Riding Tips and Techniques

Stay alert and attentive to what’s happening on the road by following these tips and techniques for safe riding.

Safe braking

The membership of the MSRG includes representatives from:

  • ‘Setting up’ is braking lightly as you approach potential hazards, to give you more control and opportunity to react to unexpected events. It also:
    • prepares the motorcycle to stop without locking up the brakes; and
    • prepares any drivers behind you that you may be about to brake hard.

If something unexpected happens and you need to avoid a crash:

  • Lean in to the swerve and then try and correct the motion as quickly as possible.
  • Check where you’re going to make sure you don’t end up in another crash.

If a blowout or rapid puncture occurs whilst you are riding:
  • Don’t brake – just gradually close the throttle down and try to steer straight.
  • Move your weight towards which ever tyre is still inflated.

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Safe cornering

  • Adjust your speed coming up to a corner.
  • Ease off the brakes gently on entering the corner.
  • Change down to the appropriate gear to get you into and out of corners.
  • Allow for traffic and weather conditions.

In rural and regional areas, a typical motorcycle crash is a single vehicle run off road crash which can be caused by misjudging cornering.

  • Start corners wide to improve your vision of oncoming traffic.
  • Plan to finish in tight.
  • Move away from the central ‘head-on’ zone as you round the corner.

Difficult surfaces

A number of surfaces can provide a slipping hazard for motorcycles, including wet roads, painted lane markings and steel surfaces.

To ride safely on slippery surfaces:
  • Reduce your speed, so that you require less space to stop.
  • Reduce the amount of lean on the motorcycle when riding curves, by slowing down and/or leaning your body into the bend.
  • Gain more traction from riding in the tracks made by the car in front of you.
  • Look out for oil that often collects down the centre of a lane.

Steering shakes or 'wobbles'

Incorrect tyre pressure or weight distribution can lead to steering shakes or wobbles.

If it happens:
  • Grip the handlebars firmly but do not try to correct the steering.
  • Don’t fight the wobbling.
  • Gradually decelerate without braking suddenly.
  • Once the wobbling stops, pull over to a safe place.

Carrying a pillion passenger

Carrying any additional weight your bike will affect the handling of the motorcycle:
  • Only carry a pillion passenger or heavy loads if you are an experienced rider
  • Have a suitable seat for your passenger and ensure they have suitable protective gear
  • Adjust the rear suspension spring preload, mirror, headlight and tyre pressure to allow for the additional weight
  • Ride at lower speed and adjust your buffer zone to allow extra stopping distance
  • Keep conversation to a minimum to avoid distraction
  • Do not make your passenger nervous as it could compromise safety.

Your passenger should:
  • Get on the motorcycle after you have mounted the motorcycle and started the engine
  • Sit as far forward as possible and hold on to the waist of the rider or a secure part of the motorcycle
  • Keep both feet on the foot pegs at all times, even when the motorcycle is stopped
  • Stay directly behind you, leaning as you lean.