Defensive Rider


The State of Michigan requires motorcyclists to receive a motorcycle endorsement before they are legally able to ride a motorcycle. In order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement, motorcyclists must take vision and written knowledge tests at a Secretary of State's office. Once that has been done, they are required to pass a skills test from either a rider skills testing organization or successfully pass a certified motorcycle safety course. With certificate in hand, new bikers must simply return to the Secretary of State's office in order to obtain the CY endorsement.

While endorsed bikers are not required to take additional courses, I believe it is always good to hone your skills and practice being a defensive rider. Defensive riding is often referred to as anticipating dangerous situations on the road and being able to react in a defensive way. This takes skill. It also is important for you to remember that in many instances you are invisible out there.

Auto drivers do not see us. They are looking for cars. They are not looking for motorcycles. You do not register in their brains. I cannot tell you how many injured bikers have said to me that they approached an intersection, "saw the driver waiting to make a left hand turn, their eyes met, and he turned right in front of me."

The biker always asks, "How could he do that?"

My answer is, "He did not see you."

You think that just because he was looking in your direction, he saw you. He did not. His brain was telling him to look for a car. You are not a car. Always cover the front brake with your hand approaching an intersection and pay close attention to that left front wheel. That is the clue as to whether the driver is turning. Not his eyes.

The most defensive riders can still be involved in motorcycle accidents. I have seen it too many times. It happened to me in 1997, spending three days in the hospital. In the event the motorcycle accident does occur, we advise you to immediately contact us and speak with an attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents only. My number is 1-800-Mi-Biker. We are available 24/7.

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