This little guide is in no way attempting to replace lessons from a certified driving instructor, practice with your motorcycle, and in no way gives the reader a license to drive. On the other hand, if you find yourself in some lawless shithole and where the only means to escape is a motorcycle, it is good to have at least a theoretical knowledge of the basics.

Riding a motorcycle is a more engaging activity than driving a car. The rider drives the motorcycle with his whole body and that adds complexity, but in my opinion it also adds pleasure; unless you are running for your life, that is.

While my experience is mainly in supersport bikes and the main focus of the article is blacktop driving, some rules cross over to off-road driving too, like the famous and dreaded – it being the cause of many crashes – target fixation.

What is target fixation? It is a phenomenon where you guide the vehicle you drive towards a danger because you are focusing on it. Remember that I said you drive your motorcycle with your whole body? By locking on a point with your eyes, you turn your body towards it and that steers the motorcycle towards the place you don’t want to go.

How can you avoid that? One trick that worked for me and saved my bacon from the taxis in Athens that brake like there is a baby in the middle of the road when a client signals them, is to always look to your exit route.

Yours truly with his CBR1000RR


You have a vehicle in front of you? Don’t look at its manufacturer logo at the center of its trunk, because if the driver brakes all of a sudden, that’s exactly where you’ll go. Instead, look right next to the vehicle to the open space and keep checking on traffic in general with your near and mid peripheral vision while your eyes always look on open spaces on the tarmac. Also, quick scans that break your point focus work. Driving a motorcycle is a constant mental and physical activity.

Braking is another thing that requires finesse while driving a motorcycle. In a car, you might slam the brakes and the ABS will do the job for ya and let you stop safely while maintaining control of your car. ABS on motorcycles, however, is not that common.