Motorcycle training teaches motorcycle riders the skills for riding on public roads. It is the equivalent of driver's education for car drivers. Training beyond basic qualification and licensing is available to those whose duty includes motorcycle riding, such as police, and additional rider courses are offered for street riding refreshers, sport riding, off-road techniques, and developing competitive skills for the motorcycle racetrack.
Requirements and incentives
Mandatory motorcycle training, known as Compulsory Basic Training, is common in Europe. There are also schools and organizations that provide training for beginners and refresher courses for experienced riders. In the United Kingdom organizations such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) offer advanced rider training with the aim of reducing accident rates. Advanced training is optional but there is often an added incentive to riders in the form of reduced insurance premiums.
Many motorcycle training courses in the USA use the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course materials. As of 2010[update], 31 states use the MSF tests for licensing, and 41 states use the MSF motorcycle operator manual. Completion of such courses often results in lower insurance rates, and all but five US states waive motorcyclist license testing for graduates of rider training courses such as the MSF.
The US Hurt Report, begun in 1976 and published in 1981, expresses disdain for the ignorance and misinformation about motorcycle safety among riders studied, noting that 92% of riders in accidents had no formal training, compared to 84.3% of the riding population, and that when interviewed, riders frequently failed to take responsibility for their errors, or even perceive that accident avoidance had been possible. Hurt noted they held such misconceptions as the belief that deliberately falling down and sliding was a more effective accident avoidance strategy than strong, controlled application of the front brake. The final recommendations of the report include the advice that, "The Motorcycle Rider Course of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation should be the prerequisite (or at least corequisite) of licensing and use of a motorcycle in traffic."
However, when the European MAIDS report, conducted in 1999 to 2000, looked at motorcycle accidents and the riding population, in societies where rider training was both widely available and in generally mandatory, they were unable to find conclusive evidence that riders without training were more likely to be involved in accidents. Nor were their interviews able to discern a significant difference between the number of riders who had been in accidents who were unqualified to operate their motorcycles, and the number among those who had not been in accidents. The MAIDS study did find that drivers of other vehicles were less likely to fail to perceive motorcycles in accidents if they themselves had a motorcycle license, and that motorcyclists riding illegally without a license were more likely to have accidents.
The MAIDS report does not conclude that training is unnecessary, but rather states that their results are inconclusive. Hurt's complaint was that in the absence of mandatory training, false information is passed from one generation of riders to the next, so it is to be expected that this particular problem would decrease in regions where training is generally mandatory. Years of riding and contact with other riders, in lieu of formal training, doesn't necessarily expose motorcyclists to accurate information. Open questions remain, however, such as why the overall safety of motorcycling in Europe is not significantly different than in the US.
Armed forces off-duty riding
The US armed forces has responded to an increase in off-duty motorcycling accidents and deaths by strengthening existing requirements that service members take a motorcycle safety course and wear helmets even if not required locally if they wish to ride, as well as by offering rider training tailored to military motorcyclists. In response to the popularity of sport bikes among younger military riders, and the disproportionate representation of sports bikes in accident deaths, courses focusing on sport bike riding have been created at military installations around the world. These courses have been designed in cooperation with the MSF, and a conference on motorcycle safety with the MSF and high level military leadership was held at The Pentagon. The Marine Corps devoted a half day in conference with the top brass and the MSF in recognition of the seriousness of the problem. The military has also adopted new technology such as the Honda Smart Trainer, in Qatar and elsewhere.
The courses offered go beyond basic riding skills necessary to become licensed and focus on the specific arenas identified as posing the greatest risk to the military riders. Another focus is military riders who wear uncertified "novelty" helmets or go without other protective gear required by regulations above and beyond local laws.
Law enforcement motorcyclists, called motor officers in US police jargon, benefit from advanced training, typically lasting one to three weeks, that covers safety during routine patrol, and police-specific riding like pursuit, as well as policing methods such as safely approaching a suspect's vehicle.
