Safety & Risk: riding isn't 'safe' - we're actively MANAGING RISK to deal with HAZARDS and avoid conflict with other road users.
A Hazard: is anything that offers the threat of personal harm and makes us alter speed or direction to reduce RISK.
Risk: is "the chance of something going wrong multiplied by the impact on us if it happens".
Risk Assessment: our job is to ANTICIPATE and avoid high risk situations, and to eliminate high risk manoeuvres from our riding.
Anticipation: is asking “What if...?” to avoid SURPRISE! to avoid triggering panic reactions.
Systematic Riding: is about building a flexible riding plan that encompasses the WORST CASE SCENARIO to allow us to deal with hazards.
Worst Case Scenario: don't plan for things to go right, plan for them TO GO WRONG. Anticipate mistakes - by other road users AND by us. Plan how to deal with them! When cars pull out of junctions (driver's mistake) can we stop or swerve? When bends tighten up unexpectedly (our mistake) can we lose speed or change line? If we're continually caught by SURPRISE! we're not planning for things to go wrong.
Two to Tangle: riders blame drivers for collisions with other vehicles. But if the driver sets up the crash, we still have to ride into it to make it happen.
The Killing Zone: is the ‘at risk’ distance where we are committed to negotiating a hazard, and can no longer take evasive action.
Be Pro-active: and shrink the Killing Zone. Reducing speed, changing position and improving view can widen our SAFETY BUBBLE .
The Safety Bubble: is a zone of safe space that surrounds us in traffic, in bends and at junctions. Keep the Safety Bubble as big as possible - ride wide of threats and maintain good following distances. Staying clear of high-risk positions allows ourselves and other drivers time to think and react.
View: what we CAN'T see is almost always a bigger risk than what we CAN see! So to work out where to position for view, ask three questions:
1. where are the areas we CAN see into?
2. where are the areas we CAN'T see into?
3. is there a position which gives us a VIEW into those blind areas?
Add a supplementary question:
4. if we move there, would we be safe and can others SEE US?
This works equally well for approaching bends and blind junctions, as well as other hazards such as parked cars and pedestrians.
Speed: can we stop if a vehicle appears or a bend is blocked? Can we at least swerve? If we can't, we're riding too fast.
Prioritise the bigger hazard: which will hurt most? Keep clear!
Overtaking: frequently goes wrong, and often kills when it does. That makes overtaking high risk so just because we CAN doesn't mean we SHOULD. Look for overtakes that make USEFUL progress at MINIMAL risk.
Finally: continually review our decisions and actions:
1. is what I am doing SAFE? We shouldn't put ourselves or others at risk!
2. do I know WHY I'm doing it? Question techniques taught by rote at basic AND advanced level. Don't apply them without thinking - what we do should have a reason!
3. does it LOOK safe to other road users? If it doesn't, they may not behave as expected!
4. learn from mistakes. We all make them. But plan not to make the same mistake twice!