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Getting ready to ride this biking season

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Motorcycle trainers, Road safety features

two motorcycle riding on road in the countryside

Are you looking forward to an eggs-cellent Easter weekend? We certainly are!

Whether your pupils are dusting their bikes off for spring or have been riding all winter, it’s important to make sure their bike’s in good nick. We thought it was a good time to remind you of some basic safety checks you can pass on to them before they get back on the road.

How are those tyres looking?

Even if a bike hasn’t been sat in the garage for the past few months, it’s always a good idea to give it a check over before taking it out.

Is there anything loose or a big puddle of oil underneath it? How are the tyres looking? Are all the lights and indicators still working?

If there's time, it's a good idea to check its chain, steering and suspension. The chain should be the correct tension, not too slack. Make sure the handlebars are free to move smoothly and remember to give the brakes a quick squeeze before heading out.

These checks shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes and will help make sure the bike's safe when it's out on the road.

You’ve got the P.O.W.E.R

The POWER acronym is a good way to remember the essential checks riders need to carry out before setting off. It stands for:

Petrol – does the bike have enough - does it need filling up?

Oil – check your oil level is okay before riding

Water – for both rider and bike!

Electrics – are all lights and signals working properly?

Rubber –  tyres are the only point of contact with the road, make sure they’re in good condition

Gloves, helmet and boots

So, the bike's looking good, but what about kit?

Can they remember the last time they changed their helmet? Like all good things, they do have a shelf life.

Have a quick look inside the helmet's lining - there should be a date showing when it was made. We’d recommend changing helmet every 3 years for regular riders, or sooner if it's been dropped.

It’s important to wear the right clothing however short the journey might be, even when it’s sunny out.

Motorcycle riders should always wear a good pair of gloves, jacket and trousers and make sure they have a bit of protection built in. To see how important proper gear is, check out Highways England's video on the cost of riding without protective clothing.

What are your skills like?

OK, so they have the kit and their bike's in good condition, but hang on a minute – when was the last time they had their own riding checked out? Investing in yourself is just as important as your bike and kit.

Even riders with many years of experience need to refresh their riding skills after a few months out of the saddle. If it's been a couple of months(or more), they may well be rusty.

You should encourage your pupils to take the time to get reacquainted with their motorcycle before heading out on a long journey. They might not be at the same standard they were at the end of last season - all the more reason to get out and practise more!

Taking an advanced training course

Another way of improving riding skills might be going out with a friend. You may also want to point your pupils towards an advanced riding course.

DVSA’s Enhanced Rider Scheme covers everything from cornering and bends through to overtaking and filtering safely.

The training day starts with a chat about their riding, closely followed by an assessment ride. Once that’s all done and dusted, they can work on any development they might need with their trainer.

Read our enhanced rider scheme syllabus to find out more

Happy riding, I hope you and your pupils have a great Easter!

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  1. Comment by Bob Craven posted on

    If you are training and following the advice in the DVSA Manual, Essential Skills for bikers and car drivers then you will be advocating the closer than the Full stopping distances when in an urban traffic queue. 'SEPARATION DISTANCES'. One of being merely the Thinking Distance and no less than the Thinking Distance. This represents a difference of being some possible 30ft behind another vehicle at 30 mph. or the Full Stopping Distance as advised in the DVSA Manual of some 98 ft in all.

    This is quite a difference in safe following on distances and one which is an increased danger even though this particular advice says on the same page that anything less than the Full stopping Distance is an increased risk.

    Perhaps I can say that advising traffic to travel at urban speeds up to 30 mph. not in very slow congestive traffic with speeds not in excess of say 10 mph is tantamount to advising one to Tailgate and perhaps this is the reason why a lot of drivers do Tailgate. It's because they have been trained too do so.

  2. Comment by Bob Craven posted on

    Cornering, bends, overtakes and filtering.

    These are all the main causasions of the vast majority of incidents and collisions on our road particularly those out in the country where sometimes faster speed are reached. Not necessarily over the speed limit but lets face it some are but certainly where inappropriate speeds are being used.

    Approximately 1./3rd of all a such incidents happen on country roads but are responsible for 2/3rd of all KSIs.

    These stats have been with us for several decades and yet we have trained advanced riders and others since the 1960's but the stats do not change.

    Perhaps we need to look at the way we teach these four things to help make our roads safer.

    For instance, Overtakes. Rather than instruct the police/ambulance way of overtaking at speed when they are required to attend an incident then would it not better to teach them normal patrol methods of riding. Not by training that unfortunately encourages unnecessary, irresponsible and inappropriate overtaking. Many of which exceed the speed limits anyway.

    On bends we teach to look at the vanishing point but that can be useful and perhaps beneficial on curves and slighter bends. Suggesting the vanishing point usually make one fixate on that position and not on many other dangers on bends that could suddenly appear.

    The first golden principal of safer riding is the ability to see the road ahead and all around and to ride at a speed that one would be able to stop in the distance seen to be clear. On severe bends . 90 deg. and bends that reduce in radius that means going in slower than many riders would and it appears that where we train to take bends safer we end up encouraging riders to take bends faster.., Once again as if a police officer on duty again going to an incident.

    So we need to look seriously at what we train, why we train it and concentrate on the methods of moving from one place to another in the safest possible way without encouraging rider/drivers to increase speed.

    Advanced riders and drivers came out of the formation of selective clubs for faster vehicles but that was at a time when we had no overall speed limit. They latched on to the higher speeds that a police office would be required to do in exceptional circumstances. That was many decades ago.

    Now the speed limit is 70 mph and 60 mph on many country roads but with many sharp bends that would be dangerous at speeds over 20 mph'

    So we don't need to encourage , inadvertently or not, unnecessary speeds at all and we need to re aces our responsibility to those vulnerable persons that enjoy riding motorcycles.

  3. Comment by adrian johnson posted on

    now that was a great video , short and to the point , THE COST OF PAIN,
    I would like to see more work along this line of motorcycle road safety,
    There is no part of your body that is not needing protection when riding , The helmet covers the brain but it is the brain that needs the knowledge to stop the accident in the first place , so well done and keep up the good work

  4. Comment by Andy Titterton posted on

    You say:
    'If there's time, it's a good idea to check its chain, steering and suspension. The chain should be the correct tension, not too slack. Make sure the handlebars are free to move smoothly and remember to give the brakes a quick squeeze before heading out.'
    However, why state 'if there's time'? It only takes a few minutes, yet failure to see a fault could be disasterous.....