February 2006 Safety Thoughts  

Accident Avoidance: Braking vs Swerving

by Safety Officer Dave Hansen  


This month I would like to provide something to think about.  

I'm going to ask a question.  I'll give you 2 possible answers.  You'll need to select the correct answer.  

Here's the set-up:

What should you do; brake or swerve? Why? 

The correct answer depends on more variables than I've provided in the set-up. 

Let me give you a little physics that may make this question a bit easier to answer: 

   Kinetic Energy = 0.5 x Mass x Velocity 

What does this mean? 

What does all this mean? 

    Well, your brakes need to dissipate all this kinetic energy to stop you and the bike. They do this by converting all that kinetic energy into heat. 

In english, this means the faster you're going, the farther it takes to stop and here lies the answer. 

So what's the right answer? 

    At 30 MPH, you should have both the time & distance to do either, depending on the other variables not given in the set-up. 

But what if you had been going 50 MPH? 

    Think about it. 

Finally, let me end this discussion by saying this; if you haven't practiced swerving or braking hard, it probably won't matter what your choice is - you're pretty likely going to crash or hit that car anyway. 

Watch for coming information on our Chapter ERC Class & make plans to attend. 

    It can make the difference between riding or wrecking.  

Ride Safe!