Like basic rider courses, police training is dominated by low-speed maneuvering. Much of what can go wrong on a motorcycle happens at low speed, and this is particularly true considering that the usual police motorcycle carries hundreds of pounds of equipment, often weighing even more than a fully loaded bike on tour. And where the touring bike would spend much time on open freeways and autobahns, the police motorcycle is lumbering through urban traffic, pedestrian zones, and narrow city streets. Very tight U-turns and paired riding with a second officer are typical of the techniques practiced, and police training can include riding on inhospitable surfaces, such as up and down stairs or loading ramps or on railroad tracks.
Another difference between basic riding and police training is the frequency that police trainees fall down. While in the standard MSF course the student is not expected to fall at all, and can be removed from the class after more than a couple of spills, police motorcycle trainees can expect to drop their bikes dozens of times per day, and even hundreds of times during a two or three week course. The bikes used in training are equipped with crash bars to minimize the damage to the motorcycle, and the design of the bikes typically means they do not land entirely on their side or rest on the rider's feet or legs when they are dropped, however. Police trainees in the USA who bring their own motorcycles or their department's bikes to a training course are advised to expect between US$1800 to US$2400 in damage to their machines. Though severe injuries are not usually the result of these many crashes, it is exhausting, and a day of falling and picking up 800 to 1,100 lb (360 to 500 kg)bikes leaves motor officer students sore and aching.
Some current or former motor officers have come full circle by offering rider courses to the public based on the special skills and training methods used by police motorcyclists. In the United Kingdom, most civilian advanced training is based on Roadcraft, the police system of motorcycle control.
Easy-to-remember acronyms and sayings have been added to various training curricula, or promoted by safety gurus, and have moved into common currency beyond the motorcycle safety classroom. Among them are:
- ATGATT: All the gear, all the time. Shorthand for a philosophy that complete motorcycle safety gear should be worn at all times, and gear should not be reduced at times when the perceived risk is less.
- FINE-C: Fuel, ignition, neutral, engine cut-off switch, choke and clutch. A standardized series of controls to engage when starting a motorcycle. Older motorcycles might not have an engine cut-off, and newer ones might not have a choke, and some types have no clutch, but remembering all 6 items, and skipping those that do not apply, is safe and effective.
- IPSGA Information, position, speed, gear, acceleration. Used by advanced motorcyclists in the UK as a reminder of the steps necessary when encountering any sort of hazard on the road. It was introduced as part of Roadcraft system, which is used for training police, in the book Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider's Handbook.
- POWER Petrol, oil, water, electrics, rubber. Used in the UK for pre-ride safety checks. Sometimes presented as POWDER, where the additional letter D stands for damage.
- SEE Search, evaluate, execute. Used by the MSF to refer to a strategy for perceiving and reacting appropriately to the riding situation.
- T-CLOCS: Tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis, stands. These are the major parts of the motorcycle that should be checked before riding; each one has several sub-parts, such as tire pressure and tire tread. Claimed as a service mark and used in training materials distributed by the MSF.
- When the helmet drops, the bullshit stops. Motorcycling author Dave Preston's mantra, which he recites to himself every time he rides, even having been riding since 1967. It is a reminder to keep one's mind on riding and not to be distracted by other worries.
- Holmstrom, Darwin (2001), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles (2nd ed.), Alpha Books, p. 208, ISBN 9780028642581,
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation now offers its Dirt Bike School, a half-day course in a controlled environment. This fun, low-pressure course teaches the basics of off-road riding, then progresses to advanced off-road riding techniques.
