Avoid motorcycle accidents by riding mindfully.
Mindfulness can be useful to anybody. This simple yet effective practice has in recent years spread from ZEN centres to many areas of lives, such as schools, hospitals, businesses, prisons and many others. People all around the world see benefits of mindful awareness and scientists keep finding new evidence about its positive effects.
So what is it and how can it be useful for bikers? According to a definition, mindfulness is ‘a focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment’. Interestingly it is estimated that around 80% of all road accidents in the USA happen because a driver lost their attention for just a few seconds. The government punishes people for talking on the phone, smoking or applying lipstick while driving, but there’s not enough emphasis on the importance of mindful driving or riding a motorcycle.
Applying the practice of awareness and paying attention can greatly reduce the risk of motorcycle accident and can make you a much safer rider. It’s simple, it’s available to everybody and it’s effective. The best thing about it is that it can save your life and is free.
When riding a motorcycle, you are 30 times more likely to be involved in an accident, so any chance of improving this statistic should be taken seriously. So what can you do to increase motorcycle safety:
- Remember that one moment of diverted attention can lead to an accident. Things change very quickly while driving. Don’t forget that both cars and motorcycles and powerful and heavy machines that can cause a lot of damage.
- How many times have you been daydreaming while riding a bike? Riding on an autopilot is dangerous. Maybe that’s why so many accidents happen within 5 minutes from home, cause you stop paying attention. You need to learn to control your thought and be more aware of what is happening within your mind. Sounds complicated, but it’s actually not that hard. Just a few minutes a day of mindfulness of breathing can help you with this. All you have to do is to sit peacefully and pay attention to your breath. That’s all. You will notice that different thoughts or emotions come up, so just let go of them and continue paying attention to your breath. This is a powerful exercise and will help you understand yourself and allow you to focus better on a given task, like riding a motorcycle.
- If you notice that your attention wonders, play a game. This is my favourite, it keeps me focused, alert and entertained. All you have to do is predict any potential danger. The more you notice, the better. Look at cars turning, drivers not seeing you, holes in the road, anything that you can come up with, which could be a problem if it realised. This game will help you notice things that you would normally just drive pas without being aware of.
- When riding a motorcycle, try to notice any tension in your body. Recognise that tension and relax. You can practice this during you mindfulness of breathing exercise. Tensed biker is more likely to cause accident. In order to control your bike and your actions, you need to be relaxed. Pay attention to your body.
- Riding a motorcycle is a constant learning experience. When starting, read books about improving riding skills, attend additional training courses, learn from others, do whatever you can to improve your skills and just be aware of your limitations.