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Safe Riding, Safe Braking

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Motorcycle riders in the sunset.jpgWe are saddened by reports that a motorcycle rider died recently in Clayton County in the early evening hours. The reports indicate that the rider was traveling north on Georgia 85 when his bike crashed into the rear of another stopped vehicle. We don’t know the cause of this crash, whether there was a malfunction of the bike’s brakes or whether the rider simply did not see the stopped vehicle or misgauged the distance needed to brake. But any loss of life is a tragedy and perhaps this rider’s passing can serve as a reminder about braking and bikes.

Lots of riders have something to say about braking on a bike and how to gauge distance and speed. Most bikes’ braking systems make it possible to stop within seconds of braking. But of course the faster you are going, the more distance it will take to stop your bike. Effective braking requires practice and it is one of the most important skills a rider can work on over time. The more experienced riders know that it isn’t always predictable how quickly his or her bike will stop in any given conditions. Distances required to stop become greater quite quickly, the faster the bike is going. Slowing down when you think you might need to brake is a good way to help yourself and your bike to stop in time before hitting an immoveable object. Assuming that the road in front of you will be predictable at all times is a big mistake.

To bring your bike to a full stop it is critical that you remain aware of road conditions at all times. Reaction times are also key to stopping and beginning to apply your brakes has to start as soon as your body can react to the road condition or stop required by a light or stop sign. Of course, decelerating a bike will take an even greater distance on a wet road. Experts caution that regardless of experience, there is no substitute for practice of braking skills because with practice, riders can actually shave off the time it takes to stop and that might be a life saver at some point in your riding life.

Take some time and get honed in on your stopping skills. Check out the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program that is sponsored by the Department of Driver Services. Riders can practice braking skills and much more at a relatively low cost for the training. This is also a great way to meet up with other riders and possibly make some new friends in the process.

Before closing I want to also say that we have learned that in Athens a bicyclist died when he was struck by another vehicle. It was reported the bicycle did not have any reflectors or lights to warn other drivers of his presence. The driver apparently tried to avoid hitting the young bicyclist, but could not get out of the way quickly enough.

Our hearts go out to the families of these Georgians. Please be safe on the roads and pay close attention to your riding. If you or a family member have been injured in a bike or bicycle accident, please feel free to contact me personally to talk about what happened and get a free evaluation of your situation. If you have lost a loved one in a bike or bicycle crash, you might need some help to sort out what has happened and determine whether anyone else was at fault. This is the time when good support can go a long way to healing and that is what we focus on at The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C.