Author Topic: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”  (Read 1255 times)

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Offline S Smith

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Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« on: May 30, 2016, 12:02:52 pm »
Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”

From Wikipedia... "Situational awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event."[/i]

Here is one perspective from a few years ago on situational awareness as it relates to motorcycling.

http://www.ride-ct.com/?p=7639
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 12:06:25 pm by S Smith »
| Steve Smith | COG #3184 | MSF/CONREP RC |

There is more to be gained by members raising hands saying "I'll do that" instead of pointing fingers saying "nobody's doing that."

Offline Diz

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2016, 05:35:51 pm »
Thanks Steve, yes developing situational awareness is a more correct term. Appreciate all of these insights into becoming a better rider. Is easy to be all smiles in a straight line but more satisfying to ride with awareness.

Offline notsluggo

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 09:04:32 pm »
I was recently leading my noob daughter on a ride and we were approaching a light at an intersection (she has a new Yamaha R3).
She presumed I was going to go through the yellow if it changed, and I presumed she was going to stop.  Neither of us were riding our own rides (this we discussed afterwards).
The light changed and I braked hard to a stop (Connie w/ABS).  She had already begun accelerating and then saw me stop and she shut it down hard.
Thankfully, no fairings were scratched that day.  She was great on the front brake, but a bit too firm with the rear.  Back tire locked up, but she kept it straight and stopped a couple feet back to my 4 o'clock.
This generated a couple of great conversations.
We have since installed and are using a helmet to helmet system. 
So much of riding is instinct and habit - and that sixth sense (I have been riding for over 40 years).  I try to just keep a running monologue going so she's aware of what I'm thinking, seeing, and planning to do.
Great column - thanks!
Ride safe(r).
- notsluggo
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Offline TLR

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 02:37:11 am »
Excellent article.  Thanks Steve.   

"The curriculum material says you should ask yourself three questions before heading out: 1) Are you mentally and physically ready? 2) Is your bike ready ? 3) Is your gear ready?"

After I put the helmet on and fasten the chin strap and take a look at the bike as it warms up, I ask myself this question, "Is this the day that you kill yourself on this bike?"   

It gets me focused and alert, at least for a while.
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Offline Diz

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2016, 09:26:29 am »

She presumed I was going to go through the yellow if it changed, and I presumed she was going to stop.  Neither of us were riding our own rides (this we discussed afterwards).
The light changed and I braked hard to a stop (Connie w/ABS).  She had already begun accelerating and then saw me stop and she shut it down hard.


I thought the 1st few seconds of a Colorado red meant it was still good to go?  :-[  Glad the rear tire only got broken in.  Group rides can be exciting when they shouldn't. What part do you think is more complicated; being a leader or following?

Offline Swampcat

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2016, 10:12:52 am »
After I put the helmet on and fasten the chin strap and take a look at the bike as it warms up, I ask myself this question, "Is this the day that you kill yourself on this bike?"   

I thought I might be the only one who does something like that. My version is a positive spin on the Klingon proverb, "Today is not a good day to die."
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Offline Solomookie

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 12:09:30 pm »
After I put the helmet on and fasten the chin strap and take a look at the bike as it warms up, I ask myself this question, "Is this the day that you kill yourself on this bike?"   

I thought I might be the only one who does something like that. My version is a positive spin on the Klingon proverb, "Today is not a good day to die."

Both of those are probably better than my Dirty Harry-esque "Do I feel lucky?"

But seriously, the older I get, the harder I'm finding it to be to maintain good concentration and focus.  I'm good for the most part, but every now and again I catch myself daydreaming, distracted, or whatever, and have to give myself a mental smack to the forehead.  The other day, I saw something in a front yard that interested me, and I almost took out a mailbox.  The old adage is definitely true; the bike goes where the eyes go. 

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Offline notsluggo

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2016, 02:10:46 pm »

She presumed I was going to go through the yellow if it changed, and I presumed she was going to stop.  Neither of us were riding our own rides (this we discussed afterwards).
The light changed and I braked hard to a stop (Connie w/ABS).  She had already begun accelerating and then saw me stop and she shut it down hard.


I thought the 1st few seconds of a Colorado red meant it was still good to go?  :-[  Glad the rear tire only got broken in.  Group rides can be exciting when they shouldn't. What part do you think is more complicated; being a leader or following?

Diz - That's a good question.  I think I prefer leading, as I can provide her more warning as to what is or may be coming.  I also get to set the speed (which I've been trying to keep close to the posted limit).  At the same time, I'd like to spend more time following her so I can correct her more frequently (as needed) and better prepare her for independent riding.
To date, it's all been me leading.  This coming weekend (we're trying to add miles every weekend before the trip to Helen) - I'll let her lead on roads she's comfortable on so I can get a better feel for where and when riding or thinking improvements are needed.
Ride safe(r).
- notsluggo
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2014 KLR650 - Kelly
Parker, CO

Offline Mcfly

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2016, 08:53:40 pm »
Remaining 'aware' is probably the most exhausting part of riding.  When I ride my thoughts are constantly
working out where is the best place to be right now, who on the road is actually paying attention, where is my way out?
It's seemingly never ending.  Getting into a wide open spot on the slab is soooo  awesome, just because it reduces
the potential threat evaluation going on in my head...  but then I start hearing all the other little voices though..   :o
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Offline ron203

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2016, 10:54:43 pm »
The PO of my C-10 had a sticker between the handlebars below the key that read "Engage Brain BEFORE Transmission" and I always looked at it.

When I get on my C-14, I take the handlebars and before shifting into 1st, consciously think to myself: "Okay Simmons - THINK."  I think something like this to focus is a good practice. If I can't be 100% in the moment, I take the truck. Same when I realize I'm tired: "Time to stop - now!"  Not later. NOW.
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Offline TLR

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2016, 04:25:09 am »
After I get going, my mantra is "split the danger", from a recent motorcycle safety course, and in traffic, it's "blindspots", from an article in Motorcycle Consumer News that was a story about a racer who also rides in Las Angeles traffic.  Reminds himself not to ride in a car's blindspot.

"Split the danger and blindspots".

So far, so good.  Knock on wood.
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Offline Diz

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2016, 09:55:51 am »
Notsluggo- Hope the weekend has had good weather for you and you were able to ride with your daughter. I wanted to offer a little of my perspective in leading vs, following. I've ridden a lot of miles; crossed this country 6 times on a bike. Still got a boat load to learn. Have ridden with Steve Smith twice. Led him and another experienced rider through roads unfamiliar to them but were in my backyard. Also followed in # 3 position and #4 another time. I found following to be more complicated. Nothing that Steve did, he was a great point man; just that in addition to my normal awareness for road riding, I now included more riders and their driving into my riding. As you stated, the leader sets the speed and route but this doesn't stop anticipation from the followers' point of view. There were other thoughts as I followed but I would say that anticipation on my part made following more complicated.

Offline Bucky

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Re: Safe Riding: Developing “Situation Awareness”
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2016, 03:21:09 pm »
I drove for UPS Package division over the Christmas rush. "Aim High" was one of their cardinal rules. The farthest horizon is our friend for so many reasons. When fatigued I tend to let my gaze drop to the lines 200 feet ahead of me. Not good.


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