Safety Tip: Obstacle Negotiation

NoCo IMRG Motorcycle Skills Practice

A safety tip from Paul Carroll

It’s inevitable during your riding that you are going to encounter obstacles which present themselves in the roadway that you cannot simply counter-steer to avoid and you must ride over them. This can be done safely through proper motorcycle placement, throttle and brake control, head and eye placement and good judgment.

While you are approaching the obstacle, you have to determine if it can be ridden over. A good rule of thumb is if the obstacle is shorter than the front axle height, it can be ridden over.

On the approach the motorcycle must be a square to the obstacle as possible. Don’t hit the obstacle at an angle as this could cause the front tire to wash out. The front wheel must be straight. Head and eyes must be kept straight and looking beyond the obstacle. Reduce your speed through proper braking, but maintain sufficient speed to ride over the obstacle. Too slow and the front wheel could wash out.

Rise off the seat slightly so your legs absorb the shock. Just before reaching the obstacle, accelerate in order to lighten the front end and transfer weight to the rear of the motorcycle. As the front wheel goes over the obstacle, roll off the throttle to transfer weight back to the front end and helps the rear wheel roll over the obstacle.

As with any skill technique, practice is needed to master this maneuver. Having a qualified instructor to assist you is obviously preferred.

Until next time, Ride Safe!