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Is It a Duck?

There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. But what if it walks like a duck and roars like a lion? In spite of its ferocious roar, we don’t recognize this creature waddling by as the king of beasts. Yet that fierce, deep throated snarl emanating from this small, feathered body before us convinces us it’s not a duck either. We see one thing, but we hear another. We would probably decide it’s likely neither a duck nor a lion even though we couldn’t really determine its true identify.

 What if a riding acquaintance talks about being a safe, responsible rider, but then exhibits an uncompromising riding style in traffic and shuns opportunities to learn more and to practice their skills? They seem to think they don’t have any problems because they’ve been riding for years. They’ve never been involved in a crash and, if they have crashed, they’ll quickly point out that it wasn’t their fault. It could be they are a very good rider, but their aggressive actions suggest something else. Perhaps they have experienced several close calls while mixing it up with other vehicles on the road. Maybe they’ve just been lucky so far.

 One of the truths about riding a motorcycle is that we can always learn more about riding a motorcycle. Even if we were to know all there is to know about riding, we would be hard pressed to remember everything and to find the opportunity to keep practicing it all so our skills are sharp when we need them.

"One of the truths about riding a motorcycle is that we can always learn more about riding a motorcycle. "

Sometimes what we learn is not necessarily new, but something we’ve forgotten. Other times our learning involves applying what we know in a situation we haven’t faced before. Often our learning takes place in small bites when we understand it’s the little things that can make a difference in our ride.

 We notice the steering wheel begin to move in the oncoming car and, as we slow, we realize we’ve just seen one of the telltale signs of impending trouble. We may have heard it before, but now we’ve just reinforced the concept and learned to be more watchful the next time we approach an intersection.

 There are many things we’ve learned during our riding careers, regardless of how long we’ve been riding, that we aren’t using because we haven’t been practicing them. If we don’t practice these mental and physical skills, they tend to slip out of our minds. Sure we know them, but what good are they if we can’t recall them?

 Safe, responsible riders appreciate the value of purposeful practice to keep their skills finely honed. They are aware that there is always more to learn and that developing their skills takes some effort. They are always looking for opportunities to learn and continually practicing both their mental and physical riding skills. Unlike the roaring duck, there’s no confusion about what they are either.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!