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The things you SHOULD worry about as a new rider.....

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by typhoon, May 5, 2007.

  1. This has been on my mind for some time, and is NOT a swipe, dig or subtle go at anyone on the forums.......

    Roadcraft. You should be thinking about other road users. If you are new to the roads AND new to a bike, you have a lot to learn. Yes you have to master the bike, but at teh same time you have to learn every stupid move other road users make, how to anticipate these moves, and how to minimise your risk of being involved if they do stupid things near you.
    You have to learn to make lots of decisions very close together, and only a few of those decisions will involve riding the bike. Think ahead of your handlebars.
    Roadcraft is well worth you learning first, it will save you more often than being able to scrape the pegs. It is not sexy or cool, and never talked about, but it must be learnt.
    Concentrate on riding smoothly. Fast and smooth will come from that. Practice emergency braking and countersteering weekly, they don't teach it at teh courses for fun, they are the two MOST IMPORTANT skills to know.
    Concentrate on being smooth on the controls. You will get faster as your skills and confidence improves, don't rush it, it will come!
    Remember, motorbikes are a steep learning curve initially, do not rush the curve and just enjoy the trip!
    Make sure your bike is in good condition. No, I don't mean sik fairings and paint so shiny you can see teh reflection of your babe in it! I mean spend money on that new tyre, on servicing, rather than an aftermarket can. Listen to teh bike, if it doesn't feel or sound right, have it looked at if you can't do it yourself. If you lose a brake on a bike, it hurts a lot more than a car.
    Same goes with the gear. If you feel unprotected, do something about it. I don't care if you wear gear or not, just know it is there and will save much more serious injuries.
    Do not be in a rush to get out in heavy traffic/twisties. As your confidence improves, you'll know when you are ready to have a go. Don't get rushed into doing tricky roads or very heavy traffic by yourself, or with other inexperienced friends. At the same time, don't feel you have to keep up on group rides if you have less skills. Good riders will know this and wait for you at the other end, and may even offer you help and suggestions as you go along. If you feel the ride is too fast or too high a skill level for you, say so and go home.
    Get third party insurance!
    I just want younger/inexperienced road users(riders) to know that progressing as a rider is not just about how quickly you can get into serious mountain roads, or how fast you can ride, it's also about getting home at the end of the day. I am not saying don't have fun, just to consider when and where you have that fun, and take into account your skill level and bike condition when doing it.
    I really hate reading about young people(and older people for that matter!) injuring themselves permanently on the forums. I just want to see you all gain experience and skills in a safe and FUN manner and to get home at the end of the day.

    Others can add as they see fit.

    Regards, Andrew.
  2. + 1. Exactly the things that cross my mind everyday as a new rider.
  3. Nice sensible advice, can I add for those young, foolish and full of testosterone, put your ego, and your "I know everything" attitudes on a leash. This will allow you to learn the roadcraft you need to survive.
  4. Thanks for a well thought out post Andrew, it actually leads into a question that I've been thinking about for a while.

    For those of you who were experienced drivers before you learnt to ride a bike, how well do you think your road awareness translated to riding? I've been behind the wheel for 16 years so hazard perception is second nature, but I wonder whether I need to try to go back to first principles.

    I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of those of you who came to bikes late, as I have.


  5. I had been driving for 20 years before I got on a bike for teh first time. My traffic and general road awareness were a great asset, I knew already what other road users were going to do, and that let me concentrate more on trying to control the bike!
    I am amazed that people jump on a bike as their first experience on the roads, so much more to learn and absorb. Of course, they may have had the benefit of previous bike experience to.

    Regards, Andrew.
  6. I learnt on the bike before the car. i think it makes me a better bike rider but a worse car driver. swerving to avoid potholes in cars is kind of unnecessary, and I have been known to remember at the last second that I cant split lanes.....
  7. i'm kinda glad i had 11 or so yrs behind the wheel before i picked up riding. i've driven in all types of conditions in various cars and on different continents...so road awareness was not a problem in that respect all i really had to do was 'adjust' since i was on two wheels now.

    however, nothing really prepared me for how exposed and vulnerable i was on two wheels! f@#k me! but yeah, i've got use to it now. with time, it's made me a more aware rider and i'd also say a much more aware driver.

    i'm not sure i can articulate much better than that at this time of the morning :wink:
  8. One of the biggest things I find new riders do (im a new rider and have a few friends on L's) is they stop learning.

    The course is a good intro to it all but books, other riders, forums like these, mags ect, they should be in your bag on the way to work so you can have a read at lunch or saved onto your fav to check out while you are meant to be doing your work :wink:

    Like the old saying goes

    "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards."

    Make sure its the other way around.
  9. Great to see a younger rider with a good attitude! Keep on your friends, as you say, you are always learning.

    Regards, Andrew.
  10. Brilliant.