- Larson,, Kent; Hahn,, Pat; Bishop, Jason (2005), "Appendix: Track Day Organizations and Track Schools", Motorcycle Track Day Handbook, MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company, p. 118, ISBN 9780760317617
- Delhaye, Aline (June 3, 2009), Towards a European approach to the Initial Training of Motorcyclists (PDF), INRETS Conference, p. 7,
Training/safety link confirmed – L1 (Mofas/Mopeds) => 75 % no training – L3 (MC) => 77 % have some pre‐license training => 13 % no training
- Cycle Safety Information (pdf), The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, 2010, retrieved 30 June 2012
- Seeley, Alan (2004), The Motorcycle Book, MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company, p. 39,
Some insurance companies and other businesses offer discounts to course graduates
- State Laws/Operator Licensing, The Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- 1 Hurt, Jr., H.H.; Ouellet, J.V.; Thom, D.R. (January 1981), MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CAUSE FACTORS AND IDENTIFICATION OF COUNTERMEASURES VOLUME I: TECHNICAL REPORT (PDF), Traffic Safety Center University of Southern California: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, p. 125,
Those riders who had learned from family and friends, or who were self-taught, were 92.0% of the total. This represents a spectacular gap in the transfer of vital accident and injury information. Imagine one motorcycle rider learning anything valuable from another rider who has no appreciation of head and eye protection and no understanding of the vital performance of the front brake in collision avoidance. This situation is clearly the weak link in the development of defensive riding strategies and accident prevention. [...] Table 7.7.1 also shows the recommendations of those accident-involved riders to avoid or prevent accidents. Note that there were no recommendations in 52.0% of those cases, and it was apparent that those riders were (at that time) still confused about the accident circumstances and had not reconstructed those events for culpability. The very low recommendation for motorcyclist safety courses and improved licensing is associated with the lack of perceived and actual culpability for the motorcycle rider.The Hurt Report is a US Federal Government publication in the public domain.
- Hurt. pp 351-352. "As in the accident cases, riders in the exposure study show a preponderance of informal training, most being self-taught or learning from friends or family. This type of informal learning experience accounts for 84.3% of the participants in the exposure study. This figure re-emphasizes the haphazard way in which accurate information is transmitted to the novice rider. Conversations with riders at exposure sites were often littered in inaccurate information the rider had acquired in his 'training.' Most often, inaccurate information related to helmets, collision avoidance techniques and riding strategies. If one were to believe many riders in the exposure study, use of the front brake will surely throw the rider right over the handlebars, while 'laying it down' is the most effective way to avoid an accident. Such thinking is common when critical information is conveyed poorly or not at all."
- Hurt. pp. 419. "The Motorcycle Rider Course of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation should be the prerequisite (or at least corequisite) of licensing and use of a motorcycle in traffic."
- MAIDS In-depth investigation of accidents involving powered two-wheelers. Final Report 2.0, ACEM Association of European Motorcycle Manufacturers, 2009, p. 90,
When the accident population and the exposure population are compared, the data indicates that a similar number of riders in both groups have received no PTW training (40.1% of the accident population and 48.4% of the petrol station population). However, it is important to note that the PTW training status for 93 riders was coded as unknown. [...] The data indicates that 47.2% of those riders without any type of training failed to attempt a collision avoidance manoeuvre. Similarly, the data indicates that 33.2% of those riders who had compulsory training also failed to attempt a collision avoidance manoeuvre. These results are difficult to interpret since there were many cases in which there was insufficient time available for the PTW rider to perform any kind of collision avoidance.
- MAIDS. p 84. "The data indicates that those drivers who only have a car licence are likely to commit a perception failure (35.5% of all cases and 50.9% of all drivers with only a car licence). It is interesting to note that OV [other vehicle in accident] drivers who also have a PTW [motorcycle] license were much less likely to commit a perception failure, failing to see the PTW in 13.2% of cases where the OV driver perception failure was the primary accident contributing factor."
- MAIDS. p 131. "In comparison to the exposure data, unlicensed PTW [powered two-wheeler] riders, illegally operating a PTW for which a licence is required, have a significantly increased risk of being involved in an accident."
- MAIDS. p 90. "These results are difficult to interpret since there were many cases in which there was insufficient time available for the PTW rider to perform any kind of collision avoidance."
- MAIDS. 10.0 Rationale for Action. p 131.
- Hurt. p 125. "Imagine one motorcycle rider learning anything valuable from another rider who has no appreciation of head and eye protection and no understanding of the vital performance of the front brake in collision avoidance. This situation is clearly the weak link in the development of defensive riding strategies and accident prevention."
- Bernstein, Peter W. (2006), The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything: The Essential Companion for Everyday Life, Macmillan, p. 277, ISBN 9780312353889,
Again, I can't stress how important it is to enlist in motorcycle driving courses before you take to the road. For my first 20 years of riding, no instruction was available and I believed I didn't need any. After participating in my first course, I was horrified to learn of my poor technique and riding habits. I was so taken by the course that I became an instructor and lifelong advocate. If you don't intend to go through a training course, don't ride.
