Rural riding has a variety of unique risk factors
With open A roads, restricted view B roads and tight single-track unclassified roads – rural riding has a variety of risk factors. Whilst most casualties occur on urban roads, the majority of motorcyclist fatalities happen on country roads. Factors include running off the road, careless riding, aggressive braking, poor handling skills, excessive speed and most significantly – loss of control. All risk factors can be reduced through further motorcycle training.
Whilst riders are attracted by the fast-flowing twisty corners and pleasure of rural roads, the reality is that too many ride at speeds that exceed their actual ability to remain in control. Excess speed can be further compounded by car drivers failing to look properly or correctly judge the speed of motorcycles.
Whilst these findings influence national Think! campaigns that encourage car drivers to look out for motorcycles, in truth a better way to manage risk is rider responsibility and ongoing training.
New riders must read the road well-ahead
New riders must stay alert, read the road well-ahead and be aware of what is happening behind them. A central riding position is good for learner riders. It allows them to dominate their lane and protect their road space, whilst giving more scope for run off and rider error. Travelling at a speed that truly matches rider ability, whilst giving sufficient time to adapt to the road is an imperative key to minimising the vulnerabilities of rural riding.
New riders mostly ride 125cc motorcycles (or less) – as such they are slower, less powerful and more vulnerable than most other rural road users. This can be particularly true where as a slow-moving vehicle, they are a hindrance to following vehicles, under pressure and at risk during overtakes.
Given that rural motorcycle accidents commonly happen on corners, where excessive speed and poor control are factors – there is a need for riders to more fully understand counter steering. This vital skill allows the rider to steer for optimum, safe and in control cornering. Qualified training ensures that this and other essential skills are practiced and safely perfected whilst under instruction.
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