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The Four A’s of Safe & Successful Motorcycling – Part 3

In our third installment of the Four A’s, we discuss how this ‘A’ – Attitude, can directly affect your motorcycle safety and enjoyment. Often overlooked, many consider attitude the “missing link” in motorcycling.

Don't Drive Angry

Still from Groundhog Day (1993)

You may recall the scene in the movie, Groundhog Day, when weatherman Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, kidnaps Punxsutawney Phil and puts him behind the wheel of their getaway pickup truck with the wise advice of “don’t drive angry.” We would do well to apply the same wisdom whenever we grasp hold of our handlebars and take to the open road. As we discussed in last week’s “A” – Awareness, situations can develop quickly when on two wheels. Allowing anger or frustration to creep into the mix can only serve to increase the likelihood we will unknowingly ride into a potential conflict. A conflict that could have easily been identified and avoided had we been focused on the road ahead instead of raging a battle in our own head.

Are you R.E.A.D.Y. to Ride?

In the Stayin’Safe / Advanced Rider Training program, we use a “rider-prep” system known as R.E.A.D.Y. Each letter representing a different aspect of mentally, physically, and emotionally preparing ourselves for the ride ahead.

Studies show that many crashes occur soon after leaving for our destination, a clear sign that many riders are not mentally or emotionally READY to ride and have yet to get into the flow of the experience. The “Y” in READY stands for, “willing to YIELD to aggressive drivers and situations”. In other words, being willing to put our anger or ego aside while calmly addressing the issue at hand. Granted, this is easier said than done as our well-being, even our life itself, is often at stake.

As riders, we are well aware that we can do everything right, only to have another vehicle begin to pull out in front of us, potentially causing a crash. However, reacting with indignation, taking the time to shoot an angry glance, or shaking a fist (or favorite finger) at the offender can cost us dearly. Allowing anger to distract us from taking proper evasive actions will only worsen the outcome. So, ask yourself, are you “Y,” willing to YIELD to those situations? Or do you prefer to “drive angry?” Choose wisely.

You can view the entire R.E.A.D.Y. series beginning with video #3 on the Snyder’s Riders YouTube page.

Right of Way

FYI - The advice to “Yield” does not imply the other driver or vehicle in the scenario described above legally had the “right of way.” If involved in such a situation, immediately contact the sponsors of Snyder’s Riders—Edgar Snyder & Associates—for proper legal assistance. You can call 24/7 at 412-394-1000, chat, or fill out the form on this page.

All Snyder’s Riders members receive “white-glove” assistance by calling the number on the back of your membership card. You will immediately be connected with the team at Edgar Snyder & Associates.

Just remember, it’s always best to avoid an accident rather than letting your emotions get the better of you, even if you are “in the right!”

Four Agreements

The book the The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz describes four principles that can lead to a life well lived. However, two of those agreements also serve as keys leading us to a better motorcycling experience. One of those agreements, “Don’t take things personally,” stands out as great advice for all that take to the open road on two, three, or even four wheels.

Too often we allow our belief that another driver personally attacked us to immediately lead to an aggressive response. Even if true, engaging another while on a smaller and more vulnerable vehicle is a battle you are sure to lose. To better avoid taking another’s actions personally, make use of the next agreement, “Don’t make assumptions.” Assuming others are “out to kill you” or that “everyone hates motorcycles” can only rob you of the pleasure of riding while making you more likely to negatively engage emotionally. If we can put these two agreements in our own “rider-prep” checklist, we can go a long way to ensuring another’s actions will not interfere with our passion of motorcycling.

Attitude & Risk

Finally, this third “A” – Attitude, also refers to the level of risk you’re willing to take while riding. Higher risk = higher chance of being involved in an accident, regardless of skill. In fact, many riders who take multiple rider training courses defeat that benefit by then riding with an increased level of risk. Rather than exploiting your improved riding skills, complement them with a lower level of risky behaviors. Having a good “risk offset” refers to this attitude, or choice, of constantly working to improve your riding skills while likewise reducing your level of risk.

Be sure to check back in next week as we discover how Attitude ties in with our last “A” – Action, the final piece of the “Four A’s of Safe & Successful Motorcycling.”

Ride Safe!

Join Snyder’s Riders Today

Are you a Snyder’s Riders member? If not, it’s free and easy to join. Just text RIDESAFE to 66866. You’ll have chances to enter our members-only prize giveaways, can receive a free motorcycle (or car) insurance review, and will have safety tips delivered right to your inbox.