5 Mistakes Experienced Riders Make

This article originally appeared in a newsletter published by TEAM Arizona and is republished with their permission.

Experienced riders don’t mean to do it. Being complacent. Making mistakes. It “just happens” we tell ourselves. But does it have to happen? Not really.

After spending more than 20 years and approximately 300,000 miles on the road in multiple countries, this “experienced” motorcyclist has committed every mistake on the list. We can chalk it up to complacency, over confidence, or a complete and utter lack of awareness.

I know you’re probably thinking, “Aren’t you a coach? Aren’t you supposed to stay on top of this stuff? Aren’t you supposed to ride without making mistakes?”

I wish it were that simple. I’m human. I make mistakes. Hopefully I can assist others by sharing my blunders – and fixes for those blunders.

Experienced Rider Defined

What is the definition of an experienced rider? I’m sure you’ll answer that in your own way. If you’re reading this article,I’m betting the majority of you think you’re an experienced rider. Welcome; I hope you find this informative and valuable. Or maybe you’re someone well on their way to being an experienced rider who wants to avoid the pitfalls that plagued us grizzly veterans. I commend your proactive efforts. So let’s just agree the term experienced rider applies to all of us.

In this piece we’ll provide a list of the five mistakes experienced riders make and we’ll define each mistake. In following articles, we’ll examine each piece individually and determine how we can reduce the risk of making each of these mistakes.

5 Mistakes Experienced Riders Make

1. Improper Use of Vision

Vision is the most critical skill we can develop for riding a motorcycle. The two most critical locations on the road where we make mistakes are at intersections and when we’re cornering.

2. Failing to Predict Danger (Situational Awareness)

Our brains are constantly analyzing trends in an effort to make predictions. The brain performs this function in an effort to predict danger and maximize our self-preservation. Predicting danger within our environment means we need to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to survive our

3. Overestimate Riding Abilities (Riding Within Limits)

To be successful riders, we’ll need to be able to understand the difference between the risks we are taking and the skills we actually possess. Long story short: know your risk offset. The Advanced Riding Techniques course is a great place to learn about your risk offset.

4. Underestimate Effects of Aging

We spend billions of dollars in this country to try to stop and even reverse the effects of aging. If we misunderstand the effect aging is having on our ride, we can unwittingly add risk to our ride.

5. Accepting More Risk Through Less Riding Gear

Personal protective equipment designed for motorcycling is necessary to reduce our risk and increase riding enjoyment. The less we wear, the more we increase our risk.

That’s the list folks. It isn’t a list of ALL the mistakes experienced riders make, but they’re at the core of most experienced rider crashes. Even though the list is short, there is a lot of knowledge to be culled by looking at each item individually.If you’re ready to go down this rabbit hole with me, just click on each numbered item above for a more in-depth look at that veteran-rider mistake.

For the entire TEAM Arizona newsletter content, CLICK HERE

Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011. He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee. Have questions or comments about the article? Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com

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