Element E practical on Road Riding:
- Traffic lights
- Pedestrian Crossings
- Carry out U-Turn manoeuvres satisfactorily
- Bring the machine to a stop under full control as if in an emergency
What can go wrong here and what can I do to prepare?
The proof is in the pudding and Element E is very much the pudding. Hopefully this should be straight forward as it represents a culmination of all the things that you have learned in Elements B, C & D.
Firstly, it is important to understand that your instructor is there to help and train you. This means that initially they will do much “spoon-feeding”, which is where they will explain everything that you need to do over the radio as you approach, for example, a junction. This means telling you when to observe, slow, perhaps change gear and so on. If you can relax and listen, you will find this very straight forward. But that does assume that relaxing, in what appears to be a frightening environment, is easy to do, and for some it isn’t.
At this point it is perhaps worth returning to what we mentioned at the beginning – those that didn’t get through Element C or weren’t safe at the end of Element E. Is it a bad thing? Well let’s look at this another way: would you go to the cheapest parachute training school if you were a novice? Probably not, as the connection between what can go wrong and its outcome is so patently obvious. Equally would you feel good if your parachute instructor was a bit blasé and said that you were a pretty poor parachutist but with a bit of luck you should be okay? Definitely not! – Again the cause and effect are clear. So, if the parachute instructor said they felt you needed a bit more training would you feel annoyed – no, you might be disappointed at the speed at which you’ve been learning, but not at the decision as this has clearly been made in your best interests. Therefore, if your motorcycle instructor doesn’t feel that you’re ready to go on the road or ride on your own then this decision has been made with one thought in mind. They are worried about your safety – that’s all. Relax, try your best, listen, read up before hand and appreciate that you will be vulnerable when you ride on the road. We want you to enjoy motorcycling – you can only do that if you’re alive.
The secret to a successful Element E is a good working knowledge of the Highway Code, good machine controls learned through Element C and avoiding the common pitfalls of riding a motorcycle – travelling too fast into corners, junctions or roundabouts.
You will have to practice the emergency stop again, but this is no harder than it was for Element C. There is also a U-turn, but this can sometimes be more problematic as it introduces a curb. More than ever you must not look at the thing you’re trying to avoid (the curb). As you turn look up the road towards a place where you can safely stop. Remember it is essential that you look carefully before turning, so pick a spot where the view is unobstructed.
Students only need to worry about themselves when riding on the road. It is the instructor’s job to ensure that they don’t get split up. There is no pressure to keep up or look for gaps that will also allow your instructor out. Your job is to ride safely (observing speed limits, taking necessary safety checks, not causing others to swerve or slow down etc.) in a manner that others can understand. Your instructor won’t mind where you go if it is done safely. The same applies to the directions given over the radio; if the instructor says turn right and you turn left as long as it was done safely no harm is done.