Staying Safe with Road Debris

The fear of crashing is one of the biggest deterrents for new motorcycle riders to continue riding. This fear is not baseless however, as crashing while riding a motorcycle is an ever-present danger. The level of danger is also quite high as unlike a car, any crash in a motorcycle can lead to a direct impact with the road. So, the phrase “prevention is better than cure” becomes even apter. You have to take every possible precaution to avoid crashing when riding a motorcycle. One of the common causes of motorcycle crashes is road debris. Debris can render an enjoyable ride into something stressful in a matter of seconds. The good thing is that you can negotiate debris by following a few simple tips.

  • Be alert at the right times: It seems like an obvious thing to do but it can become tedious when riding especially if the ride is longer than thirty minutes. It also becomes unenjoyable if you have to keep your eyes constantly peeled on the road. The best thing to do in this scenario is to be intelligent and sort of predict when to look out for debris. If you can see the road for a long distance then you can relax a bit. The moment you can no longer see a long stretch of the road, such as around a corner or when there is poor visibility, you need to be a bit more vigilant.
  • Keep a considerable distance when following a car: The problem with following a car closely on a motorcycle is that the car will block your view of the road directly in front of you. Also, the wheels of a car won’t be in line with your motorcycle and the car could drive right over debris without having to do anything while you might be forced to ride through the debris with little time to react. A good rule of thumb is to split lanes whenever it is possible and allowed. At other times, when you must follow a car, do so from a longer distance than is recommended for cars.
  • Learn how to use the brakes progressively: A common error people make is to wait till the last moment to brake, and in case of sudden emergencies they end up squeezing the brakes too hard causing the wheels to lock up leading to a crash. You should learn how to brake with proper technique. Another common mistake is to use only either the front brake or rear brakes which can be dangerous in an emergency situation. The one way to achieve proper braking technique is to regularly practice panic braking under safe circumstances and conditions.

This does not mean that you can always avoid debris on the road. Sometimes you will end up having to ride through debris. That is not the end of the world however as you can still ride through debris with the right technique. Here are some pointers on how to do so.

  • Slow down immediately: This is an important thing. Instead of trying to stop, simply slow down. The trick is not to panic and do anything sudden. Simply roll off the throttle and stay as upright as possible. Do not get nervous and resort to any jerky motions. Chances are that eventually the tires will find grip and you can get back to normal riding. A sudden movement could upset the motorcycle to the point that it becomes impossible to control leading to a crash.
  • Maintain a good posture and wear the right clothes: This is very important as well if you encounter debris. If you ride over the debris at an angle then chances are that you will lose the stability of the motorcycle resulting in a dangerous situation. Sitting up straight will allow the motorcycle and you to be in a position that is easy to control and afford you plenty of options. Braking is also the most stable when done in an upright position. Wearing the right apparel is also important. You can look at the line of motorcycle gear for women on OpenRoadGirl.com. Boots and jackets can keep you safe.
  • Hold the handle grips tightly: When the grip is low it is important to retain the maximum amount of control possible. One of the best ways to do that is by gripping the handle bars as tightly as possible. This does a few things. It gives you excellent feedback allowing you to know exactly what the motorcycle is doing. It also keeps the motorcycle from executing any minute movements that can endanger your safety. It can give you a sense of security that can boost your confidence allowing you to react positively instead of freezing up and letting go of the motorcycle.
  • Shift your weight on to your feet: This is just basic physics. The lower the center of gravity is, the more stable the bike will be. One of the best ways to do that is by shifting your weight on to your feet by slightly standing up on the foot pegs. This will cause the bike to be less jerky and will allow you to safely navigate the debris.
  • Get good insurance: Sometimes there will be situations where it is just impossible to avoid a crash. The debris might be too slippery or there might be very little time to react. In such a case a crash is inevitable. Having good insurance can make the time after the crash a lot more bearable.

Running into debris is an ugly and unavoidable situation when riding a motorcycle. Coming out in one piece on the other side is what makes motorcycle riding so much more fun. Hopefully, these tips will make you feel a lot more equipped.  Stay safe.

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