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 occasion?