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The all too common, and sometimes fatal, mistake about braking

By Mario

How fast can you stop? It’s possibly one of the most important questions in motorcycling, but too many riders have completely the wrong idea.

Stopping a motorcycle really quickly is an important skill, and not just for the likes of Andrea Dovizioso trying to hold off Rossi. It really might save your life. Yet braking right up to the maximum capability of the bike, with different road conditions and grip, is something too few riders can do. 

We spotted a stark reminder of this in a video by the riding instructors at Puget Sound Safety in the US:
Watch the Puget Sound motorcycle braking & safety video 

What it shows is the dramatic difference in stopping ability between an average and an expert rider. And how much further it takes an average rider to stop than a car. The consequences of this for following distances should be obvious, yet all too often riders sit right behind vehicles that can easily stop faster than they can. Then there’s speed when approaching hazards, like a vehicle waiting to turn or a pedestrian looking to cross the road. 

The other big issue is that, in an emergency, the need to brake is usually sudden and unexpected. Slamming on the anchors in panic might work in a car wth four wheels, ABS and Electronic Stability Control, but a motorcycle is not so forgiving. Even with ABS, you need to maintain stability and possibly change direction. Which is tricky. As the video shows, only a highly skilled rider in the best conditions can come close to stopping as quickly as a car. 

Have a look at the Puget Sound video and see what you think it might mean for following distances next time you ride. 

This time of year, when grip levels are usually less and often variable, is perfect for honing your braking skills. And, if you want to improve your stopping ability, book some coaching:
Ride Forever on-road coaching