TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Do you have a second? How about two?

May 7, 2013 Tags: ,

If you’ve always dreamed of cruising down the open road on a motorcycle, TEAM Arizona is here to make your dreams a reality. We’re here to teach riders of all experience levels how to ride the right way to improve safety. We have a variety of courses to choose from so you can master different types of terrain to prepare for any kind of motorcycle ride. Our locations in Tucson and Gilbert are the only private facilities in the nation dedicated solely to motorcycle training, so you know you’ll get superior instruction from us.

With more than 50 experienced RiderCoaches, we are the place to go to learn how to approach motorcycle riding safely. Not only do you have to follow safety rules, but you also need to anticipate how other vehicles react to hazards so you can avoid a collision. We’ll teach you the rules of the road, so you know how to react appropriately to any situation. Many of our RiderCoaches have more than ten years of riding experience, so you can be confident that they know what they’re talking about when they’re teaching you. One thing that all of our RiderCoaches agree on is that a 2-second following distance is one of the most critical rules for operating a motorcycle safely.


two second following distance motorcycle
Two second rule applies to all vehicles on the road! This is an example of what not to do by the truck driver.

The 2-second following distance is important because it gives motorcyclists time to react if there is a problem. If you follow the vehicle ahead too closely, you won’t have any room to maneuver or brake if you need to, and it could result in an accident. Maintaining a distance of at least two seconds gives you space to react appropriately if the vehicle ahead of you brakes or swerves around a hidden obstacle. This means you are more likely to avoid an accident so you can continue to hit the open road and enjoy the thrill of riding a motorcycle.

A vast number of motorists have been introduced to the 2-second following distance rule; it is a pretty standard topic covered in driver training.   For those unfamiliar or with a failing memory, the 2-second following distance rule is considered to be a MINIMUM following distance when conditions are ideal.   We obtain this distance by performing the following when riding or driving:

  • Pick out a fixed point ahead, like a post or pavement marking.
  • As the vehicle ahead passes the fixed object, count off “one-motorcycle-one,two-motorcycle-two”; if the fixed point has not been reached, following distance is at least 2 seconds.

This is where you may want to ask yourself, “Do I follow too closely?”  The next time you ride, see for yourself by applying the simple method stated above.

It may seem counterproductive to leave sufficient space between your motorcycle and the vehicle ahead. You might find that it causes you to slow down, and if other vehicles maneuver into that space, you might have to slow down even more. This is frustrating, but you would rather have a slightly longer trip than being involved in an accident that could completely prevent you from reaching your destination. Following safety rules like the 2-second following distance is worth it, even if it slows you down yet keeps you safe.


We often hear from course attendees the concern that leaving too much space entices motorists to move into the open space. Without a doubt, maintaining a two second following distance is a dynamic process.  Non-scientific studies show that the minimal amount of time lost due to expanding our following distance is a good tradeoff for our riding safety.

Besides, as good riders, we constantly have to manage our time and space to our benefit.  Can you ever have too much time to react and the space to do so?

A lot of motorcyclists believe that rules are made to be broken. However, mastery of the rule first is important so we know when to break the rule for safety purposes.  You need to keep at least a 2-second distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. This is the rule to follow when road conditions are ideal, so you need to increase the following distance whenever conditions are less than perfect.


extended following distance

As with any rule, and keeping with the motorcyclist spirit that wants to eschew rules in the first place, we have exceptions.  Did you notice that this rule is a MINIMUM guideline for a following distance and only to be used when conditions are IDEAL?  We should take the opportunity to expand the following distance to three or four seconds depending upon the scenario.

Can you think of  any conditions that would warrant extending your following distance?  How about:

  • Surface conditions
  • Road hazards
  • Construction
  • <Fill in your example here!>

One of the best things about motorcycle riding is the ability to share the experience with friends. Dozens of riders can get together to hit the open road together and enjoy the exhilaration of cruising with other enthusiasts. You still need to follow the basic rules of riding, but the 2-second rule is easy to follow even when you’re riding with a large group. Just have each member of the group stagger their bikes, so there is always a 2-second distance between your bike and the one in front of you.


When we head out with our friends, managing our time and space is extremely important.  When riding staggered in a group, the 2 second rule can be followed easily.  Take a look at the diagram below:

group riding 2 second rule


Do you see how the two seconds is created with the motorcycle DIRECTLY in front of you?

We hope this tip will inspire you to go out and try to maintain a two second following distance for the next week.  We want to hear about your experience on our TEAM Arizona Facebook page!


Learning to ride a motorcycle correctly is essential for safety. Statistically, motorcycle riders are more likely to sustain severe or even fatal injuries than drivers in another type of vehicle if an accident happens. Motorcycle riders, whether they are new to the lifestyle or have been tearing up the road for years, must learn how to navigate traffic and anticipate road hazards, so they have time to react. TEAM Arizona is here to help you do that. Our certified instructors offer a unique learning experience on various types of terrain so you can feel confident in your riding ability.

If you want to become a better motorcycle rider so you can cruise confidently down the open road, let TEAM Arizona help you. Our RiderCoaches are ready to teach you the rules of the road so you can stay safe while doing what you love. Think about whether or not you follow the 2-second rule or if you think of it as more of a guideline for safe riding and then contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’ll show you why it is so important to keep a proper motorcycle following distance and help you become a better, safer motorcycle rider and be confident in your ability to tackle all types of potential road hazards.

 For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Bill Seltzer Yamaha FJ-09Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011.  He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee.  Have questions or comments about the article?  Email him:


Contact TEAM Arizona Today!

Phoenix Metro / East Valley: 480-998-9888

Phoenix Metro / West Valley: 623-939-9888

Prescott & Northern Arizona: 928-771-2500

Tucson / Sierra Vista / Southern Arizona: 520-733-9888

Our Locations:

Phoenix Metro Area:

Gilbert Location | GO AZ Motorcycles – Scottsdale | Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale | Glendale Community College | GO AZ Motorcycles West- Peoria | Arrowhead Harley-Davidson | Peoria RideNow Powersports | Goodyear RideNow Powersports | Chandler Harley-Davidson | Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson – North Phoenix | Superstition Harley-Davidson

Tuscon Metro Area:

Tucson Headquarters | Tucson RideNow Powersports | Harley-Davidson of Tucson

Sierra Vista/ Fort Huachuca:

Buena High School | Cochise Motorsports


Prescott Valley

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