As you ride more, you will develop the ability to better “control” your environment and anticipate situations that can arise. It’s a perishable skill, and it requires a slight different mental outlook when you ride. Here are a few ideas:
* RIDE/BE VISABLE-Many people, myself included, like to think that they are invisible to other riders. By thinking this way, you’ll tend to ride in positions that make you even less visible. Think about visibility of you to other drivers and do your best to stay in their line of sight.
* LANE POSITION-This goes hand in hand with visibility, but lane management is a key skill that isn’t covered enough in the BRC in my opinion and not many other places either. It’s absolutely key for estabilishing visibility, your line of sight, escape routes and avoidance of debris. Not an inclusive list…I can’t cover all the situations, but as you ride, particularly on a divided multi-lane highway, consider the advantages and disadvantages to each lane and the position within that lane. Some teach one lane has three positions. I’d advise you to see it as only two. I worry LESS about the car directly in front of me. There’s little they can do. I worry MORE about the cars that want to merge between the car in front of me and me for instance.
* TAKE INVENTORY-Identify the cars around quickly as you scan your surroundings. Lose that red sports car? He’s probably in your blind spot. You’d better find him… Coming up on an onramp? Look to see who’s going to be driving in your space.
* BE PREJUDICED-No, not like that, but you need to “profile” the drivers around you. People reading, putting on make-up, fighting, texting, smoking pot (yes, and you can smell it too…), talking…whatever it is they are doing, watch for them. Teenagers, old people, beat up cars, cars without mirrors, cars with flat (or near flat tires) aggressively driving trucks, squids on motorcycles, cars with out of state plates, drivers looking intently at exit signs, notice everything and be prejudiced against what you think they’ll do.
* COVER YOUR CONTROLS-I ride with one finger on the brake and the clutch at all times…in case I miss something…
* AVOID “DISCOLORED” PAVEMENT-Look for inconsistencies in pavement color or texture. Don’t ever assume it’s benign. You might not have known there was a traffic jam just 20 minutes before you where a truck sat leaking transmission fluid on the ground…the same transmission fluid you’re about to ride through!
I could type all day, but I’ve got to find a job! Good luck out there!