The Physics of Speed

A motorcycle ridden at 40km/h or slower can stop in 12 metres or less, giving the rider a good chance to brake and stop in time if a car turns in front of him.

If the motorcycle was being ridden at 60km/h, and the car turns 12 metres in front of him, the motorcycle would still be travelling at about 50km/h at the time of impact.

At any speed of 60km/h and faster, the distance will entirely be taken up with thinking time and the rider will be unable to slow down at all. So, if the rider rides at 80km/h and a car turns in front of him at 12 metres, the rider will hit that car at 80km/h.

30km/h

Initial Speed: 30km/h

Impact Speed: 0km/h

Equivalent Fall: 0m

40km/h

Initial Speed: 40km/h

Impact Speed: 29km/h

Equivalent Fall: 3.7m

50km/h

Initial Speed: 50km/h

Impact Speed: 45km/h

Equivalent Fall: 7.3m

60km/h

Initial Speed: 60km/h

Impact Speed: 58km/h

Equivalent Fall: 9.7m

70km/h

Initial Speed: 70km/h

Impact Speed: 68km/h

Equivalent Fall: 12.5m

Learn and Live!

Nearly 80% of riders do not cover their levers (Clutch, Front Brake, Rear Brake) when riding. Not covering your levers (fingers on Front Brake and Clutch Lever, Right Foot on Rear Brake) in a High-Risk Environment sets you up for disaster, resulting in NO brake use to avoid or minimise impact. Covering your levers will most certainly help in response time, whereas most riders just grab the grips tighter in a panic situation. Learn to brake effectively!

Speed is manipulated by your right hand and your ego, learn to tap off (roll off, decelerate, etc.) when entering or riding in a dynamic (ever changing) and uncontrolled environment, an Urban (Town and City) where most accidents take place. Learn to pace yourself!

If you don't want to learn from this, then consider taking public transport, because fools shouldn't ride motorcycles!

Hein Jonker

Founder of the Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa Editor in Chief of Bike Talk South Africa Chief Instructor of Bike Talk Motorcycle Rider Academy Motorcycle Safety & Skills Expert for Arrive Alive South Africa

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