TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Number One Mistake Experienced Riders Make
There are two primary locations on the road where our vision plays the most critical role: corners and intersections. Of course, vision is important for all aspects of riding, but it is at these two points in our riding where vision becomes MOST critical.
We’ve written extensively in the past about using our vision when cornering (avoid going wide, search-setup-smooth, see like a superhero). We wrote these pieces because we know cornering is a trouble spot for riders (roughly 37% of single vehicle fatality crashes occur in corners). The problems typically start with how we are using our vision.
Questions we should consider asking ourselves before a corner approaches and while in the corner primarily include:
- Where is my turn point?
- Where is my apex?
- Where is my exit?
Frankly, if we aren’t identifying these points when we’re cornering, we’re increasing our risk for crashing. Using our ability target these points is important; we’ll also need to open up our vision beyond these points to ensure we see a wider picture. Essentially, we are quickly moving between spotlight and floodlight vision.
VISION AT INTERSECTIONS
Approaching an intersection is an important time for a motorcyclist. Our visual system is working double time as we scan for hazards in three distinct categories:
- Roadway: What is the condition of the roadway? Do I have escape routes available? Will I have traction for these chosen escape routes?
- Markings: Is there construction ahead? What do I need to know about the intersection from the road signs?
- Motorists: What are the two-ton plus beasts around me doing? Am I giving myself sufficient time and space to be able to operate successfully?
It is the use of our vision that helps us answer the questions above. Using our vision to quickly scan to identify hazards gives us an overall awareness of the situation.
PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Does perfection exist? Nah, but that shouldn’t stop you from practicing good visual habits. We do our best every time we go out on a ride to enhance our visual skills? Will you make the pledge to do the same?
Bill 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: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com