It has long been discussed that bikers arguably make better car drivers because of the extra skills that are required to ride a motorcycle safely.
Riding on two wheels makes us far more vulnerable than other motor vehicle users and it is much more physically and mentally demanding than driving a car. We may still have a throttle, brakes and gears like a car, and use the same roads, but with many relatively affordable bikes having vastly different power-to-weight ratios than your everyday car, and a lack of protection compared to other motorists, bikers need additional awareness of what is happening around them.
Persistent rear observations and blind spot checks before changing speed, direction or position are essential. Not only that, but how often have you opened your car window to see if there is a smell of cut grass, which could highlight tractors ahead, or diesel spills? As bikers, many of us can instantly recognise that dreaded smell of diesel and we rely on our sense of smell to find out about such possible hazards.
As with advanced drivers and riders, motorcyclists are pretty switched on to having to train their eyes to look further ahead for the unexpected instead of just concentrating on what's right in front of us. Also, because we haven't got music turned up loud or we aren’t deep in conversation with our passengers, our senses can often be more alert.
As anyone who’s taken a BikeSafe course, or gone on to do further training, knows - there’s usually even more we can do to get home safely.
A good biker plans their journey, including rest stops, and tries to anticipate what other motorists are about to do. We are thinking ahead to every hazard and reading the signs – whether they are directional signs, arrows, road markings - even skid marks on the road!
How many times have you seen a motorcyclist riding with only one hand on the handlebars? You're also unlikely to see a biker having a cigarette, eating a snack or texting on their mobile phone when riding. Maybe we’re right to think we are more safety conscious, both for ourselves by making sure we're properly kitted out, and our bikes, by checking them over before a journey.
With more people considering taking up motorcycling, hopefully it will make them even better drivers too!