Riding To The Vanishing Point is an invaluable motorcycle
riding system originating from UK Police motorcyclists.
It is used mostly in:
(c) avoiding traffic tickets
Riding To The Vanishing Point is a technique of riding used
by British police motorcyclists, possibly the most highly trained
street motorcyclists in the world and with the best accident/mile
The system is simple. You establish where the Vanishing Point
is and ride to be able to stop within the distance before you
The Vanishing Point is that point where the tarmac between
the near and far side of the safe road disappears from view.
In the picture below it is where the red cross is.
You ride at such a speed that you can stop before you reach
this Vanishing Point.
The information given by this system is intuitive. In a corner,
if the Vanishing Point is going away from you, the corner is
opening out and you can open the throttle. If it is closing in
towards you, the radius is decreasing and you must roll off the
throttle. In doing this all the way round any curve, you will
automatically compensate for decreasing radii, and also apply
power at the correct moment for the exit.
While this is markedly different to the racetrack approach
of lines, power slides, and knee-scraping; in the roading environment
it is a remarkably quick yet safe way of riding fast. On the
road, it is the fastest way round a corner while still being
foolproof against accidents. It is a reactive system.
There are minor variations to the way the system is used by
various riders. Some riders prefer to locate the Vanishing Point
between the edge and centreline in the distance, since they are
not going to be able to use the other side of the road because
of the likelihood of oncoming cars.
Others locate the Vanishing Point near the centreline since,
like the British police, they use all the road where its safe
to do so. However, the variation is only minor and is really
a psychological factor.
Another variation is that most riders use the Vanishing Point
by judging whether the Vanishing Point is receding or approaching.
This works well but, in addition, watching the Vanishing Point
to see whether it is was moving across your field of view toward
your direction of travel or away from it, is also an excellent
way to judge the changing of the corner radius.
There are some things you have to know to use this system.
One is how far it takes you to stop in a corner so you can judge
the correct distance between you and the Vanishing Point. The
only way to do this is to practice stopping on a curve from various
speeds, preferably with the help of an instructor, as braking
in a curve is a rather hair-raising skill to learn the hard way.
This also helps practice threshold braking.
Do you know how to emergency brake in a corner? There is a
definite knack to doing it safely.
So, when riding to the Vanishing Point, how does a typical corner
go? As you move into the approach to the corner, the Vanishing
Point approaches rapidly and you brake firmly to match your corner
entry speed to it. You then enter the corner, constantly making
slight adjustments to your speed as you track the Vanishing Point.
As the exit comes up, the Vanishing Point begins to recede rapidly
and you snap open the throttle to get a fast exit speed.
The cornering line best used when riding to the Vanishing
Point is to stay out as wide as possible to lengthen your sightline
as far as possible. You only move in to clip the apex once the
Vanishing Point has begun to recede fast, signifying the corner
exit. This line allows you to carry as much speed through the
corner as possible,.
The usual question we get when talking about Riding To The
Vanishing Point is how do you check the road surface while looking
at the Vanishing Point. The secret is to check the road surface
with your with central vision, since its a task that requires
good resolution, and monitor the Vanishing Point with your peripheral
vision, since this task doesnt require good resolution.
You dont need to fix your gaze on the Vanishing Point. You
only need to keep an eye on it often enough to allow you judge
the appropriate action you need to take at that point in the
corner. You certainly dont need to fixate on it to the exclusion
of all else. What you MUST do is to keep the importance of the
Vanishing Point in your brain so that your subconscious focuses
So, lets run over again how you use the Vanishing Point in
At the start of the corner, position the bike on the road
so that you can see as far as possible around the corner. Look
for the Vanishing Point and hold your subconscious focus on it.
For those who ride on the left side of the road, on a left
hand curve you should be positioned on the right side of your
lane near the centre line. On right hand curves, you should be
on the edge of the road on the extreme left of your lane.
Hold these positions in the start and middle of the corner
and dont attempt to straighten the corner until the Vanishing
Point is accelerating away from you. At this point you should
be able to see the next straight. On some curves you may have
difficulty holding the bike into the corner as not straightening
the corner is psychologically quite difficult as the kerb can
be quite intimidating, forcing you back into the road. But, with
practice and by ensuring that you keep your focus on the Vanishing
Point, it can be done. Most riders call this technique turning
Too many riders adopt what they consider is a racing line
when cornering, not understanding that cornering on the racetrack,
as on the road, is not based on a set line, but on a cornering
plan. Consequently, most riders regularly turn in too early.
But Riding To The Vanishing Point is more than just a cornering
tool. If you know how to do it, it can be used as a riding system
that automatically adjusts your speed for any roading hazard.
So there you have it. The Vanishing Point riding system is
a simple technique that allows you to ride roads youve never
been on before at speeds that are likely to severely embarrass
most of the locals, all the while doing it in perfect safety
too. What more could you want?