No matter how many precautions a motorcyclist takes, and no matter how much skill a rider has, there will inevitably come a time when they have to respond to an emergency situation. The riding courses give the rider all the tools necessary to respond to these situations. This article will discuss a few possible emergency situations, and how to react to them.
A motorcycle tire has exactly 100% traction. The things that require portions out of that 100% are acceleration, braking and turning. What causes a tire to skid is exceeding that 100%. For example, a rider approaches a curve at 40 miles per hour. Upon entering the curve the rider realizes he is going to fast to complete the turn. So he/she squeezes the brakes mid turn to slow down. The rider has now used more than 100% of the tires traction. Both tires will now skid out, and the bike and rider slide off the road. What the rider should have done was slowed down enough before the turn to complete the turn without using the brakes. However, since the rider was going too fast, they should have leveled the motorcycle before squeezing the brakes. This would allow more traction for braking and less for turning. Therefore, the tire would remain within its allotted 100% traction level. In the same way, a rider should not over accelerate while turning. The ideal turn is performed as follows. The rider slows down before the turn enough so that they can slowly accelerate through the turn.
In any situation, the goal is to maintain control of the motorcycle. There are a few things that can cause a rider to lose control. Obviously, one of those things would be running into an object or another vehicle. So to avoid doing this a motorcyclist should master the ability to swerve to avoid obstacles. Swerving is the same thing as turning, only with a lot more haste. To swerve, you press down hard on the handlebars in the direction you want to go. Then you quickly level the motorcycle by releasing pressure on the handlebars. This will get the bike moving straight again. Finally, you put pressure on the handlebars in the other direction to move back into place. The amount of pressure placed on the handlebars will determine how quickly the motorcycle will swerve. It is very important to not grab the brakes while swerving. Doing so will cause the motorcycle to skid, and you could easily lose control.
Tire failure is a danger that all motorcyclists face. One way to manage this danger is to change the tires regularly, and make sure not to push a tire past its designed limits. New tire or old, any tire can be punctured and go flat. To maintain control when a tire goes flat, the motorcyclist should squeeze the brake on the tire that is still good. A flat front tire is much more dangerous than a rear flat. This is because the front tire is the lead tire and is guiding the rest of the bike. During a front tire flat the rider should fight to keep the handlebars straight while pressing on the rear brake with their right foot until the motorcycle comes to a stop. During a rear tire flat, the rider should squeeze the front brake with their right hand until the motorcycle comes to a stop.
In the unfortunate case that a motorcycle goes into a skid, there are ways for the rider to correct it without crashing. If the rear tire goes into a skid, the rider should immediately release pressure off of the rear brake. At the same time, the rider should make sure and hold the front tire steady and straight. Doing this should cause the rear tire to snap back into place and continue rolling. The harder skid to control is a skidding front tire. Once again, this is because it’s the lead tire and guides the entire motorcycle. A motorcyclist doesn’t have very much time to react to a skidding front tire before crashing. If experiencing a front tire skid, the rider should immediately release the front brake and stand the bike as level as possible. If done quickly enough, the front tire will begin rolling forward again and the rider can regain control.
Some other emergency situations can occur that are highly unusual such as an animal running in out in front of your motorcycle. However, knowing how to control the motorcycle in an emergency can prevent many accidents from happening. However, the saying goes, “There are two kinds of riders, those who have crashed in the past… and those who will in the future.” That is why it is important to always wear proper equipment including a helmet, gloves, long pants and boots.