The Way I See It.

The way I see things may be a bit different than a lot of other riders. And no, I don’t mean that I necessarily take a different stand on issues. But I do take a different line than many when it comes to executing a turn. Many riders adopt a “racer’s line” — outside, inside, outside — approach to cornering. That’s great if one can see, but more often than not the roads we travel are lined with trees, building, embankments and other vision-robbing hard things that limit our abilty to see around a corner. So I, along with the rest of the gang teaching the Stayin’ Safe advanced rider training course ( ) opt first for the line that gives us the best view through the turn and therefore the earliest indication of relevant activity ahead or notice that the road may take an otherwise unexpected twist. The way we do that is to select a position within our lane that gives us the best line of site through the turn. Can choosing to place the motorcycle in the right wheel track versus the left one when entering a left-hand bend really make a difference? Absolutely.

View through curve from LEFT wheel track

View through curve from LEFT wheel track

View through curve from RIGHT wheel track

View through curve from RIGHT wheel track

Just take a look at the two photos. These shots were taken from exactly the same point on the roadway entering the same curve. The only difference is that one was taken while standing in the left wheel track and the other was taken from the right wheel track. The photos speak for themselves. Would you rather crank through that turn at speed through the inside of the curve and discover the oncoming traffic (are they turning left? Are they breaching my lane? Are there others coming from that church parking lot to the left? Is that gravel ahead?) or maintain an outside line until it’s clear where and when it is safe and appropriate to turn in? Save the racing line for when you can see. Better yet, save it for the race track. The visual line is the way to go on the street.



2 Responses to “The Way I See It.”

  1. skiph Says:

    If pictures were ever worth a thousand words, those two take the prize. Nice camera work.

  2. Ian Shuttler Says:

    These are great pictures and virtually identical to ones I have used while conducting advanced observing in the UK (although positioned on the other side of the road!).

    There is an additional aspect that should also be considerd, namely, the use of the vision or visibility or vanishing point where the two sides of the road appear to meet in a curve. If you position to the right for a left curve (if safe to do so) to maximise your view, as you approach the curve the vision point ahead will do one of three things. 1) It can appear to move at the same rate as you, this means the bend has a constant radius so you can start to plan for this and as the view opens up, commence the lean and roll. 2) It can appear to be moving away from you, which means the curve is opening up or 3) the point remains stationary as you approach it, this means the bend is getting tighter, so slow down now! Hence the vision point can give you valuable advance information about the severity of the curve.

    Correct positioning, good forward observation and observing the vision point allow you to ‘read’ the curve, and hence negotiate the curve in a smooth safe manner and often quicker.

    However, the vision point should not be the only thing you rely on, it gives no information about what you cannot see, so you still have to accommodate this in your riding plans. The following link is to the Survival Skills riding website in the UK. Kevin’s article about the vision (vanishing) point is well worth reading.

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