10 Mistakes We Bikers Make (It's not too late, though): Part II
Not gearing up, leaving things to chance and expecting other drivers to give a damn are all common mistakes we make when riding if we didn't know any better. Here's part two of my list of 10 mistakes commonly made by riders. Hopefully you'll take away some tips and tricks from them to staying safe on the roads.
6. Not Learning to Ride Better
It’s safe to say that every half-serious biker knows that the learner courses taught by driving schools in Malaysia are not only outdated, but also have next to no bearing at all on real world riding and riding skills.
That results in new riders going on the road without the necessary skills to control their bikes.
As such, every rider should seek ways to upgrade his riding skills. And don’t let the long number of years you’ve been riding fool you, either. Riding for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re riding correctly.
Advanced riding courses are expensive, but there’s so much satisfaction and most importantly, safety to learn from them.
Or pick up a book at the very least. Some notable ones are from Keith Code, Nick Ienatsch and Lee Parks.
Look at it this way, even the top-level pros such as Rossi, Vinalez, Marquez, et al never stopped practicing. Sure, that’s their livelihood, but good street riders never stop learning.
7. Not listening
There are people like this everywhere, but it’s definitely unhealthy if you dismiss every bit of advice from your buddies.
It’s true that not all that you hear may be correct, but the onus is on you to research more then filter through the information. Part of the fun of motorcycling is expanding your knowledge.
The worst kinds are those who totally refuse to listen, only to imperil not only himself but his buddies too while on a ride. We’d usually steer clear of this personality. Please don’t be one.
This ties in with the previous two mistakes, to a large extent.
Most egoistical bikers have the same universal lines, “I’ve been riding even before your parents were dating, Boy.”
“Who needs classes? Even the 200 bhp sportbikes can’t catch me on my ER-6.”
“Why do I have to ride slow with the convoy?”
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
This is the worst possible trait to have when one rides and it will inevitably lead to trouble.
If the world’s best racers can be so humble, why do we think we’re the Gods of public roads?
9. Refusing to Gear Up
It’s just like cigarettes. Everyone knows they’re bad but they still smoke.
Our skin and bones are no defence against the tarmac. If it hurts from falling off a bicycle, think of how bad it’d feel if you fell off a motorcycle that’s going 5 times faster. In simple terms, not wearing protective gear while riding is akin to riding naked.
There’s no plausible excuse for not gearing up.
10. Taking Chances on the Road
Also known as trusting other road users to be perfect drivers.
The main key to survive riding on public roads is to harbour a degree of paranoia that other road users are out to get you. Of course, that may not be what’s on their minds but it’s the only method to stay vigilant.
Trying to squeeze through a gap between two cars – or worse between two heavy vehicles – while hoping that the drivers know you’re there is just leaving too much to chance. It’s not uncommon for drivers to be distracted by whatever while they’re in their personal bubble to pay attention to the outside world.
Let’s be proactive. It’s true that motorcycling is 600 times riskier than driving; but the fun part is how you mitigate the dangers and minimize the risks, by keeping your wits about you at all times.