Over-confidence and Riding at the Limit
Some riders know their limits very well indeed and ride within them.
A very few have the ability to handle their machine at the edges of
its performance envelope. Unfortunately, most riders not only have a
false sense of indestructibility, but also have over-inflated ideas
about their level of machine control. You can get into serious
trouble because you have overestimated your riding ability. Your
confidence may take you into situations which you cannot handle.
Learning and developing new skills will clearly improve your limits
and this will hold an advantage so long as you do not use your new
skills to ride there by habit. It is obvious that if something does
not go according to plan, if you are riding at extremes of speed,
lean angle or braking then you will not have any reserves in hand to
deal with the emergency. Recognise that this is a problem - assess
your own riding critically and ride within your known limits.
Don't underestimate the danger of high risk behaviour - amongst
experienced riders this is one of the most common causes of
accidents. Safe riding is about Risk Management - everything you do
on a bike has a risk attached to it. Some activities - riding flat
out round a blind bend - are clearly high risk and very dangerous.
The aim of defensive riding is to reduce the risk attached to a
potentially dangerous activity by anticipating, being prepared for
and taking steps to avoid the danger. Your aim should be to ride in
complete safety and with no inconvenience to other road users.
Overconfidence can also get you into trouble through complacency.
You may be riding along, well within the limits of your own skills
and the machine, but with a sense that nothing can go wrong because
you are riding so slowly (at least - what seems slowly to you). In
this state, you are highly at risk because you have mentally
switched off. You are no longer concentrating or actively looking
Always remember advanced techniques of machine control can only
increase your safety and reduce the risk of an accident if they are
supported by positive attitudes, concentration, critical
self-awareness and above all, by self-control.