Forward Planning

Why do we need good Forward Planning?

Forward Planning is your ability to make good judgements about oncoming traffic, road signs, traffic signals and general hazards. You cannot look too far ahead; and this is an area where new riders have a great deal of difficulty. In many cases real focus is no more than 20 yards ahead.

Poor Forward Planning will result in reactive riding and rushed decisions. Typically the amber light on traffic lights causes problems; either not stopping when there was adequate time or trying to stop too suddenly when there wasn't.

To make a safe motorcyclist and to pass the test easily as much practise as possible needs to be put into trying to read the road ahead and ride proactively (i.e. have a plan before you arrive).


1/. When do I have "right of way"?
The Highway Code does not state that you ever have "right of way". There are plenty of places where others have right of way and one or two places where you have "priority". If in the test you tried to force "right of way" and caused another vehicle to swerve or slow down then you will fail. Remember that if you have an accident it will hurt the same whether you were in the right or in the wrong!

2/. How do I practise Forward Planning?
If you have a car then you have plenty of opportunity to "plan ahead". However, whether you are training or riding on your own it is good practise to try and imagine the worst consequences of what could happen ahead and planning accordingly. You need to try and vary where you look from far ahead, near and behind - if you find yourself focusing at the same distance this does not bode well.

3/. Okay, so I have Forward Planned, now what?
Well now you have the opportunity to put some remedial action into practise such as using the horn, moving your position or altering your speed - should you need to. In addition you are now better placed to read the "body language" of any oncoming vehicles or those waiting at side roads. What are their intentions?

4/. I keep missing speed limit signs, what am I doing wrong?
Well this is a typical example of when you need to Forward Plan. In many cases speed limit signs occur before you enter a roundabout, or as you turn into a junction. Often as not these are situations where your attention is often elsewhere either doing lifesavers or looking for a suitable gap. This is why you need to look ahead into the junction or roundabout well before you arrive there to ensure that you spot the speed limit signs before you need to look elsewhere.

5/. Is this a lifetime's work?

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