Staying at a safe distance can be a tricky thing to do. Too little space and you can be in danger of rear ending the vehicle in front of you. Too much space and another vehicle may push its way in. The general accepted standard is 2 to 3 seconds but it can vary with speed and traffic. As a reference you travel about the length of a football field at 100 kmh in 2 seconds.

An advantage of riding a motorcycle is the ability to look over the vehicle in front of you. This allows you to predict sudden stoppages ahead of time. Getting in the habit of looking over the vehicles immediately ahead of you can be a life saver. NASCAR actually used to limit the tint in the race car windows to allow drivers to look through a number of cars to prevent staring at the bumper of the car in front of you. The message, no surprises, look ahead!

What about the statement “Motorcycles stop faster than cars”, is it true? Well yes and no.

Motorcycles are light and can have great brakes. However, there are a couple limiting factors. Most importantly with two relatively skinny tires the motorcycle has a limited contact patch. You can only brake as hard as traction allows. The second big factor is the required skill. A car driver could possible close their eyes, let go of the steering wheel and mash the brakes (the first two aren’t recommended). There is very limited skill involved. On most motorcycles there are separate front and rear brakes and weight transfer of the bike is involved. Don’t assume you can stop faster than a car. It’s a hard lesson to learn if you can’t!