Tips on Emergency Braking

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by HLaB, 28 Oct 2007.

  1. Hi has anybody tips on emergency braking? other than avoiding having to do it. The reason I'm asking is this afternoon whilst freewheeling down a rural 'A' Road @ 22mph, just after a wee place called Kinnesswood and just north of Scotlandwell. On a sweeping right hand bend a car came up behind and decided to overtake unfortunately there was a car coming the other way, so they swerved back in on me. To avoid making contact I had to brake hard unfortunately in doing so I locked up and had to bail into a ditch. Apart from being a little shaken up both the bike and I are OK and the driver got a conscience and came back a couple of minutes later to see if I was OK and make her apologies.
  2. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Front brake first, use the rear only gently if at all, and be ready to momenteraly release the brake if the front wheel locks. Shifting your weight towards the back of the bike helps prevent the rear wheel lifting.
  3. OP

    HLaB Marie Attoinette Fan

    Cheers, Ive been braking gently with the rear and then throwing on the front. I guess in my panic xx( I braked too hard with both and didn't release momentarily to stop lock up.
  4. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    How to emergency brake is: throw the bike forward (do this 1st) so your over the back wheel, as the saddle is moving in front of the crotch apply the brakes pretty dam quick !

    This process slows you down and makes sure you DONT fly over the bars!! xx(
  5. This occurance sounds like a candidate for primary position. Ride towards the middle of the road on blind corners, it stops them making stupid moves like the one you described.
  6. OP

    HLaB Marie Attoinette Fan

    It didn't stop this stupid driver I was in the primary but that doesn't matter what I'm interested in is effective braking techniques.
  7. col

    col Veteran

    When you brake hard on the front brake,slip back like has been mentioned,but go a little further so your stomach is nearly on the saddle,as long as there is enough clearance over the back tyre for your nads
  8. pjm

    pjm Senior Member

    Obviously locking up the back won't do you too much harm, except it will reduce the amount of braking grip. Its the front you need to worry about, and the front is the one that is going to give you the most stopping power too.
    When you slow down, momentum means that your weight shifts forward. The front wheel therefore has the most weight on it when braking. This in turn means that the front brake brake is most effective in slowing you down. To illustrate, imagine a pencil with a rubber on the end; stand the pencil upright with the rubber in contact with the table; iit takes a tiny amount of effort to move the pencil - i.e. make it lose grip; now push the pencil down hard into the table, it takes much more effort to move it. So more weight on the tyre means more grip. You'll notice that cars and motorbikes all have much bigger front brakes for this reason. In fact, if you take your motorcycle driving test, the 'emergency stop' part of the test doesn't even require that you use the rear brake at all, so ineffective is it relative to the front.
    So first thing is to focus on your front brake. Grab a handful of rear by all means, but concentrate on the front. The most effective way to maximise braking at the front is to be as progressive as possible. Imagine the pencil again, push it down into the table and try to dislodge it by pressing smoothly and slowly - it takes a bit of effort; now flick it instead - it moves with far less effort. If you brake suddenly, then all your weight is transferred onto the front wheel very quickly, and this sudden change will cause the tyre to lock up quite easily. Apply the brake more smoothly and you can build up much more grip and decelerative force.

    One other point which has been mentioned previoulsy is moving your weight backwards. If you slow down really hard, then the weight transfer forwards can be enough to thrown you over the bars (if your tyres have enough grip not to lock up first!), so shifting your weight back reduces this risk. It also puts more weight over the back tyre, so this will also become more effective for braking.
  9. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    Emergency braking ? EMERGENCY BRAKING ?
    This sounds like garlic bread. Has no place in the real world.
    You should cycle (drive) in a manner applicable to the conditions and situation you are in, being observant of all moving vehicles in your immediate vicinity / ahead of you, and be able to anticipate any "hazards" that may be imminently wending your way and thus brake smoothly and correctly.

    Driving instructors head now put back in box
  10. andygates

    andygates New Member

    Arse off the back and scream like a girl.

    You go where you're looking. In a near-collision, DO NOT LOOK AT THE CAR, look at the CLEAR ROAD where you want to be. You'd be *amazed* how the magnets in your eyes can draw you into peril otherwise.
  11. gbb

    gbb Legendary Member

    Of course, you are technically correct...but, in reality, the myriad of circumstances in front of you make that impossible to achieve every time.

