Riding in unknown terrain can be a refreshing experience. Part of the allure of riding a motorcycle is discovering places you've never been to before. That said, unfamiliar routes can turn dangerous quickly if you don't know what you're doing. Blind turns are a pain for many motorcyclists, so we're here to dish out some advice on navigating them safely.
Assess your surroundings and look far ahead
When you're riding a motorcycle, you not only have to be aware of your immediate surroundings, but you also have to look up ahead. How far do you have to consider? We recommend you look ahead up to 15 seconds, especially when navigating a blind turn. This lead time will allow you to gain insight into where you're going, and it could help you avoid obstacles or other vehicles if there are any.
Slow down more than you think you need to
A blind turn can be dangerous if you approach it at speed. So, make a wise choice and slow the bike down. You don't have to get to a crawling pace, but slow down just enough to have time to react to unexpected things that could be waiting on the other side.
If you're on an automatic scooter, reduce your speed as you prepare to make the turn. If you're riding a manual motorcycle, like a cruiser or touring bike, you should downshift to the appropriate gear. You don't want to go into a blind turn on a higher gear, only to have to hit the brakes in a panicked state.
Stay aware of oncoming traffic
Even in relatively uninhabited areas, you never know when a vehicle might come out of the woodwork on a blind turn. To be safe, expect another motorcycle, car, or truck going in the opposite direction. Staying aware of traffic is especially crucial when on a one-lane road or an unusually narrow path. If you've slowed down like you're supposed to, then you'll have ample time to react even if a vehicle recklessly charges into the blind turn.
Enter the blind turn on a wider line
If you've never been on a particular blind turn, keep in mind that you don't know what lies on the other side of it. When navigating something like this, consider maintaining a wider line to give yourself ample time to adjust to a decreasing radius and hit the throttle when you reach the apex and see the exit. Staying on the inside line for too long can be devastating if the corner tightens up and you're forced to go wide late into the turn.
Don't overplay your lean angle
You're not cornering on a track, so don't approach the turn like a MotoGP star. You don't want to lean as far over to the side as to put your body in the opposing lane. Position your lean angle so that you're on the left side of the lane but centered enough to avoid anything coming out of the blind turn. That will give you the flexibility to adapt your line or run wider should you need to. When you're at the apex and the exit is clear, you're free to gain speed and continue on your way.
On right-hand turns
Right-hand turns are inherently more challenging than left-hand turns. That's because you can't see as far ahead and have less time to react. The good thing is you don't have to contend with oncoming traffic on a right-hand turn. Still, when navigating one, use the same principles, and you should come out of the other end in one piece.
Navigating a blind turn requires finesse and a bit of foresight. Stay on the safe side, and don't take risks you're not willing to pay for. Blind turns can be taxing, but with enough practice, you'll get it right each time. Remember to apply defensive riding principles and don't put yourself and others in danger.