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Most riders can admit to fighting – and sometimes giving in to – an urge to upgrade their bike with the introduction of the latest technology or safety feature to enhance riding experience. 

To be fair, we probably don’t need much persuasion – we’re all guilty of buying into manufacturer hype from time to time.

But one relatively inexpensive upgrade often gets overlooked, which can transform a rider’s experience – rider training. 

Why rider training matters? 

Upgrading your skills and refreshing your roadcraft could be a life-saver, helping avoid problems in the first place or allowing you get out of trouble if it happens, which we all know on our roads is unavoidable.  

A glance at accident statistics gives a snapshot at the issues faced by riders:

  • 8,742 riders were hospitalised in 2018-19, stats from the Australian government safety bureau
  • Nearly half (47%,), 18 out of 38 fatal motorcycle crashes in Victoria, did not involve another vehicle, according to a 2018 report by the state’s Transport Accident Commission. 
  • Of those, 34% occurred on a road with a 100km/h+ speed limit. 
  • 46 motorcyclists and pillion riders tragically died in the year to February 2022 – an increase of 35% from 34 lives lost in the previous 12-month period.
     

While these stats only give a partial view of what’s happening, they are reason for concern. 

With the growing number of motorcycle purchases and increased interest in motorcycles as an alternative form of transport, improving rider skills is an essential issue that can’t be ignored.

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to serious injury and death when accidents occur, so any training to prevent a collision or fall is vital.  

Skills you don’t learn when getting you licence 

Passing your test and getting your licence is a great achievement. But it should be viewed as the beginning of your motorcycling training rather than the end.

Like any learned skill, experience may not always lead to better outcomes, particularly where you have developed bad habits or simply have forgotten the fundamental road craft skills because you just don’t get out enough in the colder months. 

Getting a full licence in most states requires several steps, including a theory, road rules exam, a practical test, and a period on L-plates. 

During the riding test, motorcyclists will rarely encounter some of the many hazards which await once you get a few thousand kilometres under your belt, such as bad weather, poor road surface, night riding among a few

Once you’ve passed, you’re on your own. It’s worth scheduling regular refresher training to ensure bad habits don’t creep in. There are many different social riding clubs across the country and within those are a lot of experienced riders to learn from. But, you can’t overlook the value of registered training providers.  

Road craft can fade over time 

Brushing up your skills can be especially important after prolonged periods off the bike. It doesn’t take long to get a bit rusty. Let’s be honest, when winter rolls around there are a lot of us that will park the bike in the garage and it won’t see the light of day until Spring and the warmer months settle in.

Time on the road helps keep ‘roadcraft’ sharp, develops an intuition for what other road users might do and builds experience. 

Whether riding’s been interrupted due to covid-19 restrictions – removing the daily commute - or just a harsh winter making riding unattractive, dusting off the bike for the first time in ages could be a reason to sign up for a training course

New bike or equipment 

Super bike performance has never been more attainable.  

Anyone with a full licence and deep enough pockets can buy a bike with horsepower and torque figures that would have won a world championship race a few years ago. 

And while machinery has developed at a pace, rider skill isn’t always able to keep up. 

When taking a step up in performance, it’s worth making sure you can handle it. Some expert instruction can help unlock some of the machinery’s potential, but most important, by riding better you are inherently going to ride safely. 

Enhancing a rider’s instinct – defensive driving 

You don’t have to do many kilometres before you learn other road users aren’t always paying enough attention. Motorcyclists have a far narrower margin for error – be it your mistake, or often, another motorist.  

Rider training courses can hone build on skills intended to minimise the impact of other motorists’ mistakes. 

That can be working on anything from road positioning to improve visibility, steering techniques to smooth weight transition during manoeuvres, braking techniques to prevent lockups, unless of your course you are lucky enough to have a bike with ABS.

Focusing on skills and having expert instruction can dramatically affect your riding – making it smoother, more precise and allowing a greater leeway for mistakes

No matter how seasoned a rider you are, there’s always something new to learn, that’s the great thing about riding, we can always be better riders on and off the road. 

It’s a guaranteed way to improve your riding experience, enhance safety and the enjoyment of hitting the open road. 

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Our specialist road injury lawyers are experienced in a range of claims related to road accident injuries. If you've been hurt on the road, we can help you understand your options. 

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