Observation Links! - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-05-2006, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 324
Observation Links!

This is another piece of advice from Tony Carter....no questions involved, just something to think about.

Hope you find it useful!

"Whenever I am out training or examining, 9 times out of 10 the subject of observation, or more to the point, a lack of observation will come up in conversation.

It is not so much the fact that the student/candidate is not looking far enough ahead, it is usually more of a case of not absorbing and using the information that is available to help plan a suitable course of action.

Whilst observation in its generic form is understood by the majority of road users, riders and drivers alike, when the phrase "Observation Links" are mentioned the common reply is "You What?"

Observation links can often be the difference between getting into trouble or having a care free enjoyable blast, and by using O/L you can often pick up clues long before you reach the area of imminent danger.

For example, this time of year riding along a quiet country road you come across a pile of steaming cow dung. Most people would immidiately think of how to avoid going through the dung, but the switched on rider will think "Where are the cows that just deposited the dung"?
Simply because if it is still steaming it has obviously been left there very recently, and a slow moving cow impacting with a briskly moving motorcycle is not a good mix. Now if it turns out that the cows have simply moved across the road, then great, but they may have a half mile walk to the milking sheds and may be further down the road.

Likewise if you come up behind a Bus and you see a passenger stand up, most people would simply be thinking about how to get past the bus, but with the advanced warning you have the opportunity to make a more in depth assesment

1. Where is the bus stop?

2. Is it likely that another passenger is running from the other side of the road to catch the bus that you are following?

3. Is there a bus in front of the vehicle I am following?

4. You often get another bus stop on the other side of the road, so is it possible that another bus is approaching from the opposite direction?

5. Buses run on Diesel! Where do we often find Diesel and Oil spillage? Around bus stops.....so is the road surface likely to be slippery?

6. Are there vehicles or pedestrians obscured from our vision by the sheer size of the bus?

And so it goes on. The fact that the passenger was seen to stand up maybe a minute or so before reaching the bus stop gives you an additional minute to link what you can see to what may possibly affect your safety.

During the summer, the waft of freshly mown grass reaches your delicate nostrils. Is it someone simply mowing their lawn, or is it a commercial hedge cutter just out of site around the next left hander doing 2MPH right in your line? Early clues may be signs of grass clippings on the verge or carriageway, but by looking it gives you added reaction time, and it won't come as a particular shock to the system.

Stationary vehicles? Is the driver in his seat? Is it possible that he may move off without warning? In the winter, is there any sign that the engine is running? Is there fumes coming from the exhaust?

Around petrol stations, consider the possibility that apart from vehicles pulling in or out, there may be fuel spillage where someone has forgotten to put his filler cap on properly etc, etc, and therefore there is again the possibility of a slippery road surface.

The options are endless, and it would take too long to cover every link on here, hence just a few examples but everything out there can be linked to something that may affect our safety.
So next time someone mentions observation, take it one stage further and relate it not only to how far and how deeply you look at a situation, see if you can read into the situation by linking what you can see, to what may, could or will happen as a result of what you see."

So what he's saying is that everything around you is a clue, but don't just accept the clue, look for the clue within the clue.
Pete is offline  
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-05-2006, 05:23 PM
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Very good points :!:

When you quit thinking is when you get into trouble.
post #3 of 3 Old 08-08-2006, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16

Excellent point about the difference between "Obervation" and "Inference".

When we first start out riding (as a beginner), just keeping track of the clutch, brakes and gears is hard enough. Once those are mastered, and can be handled without much thought, we then move onto becoming keenly aware of our riding environment. See the motorists up ahead and prepare to deal with them as necessary. Notice the surface of the road and ride accordingly. This may never be automatic (at least as far as understanding what the vehicles and surface mean) but it can certainly be mastered.

The next step is the Inference (or Observation Links as Tony Carter calls them). Not only can we see what they are and what they mean (car braking ahead of you as he crests the hill means you'll probab;y have to brake too) but also infer what _else_ they _might_ mean and what they might mean for you (why is the car braking just over the crest of the hill? Accident? Deer? Drunk driver in the wrong lane?)

It seems to me that, no matter how much experience you have, you can always benefit from understanding what's going to happen (or may happen) from what is happening.

Part of the "always learning" aspect of motorcycles.
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