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Motorcycle Riding Tips

One of the Best Motorcycle Riding Tips I can think of writing about is the maneuver that saved my life only a few years ago!

Hang on! - got what it takes.I was riding my motorcycle through a farming district at fairly high speed and while heading towards the crest of a hill, I was confronted by a large cow standing in the middle of the road!!

There was very little reaction time and no way I could stop, so I had to evade the beast with a technique known as “counter steering”. The short description is that the motorcycle veers opposite to the direction you turn the handlebars i.e. turning the handlebars to the left will actually turn the motorcycle to the right.

"Sounds a bit like 'Doc Hudson's' description to 'Lightning Mcqueen' in the animated movie - Cars, on how to turn on dirt". But that's another story!

Grab a copy of the Motorcycle Riding Tips Video on how to pass your road test:

This phenomenon only occurs at speeds above 8 – 12 mph (15 – 20 kph), below this speed the motorcycle will respond in the same direction you point the handlebars. In fact, counter steering can be utilized on all two wheeled applications with front steering including mopeds motorized scooters and bicycles. In principle it could possibly even work on one of those push scooters the kids use around town and the skate parks as long as you have sufficient speed; not that I have tried it!

Generally when cornering on a motorcycle, leaning it towards the direction you intend to turn does it, not turning the handlebars as you may think. So when traveling at speed; should you be required to turn suddenly you don’t want to turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go, as this could propel you over the front.

Advanced Motorcycle Riding Tips - Counter Steering

There are two methods to use when counter steering; the first one, which I like to use is called “PUSH-right, TURN-right” In this case you push the side of the handlebar forward or away from you, in the direction you wish to turn (in this case, right); what this achieves is it changes your center of balance and your body moves to the right. As your weight shifts, the bike leans instantly to the right and virtually turns by itself; you can then straighten the handlebars to complete the turn.

Car hitting cow signThe other method is called “PULL-left, TURN-right” In this instance, instead of pushing the right hand side of the handlebar forward; you pull the left hand side backwards or toward you, which is opposite to the way you intend to turn.

Either method works equally as well, it just comes down to which method you feel the most comfortable with.

To become competent with these motorcycle riding tips you will need to practice this technique; travel at a modest speed, say around 20 mph (35kph) and gently push or pull the handle bar on one side in a quick motion and note which way the motorcycle wants to turn. Try not to be over zealous initially until you are fully aware and prepared which way the motorcycle is going to react.

In an emergency avoidance situation this technique can be applied extremely quickly and I am very thankful that I was trained on how to counter steer and it could also help you avoid any wandering "bovines"!


Want more Motorcycle Riding Tips?

learn to pass the motorcycle road testHere is an excellent example of emergency avoidance situations! Check out the Motorcycle Riding Tips Video

Learn risk management scenarios, other motorcycle riding tips and all the tasks you will be graded on for the road test. Go behind the scenes, grab the road test video series for both motorcycles and cars.

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