Right Foot Forward (or in this case, up)!

Dec 13, 2016 | Motorcycle Safety

person riding a motorcycle down the street with the sunset in the backgroundI had that opportunity a few years ago, while driving down a business section (4 lanes), where I watched a young rider about to turn left at an intersection.  At the last minute, a car changed lanes causing the rider to brake in the middle of executing his turn. With both his feet dragging along the ground, he used the only brake available to him (his front) and swiftly slammed his shiny new motorcycle onto the pavement.  I pulled over and stopped. After I checked to make sure he was alright, I helped pick his bike up and move it over to the shoulder. Other than some road rash to the motorcycle body work, a broken turn signal, mirror and a bruised ego, everything was fixable.

It was at this point that I introduced myself and asked if he would mind a small piece of advice that would almost guarantee that this type of mishap would not happen again. He was open to the idea, so we took a few minutes and talked it over. I explained the benefit of keeping his foot up on the right foot peg since it allowed him access to use the back brake. This helps keeps the motorcycle upright when braking in a turn as opposed to grabbing the front brake hard and pushing the bike and rider to the ground. We also talked about the fact that now that he had the rear brake available, his hands were free to properly control the throttle and the clutch and that this “ready-to-ride” position also ensured him a clean take-off at traffic lights and stop signs.

We can almost immediately spot those that have taken some form of motorcycle safety training and those that have not. The one particular move that I seem to notice the most are the riders who come to a stop while dragging both feet on the ground. Besides wearing out their boots at a much faster rate than the rest of us, they unfortunately increase their stopping distance and drastically limit the options available to them in case of an emergency. So how do we encourage riders to have both feet firmly planted on the ground? As with all things, practice (with safety in mind) makes for safer riders, and helps us avoid these types of incidences.


By: Wolfgang Kirchner