The dreaded U-turn

By MCN -

 23 July 2010 17:22

One of the trickier manoeuvres to master when you’re starting out on bikes is the U-turn. Not only are you crossing two flows of traffic, but also you’ve got kerbs or grassy banks limiting your space to get around safely.

Although it is a slow-speed manoeuvre it is important that you are on the move with the clutch out and the engine pulling cleanly in first gear.

Go too slowly and the risk is that you will stall the bike when you are halfway across the road and the traffic is bearing down on you.

For that reason it’s worth having your hand on the clutch so you can slip it a little to keep the engine revs up if it starts to bog. You can also use the rear brake to slow the bike down and tighten the turn

Most bikes should be able to turn in a 20-foot arc, as long as you are confident you can lean the bike properly into the turn.

Have your inside foot ready for a ‘dab’ if necessary, but don’t aim to have it on the ground as it will widen the turn. Sitting further forward in the saddle also helps with the steering.

It’s tempting to look at all those potential hazards like cat’s eyes and the pavement right in front of the bike, but it’s really important that you look where you want to end up heading in the opposite direction.

All that’s left to do now, is practice, practice, practice with left and right hand turns and you should breeze through this part of your test with an important skill that you’ll put into use most days you ride. 

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