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New Zealand Motorcycle Safety Consultants,
P O Box 2080,
Masterton,
NEW ZEALAND
Ph (04) 377-1332
Email: nzmscon@paradise.net.nz

 

 

 

 

 

The NZMSC has released a MegaRider riding skills book called Riding To The Vanishing Point that explains the system in detail. According to at least one overseas expert, it is the definitive book on the subject for motorcyclists.

You can buy it on the Megarider website at www.megarider.com. Or ask at your local bookshop.

 

It is published by the NZMSCs Capital Letters Publishing company. Their email address is nzmscon@paradise.net.nz

 

 

 


The website for the MegaRider Pro

Riding To The Vanishing Point


QUESTION. 

Riding To The Vanishing Point is an invaluable motorcycle riding system originating from UK Police motorcyclists.

It is used mostly in:
(a) traffic
(b) cornering
(c) avoiding traffic tickets
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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 record.

The system is simple. You establish where the Vanishing Point is and ride to be able to stop within the distance before you reach it.

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 on it.

So, lets run over again how you use the Vanishing Point in a corner.

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 in late.

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?