Developing the Correct Rider Attitude while riding a motorcycle
Technical skills are undeniably an important part of motorcycling but equally crucial is the rider’s attitude. Far too often we hear motorcyclists blaming everyone else for what happened on the road.
It’s because many riders have an opinion that they are better than other road users because they ride a motorcycle. You must take responsibility for your own actions and realise that you rode the bike into that situation where you blamed someone else!
Attitude is a less tangible aspect of riding that influences your safety, learning progress, development and overall riding experience.
A correct riding attitude encompasses respect for the road and patience for everyone else and their possible mistakes.
It is the continual learning that must take place, self-awareness of your own ability and faults that affect the way you ride and deal with hazards and difficult situations. But above all, you as the rider, must take responsibility for your own actions and reactions.
This article aims to guide riders towards developing and nurturing the right attitude when riding. It will not only improve your riding but also enhance your overall enjoyment. When you go for a ride with a purpose in mind, it means you are planning what you are doing and are taking responsibility for your ride.
The First Step in the Right Direction
Respect is the foundation to developing the correct rider attitude while riding a motorcycle. Without it riders will blame everyone else for the mistakes that happen. Mistakes do happen, everyone is human and capable of doing the wrong thing.
If you think about defensive riding, planning and awareness, these skills combined will ensure you stay out of harm’s way. But if things do go wrong, a structured planned approach to your riding will ensure you have time to react.
You will be less likely to have an attitude of blame and finger pointing if you ride defensively and anticipate the actions of other road users.
Who is riding your bike?
Respect your motorcycle, the road, traffic laws and other road users.
A respectful rider understands that their motorcycle is not a mere machine but a powerful vehicle that demands careful handling. Skills only improve with time and practice, experiences help to develop a better understanding of how to ride but attitude is key to your safety.
Respect the unpredictability of the road and remain vigilant to changes in road conditions. The road situation because of developing hazards can catch riders out who are not looking ahead properly. Always plan as far ahead as you can see.
Respecting traffic laws and rules of the road and acknowledge the rights and safety of other road users. Sometimes you might have the right of way but you should always be prepared to give way. Size matters on the road and motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users.
This respectful attitude forms the cornerstone of safe, responsible riding. Always remember you are riding your bike, nobody else puts you in the situation you are in. You are the rider and you are responsible for your own actions.
If you didn’t want to be in a certain situation, you should not have ridden there. Learn from your own mistakes and experiences.
The Key to Safe Riding
In the world of motorcycling, patience truly is a virtue. This attitude towards riding is necessary to stay calm and in control. You should be in full control of your motorcycle and the situation around you. This is achieved with good awareness and planning.
A patient rider doesn’t succumb to road rage, they don’t take unnecessary risks to save a few seconds. They also understand that safety always trumps speed. Riding quickly in the wrong situation can cause problems to you and other road users.
Being patient allows you to make sensible decisions on the road. It stops you being reckless in decision making and trying to get past things just because you feel they are going too slow. There are dangers when filtering, especially if you feel like you are in a rush.
Sometimes the slower pace has the best outcome, because progress means continual movement whereas speed requires sudden decisions and a possibility of stopping more regularly. We all know the story of the hare and the tortoise!
Cultivating patience fosters a calm and composed riding style, significantly enhancing your own safety and personal enjoyment.
Commitment to Continual Learning
The quest for improvement in motorcycling never ends. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned rider, there’s always something new to learn. Having regular lessons and guidance keeps your skills sharp and your ability topped up. Everyone gets into bad habits if things are left for long periods of time and a health check for some top up training is essential.
The right attitude involves recognising this fact and embracing continual learning. Find a professional coach who is dedicated to training at the highest level, there are various places to choose but you must do your research before you commence any elevated guidance.
It means you have to actively want to improve your own riding skills, stay updated with new riding techniques and understand how to implement changes.
Being open minded to learning from every ride, every mistake and every success, paves the way for your constant improvement. Without a commitment to develop you will not improve and that’s when rider attitudes become poor and limited.
Understanding You and Your Limits
An essential aspect of the correct riding attitude is self-awareness. This includes understanding your riding style, recognising your strengths and weaknesses. You must always know what your own limits are and ride within 80% of what you consider to be your ability.
This gives you room for error and a better safety margin. If something suddenly happens or goes wrong, you must have something in reserve that will keep you out of trouble.
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Ride at 80% of Your Ability
A good example is cornering in a left hand bend. If an oncoming vehicle suddenly appears and is in your lane because they are cutting the corner, you must be able to steer the bike further to the left to avoid an incident. If you are riding at your limit, it would be very difficult getting out of this situation but if you have something in reserve you could take effective action.
A self-aware rider can identify areas of improvement and make conscious efforts to work on them. Developing the correct rider attitude while riding a motorcycle is down to the individual rider.
Knowing your own limits and ability prevents you from taking unnecessary risks and helps you improve your riding, thereby enhancing your safety on the road.
Your Role in Road Safety
Taking responsibility is integral to the right riding attitude. If you constantly blame other road users you need to take a look in the mirror. There is a common denominator in all the situations you are in, that is yourself. The other vehicles change but one factor remains the same, you are the one who is always involved in situations.
This is known as the blame game. It’s about realising that your actions on the road impact not just your safety, but also the safety of others. Taking responsible;ity for your own actions is a great start to improving your attitude when riding.
A responsible rider wears appropriate safety gear, this ensures you are always seen. This will help others to know you are there, using the horn to warn of your presence is a good thing but do not use it aggressively.
Ensure your motorcycle is well-maintained and in good condition for the road. Don’t ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs and don’t ride if you feel ill. All these things ensure you are a safe and caring rider who has the right attitude and promotes a good standard of riding.
Developing the Best Attitude
Developing the correct rider attitude while riding a motorcycle is a journey of self-improvement and self-discovery that extends beyond the saddle. Thinking about your last ride and reflecting on your feelings and actions is a sign of growth.
It’s about transforming your own approach towards riding and fostering traits that enhance your safety. By always striving for better you will adopt a better temperament and remain calm in all situations.
This journey may be challenging but it is rewarding when you take the right path to improving.
Cultivating and developing the correct rider attitude while riding a motorcycle, you’ll notice a positive change in your riding habits, your learning curve and your relationship with the road and your motorcycle.
After all, motorcycling isn’t just about the destination or the journey, it’s the path you take to become a better and safer rider.