Defensive riding

The following are the most common type of motorbike accidents:

Junctions

A large number of motorbike accidents occur at junctions, where a vehicle pulls out from a side road. Remember that as a biker, the width of your motorbike is much less than a car, you are therefore significantly less visible to other road users.

Consider wearing reflective clothing and always ride with your lights on dipped headlight, it gives other motorists the best possible chance of seeing you. Always consider the line of sight that the motorist has and adopt a road position so the emerging vehicle will have the best visibility of you.

Remember a motorist may have a door pillar obscuring their view, so adopt your gear and speed early to anticipate their next move.

Overtaking/filtering

This distinction between overtaking and filtering can become clouded in litigation cases and is often open to interpretation based on the evidence available.

  • Filtering is best described as ‘passing slower moving traffic whilst occupying the same traffic lane as the vehicle in which you’re moving past’. Usually approaching a junction, roundabout or road works. It should always be done at a speed relative to that of the slower vehicle, allowing you to stop if the unexpected happens. If you are involved in a motorbike accident whilst filtering it is likely that you would be apportioned a % of the blame in the accident, the % is determined by your speed and actions at the time immediately prior to the accident.
  • Overtaking is best described as ‘moving out past the line of traffic, to accelerate past a vehicle before checking that it’s safe to rejoin the traffic lane’.
    Always look ahead as well as behind and around you (lifesaver look), indicate your intentions and adjust your speed by accelerating smoothly. Do not overtake at a junction or near a blind bend and look out for hazards which may cause another driver to change their behaviour or direction.

Cornering

It should come as no surprise that this type of road traffic accident occur regularly in the countryside as a result of riders losing control of their motorcycle. Always negotiate a bend at a speed appropriate for your experience and in accordance with law.

Plan ahead and be aware of your surroundings. As well as chevrons, look at the positioning of trees and telegraph poles. Again, adopt the correct gear and ask yourself whether you would be able to stop safely on your side of the road if something unexpected happened?

Bike condition

Always ensure your motorcycle is well maintained and roadworthy, before riding always check the condition of your brakes, lights and indicators, tyre pressures and tread, chain tensioning, and suspension settings.

A poorly maintained bike can potentially be more serious and life threatening than a poorly maintained car.