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101 Critical Days of Summer: What make a good motorcycle rider?

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- During this most important period of summer, the Critical Days, many Airmen and civilians break out their motorcycles in an effort to enjoy the warm days on a different level. Being a good rider can make the difference between life and death.

The following are qualities of a good motorcycle rider.

Good riders have a quiet efficiency in their actions and this derives from:
· A good level of concentration
· Accurate observation
· Matching the machines speed and position to the situation
· Awareness of the risks around them in particular road and traffic conditions
· Acting to keep identified risks to a minimum
· Awareness of their own capabilities and the machine they are riding
· Skillful use of the machine controls
· An attitude towards road safety for themselves and other road users

It's not just the speed of your reactions that determines if you are a good safe rider but the ability to identify and respond to hazards. Young inexperienced riders generally have very fast reactions to simple situations but have slow reactions to traffic hazards.

The ability to detect and respond to hazards is learned like any other skill and partly depends on experience. More experienced riders develop a sense to the early indications of possible trouble. When situations arise they tend to monitor them quickly as if second nature in readiness to respond if the situation develops dangerously.

Because they are more aware to potential danger they are more alert when riding, and this helps to keep concentration.

We all think that we are both safer and more skillful than average but we cannot all be right. In more than 90 percent of traffic accidents human error is the cause.

Accidents don't just happen; riding safely is not an added extra -- it has to be built into the way you ride.