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Risk Hierarchy: Information - Rider Ed - Driver Ed - Conspicuity - Bike Defect - Ultra-Defensive Riding - Crash Avoidance - Injury Mitigation - Crash Scene
Various Evasion Issues
See MSF Basic RiderCourse manual on tire issues, page 42.
The advice is to slow down gradually and pull over, braking gently with the wheel that is intact. Braking on the busted wheel is hairy as the wheel may no longer be circular, and further tire disintegration might result. This is one area where linked brakes can be a disadvantage. If you have linked brakes, brake very gently using the control for the good wheel.
Animals are a problem. Here's our blog entry on large animal crashes, and MotorcycleCruiser.com on the subject. There's no special evasion for animals. Extra vigilance and good gear are the best bet. When considering swerving, bear in mind that animals can be unpredictable when spooked, and can often double back or be unpredictable.
For small animals like squirrels and small cats, it may be best to ride over them rather than risk a destabilizing wheel contact while swerving or braking. For large animals like deer, you have to swerve or brake if there is time.
Debris on the road.
MSF Basic RiderCourse manual page 34 has information on riding over obstacles. This is good for small items like two-by-fours across your path, but bigger problems will need braking or swerving.
Loose surfaces, gravel, dirt, spills and leaves on the road.
MSF Basic RiderCourse manual page 39
Allexperts.com on gravel in a turn.
The basic idea is to slow down and get the bike as upright as possible before you hit the problem, searching for clear ways through the gravel or spill if there are any. This is one situation where hanging over in a curve, Lee Parks-style, because it allows the bike to go over the gravel more upright, conserving traction, can be a positive safety bonus, but only if you've been practicing.
Rain, wind, weather
See our adverse weather page.