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Motorcycles and poor driving habits: 'A bad-habit-rider is a high-risk-rider!'

2017-11-07 12:37

Image: Arrive Alive

Hein Jonker/ Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa

South Africa - Bad habits are negative behaviour patterns, and in motorcycle terms, this can most certainly be the difference between life and death.

According to Hein Jonker, who heads up the Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa, says: "It is much easier to learn or create a new habit than to try and fix an old one. The willingness to change is key, followed by a certain level of commitment, and guided by a vigilant attitude."

Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck asked Jonker to define these bad habits and behaviour.

What are bad driving habits? 

A bad riding habit spawns from the infected mental and physical state of the rider, which in turn affects the person’s riding abilities. A bad habit puts the rider up for certain disaster, ranging from a minor “parking-lot drop” and a major crash. A bad-habit-rider is a high-risk-rider!

The Motorcycle Safety Institute keeps accurate records of crash data - What has this data been telling you about bad riding habits?

The single biggest contributor to motorcycle crashes has been speed! The wrong speed, too fast - the wrong place, in an Urban traffic environment.

How is this a bad habit? It is an infected thought pattern, resulting in an uncontrolled situation and a minor or major turn of events.

According to our 2017 report, more than 72% of motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle, of which 63% happened in an Urban area. It is true that not all crashes are because of rider error, but my safety is my responsibility, therefore my riding habits are directly relevant to my risk.

Riding a motorcycle starts with your mind, and the decision to think.

Below are three habitual errors every rider should pay attention to:

1 Attitude - Applying a healthy attitude pretty much means riding with your head securely screwed onto your neck. Letting destructive influences like ego, peer pressure, intoxication, and distraction make decisions for you will eventually lead to a hospital visit; if you’re lucky. So, just say no to stupidity!

2 Overconfidence - Riders at times define their riding capability based on their years of experience. But I’ve seen experienced riders making the most common mistakes, like engine braking, using the brakes with clutch pulled in, or not checking blind spots. No matter how experienced you are, there’s always room for improvement. The first step is to admit that you lack certain skill and practise on getting it right. Remember ‘Overconfidence is the most dangerous form of carelessness’.

3 Ignorance - Don’t think for a second, “I don’t need training”. You can never learn enough, and the best way to learn is under the expert guidance of a professional. You spend an average of R100 000 on the purchase of a motorcycle, R10 000 on riding gear, and NOTHING on Rider Training. Where’s the logic in that? Ignorance is a bad and merciless habit, it is the decision not to think.

Read the full article here.


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