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The 3 Basic Principles of RoadCraft

Posted on 29 January, 2018 at 17:10

The 3 basic principles of RoadCraft help keep all of us safe on the road

1st Principle, Observation.

More than just “seeing” but actively looking and scanning the whole riding environment for anything that you perceive to be a hazard and then doing something about it before it has chance to do something to you. Always looking at least 5 seconds up the road ahead and not forgetting to check the road surface, speedo and mirrors, roughly every 5 seconds.

If you can’t see at least 5 seconds ahead, altering your lane position might help but if that fails you can use the 2nd principle which is “Slow Down” a bit.

2nd Principle, Slow Down/Set up

Slowing down, even a little bit will always compensate for a lack of vision and, as well as slowing down when your vision is reduced it’s always a good idea to know you can stop your bike in the distance you have clear in front of you. If you’re not sure you could stop in time it might mean going into brake “Set-up”. To set up your brakes means drawing in the front brake lever just enough to remove the slack or free-play and pressing the rear brake pedal just enough to do the same. A general guide as to when to go into Set-up is if anything has the potential to move into your space then Brake Set-up reduces your reaction time, which will greatly reduce your overall stopping distance and it shows your brake light to the driver/rider behind you.

In conjunction with these 2 Principles we should also use the 3rd principle of RoadCraft, Buffer.

3rd Principle, Buffer/Create Space

Creating space or Buffering means altering your lane position to move away from a potential hazard, e.g. if you see a vehicle at a junction on your left, moving to the right hand side of your lane will create some extra space between it and you. If you see an oncoming vehicle then moving to the left hand side of your lane will create some extra space between it and you. Even a pedestrian walking out between parked cars could be a hazard and buffering away reduces your risk if the other person/driver/rider/cyclist, etc. makes a mistake. Be careful when you buffer from 1 hazard that you’re not putting yourself at risk from another and sometimes Buffering might make you less visible to some other road-users.Sometimes Buffering requires a compromise and in those cases consider Slowing down a bit as well.

See what’s coming as early as possible, Slow down and/or Set up your brakes, Buffer away to Create Space.

3 simple principles that will help to minimise your risk every time you ride. 

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