May 20 Motorcycle Awareness Month

May 20 Motorcycle Awareness Month

Motorcycle Safety Awareness: Riders in Curves

We’ve got all kinds of roads in Missouri – straight, hilly, and curvy – but one mistake can put you into the grass, the rocks, the trees, or... down a ravine.

Many times it’s not the first curve that’s the problem. It’s the second or third in a series of curves that sucks you in, chews you up and spits you out.

The Problem Behavior – While we can’t take the curves out of the road (nor would we want to!), we can change our approach. There are innumerable reasons for missing a curve, but most point to one problem behavior: Being unprepared. When unprepared riders – whether beginners, experienced riders or experts – fail to negotiate a turn, it’s because they enter too fast, in poor position, with no exit strategy.

Act, Don’t React – When a corner catches you unprepared, it’s not too late to act if you have your wits about you. Most important is that you look through the turn. Don’t look down, don’t look at the guardrail, don’t look at the shoulder or oncoming semi truck. Look through the turn, to the exit. The motorcycle wants to go where you look.

When you feel like you’re in too hot, the simple act of looking through the turn can save you. If your speed is still way too fast for the turn, gently reduce your speed – a little roll-off can help tighten your line. If you’re still running out of road, press the inside handgrip more and lean the bike further. Trust those tires.

The Strategy – Every curve should be approached the same way: From the outside, at a safe entry speed, with an eye for the exit. An outside position provides the best line of sight and widest radius. A safe entry speed is one that allows you to slow or stop if the turn goes wrong. For experienced riders in good conditions, safe entry speed might be the curve’s advisory speed or just below it. The exit is where the curve ends.

As you round the turn, continue to hold your outside line and entry speed until you know where curve leads. Don’t accelerate until you can see the exit – that’s your target.

And beware: Sometimes the exit is a nice, long straightaway... but sometimes it’s another curve, in the opposite direction. At that point your target is no longer the curve’s exit. Now it’s the entrance to the next turn.

#MotorcycleSafetyAwarenessMonth #motorcycleawareness #seemotorcycles #motorcyclistslovecurves Missouri Safety Center #BUPD #SaveMoLives

Learn more critical skills by enrolling in a motorcycle training course near you. See our website for details: