Unlike fixed objects, water takes the shape of the container it is put into – the same water can fill a tall thin glass or a short fat one. Water adapts itself to its surroundings. A moving rock hits an obstacle in its way but water just quietly flows around it. If it cannot go left it goes right. If it cannot go under it goes over. When obstructed, water doesnt get angry or upset like we do, but just finds another way. And it always finds a way, as anyone with a leaky home knows. Water goes to the lowest point that other things avoid, and likewise the ready rider aims to go where others aren’t. If one way is blocked why get upset? It doesnt help. Just look for another way. If people obstruct you, like water, just go somewhere else. This principle, of adapting yourself to the road around is the key to riding safely. The rider aims to harmonize with the traffic rather than compete. Fight for your rights in society, but on the road aim to harmlessly fit in. Go where there is space not where there is conflict. Riding safely is the way of water not the way of fire.
Imagine a near miss on a motorcycle. Say you corner too fast and get a speed wobble on the back wheel but quickly shift balance to bring the bike back under control. Then you realize that you nearly wiped out, as even a little pebble in the wrong place might have tipped the scales against you. Check out your “near miss” attitude. Do you feel?
- Its great to push the envelope.
- I’ve always been naturally lucky.
- This is a great story to tell the guys.
- I was really in control the whole time.
If any of the above is “Yes” then consider this. When we survive a near miss the brain attributes it to “my skill”, but if on another day we do exactly the same thing and wipe out we call it “bad luck”. One cant have it both ways. The right attitude to near miss is to recognize it is a warning from life. Dont pat yourself on the back, take heed. A near miss is a premonition of a future accident. Dont be a fool and ignore it. Adapt so it doesnt happen again by expanding your safety envelope.
Defensive riding is based on adapting to the world around you, and not assuming it will do what you expect. Its goal is to avoid accidents despite adverse conditions and the actions of others. So if the light is green and you have right of way, you still look. Riding defensively is not just hanging back and being slow. Speed has nothing to do with it. It is the attitude that you dont assume what others will do. Sometimes you speed ahead, sometimes you dawdle, but always you adapt to the realities around you. Let others do whatever they will – your goal is to survive regardless. You rely on yourself, not them. The words “should” and “shouldn’t” don’t exist in the defensive riding dictionary. Defensive driving is the attitude of adapting yourself to road around you.