    For instance...riding one night last winter. Making good progress slightly downhill. A car is oncoming and indicating to turn right, which means he will cross my lane. I am aware of the potential danger in the dark, so begin to slow slightly...watching, watching, watching the car as it approaches the junction. He slowed, hes nearly stopped...yes, he must have seen me..... FCUK :tongue::ohmy::ohmy: the tw@ts pulled across RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME :sad::ohmy::ohmy:

    Slammed on the brakes.....and dont anyone tell me in the milliseconds i had, there was a correct way to do it.....rear wheel locked, slewed round, and i am broadsiding millimetres past his car.
    I still dont understand what possessed him to go, how i didnt he didnt hit me, or how i stayed on the bike.

    I approached with caution, despite having 'right of way', looked looked looked...and still the fcukwit pulled across me impossibly late.

    Unfortunately, in some emergencies, you wont have time to 'brake correctly' will just hammer on the anchors for all youre worth.

    That said, reading this makes me realise..i did have the opportunity to prepare myself for a potential emergency....but i failed to use it.

    As they say in the trade, preparation, preparation, preparation. xx(
  12. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    xx(:ohmy::ohmy: Locking the rear wheel can do much harm - aside from the obvious tyre damage it stops the rear of the bike tracking properly and can cause it to slide out in an extreme case.

    Oooooo-kaaaaaaay. This is totally incorrect, emergency braking is an essential skill for operating a vehicle safely. Its real world application is to allow a person to reduce or avoid an impact in the event of an unpredictable incident, that occurs beyond the realm of reasonable prediction.

    If you don't know how to emergency stop whatever vehicle you are using, you are seriously neglecting an important, and not to mention examined (in the driving test) skill.

    Emergency braking technique

    Practice emergency stops, its the only way to learn and will make you safer as a result.

    Don't grab the front brake, squeeze it on and brace your arms, but keep the elbows bent. Make it a smooth, but firm application. Slide back a little in the saddle and feather the rear brake until you come to a stop. Keep practicing until you can stop so hard that your rear wheel is skipping, and your rear brake is virtually useless.

    An emergency stop in the wet is a different kettle of fish, and I am assuming here that you have rim brakes.

    Again squeeze the front brake on firmly and smoothly, arms braced, but in the wet also squeeze the rear brake lever at the same time, but only put about 30% of the front lever's squeeze through it. Remember that your wheels will need to complete one or two revolutions before the pads properly bite the rims, so don't go all out as you can in the dry. Again keep your weight slightly back in the saddle.

    Important points to remember

    • When approaching a situation which may require emergency braking, cover the brakes as this reduces the time it takes to start braking by about 0.4seconds and reduces the temptation to "panic pull" and grab a dirty handfull of brakes and upset the bike.
    • If you realise that you are going to hit whatever you are tying to avoid, at the last second remove your hands from the bars entirely. This is to reduce the chances of broken wrists and dislocated shoulders when the bike suddenly stops but your body doesn't.
    • Another option if you realise you won't stop in time is to lock the rear wheel and unclip a foot, lean the bike over onto the unclipped side and slither to the ground. It is unlikely you will stop before impact, but it could well prevent you sustaining very nasty facial/upper spinal injuries associated with being catapulted face first into the side of a car.
    • Remember that the smoother you are with your application of the brakes and more controlled your braking, the faster you will stop and the more safely you will do it.
    • You don't have to bring the bike to a dead stop, sometimes a period of emergency braking should be followed by releasnig the brakes and swerving. The more you practice emergency braking, the easier it will be to be in control and to do something like this.
    • Practice, practice, practice - it may just save your life one day.
  13. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    Please Sir !!

    Can I just say that this post had a certain element of :tongue: in cheek ? Although it has prompted some good responsive answers.
    Thought the bit now high-lighted in red may have given the game away ! xx(
  14. KitsuneAndy

    KitsuneAndy New Member


    If that's the case why do we get tested on emergency stops in a driving test? xx(

    I find braking hard a bit weird now that I'm riding a bike with front suspension as you get the same 'nosedive' that you do on motorbikes as the weight shifts onto the front wheel and compresses it.
  15. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    As has been mentioned, shift your centre of gravity (arse) back.
    Although when I took my driving test (car 1st, bike 2nd) my driving instructor told me you should treat your passengers like royalty and look after them, so when you brake (even emergency brake) they shouldn't rock back and forth in their seat. Easy peasy when you know how !!
    But I will say again (and I know there are some total numpties driving cars, m/bikes, bikes out there) you should always be aware of what is going on around you and anticipate (i.e. what if a kid runs out between those 2 parked cars), hence I voted NO to listening to headphone music when cycling. No objection to a couple of speakers wired up to your mp3 though.
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