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Motorcycle Braking: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Stacey "Ax" Axmaker had his first exposure to motorcycle safety in 1991 when his insurance agent suggested he take a rider training class to get a discount on his premium. He did and was so blown away by what he didn’t know, that he asked how he could be an Instructor. Ax has been teaching ever since. Since that fateful day when he filled out the Instructor application, he has ‘served the cause’ in a variety of roles including Instructor, Instructor Trainer, Chair of Idaho’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan Motorcycle Safety Committee, and many more.  Learn more about Ax on his website.

As you are out and about riding your motorcycle:

  • Have you ever felt anxiety about ‘what if that car pulls out in front of me?’ YEAH – me, too.
  • Have you ever made a braking mistake – like getting a rear wheel skid that made your bike do a little dance (or worse)? YEAH – me, too.
  • And do you ever worry that if something goes wrong in front of you, that you may not get stopped in time? YEAH . Me, too!

In fact, thousands and thousands of riders have had those experiences, too. The data show us that braking errors are common in motorcycle crashes. Regardless of whose ‘fault’ a situation might have been (a car driver’ fault, the rider’s fault, both,  or neither), the ability to get your bike stopped quickly (or even
slowed down quickly) is critical to avoiding collisions.

Brake Hand Position
Photo credit: Motorcycletripper.com

Unfortunately, maximum braking is a skill that many riders do not have, and even for those riders that do knowhow, many make mistakes in ‘the moment of truth.’ Too many crashes, injuries, and fatalities are occurring as a result of poor braking or braking errors. I believe many of these are preventable with good braking skills (and good execution in ‘the moment of truth’). Every crash prevented makes life better for
riders, for their families and loved ones, and for the riding community as a whole.

Over the next few newsletters, we will:

  • Spell out several common braking errors and their consequences
  • Clarify good maximum braking technique
  • Explain how to handle skids
  • Provide tips on how and why to practice maximum braking
  • Discuss the benefits (and limitations) of taking a professional rider training class
  • Reveal 2 bonus elements to drastically improve your ability to stop your motorcycle quickly

Common Braking Errors

1. Rear brake only – skidding all the way to a stop (or a crash)

  • This is very common and I believe there are a number of factors that lead to this. Among them are: 
    • Car driving habits - these train us to press the pedal and keep pressing it harder if we want to stop quickly.
    • Panic – when we are startled, tense, scared, we tend to use more physical force and our ability to think clearly and rationally is greatly reduced.
    • Motorcycle habits – many riders use the rear brake only when coming to gradual stops. If there is no need to stop quickly, the rear brake will do the job.  The problem with this is that in an emergency, we tend to do what we normally do.

Click here to continue reading on our website.



Celler Law pays $50/student and more to get Bikers trained in FLORIDA!

The most likely person to be first at the scene of a motorcycle crash is another motorcyclist. A motorcycle crash has special circumstances. Traffic control, moving the injured, Helmet removal and Jaw Thrust rescue breathing are all part of our 8 hour class “A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist”. Priorities are outlined in a logical order with a focus on identifying and treating life threatening injuries. Learn how to properly respond from the Leading Motorcycle Trauma Training organization in the world! The Basic class will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Boca Raton May 3rd 9-5 pm and the Advanced class will be May 4th 9-5 pm. Take Saturday only or Saturday and Sunday (recommended) Are you ready to help your friends? Are they ready to help you? To sign up go to: CLICK HERE. Questions? Contact Road Guardians at 262-706-3278 or e-mail info@roadguardians.orgMotorcycle Crash

We need your help: Do you know a motorcyclist who is also a Healthcare Professional? EMT, Nurse, Doctor, Respiratory Therapist, Combat Medic, etc? Please let them know about this opportunity. The cost of becoming a Certified ASM Trainer is typically $350.00 but this class is only $100 due to sponsorship by Celler Law. There are 17 million motorcyclists in the USA and Accident Scene Management/Road Guardians is dedicated to 1st response training of all motorcyclists. While we have trained nearly 25,000 people and have instructors in 32 states and 4 countries, the number one issue we deal with is that we don’t have enough instructors! Do you know someone who is willing to serve their motorcycling community?

Some groups have sent a member to become certified so they can have their own trainer!

ASM Instructor Certification: May 2-5, 2014 – Boca Raton, FL
Hilton Garden Inn - $100.00 – this class is available to residents of Florida only. Class sponsored by Celler Law. http://www.etouches.com/itfl1405

This is a an offer that will not be repeated so don't delay. More details about instructor training can be found at:


Sign Up Now for Our Road Guardian's 14th Annual River Road Fundraiser on July 18-20 in Dubuque, IA (click here to sign up)

ASMI’s largest Fundraiser of the year.
Poker Run, Auction, evening parties and more.river3

Event includes a Poker Run Hand + two evening meals: Friday at Dubuque H-D and Saturday evening is being planned yet but will include an Auction wo-manned by Diva Amy from Team Diva! The Poker Run is being handled again this year by Ann Skemp, Jayne Reuter & MC Rag: Stormin’ Norman and Jennifer Knourek.  Advance registration cost is $50 ($60 at the door) per person. Road Guardians members: $10 off.

The hotels share a parking Lot – Mention Road Guardians for our group rate. Room block expires June 18th so don’t delay!!!! Hotels in Dubuque fill up in July and it will be difficult to find a room after the room blocks are released.

Road Guardian members receive $10 off registration.

Not a member? Support our cause for only $20 annually and receive over 1200 discounts, including $3000 worth of ADD Insurance. Click here to JOIN NOW!

Event shirts available for $15. Choice of ladies tank top or men’s t-shirt during your registration.

Click here to download the flyer and share with friends.

Sign up online by clicking here or find more information on our website.


Once again our training came in handy, too close this time!

After leaving a party we were heading back to I-94. We were on a 4 lane road with stop lights. It hadstopped raining but the roads were still wet when a motorcycle passed in the right lane. The light turned yellow and we were close enough that we could have gone through (I think), but I watched Jim’s and the other bikes brake lights. Both were applying their brakes. The bike that was ahead of us must have hit them hard and locked them up. In slow Motorcycle Drivermotion his bike started to turn sideways and headed into our lane. As it started to go down the passenger went off 1st and was sliding on the road when the driver came off. Something on the bike grabbed and the bike came back up and went over on the other side (good thing both people were off). As we were stopping we were also losing traction but were able to pump the brakes enough to stop. The only thing I could think about was I was going to run over the passenger. Luckily we did not. Jim went to the 2 people down while I handled traffic. A person in a truck right behind me called 911. The rider had so much adrenaline he went to his Ultra and just picked it up, while Jim was checking out his wife. In a very short time a paramedic showed up, then shortly after a squad. I think both riders were lucky, probably just banged up and will be sore for a couple of days. The wife did bang her head, and the helmet also banged the back of her neck. We made it the rest of the way home safe and sound. Thanks again for the training. Never know when you will need it!

Gretchen & Jim Maas, MN

Have you or your friends been ASM trained? To find a class, click here. Are you a medical professional? We need instructors! For more information, click here.  Would you like to support our efforts to reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists? Join our Road Guardians program for only $20/ year.

Click here to read more stories


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Road Guardian membership supports our mission to reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists and is only $20.00/year. Help ASMI and get your money back by making your membership work for you.

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Road Guardians

Road Guardians
W231 S8755 Wynn Dr., Big Bend, WI 53103
(262) 706-3278 ? local (877) 411-8551
info@roadguardians.org


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