Motorcycle safety, education and training author, David Hough, shares his thoughts on situational awareness in two LinkedIn Pulse articles. Read the first article below:

“Some motorcycling gurus have suggested that the model for rider training is upside down. That is, we currently squander most of our training resources on new riders, and only a few of those newbies ever take additional training. The suggested model is to decrease the focus on newbies, and refocus on giving intermediate riders useful skills and tactics for avoiding crashes on public roads.

In the USA, we have a number of “advanced” training schools that focus primarily on cornering skills. That’s probably because we tend to hold racers as the epitome of “good” motorcyclists, and we naturally want to emulate their skills. So, it’s commonly assumed that “advanced” training should be some sort of track school with the focus on aggressive cornering in a pseudo-racing environment. My suggestion for a motorcyclist wishing to have fun on a twisty road is to take the urge to a closed track. I do have a problem with assuming that aggressive cornering is the key to being a “good” street rider. Public roads are not the right venue for motorcycling entertainment. The purpose of public roads is transportation.

Nor do I see much benefit in the old paradigm for training “experienced” riders that included heavy doses of emergency avoidance tactics honed to a fine edge by frequent practice. It has long been assumed that a high level of emergency control skills such as swerving or braking will prepare a motorcycle driver for avoiding collisions in traffic. In my opinion, emergency skills primarily come into play after a driver has made a tactical blunder. For instance, let’s say a motorcycle driver fails to comprehend traffic slowing until three seconds prior to impact, at which point he reaches for the brakes and attempts a quick stop.

Whether he avoids the crash or doesn’t is not my point. The point is that crashes are precipitated primarily by failure to be aware of the situation ahead. If so, then the primary way to avoid a crash is to be in control of the situation, sufficiently ahead of time to be able to take normal action to avoid getting caught up in a dangerous event. And that’s primarily a matter of mental skills, not physical control skills. So, when I think “advanced training” I’m thinking of mental skills useful for avoiding hazards while negotiating public streets and highways. The Institute for Advanced Motorists Road Smart program is a good example of this. https://www.iamroadsmart.com. I think of this approach as “developing situational awareness.””

Read the rest of Situational Awareness, Part 1 by clicking here!