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Put practice into action

September 8, 2008 - Rob Weaver
I had a not-very-close call the other day on my motorcycle. It happened as I and a neighbor were pulling out of our driveways and heading in opposite directions at the same time.

As near-misses go, it was all miss, without any "near," mostly because we both were proceeding rather slowly.

As is my habit after such circumstances, I mentally reviewed by thoughts and actions during my response to the situation. I find if helpful to recall what I saw and how my hands and feet reacted.

In this case, the tactile feedback was satisfactory. I had straightened the bike, downshifted and braked effectively, all at the same time. It's what I recalled seeing that, in a more urgent situation, could have negated those efforts: I focused on the other vehicle.

One of the lessons of accident avoidance (and this probably applies to cars as well as bikes) is to look where you want to go, not where you don't. Where the eyes go, the bike tends to follow. That simple rule — look where you want to go — is one I periodically practice while riding.

Often that practice takes the form of changing my line through a curve while I'm in the middle of the corner. Mid-corner line changes have come in handy when avoiding roadkill or gravel patches.

But last weekend, I focused on the other vehicle, instead of the escape route — the driveway and berm between the rear bumper and the mailbox.

Practice  makes perfect ... provided you use the skills you practice.


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