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Top Emergency Maneuvers Every Rider Should Know

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Posted on Aug 15, 2018

The only way to be as certain as possible that you’ll react the right way when an emergency situation happens is to practice, practice and then practice some more. Check out some of the top motorcycle emergency maneuvers below to help make sure you’re ready!

 

Swerving in a Straight Line

One of the most useful moves on this list, the swerve is a quick avoidance technique that can be used to steer clear of everything from potholes to distracted drivers. Be sure to practice this maneuver at varying speeds. Note how the swerve is initiated by quick presses of the handlebars, as opposed to physically turning them.

 

Emergency Braking

Good form for emergency braking must be automatic. Most riders are aware that 70 percent of their braking capacity lies in the front brake, but few riders ever correctly test the limits of those capacities. The most important thing to keep in mind while practicing braking drills is “grab is bad.” You want to apply firm pressure to the front brake, while applying the back brake as well. If your back wheel slides you can typically ride it out without issue (and apply less next time). If your front wheel slides, release your brakes and reapply.

M.J. Ball, Hupy and Abraham

Emergency Braking in a Corner

Similar to emergency braking, but this maneuver has one extra step – straightening the bike. Though the situations are much more rare, this maneuver can be useful for things like encountering a hazard midcorner. The main thing to remember in this maneuver is to straighten before beginning the braking process. A failure to do so will pitch the bike’s weight forward and into the ground (and you along with it!).

 

Obstacle Cross

Obstacles on the road could be speed bumps, sewer grates, debris, railroad tracks or just about anything else that you can reasonably cross over on your motorcycle. For this technique, practice a quick throttle blip before the obstacle to unload your front suspension. Place your weight on your foot pegs and lift yourself off the seat as you cross. This not only provides a smoother ride for you, but helps stabilize the bike as well. Try to ride over the obstacle as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. Every obstacle will have a technique that suits it best, so practice as much as safely possible to figure out what works.

 

Escape Paths

Possibly the most valuable, but most rarely talked about are escape paths. Escape paths can be lifesaving. This exercise is more of a mental than machine one. Escape paths are essentially your “emergency escape” routes any time you’re out riding. This could be an open area to the side of you if you’re in traffic, or a runoff on a road if you’re approaching a blind corner. Train your brain to look for escape paths and you won’t have to worry about finding them in the middle of an emergency situation.

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Rain Riding

Every rider will get caught in bad weather eventually. While cold weather riding has its own risks, many riders forget that rain riding is its own animal as well. Once of the most important aspects to keep in mind with rain riding is the fact that the road is likely to be more slick during the first 30 minutes of the storm. This is because debris and oil from the road are loosening, forming a slick upper layer of water before being washed away. Water buildup under tires will also reduce traction (another great reason to make sure you’re on top of T-CLOCS!).

 

Gravel

Gravel is another traction-reducing element that you’re likely to encounter on the road. The most important thing to keep in mind with gravel is don’t panic. Smooth control inputs are your friend. Try to cross the area as upright as possible.  

 

Wobbles

Front-end wobbles can be caused by a variety of reasons. After you get the wobble under control, diagnosing what caused it should be a top priority. If the bike begins to wobble, do not speed up or brake, as this will only cause the issue to worsen. Instead, slowly roll off the throttle while firmly gripping the handlebars, move as much weight forward on the bike as you can and pull over to assess the problem immediately once under control.

 

At the law firm of Hupy and Abraham we are dedicated to motorcycle safety and awareness. We’ve spent the last 40 years spreading the “Watch for Motorcycles message, promoting bikers’ rights and creating helpful Rider Resources for all biker types. Be sure to visit us on Facebook to stay up to date on vital tips, and check out our online motorcycle event calendar to see what kind of great activities are going on in your area!


By: M.J. Ball

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