Riders must remain acutely aware one the road.
Riders must remain acutely aware one the road. RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue

Vital riders develop situational awareness

I'M enjoying a recent return to motorcycles after a 20-plus year break and let me tell you, the sense of exhilaration and freedom hasn't dulled over the decades, and it's still quite addictive.

As a motorcycle rider, I'm conscious that I'm a vulnerable road user, and in a crash, I know I'm likely to come off second best. But I've developed some strong situational awareness over the years and my surroundings, speed limits, position on the road and spacing to other traffic is pretty acute whenever I grip the handle bars.

This awareness was tested on a recent night ride.

Cruising along, a bat lurched from a tree and proceeded to kamikaze directly at my face. Because I was aware of my position on the road, and the other traffic, I was able to move out of the way enough, so the critter only struck me on the right arm.

I pulled over, with exhilaration and adrenaline coursing through my veins and reflected on what could have been a dangerous outcome.

I then looked back at where the bat should have been and realised it'd escaped in even better shape than me. It was a reminder, after 20 years off the bike, of just how important my position on the bike would be.