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A Change of Attitude


One of the things that has been going on in the MSF world during the restricted pandemic environment has been a semi-weekly webinar presented by Dr. Ray Ochs. He's the brains behind a big part of the MSF curriculum. He's gone through all of the range exercises and a big part of the classroom presentation for the Basic Rider Course trying to reinforce what we're supposed to be doing. Each session has started with him highlighting important aspects of a section of the curriculum and then taking questions from the folks listening. Good stuff.

One of the things that has really resonated with me applies to ALL of us...not just people presenting MSF classes. And I'll bet this will make sense to you as well. It seems that a huge number of accidents are related to lapses of concentration, generally only 2-3 seconds in length, in a far greater number than those where we are simply incapable of performing appropriate physical riding skills to get out of a situation. I have to admit I find myself falling into this category. And I'll bet most people who have been involved in some sort of incident, truth be told, would say that it was the case for them as well.

So as we all start getting back on the road, let's be MORE aware of the importance of maintaining our concentration and awareness of the riding conditions. Sure, we want to make sure the bike is right and that we are capable of manipulating the controls before getting out. But when it comes to involvement in accidents, maintaining a high degree of concentration will allow us to avoid problems and not have to use our wonderful physical skills.

I'm going to venture what I think will be a pretty easy guess that this will apply to our increasing miles in our cars as well.

Look well ahead to see if there are problems. Have a good focus by looking ahead, check behind you in your mirrors, look ahead, sneak a peek to the left, look ahead, sneak a peek to the right, and then look ahead. After all, what's in front of us is the most likely place, but not the only place, for something to happen.

I feel like looking down without a forward focus is where we get into most of our issues. Look down at the speedo and/or odometer and be thinking about how far you can go before a stop. Look down at your GPS and focus on some aspect of the wonderful info that they can all give us. Futz around with your cruise control/throttle lock. Change some setting on your displayed dash info. Fiddle with your communicator while you're doing any of those other things. Guess're increasing the odds of something ugly happening that you're not going to see until it's too late for your practiced skills to save the day.

In a recent MSF study, they found that many accident involved riders merely run into someone stopped or slowing in front of them. They weren't paying attention. It may have only been 2-3 seconds, but we are told that many accidents take place in less than 4 seconds. If you are distracted for a big chunk of that time, the best physical skills in the world aren't going to save you.

Ride well...stay focused.

Good stuff that we all need to be reminding of. The new bike has lots more technology and that equals lots more distractions!
Thanks Geoffery!

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Thank you Geoffrey for the most excellent advice, which I will surely take. Today, I am venturing out for my first ride since last season - and I'm sure I'll be a tad rusty. Add in the potential distractions and WOW. So again, thank you and I concur with what Brick said - good stuff we all need reminded of.

Ride safe, pay attention, be alert, and of course have fun.

"Looking Well ahead for problems" is also a good practice with autos on the road.  I have seen many people lately looking only as far as their front bumper.  As our sons and us learned in a racing school, to look 2 corners ahead.  As the instructor stated, you are already in this turn and cannot change anything.  And, as Matt found out, a few years later, while racing on a asphalt short track, he did not have the fastest car, but was able to pass many cars and avoid many crashes by looking well ahead of the front bumper, which so many beginners were not doing.  He did so well one night with this practice, that a friend sitting with us asked who was spotting for him.  We said nobody.

Good reminders for all of us in those few paragraphs.  Thanks HawkGTRider.


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