    My advice as a very new learner; don't be impatient to get out and ride. Take your time. It can be great fun, but if your head's not there or you're trying to do too much too soon, you can quickly end up unstuck.

    There are enough things (eg. cagers) out there trying to make you come off bad, without you doing it all on your own.
  11. Good advice.
    I went out for a decent ride on my new bike yesterday, been driving a cage for 30 odd years, but gave bikes away after riding for several years long ago.
    So I had forgotten how defensively you need to ride to survive, and going through a T intersection in RNP I was riding a bit close to a slow 4WD which suddenly turned left at the last minute, then a retard in a black Merc just sailed out of the intersection making me swerve to the wrong side of the road, missing me and my pillion by centimetres.
    Ok he was in the wrong but I shouldn't have been in the blind spot behind the 4WD.
    Sudden scary reality check.
    You gotta expect them to do the stupidest thing and you won't be surprised.

    Had a great day apart from that :p
  12. Excellent advice all, you are beginning to scare the shit out of me. Been driving for 36 years. Only had one minor bingle when some stupid bastard tailended me at a pedestrian crossing ( may not have been minor on a bike). Consider myself a good driver but looking at the world of driving in a whole new perspective since booking in for my pre L's course ( still have 1 1/2 months to wait). Thanks for nocking the ego down a peg or two and getting the mind set right for beginning all over again.
    Still keen but these forums are invaluable.
  13. Great read that, very good advice.

    I cant wait to get my licence and first bike, well second had a bike when i was a young kid, and certainly not going to be rushing into anything.

    Will be limited to back streets and quiet roads until i get some confidence thats for sure.
  14. The most frustrating thing, I find, when riding with other riders is they don't look far enough ahead. Some people have a go at me because I like to be in front....there is a *very* good reason for that; I look ahead and leave the group with as much opportunity to get out of harms way as quickly as possible. If we are travelling on a road with two lanes in each direction and I see a car turn their right hand indicator on, first thing is to check again what's going on behind and beside me, next is to look at the traffic coming in the opposite direction and evaluate my options 1. stay in this lane and slow to wait for car to turn, giving the vehicles behind me an opportunity to see what's going on (if they are alert :roll: ) 2. stay in this lane and stop behind turning car and wait for them to complete their turn 3. indicate and change lanes WITHOUT INTEFERING WITH THE TRAVEL OF THE CARS IN THAT LANE. All this happens extremely quickly and is so easily done.

    So little roadcraft is practiced these days as it seems so many people (motorcyclists included) have so few road skills.
  15. for all the other n00bs like myself, i found this site very useful.


    Browse around the site, i found some pretty good beginner articles in there. Maybe some more experienced riders can comment on the correctness of the info.

  16. ive found 10 years behind the wheel of a car observing traffic invaluable when i was riding (no bike ATM) im just going to echo whats been said, but it means you can tell when a driver is thinking of changing lanes without indicating, or braking, not always obviously, but it only needs to save your life once for it to be a valuable asset.
    bike control is a hard thing to get used to, begin comfortable on the road and having roadcraft knowledge under your belt is a huge advantage over jumping on a bike straight away.
  17. I'm glad hazard perception has developed in your driving - experience on the road doesn't equate to well-honed skills in some drivers and riders no matter how much driving they've done :) for me driving for 4 years prior to getting the bike helped develop my maturity levels and knowing my limits - as well as being more aware of others and road conditions. For me anyway, it helped shape my attitude on the road - and (the right) attitude is so important in life no matter what you're doing.
  18. Just wanted to drag this thread back up, considering all the new riders that have joined up in the last month or so.

    Regards, Andrew.
  19. I am a very experienced driver and have really good road awareness etc etc. tat has really helped out predicting drivers movements. Sometimes I can "sense" they are about to change lanes in front of me and sure enough, off they go. That is why I NEVER ride beside a car!

    However, sometimes you just don't "feel" right and at times like that, you just have to back off and don't rush things in the traffic and if necessary, be late to where you are going rather than never get there.

    The accident to Micky has "put the wind" up me a bit and has had a little unsettling affect on me and I have consciously slowed in traffic. Has any of you fellow Sydneysiders felt the same????

    I am still riding confidently, but I have found I am triple checking when lane changing etc and often just sit behind that bus until it moves :?

    There are SO many racing idiots out there lately!

  20. Good post Andrew...I have similar sentiments, mate.

    The only thing I could add focus to is for newer riders to leave their egos at home when they get on a bike. It IS cool to give it a rip from the lights or go swooping through a good corner, but only if your skillset it up to the challenge if things go buns-up. Otherwise you're just being a Goose.

    And when you guys are out riding and thinking about what you are doing (I hope), don't just practice...make a real study of your riding...take it seriously, and if you screw up, think about it thoroughly and learn from it. Don't just giggle and blow it off like you "meant to do that"...You've got to be honest with yourself.

    There's a whole heap of fun to be had riding a bike - properly!.