Vanishing Point Technique


This method allows you to deal with unknown varying radius corners with a minimal amount of fuss and hassle. A decreasing radius corner will never sneak up on you, since you've been continually adjusting your speed through it.

The beauty of it is that it automatically adjusts for hedges, parked cars, and other vision blockers. If you can't see the curb because a car is there, the VP will slow down, and so will you. It also dictates a different line through some corners. In order to go the fastest SAFELY through the corner you need to stay within your VP. So, the fastest way through the corner then, is to maximise the VP. This often means a different line than a traditional "racing line".

You DO need the skill of braking and accelerating while leaned over though. You need to at LEAST be able to brake as fast as the corner decreases. Practise this on a controlled area before riding to 100% of the VP on unfamiliar roads.

Here's the technique:

  1. Observe where the center of the road appears to meet the right edge of the road (left edge for countries with traffic on the left) A long way away on a long, flat straight road, but a constantly changing point on most curves.
  2. Never ride faster than you can stop in that distance.
  3. Never ride faster than you can see, identify and avoid all obstacles within that area.
That's it.

Examples:

1) Constant radius corner

As you approach the corner from the long straight you are on, the Vanishing Point (VP) is essentially at the corner entrance (since you can't see around it), you slow down as you get closer to it, and it doesn't move.

As you get close, you can start to see around the corner, and the VP starts to move away from you. Adjust your speed so you are neither gaining on it, nor losing on it.

As you go through the corner, the VP will be the same distance from you.

As you start to straighten out at the end, the VP will accelerate away from you, allowing you to do the same. The VP picks the point of acceleration, so you don't end up accelerating too early.

2) Increasing radius corner

As you approach the corner from the long straight you are on, the Vanishing Point (VP) is essentially at the corner entrance, you slow down as you get closer to it, and it doesn't move.

As you get close, you can start to see around the corner, and the VP moves away from you. You adjust your speed accordingly.

As you are in the corner, and the corner widens up, the VP starts to accelerate away from you. In the absence of road hazards, you can accelerate after it.

As you start to straighten out at the end, the VP will further accelerate away from you, allowing you to do the same.

3) Decreasing radius corner

As you approach the corner from the long straight you are on, the Vanishing Point (VP) is essentially at the corner entrance, you slow down as you get closer to it, and it doesn't move.

As you get close, you can start to see around the corner, and the VP moves away from you. You adjust your speed accordingly.

As you are in the corner, and the corner tightens up, the VP starts to decellerate towards from you. You slow down too. Remember, if you can't stop within what you see, you're asking for trouble.

As the corner finishes, and you start to straighten out at the end, the VP will accelerate away from you, allowing you to do the same.


It is sometimes argued that available traction is reduced in a turn, and that slowing in a turn may cause a front-wheel slide as the wheel loading changes. Keep in mind that at all times, using this technique, you are travelling slowly enough that you can stop in a space you can see. If your braking technique in turns is such that a skid is likely, you need to reduce speed earlier, to eliminate this hazard. This is not the technique for maintaining the highest speed, this is the technique for maintaining the highest safe speed.

This method will protect you against visible stationary hazards in the road, by assuring that you always have the ability to stop before you reach the hazard. If you choose to ride at a speed so high that you can't stop between where you are and the point at which you can no longer identify a hazard, you have only yourself to blame if you suddenly find yourself trying to ride your bike through a pile of boulders or off a cliff or over an oil spill. Obviously if there is some fine loose gravel visually indistinguishable from the pavement, this approach will give you no additional protection. Oncoming vehicles may intrude into your path at higher speeds than you can respond to, and, of course, risks from hazards overtaking you from behind are not addressed. Be careful out there.

If you want some visual examples for further clarification, you can find a few here: V.P. Examples .