Keeping a safe distance when riding is one of the most important aspects of riding, especially in congested traffic conditions and freeway or open road riding. As a rider you need time to stop and to avoid potential hazards. You do not only have to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, you also need to create a buffer around your entire motorcycle. This is called you ‘crash avoidance space’. By applying this technique at all times when riding will help you avoid accidents.
To determine your ‘crash avoidance space’, maintain a 3-second space between you and the vehicle in front of you (double that in wet, foggy or poor road conditions). You need at least 1.5 seconds to observe the hazard, perceive what it means and to respond. You need further 1.5 seconds for the time it takes to stop from the point of braking. As a learner rider you need to increase this even further.
– When approaching blind crests, create a buffer from possible oncoming traffic. If there is a possibility of multiple hazards slow down and buffer from both sides.
Buffering can improve your vision and make it easier for others to see you.
Positioning for curves and bends
Remember, riding around curves and bends requires extra care. The greater the lean on your motorcycle, the greater the chance your wheels will lose traction when the brakes are applied. By reducing your speed before entering a curve, you could avoid a risky situation.
Starting curves wide will improve your vision. Planning to finish them in tight will help get your speed right and leave you room for slight errors.
Keep away from the area where oncoming vehicles are likely to cross the centre of the road (the head-on zone). Taking curves and bends this way will slow you down a little on the approach but will allow you to accelerate out much earlier, once you have a clear view.
On right curves, slow down and keep to the left until you see the road is clear of oncoming traffic.
Maintain a buffer from hazards and slow down if vision is limited.