Learning from your Mistakes
The sad fact is, most people don't learn from their
mistakes. Statistics show that riders who have had an accident in
the previous three years are three times more likely than average to
have another accident in the following year - insurance companies do
not load the premiums of riders who crash for no reason!.
Before we go any further, take a few seconds to think about the last
"big moment" that you had whilst out riding.
Did you see it coming, and were you able to react
in time and take avoiding action? If you couldn't take evasive
action, why not?
If you didn't see it coming, what were you
looking at? Did you fail to spot the clues to what was about to
happen or did you fail to anticipate the likely sequence of events
and consequences of what you were seeing?
If a car or another bike overtook you and took you by surprise, was
your rear observation good enough?
If a car pulled out suddenly in front of you and forced you to brake
hard, perhaps your forward scanning wasn't good enough!
Assess your own riding critically and importantly, don't blame the
bike or other road users for dangerous situations in which you find
yourself. Many riders find it almost impossible to admit to making a
mistake. Try to ride in a state of mind where every potential
accident would be your fault for not seeing it coming. If you
habitually say "it was the other guy's fault" or "there was nothing
I could do", you are fooling yourself. It can be hard to admit fault
but you if you don't you are ignoring the lessons that you could
have learned from the incident. Another point - ask yourself - does
it really matters that it was the other driver's fault when you are
in a hospital bed?
Make every allowance for other drivers' problems and mistakes. A
recent press campaign told drivers to "think bike when turning
right". Their efforts might have been better directed at the riders
- if a car is turning right, what are you doing overtaking it? Many
riders in that situation might say "but he didn't signal". You
should rather ask yourself "why didn't I anticipate he might turn?"
Did you fail to spot the junction warning sign? Did you fail to spot
the brake lights come on? Did you fail to see where his eyes were
looking or the initial movement of the wheel? If you overtook a
number of cars in a slow-moving queue, didn't the fact that the
queue was slowing down suggest something?
Don't blame other drivers for your failures of observation. The
clues are there if you look for them and use them.
Ask yourself why that car just pulled out in front of you - was it
because you were travelling so fast that the driver misjudged your
speed? Was it because he couldn't see out of his fogged up windows?
If it's happened to you before why didn't you learn from the last