All riders have at least one thing in common...We choose to take on the Acceptable Risk of riding a motorcycle.
It's inherently more dangerous than almost any other form of transportation and we don't do it out of necessity, it's a choice. After making the choice it's in our best interest to learn how to avoid any kind of accident, so we may learn from friends, read books, or take instructional riding courses. All of these forms of information can help in your endeavor to keep the rubber side down, except possibly the advice from an occasional friend
There are two main points to consider when riding paved roads.
1: How to control the motorcycle
2: Where to put the motorcycle
Of course, the most immediate concern is How to control the motorcycle. How can you choose Where to be if you can't control it?
On BMWSportTouring.com we've had RideSmart, which explains body position and control of the motorcycle, offered for free from our generous members.
There are many track courses offered and one I highly recommend is Keith Code's California Superbike School
where you can ride your own bike or rent a BMW S1000RR. Track schools are really good for showing you How to control the motorcycle, but it's not a real world experience where you might encounter unexpected off camber roads, decreasing radiuses, gravel, dogs, oncoming traffic, etc.
The aspect of riding where I think many people fall short on is Where to put the motorcycle. I believe many crashes could be avoided if proper lines were followed, allowing for the best vision and the most time to react to possible hazards.
I've read David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling books as well as Lee Park's Total Control.
I took a street course from Larry Grodsky, one of the safest riders I've ever met. He wrote Stayin' Safe articles for Rider Magazine as well as his book by the same name. His course mostly emphasized hazard avoidance, he assumed you knew How to ride. He had two way communications so he could give you real time instruction on what to look for. He would draw corners on the pavement with chalk and discuss where to be given different circumstances.
Sadly, Larry died by a deer strike
in 2006. He had said the one thing he could not anticipate was a deer strike.
So, what lines are best/safest? Where do we put the motorcycle to give us the best chance to avoid ending our day (or worse) early?
I've combined my experience with what I've learned from previously mentioned instructors to come up with a methodology I use that has now become habit over the last few years. I've shared my thoughts with some other members of this Board and people I ride with, but I thought I would share them more broadly.
I don't have a catchy name for it, so it's a description: Out-In-In
Generally speaking, you would position yourself on the outside of the upcoming curve, shoot for a delayed apex, but stay on that inside line instead of going out.
So, follow me on this. When we ride our curvy roads most Left corners are followed by a Right and visa versa. Using a Left hander as an example, we would set up on the right side of the lane giving us the best vision of what's to come, looking at the Vanishing Point (the point where you can no longer see the road ahead) and trying to discern the Apex. In most cases, once the Apex has been exposed to us, we should delay our turn-in and make a delayed apex for several reasons. If we turn-in and apex too soon we expose ourselves to oncoming traffic where they would most likely be going wide in their Right hander. We would also see less of the road ahead because we are physically lower and we would naturally run to the outside of the curve on the exit, an Out-In-Out method. In my mind, planning to go to the outside on the exit is bad for several reasons. You could be entering a decreasing radius with no margin for error in your plan and you're now on the wrong side of the road for the probable Right hand corner coming up. By going Out-In-In, you build room for unforeseen hazards and you're automatically set up for the probable next corner, your "In" from the previous turn puts you in the "Out" position for the next. If it happens to be two Lefts or Rights back to back, you just drift over.
I have drawn an imperfect example to illustrate the lines I take. Your thoughts are welcome.