Do You Ride SMART?

By: Christeena Knowles

SMART: How many of us consider ourselves motorcycle street smart?

Motorcycle related fatalities and motorcycle crashes in general are a big concern. The only way to help mitigate the problem is through awareness and training. Gainsville Florida Police Department holds a course several times a year that aims to make all riders SMART. They teach all who attend class, SMART techniques (Safe Motorcycle and Rider Techniques).

I recently attended their Saturday Advanced Motorcycle Training course and quickly discovered I wasn’t as skilled of a motorcycle rider as I had hoped. I was suffering from OCMS (Over Confident Motorcycle Syndrome) and I know many more riders that are infected too! I have been a rider since 1984 and have traveled thousands of cross country miles; I felt my skills were more than adequate. What I discovered taking this class is I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

With only courage in my pocket and a few friends by my side, I decided I would attempt every exercise and learn all I could about how to handle my motorcycle properly. I murdered several cones, missed many more in the course of the day but I never dropped my bike and almost made it through the entire day. I had to skip the last exercise, the figure 8, only because my body was exhausted after wrestling 850 pounds of machine for 6 hours. I learned many new skills and a lot about myself as a rider. If you are a new rider or someone like me who has been riding for years, you owe it to yourself to brush up on your skills and learn a few new ones, to make yourself the best rider you can be.

The best part about this class is it was FREE! If you are committed to being the best rider you can be look for an advanced riders course near you, it’s well worth your time.