Braking Skills Build Confidence on a Motorcycle
If you’re a relatively new rider, or maybe an experienced one getting back on the bike after an accident, one of the biggest hurdles to fully enjoying the experience a motorcycle offers is a reluctance to hit the throttle. It’s a feeling like nothing in the world, but a part of the rush is the knowledge of the inherent danger. It’s you and machine against the elements, and a single mistake can be devastating.
You may think that the way to overcome “acceleration anxiety” is to practice using the throttle. While it always helps to have a fine-tuned sense of how your throttle will respond, a better strategy will likely be to practice your braking. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Be more willing to use your brakes—Too many riders ease off the throttle to slow down, rather than applying the brakes. That’s an inefficient way to lower your speed, with far less control than you’ll get from your brakes. However, if you’re going to use your brakes, you have to know how they’ll respond, and that takes practice. Go to a large parking lot or out for an easy ride in the country (where there will be little traffic) and practice always using your brakes to slow down. Your confidence will increase immediately.
- Don’t jump on or clutch the brake—Many riders are afraid to brake because they do so too aggressively. Practice applying gentler, but more consistent, pressure to the brakes, so that your deceleration is more consistent. It’s also important to understand that the first squeeze on your brakes isn’t for reducing your speed—it’s to load the fork springs in a linear manner. If you squeeze only once, you won’t get maximum efficiency from your brakes.
- Don’t simultaneously engage the front brake and the throttle—This is an old wives’ tale and not a good idea. Learn to shut the throttle before you brake and release the brake before you accelerate.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experience successfully handling personal injury claims to people throughout the state of California. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.