The information phase of IPSGA
The information phase is a critical aspect of advanced riding and the most important part of the riding plan. It is also the weakest area for most riders and one that advanced riding candidates find the most difficult to perfect. Mastering the skill of effective forward vision is essential, as there is always more going on ahead than a rider can physically see.
Once a hazard is identified, advanced riders must start to process all observed ‘information’ to help with developing an effective ‘riding plan’. It cannot be stressed enough how important effective forward observation and awareness is and whilst non-advanced riders have seldom fully developed this skill, significant improvements can be quickly made with professional instructor-led advanced training.
Consistent use of ‘the system of motorcycle control’ will develop and improve advanced riding skills. Ongoing ‘system’ experience, leads to a growing ‘memory database’ of similar situations that can be ‘referred’ to time and time again. Long-term memory is like a computer hard-drive, whilst short-term memory is similar to a computer’s rapid access memory (RAM). By referring to similar experiences, long-term memory develops ways of dealing with similar recurring hazard types. Our short-term memory (RAM) deals with quick moving information that riders need to act upon straight away.
Key to the information phase is the mnemonic – TUG, which stands for Take, Use and Give. By using a methodical system riders create more time to respond when dealing with hazards. By effectively reading the road ahead, riders can ‘see’ the information in front and can endeavour to anticipate how hazards will develop. Constant anticipation is vital, as it isn’t always the danger that can be immediately seen that will cause problems, but more so the hidden dangers that can catch-out even the most experienced riders.
TAKE – using effective vision, take and process the information seen. The other senses can also be used – such as smell, hearing and the sixth sense (intuition). For example, observe and assess bend severity by using a combination of hedgerows/tree lines and telegraph poles. Also look at the road surface ahead for a clean dry line as well as being aware of the type of camber.
USE – use this information to create a ‘flexible’ riding plan. Looking ahead and before acting – assess and prioritise the dangers.
The initial plan must be flexible and achievable because if things ahead change, a new riding plan will be needed. Riders should keep within 80% of their ability to ensure that there is enough skill in reserve, to deal with the unexpected.
GIVE – give information to other road users where necessary. For example, the head movement involved with checking mirrors or a look over the shoulder, can alert other road users of an intended manoeuvre. Likewise, a positive move to a better road position, will give information to other road users of what a rider is intending to do next. The effective use of brakes (and brake lights) are another good way to give useful information to other road users i.e slowing down. Correct use of indicators or arm signals also gives essential information and at certain times, so does the horn.
Key learning points - Information
- As simple as they sound, the systematic use of IPSGA and TUG are essential foundations to becoming a skilled advanced rider
- Vision is just one way to gain information. Riders should use their other senses and also listen to their intuitive inner voice
- It’s important to remain flexible, as hazards will constantly change and develop
- Riders must always stay within 80% of their ability to ensure there is always enough skill in reserve to deal with the unexpected
- Be aware of the many ways that a rider can give information to other road users, such as a purposeful head movement at the correct time
- New advanced riding skills require ongoing practice and tend to develop slowly
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