Emergency braking is one of the most important skill a rider needs to know. The roads are full of different types of vehicles travelling at various speeds. Hence it becomes absolutely necessary to learn this art.
Here are a few do's and dont's that riders need to follow to stay safe.
Do: Progressively Squeeze The Lever
Starting gently and working up to high pressure will transfer the motorcycle’s weight to the front wheel and compress the tyre, expanding its contact patch, thereby increasing grip.
Don’t: Just Grab A Handful
Even with ABS, simply going straight to max brake pressure will overwhelm the front tire’s grip and cause it to skid. If you do not have ABS, that will likely lead to a wipe out. If you do, you just won’t be achieving an optimal rate of deceleration.
Do: Use Both Brakes
Even on bikes that don’t come with handlebar tassels, where the weight bias is dramatically forward under braking, the rear tyre may retain contact with the road and even have a little traction, so using both brakes will help slow you down.
Don’t: Rely On The Rear Brake Only
Not only is the back brake less powerful than the front brake, weight is also transferred off the rear brake under deceleration which reduces the rear tyre’s traction.
Do: Be Aware Of Traffic Around You
It’s no good going to maximum braking power only to be swatted by the texting SUV driver tailgating you. Ride defensively at all times and try to create a “bubble” of space around you at all times. This will give you room to take evasive maneuvers like emergency braking in case you need it.
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Don’t: Let Other Vehicles Dictate Your Safety
Ride in such a manner that you control your relationship with other traffic. Don’t find yourself in a situation where another motorist is able to tailgate you or restrict your vision. Move through traffic with authority and confidence.
Do: Plan Ahead
As you’re riding, you need to be constantly scanning your entire area — above and below and to the side and behind you — but pay particular attention to where you’re going and look as far ahead as possible. As cars pull up to intersections or other traffic movements occur, plan how you will deal with each one, then put that plan into action.
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Don’t: Get Taken By Surprise
Surprise creates panic, panic creates accidents. Use your superior vision — move around in your lane and alter your distance from other vehicles in order to maximize it — and develop a sixth sense capable of predicting what other people are about to do. Identify potential risks before they threaten you, then avoid them before they become a problem.
Motorcycles have exceptional braking abilities, but conversely, their brakes are exceptionally difficult to master. Go find a big, empty parking lot and spend half a day familiarizing yourself with your motorcycle’s abilities and working up from a walking pace until you’re able to confidently bring your bike to a commanding halt from normal road speeds.
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Don’t: Rely On Something You Don’t Know How To Use
How fast can your motorcycle stop? What happens when the rear wheel starts to lift off the ground? How much back brake can you use before that wheel locks? What does it feel like to lock the front wheel? You should know the answers to all these questions by heart.
Do: Brake Hard!
You rear wheel might lift up, the ABS might kick in, you might pee your pants a little bit, but every MPH that you can lose before hitting something will incrementally reduce impact forces, thereby reducing your chances of injury or death. What might kill you at 40 mph may only send you home with bruises at 30. And that’s a mere fraction of a second of max braking apart.
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Don’t: Let Go
Trust your bike and your abilities. Your best bet to avoid the accident or reduce its severity lies in braking, not in bailing.
Here are a few tips for emergency braking:
- Don’t grab the handle and pull with all your strength. – This is a normal reaction, but a grave mistake. Pull hard, but not fully, and then continue pulling harder progressively. If you pull hard all the way, your tires will lock up and you will no longer be in control.
- Use both brakes, front and rear. – Use the front brakes at about 80% and the rear at 20%. If you use the front more, the rear will lift and be useless. If you use the rear too much, you will not stop as effectively.
- Squealing tires mean you are braking too hard. – You have lost control and need to loosen up a tad.
- Weight distribution. – Since the bike will be going to lower in the front, your body will want to get off the bike at the front. To prevent this front ejection, keep your arms straight and locked.
- Try to avoid the object. – This is where ABS comes in handy.
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