When do motorcycle riders have to take an MOT? Well, never. Unless you reach a certain age or have a declared medical condition you probably have never had someone check out your suitability to go riding. Providing your license permits it you can merrily throw a leg over a 190bhp bike with performance most supercars can only dream of, and ride off into the sunrise.
But are you safe? Who’s responsible for checking you out? After all, we know who’s responsible for checking the bike is safe – POWDDERSS is driven home by all our Observers, so your bike should have brakes that work, tyres that are legal, a chain that is well adjusted and lights that work. The only check you might have had done by an Observer on yourself was the eyesight test. Can you read a number plate at 20 metres? We don’t even ask whether you can see two of them, just the letters and numbers and the order they come in.
Dive to the back of Motorcycle RoadCraft though, and there is a comprehensive checklist for us, the riders. I AM SAFE covers it all but how many of us pat ourselves down before firing up the motor, especially if it was a long night and you’re riding with friends?
Ask yourself these questions:
|I - Illness||Do I have an illness or symptoms that might affect my ability to ride?|
|A -Attitude||How do I feel about this journey? Am I fully focussed on the riding? Are there human factors, distractions, that I need to take into account?|
|M - Medication||Am I taking any medication that might affect my riding? Hay fever tablets etc.|
|S - Sleep||Was last night a long one? Am I suffering from fatigue or lack of sleep?|
|A - Alcohol||Did I drink a lot last night? Am I still affected by alcohol?|
|F - Food||Am I hungry or thirsty? Could low blood sugar or dehydration affect my judgement?|
|E - Emotion||Am I angry, depressed or stressed? Could this lead me to take risks?|
There are many versions of these self checklists. Use the one that works for you, but importantly act on the information you gain. If you are a bit hung-over and
tired after a long ride yesterday, face up to it and make the right decision. No-one will mind if you opt to sit out a morning’s ride to have a late breakfast, if it means everyone is safe. You can always join a ride later in the day.
Better still of course is to think ahead and plan, just like when on the bike. Pack yourself off to bed early the night before so you‘re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning.