“Everything I need to know I learned” in Motorcycle Safety Foundation class

(OK, I exaggerate, but I can’t help myself…)

When Klee and I took the MSF course they were teaching SIPDE: Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute; and look where you want to go.

Both of these not only improved my riding and enjoyment thereof, but also improved my driving, my running, bicycling, attempts at rollerblading, work and life when I remember to apply it.

Scan: look all around you, What is happening up ahead? What is coming up from behind? What is happening a lane, two lanes, three lanes over? How is visibility? Can you see what’s going on 14 seconds ahead of you?

Identify: do you see patterns of stable traffic? Do you see the Prius popping from lane to lane with what the driver might imagine to be NASCAR passes? Do you see the lowered Civic with the big pipe and black windows that just gets louder but not faster with “acceleration” and is it tailing the Quattroporte that you know can stop ALOT faster than said Civic? Do you see the truckload of tree limbs that has already started to lose its load? The fog bank, the brake lights?

Predict: based on your Scan and Identification, what might go wrong if NOT everyone is lucky? And where are you in relation to a potential hazard? Closing speed? Rebound?

Decide: decide where you want to be to best distance yourself from the fallout if any of the potential collisions, tree limbs falling in the road, visibility going from 14 seconds ahead to 6 happens, decide what your best escape routes are should any of these things actually happen.

Execute: if you don’t have an escape route, reposition yourself and create one, and then if anything does happen, execute your plan of escape.

Look Where You Want to Go: you will end up going where you are looking…AKA “Target Fixation”. The term target fixation was used in World War II fighter-bomber pilot training to describe pilots flying into targets during a strafing or bombing run. You don’t want to look at that fence, you do want to look at that nicely apexed set of paved twisties.

Well, here, these MotoGP riders know all about looking where they want to go at Valencia:

MotoGP racers cornering at Valencia 2013

And at Assen:
MotoGP racers cornering at Assen

So, even if you aren’t on a motorcycle remember to
Scan: look up, look around.
Identify: what patterns colors smiles clouds sun do you see?
Predict: what would it be like just to soak up the sun for awhile, listen to wind in the trees, the waves of the ocean.
Decide: are you going to pause for just a moment? Or wander up that inviting path in the woods?
Execute: Grab a latte and sit by the lake for awhile.
And look where you want to go next.

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