March 5, 2015 Tags: , ,

Motorcycle riding strategies are continually evolving.  As more research is performed in the area of rider safety, massive amounts of data flows in, and organizations like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) analyze the data.  The MSF, from their data analysis, reaches conclusions and revises their curricula accordingly.

One major change from MSF in 2014 was the introduction of ESCAPE PATHS or ESCAPE ROUTES.  A conclusion MSF reached by looking at crash data is that riders are not planning in such a way that allows for ESCAPE PATHS (ROUTES) when riding.

Motorcycle Escape Routes

Not having sufficient safety margins invites risk. Riding at any speed requires an adequate space cushion to brake and/or swerve. Our goal is to create enough time and space around us to respond smoothly to a hazard and maneuver safely. Choose available escape paths that allows you to avoid a collision. An escape path can be in front of you, to the right, or to the left. Escape paths can be within your lane, in the next lane over, on a shoulder or median, or even off the road if conditions permit.

We use our overall strategy of SEARCH – EVALUATE – EXECUTE to help us determine where the escape routes are located and which escape paths will provide us with the best outcome should we need to perform evasive action.

Motorcycle Escape Paths RoutesIt is best to have more than one escape path open so you don’t get trapped . If your escape path requires a hard swerve, be sure to separate the swerve from any braking. The beauty of riding a motorcycle is that we can often position it in places where other vehicles cannot travel.

Some roadway areas that may require additional thought about possessing an escape route:

  • Intersections:  both when stopping behind vehicles and when traveling though an intersection.  Where do you place your bike behind a vehicle when stopped?  In the middle?  Why would the left or right be better?
  • Fixed Hazards:  Curbing, raised medians, concrete barriers and more are fixed hazards so we may want to locate escape paths that avoid these hazards.
  • Curves:  Where are the collision traps?  What if a motorist enters your lane?
  • Freeways:  When traffic comes to an abrupt halt, so you want to be sandwiched between vehicles?


What do you think about this new addition to the Basic RiderCourse?  Do you think this will help reduce rider crashes?  Will you think about escape paths the next time you ride?

Join the discussion on our Facebook page; happy riding!

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