- Stermer, Bill (1999), Motorcycle Touring and Travel (2nd ed.), Whitehorse Press, p. 141, ISBN 1-884313-15-9,
Another major factor in accidents is the rider who, as written in the accident report 'failed to negotiate a turn.' A motorcycle journalist I know serves as an expert witness in court cases involving motorcycles. 'The rider's story usually goes,' he says with a tired smile, 'that the motorcycle enters a turn, and at the apex, the brakes just strangely lock up -- all by themselves.' His smile is not for the riders' misfortunes, but for human nature's inclination to blame misfortune on machinery that can't talk back, rather than accept responsibility for something dumb.
- Kennedy, Shirley Duglin (2005), The Savvy Guide to Motorcycles, Indy Tech Publishing, p. 51, ISBN 9780790613161,
Interestingly, as Art Friedman points out in his safety column in the February 2005 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine (http://motorcyclecruiser.com/streetsurvival/training/), research has shown that rider training courses really do not provide any long-term benefit. 'The only measured difference between training course graduates and those who start riding without any formal training shows up during the first six months, when those who take the course suffer somewhat fewer lapses -- events such as crashes and tickets -- than unschooled riders.'
- Richards, Sarah M. (October 25, 2008), "For Some in the Military, Danger Is Seen Off Duty", New York Times,
Motorcycle licenses are relatively easy to obtain in the United States. In other countries, including Britain, beginning riders are generally restricted to smaller, less powerful motorcycles. Ray Ochs, the director of training systems at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, is doubtful that stricter licensing would reduce fatalities. 'They don’t have any better record — at least it’s not documented — than we do in this country' Mr. Ochs said.
- Fisher, Cindy (February 15, 2009), "Military motorcycle deaths rise in 2008", Stars and Stripes,
Fatalities among motorcycle riders in the U.S. military increased in 2008 — and for at least one service, they exceeded the number of combat deaths in Iraq. More than 120 servicemembers were killed in motorcycle crashes in fiscal year 2008, up from 97 the year before, according to Defense Department Web sites. It’s a trend that has prompted safety officials to enhance the motorcycle safety program on Okinawa.
- Richards. "So many members of the armed forces have been dying on sport bikes like the Ninja that the Navy and Marines have made special training mandatory for sport bike riders this year. In one weekend in September, the Navy lost four men in sport bike accidents. Some military officials are concerned that industry pressure to sell motorcycles and lax state licensing are allowing riders with poor skills on the road."
- Wasef, Basem (May 13, 2009), "How the Military Trains Soldiers — To Ride Motorcycles Safely", Popular Mechanics, Hearst Communications, Inc,
Johnson himself is a rider, and he's observed a sea change in attitudes within the military regarding motorcycles. 'The Navy used to discourage riding, but it has a different approach now. None of us is averse to risk,' he explains. 'We have the kind of people predisposed to land on an aircraft carrier at night or kick down a door in Fallujah.' [...] For this session, a questionnaire kicks off a discussion about how skill level, in concert with risk taking, yields varying levels of exposure to danger. The classroom curriculum covers threshold braking, accident avoidance and body posture (to name a few topics); after a healthy dialogue about technique, it's time to throw a leg over our bikes.
- Kevin Schwantz Speaks Out on Rider Training at Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Event, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, May 6, 2009,
Organized by the Department of Defense (DoD), the motorcycle safety event emphasized the critical need for service members to adopt safe riding habits. The military's Joint Service Safety Council has identified motorcycle safety and training as the number one non-combat safety concern across the services.
- Shaughnessy, Larry (October 31, 2008), "Marine motorcycle deaths top their Iraq combat fatalities", CNN Cable News Network, Quantico, Virginia: Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.,
Amos said he and other top Marine officials will spend half the day Monday 'focusing on nothing but motorcycle issues.' The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Conway, and other senior leadership will attend the meeting at the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base, he said. About 18,000 of the nearly 200,000 Marines are believed to own motorcycles, Amos said.
