of the road. Positioning for bends is incredibly important – crashes can often take place when a biker has taken a line toward the centre of the road to extend vision, but at the same time has exposed him or herself to a risk of colliding with an oncoming vehicle that may be over the centre line.
Take in information the road signs give you, a junction sign before a bend for example can warn of a vehicle starting to pull out as you come round the corner, bridleway sign opposite the entrance to a hidden path can suggest horses nearby, as can fresh manure.
Double White Lines: There’s a hazard ahead so it’s not safe to cross the centre of the road.
Chevron Signs: The bend is deceptive. The road appears to turn right but is actually a left hander.
Farm Access: Means debris on the road and potentially slow moving vehicles and animals.
Whilst the temptation to wheel out the bike and take to the road is great, especially considering to fine weather we are experiencing at the moment, please take time to consider the implications: