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Rider Sayings and Acronyms that Keep You Safe

Over the years, various sayings that are easy to remember have popped up in the curriculum of different motorcycle training programs. These have been promoted by instructors and advocates of motorcycle safety so that riders remember to consistently follow standard safety precautions.

In this post, we’re including a quick overview of some of the most common sayings and acronyms to help get you thinking about how to stay safe.

T-CLOCK: Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis, Kickstand
This acronym is actually claimed as a service mark by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and used in their training materials. The letters stand for the major parts of the motorcycle that you should always check before any ride. Each part has several sub-parts:

  • Tires include also checking wheels and brakes.
  • Controls include levers, cables, hoses and throttle.
  • When checking lights, be sure to check brake lights, headlight, tailight(s), lenses, reflectors, battery and wiring.
  • An oil check includes levels, condition, and possible leaks of all fluids.
  • When checking the chassis, be sure to look at frame, steering head and swingarm bearings, suspension, chain or belt, and fasteners.
  • Lastly, a kickstand inspection includes both sidestand and centerstand.

ATGATT: All the Gear, All the Time
This shorthand emphasizes that complete motorcycle safety gear should always be worn, all the time, while riding. No component of safety gear should be eliminated or forgotten on rides where the perceived risk seems to be lower. Such a perception is not only false, but dangerous.

FINE-C: Fuel, Ignition, Neutral, Engine cut-off switch, Choke and clutch
FINE-C is an ordered series of controls you should always engage when starting your motorcycle. With certain bikes, you may need to skip steps that don't apply. For example, older motorcycles might not have an engine cut-off, newer ones may lack a choke, and some motorcycles do not have a clutch. However, if you nevertheless make it a habit to remember all 6 steps, you can skip steps as needed and still ensure your approach is safe and effective.

SEE: Search, Evaluate, Execute
This acronym is used by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to refer to a strategy for perceiving and reacting appropriately to road hazards and your entire riding environment.

IPSGA: Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration
This is used by advanced riders in the UK as a reminder of what steps to take when encountering any hazard on the road. It was introduced as part of Roadcraft system, which is used for training police in the UK.

When the Helmet Drops, the Bullshit Stops.
This is motorcycling author Dave Preston's mantra, which he recites to himself every time he rides. It is a reminder to keep your mind on riding and your terrain. Do not to be distracted by other worries, as it could cost you precious moments of reaction time.

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One comment on “Rider Sayings and Acronyms that Keep You Safe”

  1. Does the acronym “SALT” have meaning in the motorcycle training world? If so what does it mean?

    - Hello Michael, while we here at MRE Corp. haven't used that one, it could be referring to State and Local Taxes when purchasing a motorcycle. Hopefully your shopping is going well!

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