Low risk riders manage their speed and road position to maintain a crash avoidance space completely around their motorcycle.
To determine the crash avoidance space to the front of your motorcycle you need to take into account two key factors reaction time and response time.
Reaction time is the time the rider needs to:
• See the information,
• Perceive what it means,
• Decide on a response,
• Instigate that response,
A rider who is fit, concentrating, alert and not affected by alcohol, drugs, fatigue or a distraction, will require about one and a half seconds to react to a sudden and unexpected change in traffic conditions.
Response time is the time required to take action. Generally a minimum of one and a half seconds is needed to respond. In many situations braking may be the only possible response. Swerving is rarely appropriate and is likely to result in a more severe crash, for example a head on collision.
A total of three seconds crash avoidance space is needed to react and respond to a situation in front of you. You may need even longer in poor conditions such as rain and darkness.
The three-second rule, explained below, can be used when following another vehicle or if there is potential for something to accelerate or steer into your crash avoidance space.
MAINTAIN SPACE TO THE FRONT
To calculate a three-second crash avoidance space when following another vehicle, use this basic technique:
as the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object at the side of the road, such as a power pole, tree or sign, start a three-second count, one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three.
If your motorcycle passes the point you picked before you finish the count, you are following too closely.
Your crash avoidance space is not large enough. Slow down and repeat the count again until the three-second crash avoidance space is achieved.
In poor conditions such as rain, night and gravel roads, it may be necessary to increase your crash avoidance space to four or more seconds.
To reduce the risk of riding into the back of another vehicle, the three second crash avoidance space is essential, as the vehicle in front has the ability to stop very quickly, especially if it collides with another vehicle or a stationary object.