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steerThe Swerve

Crash evasion skills are what we need to cope with an unexpected crash causation situation.

The swerve plays to the bike's strengths, maneuverability and narrowness. It can be used when there is a clear path around an obstacle, preferably one that you were monitoring as part of situational awareness, especially for any threats from the rear.

You end up on your original path of travel after passing the obstacle. This can be an advantage, but might not be possible if you'd be in a bad situation, such as in an intersection with cross traffic.

Here's the MSF Basic RiderCourse manual. Swerving is on page 38.

Here's a video on the swerve technique. (Thanks to Capt. Crash for the link).

MSGROUP.org on panic swerves.

Our skills practice page has some pointers on how to practice swerving. It can be done on a range, as a swerve box or cone maneuvers, or on the road when conditions allow.

A maximum swerve needs all the motorcycle's available traction. It should be done without braking or slowing. It can also benefit from starting with the suspension travel in a neutral position.

If combining a swerve with a quick stop, if possible do the swerve first, to avoid having the suspension compressed in the front and extended in the rear. Having available suspension travel reduces the risk of frame instability if you hit a road irregularity like a bump or pothole.

Keep your body upright during the swerve, it is a quick thing and there isn't time for body lean.