Sometimes, no matter how carefully you ride, you may find yourself in an emergency situation. Find out how to handle emergencies if they develop.
The quickest stops can be made with progressive braking, and with your motorcycle upright and travelling in a straight line.
If you need to make a quick stop, you should:
These things need to happen almost at the same time, but without locking the brakes. Never lock the front wheel, as it'll almost certainly result in a fall.
Concentrate your attention on applying the brakes. Change gears only when the emergency is under control.
Remember, braking on a curve requires extra care, because the more lean on your motorcycle, the more chance your wheels will lose traction when the brakes are applied. This is one of the reasons why you should reduce speed before entering a curve.
If you must brake in a curve for emergency reasons:
When braking downhill, don’t forget you need to brake harder.
Boosting your riding education
As a rider, you never stop learning. You should always be looking for ways to improve your safe riding skills.
Practice, combined with the right attitude, will help you refine your skills, but there are also courses you can take to help you become a safer motorcyclist.
Skids don’t happen without reason. They're usually caused by:
Different kinds of skids require you to take different corrective action. You should know what to do if your motorcycle goes into a skid.
This is caused by the front wheel locking up under heavy braking. Immediately release the brake lever and let the wheel rotate again. Then re-apply the brake gently and smoothly.
Avoid front-wheel skids by looking well ahead and braking progressively in plenty of time. Apply the front brake first. Be aware that as the weight transfers to the front, the rear wheel becomes lighter and may lock up and skid. If it does, look where you want to go and the motorcycle will go there.
In a rear-wheel skid, the rear of the vehicle swings out.
In this kind of skid, you should:
In any kind of skid, keep both feet up on the footrests. This'll give you the greatest control to maintain balance. Always keep your eyes up and look where you want to go.
If you have a blowout, you'll need to react quickly to keep your balance.
A front-wheel blowout is particularly dangerous, as it affects your steering. You need to be able to steer well to keep your balance.
You can’t always hear a tyre blow, but you should be able to detect a flat tyre from the way the motorcycle reacts. If the front tyre goes flat, the steering will feel heavy. If the rear tyre goes flat, the back of the motorcycle will tend to weave from side to side.
If you do have a blowout while riding, you should:
Engine seizure means that the engine locks or freezes, and it produces the same result as a locked wheel.
Engine seizure is caused by a lack of lubrication. Without oil, the engine’s moving parts can’t move smoothly against each other and the engine will overheat.
However, there's usually some advance warning, giving you time to respond. The first symptom may be a loss of engine power. You may also notice a change in the engine’s sound.
If your engine starts to seize:
While you may be able to add oil and restart the engine, it should be checked for damage, and repaired if necessary.
If you suddenly find that your throttle is stuck, you'll need to react quickly.
Sometime you may have to swerve to avoid a hazard on the road. For example, you may suddenly come across a pothole or a piece of rubbish, or the vehicle in front may stop unexpectedly and the only way to avoid a collision will be to quickly swerve.
To make a quick turn to the right:
This process is reversed for a quick turn to the left.
If you have to brake and turn at the same time:
Even when swerving, stay in your own lane. The moment you change lanes, you risk being hit by another vehicle. The small size of a motorcycle means you should be able to squeeze past most obstacles without leaving your lane.
Only change lanes if you have enough time to make sure no vehicles are in the lane that you want to enter.
If you don’t have time to swerve or steer around it, you may have to ride over an object in your path.
If you have to ride over an object:
It’s a good idea to check your tyres and wheels for damage afterwards.
Sometimes when riding, you might get hit by insects, cigarette butts thrown from windows, or stones kicked up by vehicles ahead.
If you're wearing face protection, it can become smeared or cracked, making it difficult to see. If you aren’t wearing face protection, you could be struck in the eye, the face or the mouth.
Whatever happens, don’t let it affect your control of the motorcycle. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars.
If you need to repair any damage, pull off the road when it is safe.
A heavy vehicle coming towards you creates a wave of air. This can affect your stability, so move to the left of the lane where you will be least affected.
Also be prepared for cross winds when leaving the protection of buildings, trees or banks. Cross winds can affect your balance, especially if your motorcycle is heavily loaded or fitted with a large fairing. expect the bike to want to lean in very strong winds
While you should always try to avoid hitting an animal, you also shouldn’t do anything dangerous, such as swerving into oncoming traffic. You have a better chance of surviving the impact from a small animal than you do a crash with another vehicle.
Motorcycles tend to attract dogs. If a dog rushes at you from the side, don’t kick at it – it could cause you to lose control of the motorcycle.
Instead, change down gears and approach the animal slowly. As you reach it, speed up. You'll leave the animal behind so quickly that it generally loses interest.
If your vehicle’s brakes fail, it'll be an alarming experience. You can try to avoid this happening by checking your brakes regularly. Always replace worn brake pads straight away and top up the brake fluid whenever necessary.
If your brakes do fail while you’re riding:
If your headlight fails while you’re riding, you should:
At rare times, you could suddenly lose all vision when on the road. For example, if your visor becomes completely obscured.
If this happens, you should:
Sometimes, when you are riding at a fairly high speed, the front wheel can suddenly begin to wobble or weave from side to side. If this happens, don’t apply the brakes, as this could make the wobble worse. Instead you should:
Things that can cause a wobble or weave are:
You’ll notice if your chain breaks, because you’ll instantly lose power to the rear wheel and the engine will speed up. The chain could lock your rear wheel and cause your motorcycle to skid.
If a chain breaks, it’s important to respond quickly. You should:
Chain failure is usually caused by a worn chain, a stretched chain which doesn’t fit the sprockets properly, or worn sprockets.
If you have to leave the road to check the motorcycle or just to rest for a while, follow the tips below.
A head-on crash is probably the most dangerous type of crash you can have. This is because when 2 vehicles collide head-on, the force of the impact is usually twice as much as it is when a vehicle hits a non-moving object.
If you find yourself heading towards a head-on crash, there are some things you can do to try to avoid the crash or limit its damage: