April 2008 Safety Thoughts
Potholes & Riding Strategies
By Dave Hansen, Safety Officer
Well, riding season is now here, but the long winter has amplified Michigan’s road
hazards. Current estimates are that 38% of Michigan’s roads are in poor or
sub-par condition. Much of this is because of potholes. Many of the potholes
I’ve seen this year are showing up at the lane edges & are wide enough to
catch or fully swallow a motorcycle’s front tire. This presents a serious
concern for us as motorcyclists.
Some strategies to help prevent damage or crashing due to potholes include:
- Search – look for the hazards.
- Evaluate – determine your evasive
or defensive options.
- Execute – take the correct evasive
or defensive action.
Increase your following distances
to allow more reaction time.
When possible, choose routes away
from major truck traffic – heavier vehicles cause more road damage.
Change you travel path within your
lane to avoid the pothole if possible.
If avoiding the pothole is not
possible, try to cross the pothole as squarely as possible to avoid angular
deflection & loss of control.
Brake well before the pothole to
reduce speed but don’t break too closely to the pothole because this will
compress your bike’s front end, using up some of its’ travel intensifying the
- Keep tire pressures fully inflated
to help prevent rim damage & flat tires from hitting potholes.
Above all, be most cautious &
try to avoid water-filled potholes – they might not have a bottom!