It is that time of year again and you will be sure to hear “I laid it down” when you are dealing with a motorcycle crash. You will usually hear this phrase from an untrained/incompetent motorcycle operator who will not admit that he or she lost control due to improper operation of the motorcycle. Over-braking, using the rear brake only, will lock up the rear tire. Combine that with a swerve and you will be sure to upset the motorcycle.
A better option is to rely on proper braking and swerving techniques. Braking first will provide more time before reaching an area of impact. Using both brakes will stop the motorcycle in the shortest distance possible. Swerving first may be needed to initially avoid impact with an object in close proximity.
In a crash avoidance maneuver, proper operation of the motorcycle is to separate braking and swerving. Combining braking and swerving will likely cause you and your motorcycle to become a projectile, sliding straight down the pavement, and possibly colliding with the object you were trying to avoid in the first place.
A motorcycle sliding on its side will not decelerate as fast as an upright motorcycle that is properly braked with tires still in contact with the pavement. By being upset and sliding prior to impact, you will crash at a higher speed causing an increase for injury or injury severity.
By properly scanning for potential hazards, predicting what may happen, and executing proper defensive driving tactics, a motorcyclist can often avoid being in a situation where he has to use crash avoidance maneuvers. If a crash is imminent, using proper braking and swerving techniques can save your life. Enjoy the riding season.