I’m a rider that learned how to ride a motorcycle at traffic school. My father used to ride motorcycles when he was younger, but got into a very bad accident at one point. Once this happened he never rode again, and I’m fairly certain he never thought I’d pick up riding. However, I was still around bikes because my aunt and her husband have been riding my entire life.
So, when I decided that I wanted to ride I went to a traffic school to learn from professionals how to ride safely. This choice has been invaluable to my success as a motorcyclist living in Los Angeles. More than anything, it gave me a head start on what to expect on the road.
One of the first vital skills stressed to the riders in the class was the importance of emergency stopping. The instructor repeatedly mentioned emergency stops were a life saving skill which every rider should master. He went on to show us video footage which showcased riders using the technique, and those who did not. Suffice it to say, the latter were not as successful at walking away from the dangerous scenarios shown in the video.
Once I was placed on a bike within the first two hours, I learned how to emergency stop myself. If you are unsure how to properly execute an emergency stop, you can attend a training course to refresh your skills, or find some instructional videos and/or books to help you prepare for some parking lot practice.
For riders who ride in traffic or on rural road, this skill is crucial; when the unexpected jumps in our path emergency stops are key. Even if we can’t fully stop, the technique will still allow you to slow down quickly and perhaps change course.
I encourage every rider to go out and practice emergency stopping, and you can watch a few videos on YouTube on how to successfully execute the technique. I’ve had a number of close calls that could’ve been much worse for me if I hadn’t utilized my skills in the moment.
My most memorable close call came in the rain while on the freeway. A car cut me off without signaling, and I was genuinely afraid I didn’t have enough time or space to stop in time. Luckily, I was able to slow myself down enough to switch lanes. Emergency stopping is for everyone, and every rider needs to make sure it’s a skill they keep in their tool bag.
Stay safe in these streets!