Overall Riding Performance
Overall riding performance refers to a combination of skills and abilities that a motorcyclist must possess to safely and effectively operate a motorcycle.
A learner rider must demonstrate certain competencies and have a positive attitude towards learning to ride. To achieve this, riders must be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills and the attitude required to ride safely on today’s busy and congested roads.
A key component
One of the key components of overall riding performance is bike control. Having the ability to control a motorcycle effectively is essential for reducing risk and riding safely. This includes mastering slow-speed manoeuvres, such as making U-Turns, slalom and figure-of-eight exercises and handling the bike at low speed at junctions.
An instructor or examiner is looking for a rider to demonstrate good clutch control and throttle control that is smooth with precise braking techniques. Especially using the rear brake only at slow speeds or when there is steering input to the handlebars.
Another crucial aspect of overall riding performance is awareness of your surroundings. A rider must be able to identify potential hazards and respond appropriately. This includes good vision and scanning the environment and road conditions for potential danger and hazards.
New riders must learn to understand traffic situations and how to deal with them. You must also be able to anticipate the actions of other road users and have a plan in place to avoid issues and incidents out of your control.
An instructor or examiner is looking for a rider to maintain safe following distances. They will also be assessing the riders effective use of their mirrors and carrying out lifesavers and observations at appropriate times.
Learning how to communicate properly is vital to overall riding performance. You must know how to effectively communicate your actions to other road users and learn to read what others intend to do.
This could include using hand signals and other communication methods to indicate your intentions to other road users. Using mirrors, shoulder checks and properly timed signals will help to give prior warning to others about what you intend to do.
If you are not sure if another road user has seen you, another way of making someone aware of your presence is by using the horn. Care must be taken not to use the horn aggressively as this has an opposite effect.
Confirm you intention
Having a good road position also communicates a rider’s intention and if accompanied by a signal, it confirms your intention properly to others on the road. New riders must learn how to anticipate what others may be doing, even if their communication is less effective or non-existent.
An instructor or examiner is looking for a rider to communicate effectively and confidently with other road users, so that they can keep themselves out of harm’s way without instruction.
A good attitude towards learning to ride a motorcycle is also essential for overall riding performance. This means new riders must be like a sponge when learning and soak everything in that has been taught. Home study is an essential part of growth and should be used between training sessions.
You must be willing to learn new skills and attempt things that at first seem difficult. But be patient with your growth and progress as it isn’t easy or natural to ride a motorcycle for the first time. Be willing to practise consistently to set the skills, even though it may seem boring and repetitive at times.
Be open to feedback
Being open to feedback demonstrates that your overall riding performance will increase as the course progresses. A willingness to make adjustments to your riding style will pave the way to your success.
An instructor is looking for a rider who is engaged in the learning process. They will want to see you asking questions, take on board what is being taught and make adjustments where necessary. Always give feedback as to how you feel and what you are finding easy or difficult. This is part of the learning journey.
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How to improve
To improve your overall riding performance, you should focus on developing skills and knowledge related to motorcycle control. Also lift your forward vision to view further ahead for hazards which will increase road awareness. Defensive riding and anticipating the actions of other road users is just one of the strategies you can use to elevate your own riding performance.
Some specific things you can do include:
Consistent practice is a vital key to developing muscle memory and improving riding skills. You should aim to practise in a variety of conditions, including different types of road speeds, traffic densities including city centre riding and varying weather conditions.
Seek feedback from professional instructors
You should always take advantage of the expertise and experience of professional instructors. Far too many riders listen to their peers, who have the best intentions but generally don’t give great advice to new riders.
Always ask for feedback on your riding technique and try to incorporate the feedback into your practice riding sessions.
Stay focused and alert
Riding a motorcycle requires a high level of concentration and focus. You should stay alert at all times and where possible avoid distractions. Mobile phones or other electronic devices are a real distraction that is taken for granted in the car but causes riders to have lapses in concentration.
Develop defensive riding skills
Defensive riding involves anticipating potential hazards and taking steps to avoid them. This can only be done by learning how to view the road ahead properly and seeing everything that is going on. It sounds easier than it is but takes time and practise to develop.
You should work to develop defensive riding skills, including scanning the road ahead, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles and using good road position for view and visibility.
Even after obtaining a motorcycle licence, you should continue to learn and develop your skills. Attend further training courses to elevate your skills and knowledge, most riders do not undertake any further training once they have passed their motorcycle test. This is because most riders believe self-teaching is enough as they have done the hard work to pass the test.
Riding a motorcycle is not like driving a car and skill fade elevates a rider’s risk. Take extra courses with professional instructors to learn the art of advanced riding skills.
By following these steps, you can improve your overall riding performance and become safer and more confident on the road.
To summarise you must be able to demonstrate proper use of PPE and ensure your motorcycle is properly maintained. Also demonstrate a good understanding of the highway code and the rules of the road.
Overall riding performance is assessed for a combination of skills, knowledge, and attitude that you must demonstrate to the instructor or examiner.
Other things you will need to demonstrate are bike control, situational awareness, communication and a positive attitude towards learning.
With practice, patience, and a willingness to learn, you can develop the necessary skills and abilities to become a competent and safe motorcyclist.