Motorcycle Emergency Braking Tips & Techniques

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Emergency braking on a motorcycle is a learned skill. Sometimes you'll encounter situations where you have to stop as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to get you and your bike stopped ASAP and that will help reduce your risk of crash and injury.

  • Apply both brakes to their maximum, just short of locking them up. Practice this in an open and good surfaced place such as a clean parking lot with no traffic.
  • Practice hard braking in a straight line. Keep the motorcycle upright and traveling in a straight line. Look where you WANT to go and not the direction you've just been.
  • Practice hard braking with a swerve. After practicing with braking hard in a straight line (above), and you feel comfortable with it, add a swerve (to the left or right) to the technique.
  • You don't want to lock up the front brake. If the wheel does chirp, release the brake for a split second, then immediately reapply without locking it up.
  • If your rear wheel does lock up, do not release the brake. If your handlebars are straight, you'll skid in a straight line, which is all right.
  • If you know there's traffic directly behind you, or you're on a group ride, swerve to the left or right WHILE BRAKING to keep from being rear-ended.
  • If it's a deer or other large animal in the road you're trying to avoid, aim for the animal's rear end in the opposite direction it's traveling.
  • Down shift if possible.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Your goal is to practice hard braking so that when an emergency stop is needed, you're not as tense and a bit more prepared.

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