Why Riding A Motorbike Makes You A Better Driver

Bikers often get a lot of stick from the four-wheeled community for being 'leather-clad hooligans', but in reality, they (me included) actually make better road users...
Why Riding A Motorbike Makes You A Better Driver

A recent study conducted by insurance company Carole Nash revealed that motorcyclists have a better knowledge of the rules of the road than people on four wheels. Based on the official DVSA quiz, bikers outperformed drivers on issues of road safety, identifying road signs and overtaking safely. This research backs up other studies which show that bikers make significantly safer car drivers. But why is that?

1. Awareness

Why Riding A Motorbike Makes You A Better Driver

Motorbikers don’t have crumple zones or side curtain airbags to protect them in a crash, and because they’re sometimes invisible to road users on four wheels, their lives depend on their awareness of their surroundings.

Because there’s no space for making assumptions on two wheels, bikers learn to question everything. Riding like everyone is trying to kill them is also a mindset that bikers adopt, which makes their hazard perception far sharper than those who are surrounded by a wall of steel and safety.

2. Reading the road

Why Riding A Motorbike Makes You A Better Driver

One of the first pieces of advice you’ll receive when learning how to ride is to “look where you want to go”. This might seem like common sense, but it’s absolutely crucial in order to avoid being caught out by the target fixation phenomenon; this is where you look at the object you want to avoid and therefore steer into it.

As a result, from day one you are taught to look ahead and push your point of focus as far as possible. Riding performance motorcycles makes you think about your road craft even further. Techniques like using the vanishing point to know when to get on the throttle is the key to a safe and fast country road blast. All of these skills are fully transferable to the four-wheeled world but you’ll learn almost none of them during your normal ‘driving test’.

3. Visibility

Why Riding A Motorbike Makes You A Better Driver

Checking your blindspots is something that is drilled into you during your motorcycle test, and by the time you’ve passed it’s become second nature. If you’re lucky enough to own a sports bike like the Ducati 1299, looking over your shoulder to check for traffic will become even more of a necessity. Not because the bike is slow, but because the mirrors are absolutely useless.

When learning to drive you are taught to look over your shoulder, but only for certain situations. And with more manufacturers like Mercedes installing blind spot warning systems, taking responsibility for your own surroundings is something that is going to diminish. If the bike test were compulsory for all road users, there would be far more attentive drivers on our roads.

4. Regular Maintenance

Why Riding A Motorbike Makes You A Better Driver

We’re often told by insurers and roadside assistance groups that we should check our tyre pressures and oil level before we set off on a long trip. But how many of us actually do it? Ask a motorcycle rider the same question, however, and I guarantee that the majority check over their bike before each ride. Checking tyre pressures, oil levels and chain tension can be the difference between life and death.

Bikes are also a great place to start experimenting with some DIY wrenching. Everything is easily accessible and you can start off small with modifications like slip on exhausts, and then work your way up to changing brakes and suspension components. After a while of working on your bike, servicing and modifying your car no longer seems like such a daunting prospect.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of checking your phone at the lights or resetting your sat-nav on the move. But once you’ve taken to two wheels you gain a whole new appreciation of focusing on the road.

Sitting higher up on a bike allows you to see most road users’ bad habits and a five-minute ride will reveal all manner of bad habits. With time, bikers develop a ‘sixth sense’ making it easy for them to determine what each driver is doing just from the way they are placing their car on road.

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For bikers, the weather is everything. It dictates if and when you go out for a ride, which bike you take (if you’re lucky enough to have more than one) and even what protective gear you wear. Obviously it’s possible to get caught out by the conditions, but thinking ahead before you’ve even set off is something that some four-wheeled road users could really benefit from.

Now granted, there’s not much need to plan ahead when driving to work on a sunny summer’s day, but future planning has come in handy many times during the winter.



I remember when I still had my cbr600rr with a broken right mirror (this is in America btw) so I had to do a lot of shoulder checking because of it, I did adjust my left mirror a lot to compensate for it, but it didn’t do a whole lot for my right side. Now whenever I’m in my car I have to shoulder check if I’m merging over to the right. Bikes do help out drivers in many ways, but you have to want to be safe on a bike.

12/02/2015 - 15:30 |
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I second this

12/02/2015 - 16:52 |
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What I’ve definitely learned from riding is that sudden wheel spin and brown underwear can often appear simultaneously

12/02/2015 - 17:01 |
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It can also turn you into an organ donor.

12/02/2015 - 17:57 |
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Nick danca

I own a scooter poeple in cars where i live have no sense of saftey and sadly its everyone around me that forces me to drive fast and switch lanes pretty frequent. Its also against the the law to text and drive

12/02/2015 - 18:47 |
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I have never ridden a motorbike. However, cycling can help you develop some of these skills/traits to a higher or lesser extent as well.
For example, checking behind your shoulder is even more important when riding a bicycle because first of all you have no mirrors (I am aware of very small mirrors that attach to the handlebars, but they are too small to replace the look-over-the-shoulder), and secondly most car drivers treat you as a pedestrian in terms of space and speed differential, even though you can move in relatively similar speeds in downhill sections (you can hit 60 km/h on a road bike without much trouble in long downhill sections, like descending a mountain road).
Reading the road ahead is also very important, but the necessity of it depends on your speed (very important when going downhill because a small pothole can upset the bicycle and throw you off and high speeds mean less time to react, less important when going uphill and the speeds are lower, giving you more time to react).

12/02/2015 - 19:39 |
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AdjrianNickelodeon made it onto CT… woo

12/02/2015 - 23:17 |
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Nanahira is my Waifu

The problem is the motorcyclists that don’t really apply any of these and are a bunch of morons, i know they don’t represent every biker, but there’s a ton of them.

12/03/2015 - 05:11 |
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Good old adriannickelodeon videos

12/03/2015 - 08:10 |
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tried using a motorcycle once, my friend taught me how to maneuver but on a rough terrain with a bunch of rocks, unpaved ways, uneven surfaces and that’s on a regular bike which has been installed with lowering springs (looks good for sure). I was playing with the throttle (slowly) and making turns around the area, then suddenly, The bike almost tipped over, making me almost crap the hell out, but fortunately, the bike’s fenders didn’t even touched the ground (I really lifted it to prevent any damage). my friend told me that it wasn’t my fault since there’s rocks and holes everywhere, he said that it was his fault teaching me there but there’s no problem, it’s pretty normal to F’ up on the first time. Now riding a bike again made me more cautious around my surroundings but I’d stick on four wheels, since this is CarThrotlle and not BikeThrottle.

02/21/2016 - 12:42 |
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