One of the biggest components covered by the Road Strategy umbrella is “following distance”. Simply put, this is the distance at which you are “following” the vehicle directly in front of you. They talk about this in various highway codes as the “2-Second-Rule” which means the suggested minimum gap between you and the car in front should be two seconds of time. Or as long as it takes you to actually say “only a fool breaks the two second rule”. The rule is more a guide to reaction times and safe stopping distances. When applied to motorcyclists however, the 2-second rule is somewhat inadequate, largely due to a motorcycle’s small size and greater reliance on rider visibility and positioning. Let’s look at why such a premium is placed on following distance for us bikers.
With huge power to weight ratios, extreme grip and none of the protection, stability and size our 4-wheeled counterparts enjoy, riding a motorcycle is a dangerous activity. In fact, you are 27 times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than you are in a car one. Despite the dangers, there are many things riders can do to lower their propensity for an accident or crash (and we teach them all here at SCPR), but here are our top 5 mistakes we see riders making that usually (eventually) lead to getting hurt on two wheels:
A student on a recent rider course recently asked for some tips on riding two-up. I gave him a couple of tips. Then a few more. And a few more. I ended up giving him so much advice I realized carrying a pillion / riding 2-up is almost a discipline by itself and certainly worthy of a blog post in its own right.
I don’t do this one very often as it’s a bit of a trek to get to the start point, and due to the
altitude it goes up to, this ride should really only be attempted in summer. If spring or fall, wrap up warm as it gets cold at the higher levels and this is pretty much unridable in winter due to ice and snow. That said – as rides go, this is one of the most epic rides any motorcyclist can do and should be on every rider’s bucket list. It’s pretty simple, start at the Shell gas station (which is the meeting place for all riders tackling this great road). Take Highway 2 (the Angeles Crest Highway) which takes an elevated, winding, sweeping course up through the Los Angeles National Forest National Park. Stop at the excellent Newcombs Ranch cabin restaurant for a bite to eat, then do the entire ride in reverse back down to the start point. Mega!!
I spend 90% of my riding time commuting up and down the 405 and 118 freeways, but it’s not all work and no play. With incredible year-round weather, amazing coastal scenery and huge network of roads here in SoCal, it’s good to get out on the occasional ride at weekends. Over several years of exploring and various hookups with other riders, I’ve got some pretty amazing rides in the memory bank and thought I’d detail some of them here for other riders. Enjoy!
Commuting on a motorcycle makes a lot of sense. Unlimited access to car pool lanes, huge savings on gas, easy parking, cheap insurance, quicker journey times, no more sitting in traffic and turning a long, boring grind into something actually fun – the appeal of commuting on two wheels is a hard one to resist.
Lane-splitting, filtering, white-lining. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s a huge irony that the single greatest advantage of riding a motorcycle also happens to be the most dangerous…