- "US Army offers safety tips on bike riding", Gulf Times, Doha, Qatar: Gulf Publishing & Printing Co., March 21, 2009,
Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) managing director Al Hydeman from California, who delivered the SMARTrainer devices to US Army Central installations in Qatar and Kuwait, was present. The Honda system simulates real-world driving experiences by integrating a computer, monitor and printer with motorcycle controls, noise suppression headset and powerful software.
- Buchanan, Jeff (August 27, 2008), "Honda SMARTrainer Wise up your riding skills with Honda's SMARTrainer", Motorcycle.com, Verticalscope Inc.,
The Honda SMART is a traffic simulator specifically designed to give riders a safe bridge between a typical beginning riding course (which often take place in a parking lot) and the real-world scenario of riding in traffic and on public roads.
- Josar, David (April 1, 2003), "Agency to require better motorcycle training", Stars and Stripes,
Military regulations require either a long-sleeve shirt or jacket and a helmet that meets American National Standards Institute standard Z90-1 or the Economic Commission for Europe Norm. Novelty helmets 'do not meet that standard.
- Bishop, Bill (May 19, 1985), "Prevention of accidents is the goal", The Register Guard, Eugene, Oregon: Edwin M. Baker, 118 (208),
Eugene's four motorcycle officers -- called motor officers in police jargon -- and their supervising sergeant, who uses a patrol car, are primarily responsible for traffic enforcement.
- Willard, Steve; Lansdowne, William (2005), "The Motorcycle Squad", San Diego Police Department, Eugene, Oregon: Arcadia Publishing, pp. 119–120, ISBN 9780738529981,
Most San Diego streets were unpaved and leather gloves were the only protection for early motor officers. [ ... ] James Patrick took a few minutes of his time to jump into a sidecar to have his photo taken with several motor officers and civilian cycle enthusiasts.
- Carroll, William (1999), Two Wheels to Panamá, Coda Publications, p. 69, ISBN 9780910390408,
A full minute later two bobbing headlights appeared and the Harleys slid to a stop. Both policemen insisted we just arrived in their shouted questions to the control station guard. He grinned and swore by all the patron saints that we had been resting on the grass for at least three or four minutes. Both motor officers accepted invitations to ride the BSA's rear fender.
- "Cop class", American Motorcyclist, American Motorcyclist Association, p. 64, March 1990,
Pursuit techniques, escort duty, slow riding, braking and defensive riding skills are among the featured elements of a police motorcycle skills course now touring the country. Developed by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the Northwestern University Traffic Institute, the Police Motorcycle Operations Training Course is being presented by the National Police Motorcycle Academy. The intensive five-day, 40-hour class is offered to any police department using any brand of motorcycle.
- Saxberg, Lynn (August 9, 2007), "To swerve and protect", The Ottawa Citizen, Canwest Publishing, Inc.,
'Anybody can go fast straight ahead,' [Andy Norrie, the Toronto police traffic services' staff sergeant] adds, 'that's easy. We want our officers to be able to control their motorcycle under all situations, in all environments. It's almost all exclusively slow-speed control.'
- Saxberg. "The bike has a solo seat, saddlebags, floorboards and an imposing fairing stuffed with electronics. With a 96-inch V-twin and six-speed transmission, it has plenty of power, but wasn't exactly made to be nimble.[...] On my two-minute jaunt, shifting into second gear resulted in a surge of power I didn't really need. When I tried to gently apply the brakes, it felt like I screeched to a halt. The bike's weight was intimidating and I thought it best to steer clear of the pylons that were set up in intricate patterns."
- "Trainer beats Yanks at their own game", Ten One the New Zealand Police Online Magazine, New Zealand Police, November 2005,
These skills need to be continually practised because police motorcycles are often used in high density traffic and pedestrian situations, which demand expert balance, clutch control, braking and hazard detection.
- Crane, Jeffrey (November 16, 1986), "The Lady Rides a Motorcycle", Ocala Star-Baner, Ocala Star-Baner Corporation, p. 34,
The training includes purposely crashing the motorcycle, driving through the desert, over railroad tracks, up and down loading ramps, an obstacle courses.
