CMA HeartBeat March 2021 - Page 27

SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY TIPS

By MIKE Phillips
GOALS are now into the year

WE 2021 , and many riders are getting ready for a new riding season . This is a good time to think about how you will ride this year . Take a no-nonsense realistic selfevaluation of your riding ability . Set goals for your riding this year . One of my goals every year is to improve on these six points of safe riding . The points are : relax , friction zone , smooth and easy , look , brake , and practice .

RELAX – Riding is fun so relax and enjoy it . Riding tense affects judgment . Riding stiff causes slow reactions and less control of the bike . There are two main reasons people ride tense or stiff . The first reason is the lack of skill or knowledge by the rider . Riders can improve skill and knowledge by study , training , and practice . Riders may be tense and stiff because their bikes do not fit them . Bikes can be too tall , too heavy , or too powerful . Be honest about your bike , ability , and riding style . If your bike does not fit you , it may be mechanically altered or replaced .
FRICTION ZONE – The friction zone is the small area in the travel of the clutch that controls power to the rear wheel . Most bikes have a clutch bathed in oil that allows riders to ride in the friction zone without causing damage to the engine . Riders use the friction zone every time they start , stop , or change gears . The friction zone is most valuable for slow speeds like parking lots , U-turns , and heavy traffic . At slow speed , the friction zone helps control the bike speed and
lean angle . Riders can practice the friction zone by riding as slow as they can in a straight line . Set your throttle slow and leave it there . Control the speed by using the friction zone . A little rear brake use will help keep the bike balanced . A bike ridden in the friction zone will not stall . When using the friction zone , remember to go to it not through it .
BRAKES – Improper braking is a major cause of bike crashes . Brakes must be applied smoothly with a slow progressive squeeze . Applying the brake too hard or too fast may cause a tire to skid . A front tire skid usually results in a crash . Rear tire skids are not as dangerous , but still cause a loss of control . A skid of either tire will increase the bike ’ s stopping distance . A rider who skids either tire is not using the brakes properly . The front brake produces 70 % to 80 % of the stopping power , yet many riders are not comfortable using the front brake . The rear brake helps keep the bike stable in a stop from high speed . The rear brake is more effective at low speed or walking speed . Do not use the front brake in slow speed maneuvers . Many riders rely too much on the rear brakes and not enough on the front brakes in a stop . This is why riders may run off the road or crash before they get stopped . Learning to use the front brake properly takes time and lots of practice .
LOOK – A motorcycle will go where the rider is looking . Head and eyes must be up and scanning ahead and side to side . Riders should be like a beauty queen .
Beauty queens point their nose up to help keep their head up . Ride like a beauty queen ; point your nose and chin in the direction you want to go . Keep your nose up and that will keep your head and eyes up . Do not stare at one spot , but keep your eyes moving . Look as far as you can through a curve moving your eyes farther into the curve as the bike travels farther into the curve .
PRACTICE – Lawyers practice law and doctors practice medicine to keep their skills sharp and to learn new skills . Riders should practice riding for the same reason . Every ride is an opportunity to practice . Always strive to improve your riding skill . Take a rider course , read , watch a video , and ride with expert riders , but most of all , practice . Practice will make skills permanent , so they can be used without thinking through each step . Practice builds confidence , which lets us enjoy the ride even more .
Rider improvement and safety should be a goal every year . I take a refresher course every year . I ride with riders who are better than I am , so I can ask questions and learn from them . Improvement begins with your mind . A good , safe rider makes safety , learning , and improvement a priority . Leave your ego at the curb and ride with a humble attitude and a willingness to learn . I set goals every year to ride safe and have fun . Riding with the Son helps me achieve those goals . CMA
Mike Phillips is a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation ( MSF ) instructor in Arkansas .
27⎪March 2021⎪www . cmausa . org