Time to get mind and mechanics back into shape. ACL gives you some advice.
After several months without riding, a motorcyclist’s reflexes are a little jaded, and they need to restore their ability to react instinctively in tricky situations from the very first time they get back on the road.
A good training
As in every spring, the Driver Training Centre in Colmar-Berg (CDC) offers a course to help improve motorbike skills, increase self-confidence and learn about your own limits and those of the bike. The "Fit for your Bike" days take place on 3 April, 11 April, 25 April and 2 May 2021. This is a training course to get you back in the saddle at the start of the season and is aimed at all levels, from beginners to the more experienced. The workshops cover cornering, braking, slalom, etc. It consists of 6 riding workshops of 30 minutes each and a motorbike check-up carried out by ACL
If you can’t spare that much time for a course, you can go on short rides to get used to the brakes and leaning into bends, and at least take the time to practise at a test track or empty car park.
The right gear
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable. They need to wear the right quality gear, as it’s their only protection if they fall: helmet, gloves, hi-vis suit in leather or special material and boots or ankle-high shoes with soles that aren’t too big in order to avoid getting their foot stuck when braking and changing gear. Check the helmet visor and replace it if it’s too scratched. Remember that a helmet is compulsory (ECE R22-approved – see our article about Motorcycle helmets). The chinstrap must be tightened and suitably adjusted. Helmet style might have a certain importance for some types of motorbike, but wearing a full-face helmet is recommended, as it will give better face protection in a fall.
Given that national legislation for compulsory equipment differs from country to country, ACL recommends that you always wear full gear (helmet, gloves, suit and boots). And any extra protection is also a great help, of course.
Be aware of other road users
When winter ends, other road users can also be a problem for motorcyclists. Many of them aren’t used to seeing motorbikes on the road again. Their narrow profile makes them difficult to spot and their speed is easy to underestimate because of their acceleration power.
And don’t forget that roads can be slippery in spring, especially in the morning after a night frost, and leftover salt from gritting can be treacherous on bends. Motorbike riders and car drivers alike need to be extra-careful, showing understanding and tolerance when it comes to other road users.
Increasing training opportunities
One of the ACL's major concerns is the cohabitation between the actors on the road and the prevention of accidents, hence the initiative to offer a training course for instructors ("Train the trainer") to a number of representatives of motorcycle associations, who will be able to lead courses and transmit these values. The ACL is therefore organising a week of training for trainers from June 29th to July 2nd, delivered and approved by the Austrian automobile club ÖAMTC.