Safe Riding

Louise's October Safe Riding Tips

Written by  October 1, 2013

Turning Rightly

When I was learning to ride, I found I could not make the bike turn right. Left turns were no problem, but right turns? I couldn’t do it. Some theories suggest that it’s instinctive to want to protect your “dominant” side, but I’m a lefty, so that doesn’t hold.

Recently I witnessed a very frightening event with a young man and his passenger on a sport bike. Coming out of a corner gas station, he could not master a right turn, ending up in the center lane of a five-lane highway from turning so wide. He stopped, corrected himself and went into the left lane to enter the interstate. While making the left maneuver, he again had to correct himself by putting his feet down, and then went zooming down the ramp and onto the highway. Needless to say, I crawled far behind him, not wanting to be a witness to the wreck that I thought was soon to come. Of course, I felt he has no business having a passenger. One should learn how to handle their machine before putting a second body on it.

So why do riders have a hard time with right turns? I can’t find a definitive answer. but the issue seems to be fairly common. From a dead stop, the problem makes sense because making a right is a much tighter maneuver, there’s a difference in leaning (and not much, if any, counter steering) and then there’s the throttle and clutch to contend with while trying to start the turn. Left turns don’t require the hard lean or quick throttle to clutch action, so they are, in theory, easier. However, none of this explains why it is harder from a moving position.

I did find one article by “Motorman” Jerry Palladino that touches on why many riders have trouble with dead stop right hand turns and how to correct a very common error they make. Rather than try to rewrite his very informative column, I will just link it and urge all riders to click here to read and practice what he talks about.


It’s Fall, Don’t Fall

I can’t believe autumn is here already! Please be careful. Wet leaves, sudden rainfalls, quickly changing temperatures are all part and parcel of this most beautiful of seasons. A lot of groups plan fall foliage tours; the countryside can be gorgeous but it can also be fraught with hazards, not the least of which are other groups, especially car and bicycle clubs.

It was on a country road in the Fall when my cousin had his near fatal crash. In his case it wasn’t the wet leaves that caused the accident, it was his trying to avoid them by riding the centerline. Never do that, especially on a winding country road.

Ride safe and if you want to share a story of inspiration, please do!