Understanding Counter Steering

For new motorcycle riders, understanding the concept of counter steering is a critical part of motorcycle safety. Riders who thoroughly understand this concept are more confident, have better control of their vehicle, and are more likely to avoid a motorcycle accident.

Unfortunately, while counter steering is a critical component of motorcycle safety, it can be a relatively difficult concept to understand. Even the most experienced riders can have trouble explaining the principles behind it. They know that it happens. They just have no idea why it happens.

What is Counter Steering?

At low speeds, a motorcycle turns just like a person would expect. If the rider wants to go left, they simply turn the motorcycle’s handle bar to the left. If the rider wants to go right, they then turn the handlebar to the right.

Things change, however, as the motorcycle picks up speed – somewhere at around 10 mph. Now when an attempt to turn the bike to the left is made, the bike will respond by turning to the right. The actual turning of the handlebar becomes impossible. Instead, the bike leans in the direction in which it is turning.

Why Counter Steering Works

It really all comes down to balance. In order for a motorcycle to maintain momentum and stay upright, it must remain perfectly balanced at all time. This simply cannot happen if the steering wheel is turned. If the handle bar was turned in a certain direction, the bike and rider would lose balance and come to crashing halt.

Counter steering bypasses the need to turn the handlebar. Instead, in order to turn, the rider will actually lean the bike in the desired direction. For example, if the rider wants to turn to the right, they will try to turn the handlebar to the left. This results in the front wheel leaning to the right, which ultimately causes the bike to turn to the right.

While the concept of counter steering may be hard to understand, it is critical for new riders to be aware of. Before heading out onto the road, riders should experiment and educate themselves with all the available motorcycle safety resources. Education is a keep component to ensuring motorcycle safety.

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