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Chris Think Biker

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July 2015

Ride to Survive, Junctions

The most likely place a rider is going to be involved in a collision is at a junction and it will be because the driver looked but didn’t see you and/or because of our size they misjudged how soon we would arrive at the junction, if this is so common and we as riders know it happens why does it still catch riders out?

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You know the junctions there so you now have a choice, rely on luck, rely on someone else or take control of the situation.

● On approach position your bike where it will give the driver the best opportunity to see you.
● Think about your speed, if the driver pulls out could you stop?
● Avoid overtakes at junctions.
● As you get closer to the junction consider moving away to the left or right away from the emerging driver.
● Can you see the driver, can they see you.
● A car wheel starting to turn as it moves suggests they might be pulling out, don’t rely on eye contact.
● Have an escape plan, what will you do if the driver does pull out?

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                                                                         Expect it-Plan for it-Have a plan B

You may think you have lightning reactions but they may not be quick enough to save you where as a calmy executed plan will give you time to deal with what ever happens.

Motorcycle Clothing – Fashion or Protection?

Motorcycle Clothing – Fashion or Protection?

When we go looking for new kit there are so many decisions to make, textile or leather, colour, design, brand, comfort,  fit and of course price. With all this to think about it can be easy to forget what the other purpose of that kit is which is to protect from injury.

Motorcycle clothing can be split into three basic types.

  1. Non-Protective. Outer clothing constitutes a barrier to the elements; wind, rain and cold.  Any claims of protection from this type of clothing breaches UK law and PPE regulations.
  2. Non-Protective with CE approved impact protection.  The outer garment still protects against the elements but in addition is fitted with protectors usually in the knee, hip, elbow and back.  These will all bear the CE mark.
  3. Protective. Trousers & jackets, one and two piece leathers, gloves and boots where the manufacturer claims that they offer ‘protection’.  These must have been tested according to the required standard and bear the relevant marking.

How do you know which is which?

Initially we are lead by the manufacturers’ claims.  If they say the garment offers protection it must provide the rider with adequate armour, impact or abrasion resistant properties.  However it is possible that consumers can still be misled.

For example; limb and back protectors are fitted to protect those parts of the body, yet we see manufacturers fitting foam panels into garments which will not offer much protection.  But providing the manufacturer doesn’t claim they will, they are trading within the law.

Know your stuff

Any approved garment must be labelled, CE labels must;

  • Display the CE logo
  • Should be printed in the language of the country where the product is marketed
  • Display the name and ID number of the testing  institute
  • The relevant EN number which is appropriate to the type of protection.

Where CE limb protectors are fitted inside a non-protective garment some manufacturers may infer that the whole garment is CE approved by sewing the CE label that refers to the limb protectors into the garments lining. By checking the EN number you will know which parts of the garment have been tested.

What’s an EN number?

An EN number is a reference number applied to each individual standard. The specific numbers applied to motorcycle clothing are;

EN 1621-1 Protection against mechanical impact on motorcyclists. This test is used to assess the protective qualities of armour worn on limb joints and to ensure it reduces the amount of energy transmitted to the joint following an impact.  It also includes tests at different temperatures and after storage in humid conditions.

EN 1621-2 Back & lumbar protectors.  Whilst it is tested in a similar way to limb protectors the testing anvil and striker are different to simulate the way a back protector works.

EN 13595-1 Garment, its’ materials and construction covering various tests.

  • Impact abrasion – Tested by dropping a material sample onto an abrasive belt moving at approx. 18mph. This test ends when the sample is holed.
  • Seam burst strength – The sample is stretched in all directions and the pressure required to burst the sample is recorded.
  • Impact cut A striker fitted with a sharp blade is dropped with a defined energy onto a sample of material and the maximum penetration of the blade through the material is measured.

EN13634 Foot Protection.  This test involves materials, torsional resistance, impact, penetration and burst strength. There are 2 levels of protection: Level 1 must resist abrasion for 5 seconds, for Level 2 this must last for 12 seconds.

EN 13594 Gloves.  These are tested for resistance against abrasion and impact.  It can also include a test for the likelihood of the glove being pulled or thrown from the hand during a crash.

EN 14021 Stone shields for off road motorcycles.  These are tested to ensure protection against minor impacts from stones thrown up when riding.  The shield is also tested for its design, dimensions, impact performance and ergonomics.

I’m not suggesting all unapproved gear will not protect you but CE approved protection does offer you a guarantee about the level of protection offered and with the above information you can make an informed choice.

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Heads or Tails, are you leaving driving or riding to chance?

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“I’ve been driving for years and never had a crash, there is nothing wrong with my driving” sound familiar?

So you may have completed numerous journeys successfully but is that success a real measure of you getting it right or wrong, good or bad, safe or unsafe?

The driver who performs a manoeuvre 100 times ‘successfully’ who then subsequently crashes performing that same manoeuvre on attempt number 101 has in fact got it wrong 101 times however by chance the first 100 attempts didn’t result in a crash providing of course our driver carried out the manoeuvre in the same way on each attempt.

So why do we rely so heavily on previous successes as a measure of our own ability?

Our brain is very good at learning from past mistakes but if our journey goes without incident we will have learnt very little about how to avoid an incident in the future instead we continue blissfully unaware of our flaws even a near miss, the other driver blowing their horn in anger or the screeching of tyres is unlikely to be taken as a lesson.

Why not?

We self justify our mistakes or poor decisions to avoid taking responsibility and seeing ourselves in a negative light refusing to admit that mistake even to ourselves, OK self justification isn’t always a bad trait without it  we could become over anxious even depressive over something that was relatively minor in fact we could become so focused on the error we have just made whilst driving that we become distracted from the task in hand causing more serious errors.

But!
If we allow ourselves to be blinded by our self justification just like water going down the plug hole we will get drawn deeper into complacency fuelling our belief that it won’t happen to me, it wasn’t my fault, there was nothing i could do, allowed to grow unchallenged we will justify bigger and more costly errors to the extent it can alter our perspective on reality.

“I don’t do that”.

If the above thought has just popped into your head you have just justified an error, we all do it to varying degrees in all areas of our lives.

Changing the way we think.

Every time you ride or drive don’t use the number of successful journeys to calculate the chance of your current journey being unsuccessful instead start at 50/50 then in order to shift the chances in your favour build on your previous experiences of how it went right by asking yourself what will i do if it goes differently.

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