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The Rider's Handbook


Riding on the road requires your full concentration. Your survival depends on this ability.

Many factors will affect your ability to concentrate such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs

It's in your own interest not to ride if you know you can't concentrate fully.

Many people think that fatigue involves going to sleep, but for motorcyclists the real problem is a lapse in concentration.

Rider fatigue indicators include:

  • Running a bit wide on a corner.
  • A couple of rough gear changes.
  • Not seeing a sign.
  • Day dreaming.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Stiff joints (neck, knees and wrists).

If you have any signs of fatigue stop immediately and rest.

Riding a motorcycle is much more tiring than driving a car. Even if you are not tired, stop about every one and a half hours or 150 kilometres.

Here are some tips to help riders manage fatigue:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  • Avoid too much coffee or sweet soft drinks.
  • Stay away from alcohol at all costs.
  • Eat small amounts frequently, simple foods like fruit, nuts, a muesli bar or a little chocolate.
  • Avoid fatty foods and large meals before or during a ride.
  • In winter, don't make yourself too snug and warm. It's good to be a little cool.

There have been many tests on the way alcohol and various other drugs affect reflexes, coordination, depth perception and risk taking behaviour. The results are always the same â€" increased risk due to reduced capability. Keep in mind that it is not just your own mistakes that become dangerous. When you've been drinking, you may not be able to react properly to others' mistakes either.

Alcohol has an effect on you at much lower levels than the legal blood alcohol limit and even two drinks can take you to 0.05. On average, during each year, 25% of riders killed on South Australian roads had a blood alcohol level of 0.05 or more.

The effects of alcohol are compounded by the lack of protection and stability issues associated with riding a motorcycle. You should never ride a motorcycle after consuming alcohol or drugs.

All learner and provisional licence holders are restricted to a zero alcohol limit.

Many drugs affect your ability to ride a motorcycle safely and well. This includes prescription drugs (drugs that you cannot buy unless your doctor gives you a script) as well as illegal drugs, and some drugs such as cold or allergy tablets. Such drugs can leave you weak, dizzy, drowsy or slow to react in an emergency. Make sure you know the effects of any drug before you attempt to ride. Check with your doctor or pharmacist and read the label to make sure the medication will not affect your riding. If any drug has an effect on your riding, you must not ride.


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