Four times as many fatal or serious motorcycle collisions occur on bends on rural roads than on urban roads. So its worth keeping your cornering skills as sharp as possible. Match your speed to the bend, make sure that you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear to avoid panic braking. We all know the basics 'slow in, fast out' so:
* Reduce your speed as you approach the bend
* Maintain a steady throttle round the corner
* Accelerate smoothly out of the bend at the apex
But controlling your speed is not the only thing - there are so many other elements to master, like positioning and judging the bend and so on. Some bends on country roads are smooth and even, opening up once you're into them. Others tighten up dramatically. If they road gives you clues on how it bends such as the line of trees or the path of telegraph poles, then use them.
Whatever your level of experience, there's always more to learn. Here are our tips for getting some expert advice :
THE ENHANCED RIDER SCHEME
The scheme offers advice which is tailored to suit your individual needs. You will not need to take a test or even any training if your skills are assessed as satisfactory. You could also earn discounts on your insurance as a result. All trainers who deliver assessment on the scheme are approved by the Driving Standards Agency. direct.gov.uk/ERS
Run by the Police Forces around the United Kingdom, Bikesafe can provide an assessment of your skills and, if necessary, will make recommendations for further training through the Enhanced Rider Scheme. bikesafe.co.uk
It's not just about safety either - we all know how rewarding a perfectly-taken bend can be. So next time your out for a ride, make sure you're at the absolute top of your game.
The attraction of riding the countryside has got to be the open roads and bends. Cornering is definitely a skill, and a difficult one to master - you've got to think about what gear to be in, how to position your bike, and so on. You can never have too much practice, and professional training and advice is easy to come by. When you get to grips with your bike, you feel more relaxed. It frees up your mind, which allows you to be more alert for traffic, obstacles and whatever else the road throws at you.
HIGH RISK ROADS
The thing about rural roads is that they create this false sense of security: there are these fantastic roads with not much traffic, but the dangers are still there - that's the nature of the beast. Whether it's animals coming out between hedgerows, tractors pulling out or mud on the roads, it's important to always keep your wits about you.
If you haven't ridden for a while, it doesn't hurt to take it easy when you get back on your bike, or even take a refresher course. For example, I just got back on my bike at the beginning of March, having not been out since November and realised how detached i'd become. Whereas towards the end of last year I felt so comfortable, like I was wearing the bike rather than sitting on it.
Track days can be a good way for experienced riders to learn about their bikes in relative safety, especially taking bends. It can help in your own ability and confidence. Remember - you can't afford to make a mistake out on the roads. Make sure you have something in reserve in case things are not as they appear. If in doubt lose more speed before the bend so you have greater room for manoeuvring.