- "Trainer beats Yanks at their own game", Ten One the New Zealand Police Online Magazine, New Zealand Police, November 2005,
Long days in high heat and humidity took its toll on many riders. 'Everyone felt the gravitational pull of Mother Earth during the slow cornering exercises. One state trooper told me he lost count after picking up his bike 190 times and it was only the second day!'
- Mitchell, Mitch (December 8, 2006), "Motorcycle officers, instructors learn the tricks of the trade.", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Gale General OneFile, Gale Document Number:CJ155659061, p. 34,
Some riders laid their bikes down on a tight curve in the middle of the line, but pushed their 825-pound motorcycles right back up. The teachers smiled as more fell. It's kind of like watching children learn how to walk. "You take a lot of spills, especially when you're new at it," said Eddie Garth, Arlington motorcycle unit commander. [ ... ] The Harley-Davidson Motor Co. provides the motorcycles -- Road Kings. Officers are allowed to use their own cycles, but should expect to incur $1,500 to $2,000 in damage.Values above are inflated from source to current dollars and rounded to hundreds place.
- "Woman to join police motorcycle unit", St. Petersburg Times, p. 57, September 28, 1990,
The Kawasaki motorcycle outweighs the 5-foot-5 woman by about 1,100 pounds. [...] Today, after two weeks of training, Koceja will be the first woman motorcycle officer in Pinellas County.
- Crane. "Trish Bradley crashed the 800 pound motorcycle 10 to 15 times a day, bruised herself uncountable times, and collided with her instructor.[...] 'I got so frustrated falling down again and again that sometimes I wondered if I would ever make it,' Mrs. Bradley said."
- Shaver, Katherine (June 22, 2008), "Making It Cops offer a no-crash motorcycle course", The Washington Post, p. W04,
Jesse and four colleagues launched a motorcycle riding school in Merri-field. Jesse says it's one of the only motorcycle schools in the country owned exclusively by police officers.
- Hanson, Ralph (2006-06-19), "Motorcycles are just one of life's risks: ; Still, ATGATT is undoubtedly the best policy", Charleston Daily Mail, ProQuest Newsstand database. (Document ID: 1063575001), p. 4A., retrieved June 6, 2009,
ATGATT? That's All The Gear, All The Time - helmet, jacket, gloves and boots. And I could be badly injured riding my motorcycle tomorrow.
- Keith, Condon (August 2009), "Gearing Up", Motorcycle Consumer News, Bowtie News, p. 41,
Riders "in the know" wear "All The Gear, All The Time" (ATGATT).
- Rauba Motorcycle Safety Foundation Staff, Nate (1995), The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's guide to motorcycling excellence, Whitehorse Press, p. 21, ISBN 9781884313011,
Starting the Engine Use FINE-C as a pre-start checklist
- "The Practical Guide to Riding with Your Kids", American Motorcyclist, American Motorcyclist Association, 60 (6), p. 32, June 2006,
The DirtBike School's FINE-C method ingrains the proper steps for starting a motorcycle. It stands for Fuel valve, Ignition, Neutral, Engine, Choke.
- Coyne, Philip; Bill Mayblin; Penny Mares (1996). Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider's Handbook to Better Motorcycling. HMSO. ISBN 978-0-11-341143-6.
- Coyne, Philip; Penny Mares (1997). Roadcraft: The Police Driver's Handbook. HMSO. p. 170. ISBN 0-11-340858-7.
- SEEing is Believing, Motorcycle Safety Foundation,
Having good perception means to 'see and understand accurately.' Our eyes see but our mind interprets, and sometimes we can be fooled into perceiving something that's not there or missing something that is; and that can be disastrous when evaluating risk factors in traffic. The MSF RiderCourses use the strategy of Search, Evaluate, Execute (S.E.E.) to describe the decision-making process that should be used while riding.
- "T-CLOCS" Pre-Ride Inspection Checklist (PDF), The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, September 2007
- Preston, Dave (2003), Motorcycle 101: A common sense primer for today's rider., Tom Mehren, p. 73, ISBN 9780974742007,
With my helmet on I am not a father, husband, writer, or a person whose credit can exceed his good sense. I am just a motorcyclist, and will be until the helmet comes off. My mantra is 'When the helmet drops, the bullshits stops.' If I am particularly distracted I say it out loud, or at least mouth the words. It works.