Acceleration phase of IPSGA
It is imperative that before reaching a hazard that the correct speed and gear are selected. Within the system of IPSGA, this allows the rider to deal safely with the identified hazard before accelerating safely away when it is safe to do so.
IPSGA hazard perception
The lower gears are sometimes referred to as power gears and the higher gears as the speed gears. The intermediate gears (with good throttle sense) can be used to control the bike’s speed. TWhilst ‘the hazard’ is not part of the written system of motorcycle control, it is integral to the reason why so much time has been spent preparing the machine on the approach. A hazard is anything that will cause a rider to change speed or direction. Hazards can be permanent, temporary, actual, potential or perceived. On approach to a hazard the riding plan must be flexible enough to allow riders to make last second changes and adjustments.
Seeing a hazard early is important and can only be achieved with good forward vision, planning and awareness. Riders should never ride to the limit of their ability and should always ‘keep’ something in reserve to deal with any problems as and when they arise.
Throttle/acceleration sense is the ability to use the correct gear to have direct engine response. By being in a mid range gear riders can accelerate and decelerate, thus increasing and decreasing speed without the need to brake or change gear.
Riders should preferably use the sequential gearbox to go up or down one gear at a time. Slowing down normally with the full use of each gear results in an extended/smoother braking process. Correctly and fully releasing the clutch between each gear change helps to match engine and road speed.
If a motorcycle has a rev range of 10,000 rpm, the mid range revs should be used to control the machine in each gear. This means that by using revs between 3,000 – 7,000 rpm in each gear, in the correct circumstances this will give good acceleration and deceleration through the full range of a motorcycles gearbox.
Reduce, maintain or increase speed
Once a rider has dealt with the immediate hazard, they should think about using appropriate acceleration to reduce, maintain or increase speed. IPSGA is constant and ongoing. Once the acceleration phase is concluded, riders should be looking for or have already identified the next hazard.
The ‘acceleration phase’ does not always imply that there is a need to increase speed. Riders may wish to maintain speed and if it is appropriate and safe to do so, this is achieved by skilled ‘application’ of the throttle. In a corner, the bike will slow down as cornering forces are applied. To compensate this, riders need to apply gentle throttle to maintain the desired speed.
As riders constantly assess situations as safe and clear to increase speed, they will need to have started the information phase of IPSGA again. There is always another hazard ahead to deal with, thus with each acceleration, the information phase constantly evolves.
Aggressive or early use of the throttle can lead to positional problems and this is particularly the case when cornering. In a left hand bend the motorcycle can easily drift towards the centre of the road (towards the white line and oncoming traffic) and in a right hand bend it can just as easily drift towards the kerb. To counteract this problem, riders should ease off the throttle to regain control and position.
Riders need to be constantly vigilant regarding the negative effect of combining acceleration with poor road surfaces, where there might be less available grip. They should use effective forward observation to identify potential problems, such as surface water, ice, debris, road markings and manhole covers. Other senses i.e smell can help with identifying other hazards. For example, sometimes diesel can be present on the road surface (especially on roundabouts and bends). Less grip, causing lack of adhesion can have an adverse effect on acceleration forces. Riders must have the skill and discipline to manage levels of acceleration that are appropriate to hazards to the prevailing conditions.
Key learning points - Acceleration
- Seeing and responding early to hazards helps to correctly position and adopt the correct speed
- Riders should deal with the hazard before they think about accelerating
- Accelerating too early often results in approaching the next hazard too fast
- Before accelerating, riders should constantly be mindful of unseen hazards
- Remember: ‘slow in, fast out’. This is normally applies when dealing with corners but can also useful for dealing with other hazards
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