Unfortunately, road debris is everywhere. Usually, there is not much of a problem when riding through the back roads since there are no cars or trucks to block your line of sight, however, on highways and busy streets, it becomes increasingly difficult to watch out for debris especially since you are also watching the car behind you and the cars to your sides.
First and foremost, you must give yourself adequate distance between you and the car in front of you. No one seems to follow anymore the rule of one car length per every ten mph, but that is a great place to start. Way too often I see motorcycles tailgating a car, yet, they are probably the same riders that complain when a car tailgates them. Proper distance allows you not only plenty of room to brake, but of course, swerve. Remember, a car has ground clearance and four wheels, thus, a car can ride over road debris while your motorcycle cannot most of the time.
In addition, Road Debris, when riding solo, I see too many riders in the center of the lane. Down the center of a road, you will see discoloration on the pavement. That is motor oil, radiator fluid, and every other imaginable liquid that is a hazard to a rider. The center of the lane tends to be slippery so ride just off-center. I also prefer to stay along the same line of travel as the wheels of the car in front of me, even though this is not 100% fool proof since a driver may also be distracted and hit the debris as well. Just make sure to not suffer from “target-fixation” and stare at the wheels. Learn to use your peripheral vision when riding. This is very important especially when riding with a group. Most riders will stare at the brake light of the motorcycle in front of them instead of several motorcycles ahead.
In my video Road Debris, the first segment has debris around the curve on the highway ramp. If you aren’t looking ahead and instead are focusing on the cars to your left, you definitely would hit the ground because once your rear tire hits that piece of turf, your bike will slip out from under you.
In the second segment, there is a 2×4 piece of wood, approximately 12 inches long, on the highway. Use the mathematical formula of speed traveled (x) 1.466 feet per second. At 55 mph, you are traveling 80 feet per second. Let that sink in. How many times have you or someone you know is taking “selfies” while riding or just distracted? At 55 mph, in five seconds you have traveled 400 feet! That is longer than one football field! This was an especially dangerous situation because had a car hit that piece of wood, the car could lose control or try to swerve out of the way cutting you off in your lane. A few weeks ago I noticed a similar situation, I hit the throttle to make sure if the car hit the debris, it would not fly backwards and hit me. Usually, the answer is “throttle it out” when riding while most cars tend to hit the brakes.
Have fun and ride safe. Feel free to look up my riding group M.S.A.R. (Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Riders) on our Group Page on Facebook.
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