Extend your vision

One of the most important things you can do to be a safer rider is to look well ahead of you when you’re riding, so you can pick up potentially dangerous situations before it’s too late. Keep your eyes up for balance and control.

The earlier you spot a potential hazard, the more time you'll have to take evasive action if you need to.

Rather than looking only as far as the vehicle in front of you when riding, you should actually be scanning the road in front to a distance of at least 12 seconds ahead of you – that is, the place you'll be after riding for 12 seconds.

As a rough guide, at 50km/h, 12 seconds is 166 metres or about 2 city blocks. At 100km/h, 12 seconds is 333 metres. This means at 100km/h you should look ahead as far as you can see.

Use your height advantage to look over or through the vehicle in front of you, so you can see what’s going on ahead.

Keep your eyes moving

Many people only look ahead of them when riding. This means they’re not getting the full picture of what’s happening on the road.

As well as looking ahead, you should also use your mirrors to look to the sides and behind often, to be aware of surrounding traffic. This helps you spot potentially dangerous situations that could be forming around or behind you.

Moving your eyes regularly and concentrating on what’s going on around you will also help you to stay alert on long journeys.

Head checks

Motorcycles have blind spots just like other vehicles. When you change lanes, make sure you turn your head and look over your shoulder, in the direction you intend to move, at traffic behind you.

This head check is the only way to see a car behind you in the next lane.


As a motorcycle rider, you can put yourself in a position to see things that a driver of a car can't see.

  • On curves, you can move to one side of the lane or the other to get a better view through the curve.
  • At intersections, you're closer to the corner than the driver of a car. This gives you a wider view of approaching traffic.
  • At the roadside, you can angle a motorcycle across the road so you can see both directions without straining. This is particularly important when making a turn across traffic.
On a road with parked cars, a blue motorcycle is parked facing out at an angle from the kerb.

Angle your motorcycle to see both ways

Create a safety cushion

You should create a cushion of safety around your whole vehicle by making sure there is a safe distance in all directions between you, other vehicles and potential hazards.

This'll give you and other road users more time and space to avoid any hazards.

  • Create a cushion of safety ahead of you by maintaining a safe following distance. Use the 2-second rule or the 4-second rule when appropriate.
    2-second rule
    4-second rule
  • Create a cushion of safety behind you by maintaining a safe distance between you and any following vehicles. If a vehicle is following you too closely, slow down, move over and let it pass as soon as you can do so safely.
  • Create a safety cushion to your sides by keeping a safe distance from any hazards on your sides, such as driveways, parked vehicles, cyclists or children playing on the footpath.


The cheapest insurance you can have is space around your vehicle.

The more space you have, the safer you will be.

Stay focused

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re riding. Things like a talking pillion passenger, passing scenery and roadside advertising can all divert your attention from your riding and the road.

You must learn to ignore distractions and concentrate on riding. If you need to look away from the road, follow these pointers:

  • Check well ahead and behind for any potential hazards. Don’t look away if you can see potential hazards.
  • Remember, if you do look away from the road, you'll still have to maintain your direction.
  • Never take your eyes off the road for more than a few seconds.

Identify escape routes

Following the tips above will help you avoid many potentially dangerous crashes. However, there may still be times when you find yourself on a direct collision course with another vehicle or other hazard.

For this reason, it's good to identify possible escape routes all the time while you’re on the road. That way, if you find yourself in danger of a crash, you’ll be ready to take quick evasive action.

Most escape routes will be to your left, so take note of what’s on the left-hand side of the road as you ride. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is there a wide shoulder I could ride onto?
  • Can I ride off the road safely if I need to?

If there are no safe escape routes, reduce your speed and increase your following distance so you can stop in plenty of time if a crash situation develops.