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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am reading Proficient Motorcycling, and when talking about swerving, it basically says that from his point of view, riders who are not scared of leaning the bike in tight turns will do a full-effort swerve with no problem, and that people afraid of leaning the bike much will have a hard time doing such a swerve. And in summary, he thinks swerving practices are a waste of time.

What are your thoughts on this? I can understand that practicing swerves eliminates the surprise (or emergency) factor since you are thinking about it, but how about the mechanics of it.
 

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I am reading Proficient Motorcycling, and when talking about swerving, it basically says that from his point of view, riders who are not scared of leaning the bike in tight turns will do a full-effort swerve with no problem, and that people afraid of leaning the bike much will have a hard time doing such a swerve. And in summary, he thinks swerving practices are a waste of time.

What are your thoughts on this? I can understand that practicing swerves eliminates the surprise (or emergency) factor since you are thinking about it, but how about the mechanics of it.
Practicing anything that can protect you and save your life is not a waste of time. I train LEOs in defensive tactics and firearms and the ONLY way someone can become proficient at something is lots and lots of repetition. You have to practice balance and leverage and proper footwork and wristlocks and armbars over and over before it can be executed effectively at full speed. Same goes for motorcycling. It has to be committed to muscle memory so that it becomes a reflex rather than something you have to actually consider. If you need time to consider before swerving it is most likely too late.

I do agree that if someone is scared they may execute it wrong and then learn bad habits. Thats why they should practice in front of a trained instructor that can correct their mistakes until they get it right. They just may need more time devoted to building their confidence first.
 

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Live to ride
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practice makes perfect.
 

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What I always taught my Marines in defensive tactics and PPCT is train like you are to fight. If you practice enough, muscle memory will be there to save your azz
 

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I have had ac ouple of times where my practicing my swerves came in handy. During my first 2 years of riding I made it a habit just to hit up an open parking lot on a sunday evening and ride around in figure 8's and weaving in and out left and right just to train my muscle memory. Even though i had only a handful of times where i needed to swerve it was still a good thing that i had trained to do so along with quick braking and downshifting in emergency situations. It's always better to know how to and not have the instance come up then have an instance come up and not know how to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's interesting. I was expecting at least one answer along the lines of: "Yeah, if you lean your bike enough in the turns you'll have no problem doing emergency swerves", but I guess not many people agree with the author's point of view.

I agree about the need for practice to become proficient, but I also understand that it's hard to practice emergency swerves because there is no 'emergency' factor in a practice. Although, I can always ask the wife to come with me and do a similar exercise as the one in the MSF class, where I would be riding in a straight line and she would raise one arm to show the direction to do the swerve. But other than that I can't think of any other way to practice real emergency situations.
 

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Looking for a way to practice emergency swerving? Just ride the wrong way down I-95! </sarcasm>

My understanding of practicing emergency manuevers in non-emergency situations is exactly what's already been said; it creates the knowledge and muscle memory that takes much of the "reaction" away from your brain when you run into these things in the real world. While your brain is going through the "ohh shit" phase, your body already knows what to do.

Think about it like a "live fire excercise." Yes, everyone knows the mechanics of what they should do, and what they shouldn't do; But doing something in a classroom or on paper won't prepare you for the shock of actually "doing." A perfect example of this would be MOUT "stack" training. You're responsible for a very narrow window of coverage; it takes some sincere training to be able to ignore what your brain and body are screaming at you to do. You run through the motions so many times that it becomes second nature; you remove the "thought" from the action and act.

My experience has been to never turn down the opportunity to practice anything. Anything, absolutely anything I can do to "up my odds" of avoidance / survival is worth any level of effort IMO.
 

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I managed to make a nice swerve the other day. Damn trucks hauling brush. You'd think they would tie things down better so a 5" limb doesn't fall in the road in front of you. Practice makes perfect.

Also helps downtown when the cager that parallel parked and is talking on the cell phone swings a door open in front of you.
 

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It's also important to practice how to kick the sides of other vehicles without losing control, and how to throw groups of hard objects over your shoulder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's also important to practice how to kick the sides of other vehicles without losing control, and how to throw groups of hard objects over your shoulder.
I wouldn't go so far as doing that. My now wife and I had an encounter with an arrogant group of bikers, all on 600 and 1000cc bikes, by the way. It's a long story but let's just say I ended up with a swollen cheek, a broken mirror and window, and a dented door. Not to mention the psychological effects on the girlfriend who, up until recently, would shiver whenever she'd hear a sportbike.
 

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practice makes perfect.
No it doesn't

Practice makes persistent

If you practice something wrong and make it perfect. you just made yourself abe to do something Perfectly wrong
 

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Practicing anything that can protect you and save your life is not a waste of time. I train LEOs in defensive tactics and firearms and the ONLY way someone can become proficient at something is lots and lots of repetition. You have to practice balance and leverage and proper footwork and wristlocks and armbars over and over before it can be executed effectively at full speed. Same goes for motorcycling. It has to be committed to muscle memory so that it becomes a reflex rather than something you have to actually consider. If you need time to consider before swerving it is most likely too late.

I do agree that if someone is scared they may execute it wrong and then learn bad habits. Thats why they should practice in front of a trained instructor that can correct their mistakes until they get it right. They just may need more time devoted to building their confidence first.
I remember reading an FBI (I think...) study in college (Associate's of Criminal Justice) on the phenomenon of officers being killed in firefights because they were stopping to pick up spent shell casings before re-loading. They came to the conclusion that it was because on the firing range they were all picking up before re-loading (proper etiquette and all), so when they got in a firefight they had done so much firing range work that their training took over and they were acting subconsciously. It was pretty interesting. As a result, most department firing ranges no longer practice the etiquette of picking up your own casings. I would think the same rule applies here. Practice it over and over and over and over again so that when you have an emergency and need to swerve your training takes over and you act instinctively instead of grabbing a fist full of front brake and making matters worse.
 

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I think that the point that is actually made by the article is that with a limited amount of training time a new rider would be better served by getting over their fear of leaning the bike than by learning a single evasive maneuver. Being able to (and comfortable) drag a peg at parking lot speeds is a lot more challenging and beneficial than simply knowing how to swerve.
 

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I think its funny that you even bring up the fact of a crash. Don't get me wrong, everyone should have some type of fear, but Its fucking practice people, stop being a bunch of panzies and learn how to fall while your at your MSF, who knows, maybe those skills might help save your life more then a brand new sticker.
 

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No it doesn't

Practice makes persistent

If you practice something wrong and make it perfect. you just made yourself abe to do something Perfectly wrong
I agree...

my old football coach always said...

"PERFECT practice makes perfect..."
 

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No it doesn't

Practice makes persistent

If you practice something wrong and make it perfect. you just made yourself abe to do something Perfectly wrong
now you are being a total tool here, bringing up a technicality, let us just say that you can keep those ideals to yourself for now, and you can go into politics later.
 
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