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When riding on a bumpy road: When riding on a bumpy road:

  • A. Rise slightly on the footrests so that you can absorb the shock with your knees and elbows.

  • B. Keep your normal seating position.

  • C. Take your feet off the footpegs.

    The correct answer is A
    Correct. If you remain on your seat you may be bounced off it, leading to loss of control.

Characteristics of bumpy roads when riding a motorbike

Roads can have several kinds of bumps and each one needs slightly different anticipation by you, the rider.

Bumps can be caused by the road subsiding into an adjacent drain or other waterway. These tend to create longer depressions, i.e. the road drops (often just on one side of the road), and several metres later it rises again. 

Lateral ridges and undulations can be caused by tarmac rippling due to the forces of vehicles braking. It can also be caused by weaknesses in the material under the tarmac that causes compaction in certain areas. There are short, sharp bumps.

Longitudinal ridges and groves can be created by heavy vehicles on the road and can leave a high crown in the centre of the lane. This can be dangerous when cornering as it makes it easier for you to clip your peg on the road surface.

Potholes can form anywhere and can be quite deep. 

Road works where the surface is scraped away will form a ridge between the existing road surface and the area of works. There is likely to be loose stones on the surface, too. Watch for raised manhole covers in areas where the tarmac has been stripped back.

If you take your feet off the footpegs you have less control. This should only be done if you are coming to a stop, or if you encounter a patch of oil or other slippery material where there is a risk of the bike sliding out from under you.

This article contains information about other types of tarmac degradation and road maintenance.