A six-second video about preparedness and reaction time. – Nick Ienatsch July 2, 2019

Mark Shaw with his bike
In Mark’s own words: “I am a semi-retired 50 year old Grandpa. I love to ride motorcycles and fly airplanes. I worked as a certified flight instructor and competed in aerobatics. Been flying since I was 16 years old, and motorcycling since I was 48.” Pilots learn best practices in every facet of aviation; our sport carries very similar risks. –Shaw Collection

In June of 2017, Mark Shaw completed a new-rider’s school and attained his motorcycle endorsement at the age of 48. Three months later he attended Yamaha Champions Riding School, and we insisted that students learn to cover the brakes: to ride with their fingers outstretched and resting on the front brake lever in crowded environments, mid-corner and between corners. Last week Mark sent us this six-second video:

Mark told us: “Reading Nick’s articles “Get Your Fingers Up On The Brake Lever” and “Preaching. Practicing. Missing Deer.” was what first made me aware of the importance of covering the brake and the YCRS experience helped me become confident with the use of brakes. It helped me unlearn some very incorrect course teachings.

For many of us who have been riding for years/decades, covering the brake lever and brake pedal is second-nature and habitual. We learned it from fathers, neighbors, or have simply realized the vital importance of reducing reaction time when possible. But Mark Shaw started riding in 2017, and didn’t initially hear about covering the brakes—in fact, he heard the opposite from his new rider’s school.

For all veteran riders: Please share Mark’s experience with your clubs, friends, forums, and new riders. This isn’t me preaching an idea, this is real-world experience from a new-to-the-industry rider who avoided a trip to the emergency room by adhering to best practices on a motorcycle.

Mark Shaw
Mark Shaw is still here and smiling because of covering the brakes. –Shaw Collection

I’ll let Mark close this article (note that I did not ask Mark to wear this shirt, although it is quite handsome):

“Covering the brake should be viewed as similar as wearing a seatbelt in your car. It may have been a hassle before it became part of the culture but once the norm, now you feel naked and vulnerable without it. Hard to argue against the use of seatbelts in cars. The motorcycle operator does not have the benefit of a cage and restraint as in a car, only the ability to avoid a collision. The ability to slow and stop while staying on the bike will allow the rider another day.