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Practical: Five pro tips for a safer motorcycle road

biker riding a motorcycle on a safe road

Motorcycling is dangerous, as non-motorcyclists are quick to remind us. Although we cannot achieve zero risk, we can still maximize our safety on the road by adopting a few good reflexes. Cédric, the Hors des Clous Monitor, gives you five tips for riding on the road more peacefully. Don’t hesitate to enrich this page with your own advice in the comments!

1 – Understand the difference between real risk and perceived risk

If you have the opportunity to follow the articles of my blog, you may have already come across my articles aimed at popularizing the notion of “road risk homeostasis”. Without going into details here (I invite you to read my article for that, or see the video of my friend Valootre), it is important to understand that the risk of accident increases as soon as the conditions seem ideal.

Indeed, good weather, a perfect asphalt road like a billiard table and long clear straight lines..., sometimes encourage us to lessen our vigilance.
Likewise, it is dangerous to ride “on top of your pumps” while trying to follow more experienced friends. In short, beware of excess optimism!

Likewise, it is dangerous to ride “on top of your pumps” while trying to follow more experienced friends. In short, beware of excess optimism!

In the same way, it is risky to think that you can do without protective equipment as soon as the sunny days return or because the journey is short.

Remember that 73% of accidents take place less than 15 km from home, on well-known roads. Because it is the habit that leads to a decrease in vigilance.

Biker putting on his motorcycle gear

Riding well equipped, one of the five pillars of motorcycle safety

2 – Equip yourself well all year round and choose equipment adapted to each season

This is obvious to many. Unfortunately you just have to look at the level of equipment of some people as soon as the mercury rises above 20°. The shortcomings are undeniable. Indeed, the heat and/or a short distance course should in no case make you give up good equipment.

Yes, even going to get your baguette at the other end of the village on a Sunday morning in the middle of summer is risky for your skin! So as explained in the previous tip, it doesn't matter the temperature or the length of the journey: Equip yourself !

And with current equipment, you will inevitably find something to satisfy you every season. Of the jackets and mesh textile pants, of the multi-season jackets with anti-perspiration membranes and ultra-ventilated helmets, you no longer have any excuses! In addition, there is a lot of equipment whose look is so close to “civilian” clothing that you will go completely unnoticed at work or in the evening. The “big leather and stiff boots” biker look is now a long way away!

Conversely, equipment that is too light in winter can have serious repercussions. Your comfort and even your driving may suffer. Fingers numbed by the cold could easily cause a bad feeling or delay in using the controls. This would have a direct impact on the quality of emergency braking, for example.

Motorcyclist driving on track with his roadster

A mini training course can help you better master the safety trajectory

3 – The safety trajectory: to be implemented!

Integrated into the training of new motorcyclists since the March 2020 reform, the “safety trajectory” is intended to resolve some of the accidents that have occurred on bends, particularly in the event of reduced visibility.

In fact, the public authorities have taken up the problem following an increase in this type of accident. Particularly in the first years after your driving license. This involves implementing a trajectory optimizing the “discovery” of the turn. It also allows you to maintain the possibility of correcting your situation in the event of a vehicle arriving in the wrong direction or overflowing from its lane. Or even in the case of a vehicle stopped in the bend, masked by the topology of the bend.

This involves implementing a trajectory optimizing the “discovery” of the turn.

Unlike the “rope” trajectory, it is no less fun to do and can give excellent sensations.

Be careful, however, not to be satisfied with the summary that is made of this technique in the motorcycle code books. Do not hesitate to explore the question during your A2 license training. Your trainer can provide you with information during traffic lessons.

It happens that you were not trained in this technique during your training and/or you wish to deepen it. I can only recommend that you contact a motorcycle school in order to improve your skills. Days are sometimes organized free of charge in certain establishments. Likewise, the EDSR (Departmental Road Safety Squadrons – gendarmerie units) of each department regularly organize this type of training. You can also contact the various biker associations or the AFDM network.

group of bikers riding on the road

We can be tempted to ride “on top of our pumps” to keep up with our friends

4 – When the desire for strong sensations is too strong: Try motorcycle sport

Once you have gained experience on the road after several months or years, and when you begin to master your two-wheeler, the temptation can be great to want to test its performance.

This is when it is important not to confuse road and track!

Whether for other users or for yourself, the closed and secure space that is the track is the place ideal for letting go… but also for learning : discover your own limits as well as those of your machine, benefit from advice appropriate to your level... and perhaps discover a passion beyond the simple day of discovery!

Don’t hesitate to watch for sessions organized by dealerships or your usual equipment stores (Motoblouz also organizes them!)

The practice of motorcycle sport is sometimes also an outlet. It then allows you to approach the road much more calmly, with greater respect for the rules. Consider it if you have a penchant for speed!

Biker on a break in the countryside

We are not the only ones enjoying the road

5 – Towards greater tolerance and understanding of the specificities of each road user

This article aims to draw up a list – obviously not exhaustive – of tips for a safer road… But we must keep in mind that we are not the only ones who enjoy the roads!

Cyclists, pedestrians, motorists... So many users who are not necessarily familiar with the characteristics specific to motorized two-wheelers, and who can easily be surprised.

Even a very modest two-wheeler, a 125cc or even an A2 restricted motorcycle for young drivers, has acceleration capabilities much greater than the vast majority of cars. It is therefore important to keep this in mind when hitting the road.

Even a very modest two-wheeler, a 125cc or even an A2 restricted motorcycle for young drivers, has much greater acceleration capabilities than the vast majority of cars. It is therefore important to keep this in mind when hitting the road.
Therefore avoid excessively sudden acceleration which can lead to bad behavior on the part of other drivers (diverging from the trajectory, braking, etc.)

Likewise, due to our small size, we are often “invisible”. So know not to surprise. For example, avoid staying too long in the blind spot of other uses as long as possible. Increase your safety distances, including lateral distances in the event of multiple lanes. Or in the case of inter-lane traffic, in order to leave a “safety cushion”, allowing more room for maneuver for other vehicles and thus guaranteeing your own safety!

Still on the subject of interfile, also know how to give up when you feel that the maneuver will be difficult for you, either due to fatigue or your level of experience for example!

Cover picture Gijs Coolen

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Driving teacher since 2008 and motorcyclist for almost 20 years, I am the motorcycle manager of the CFSR road safety training center, located in Valenciennois. We prepare students for their license but we also train future instructors throughout the region. I also launched the site “Le Moniteur Hors Des Clous!” in 2016 with the aim of sharing the particular view that I have on auto/motorcycle news and popularizing the principles of road safety. Benefiting on a daily basis from a privileged observer position, I try to shed particular light on road safety, legislation and training.

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