Risk Management

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To manage risk, you must be aware of the potential risks and then have a plan to reduce the risks.


SM – SEE is a Service Mark of MSF. Used with permission.

SEE is a powerful, but simple, strategy – Search, Evaluate, Execute. It is the strategy to help you understand what is going on in traffic and to be constantly planning and implementing a course of action. Let’s examine each of these steps.


Searching aggressively as far ahead as possible, to the sides and behind to identify potential hazards and escape routes, may help to avoid a crash. When searching ahead, you should search for:

  • Road and surface characteristics – potholes, bridge gratings, railroad tracks, debris, curves, slippery surfaces, etc. may influence your riding strategy,
  • Traffic control markings and devices – look for traffic signals and signs to help you know what to expect ahead.
  • Other roadway users – vehicles in front of you traveling in the same direction, those behind you, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, those entering and leaving the roadway and turning. Pedestrians also can cross your path of travel or reduce your escape route options.

While it’s most important to keep track of what’s happening ahead, you can’t afford to ignore situations behind. Knowing what’s going on behind will help you make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead. To search behind:

  • Check your mirrors – frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal searching routine. Make a special point of using your mirrors when you are stopped at an intersection, before you change lanes, and before you slow down.
  • Use head checks – checking your mirrors is not enough. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like cars. Before you change lanes, turn your head, and look to the side for other vehicles. Only by knowing what is happening all around you, are you fully prepared to deal with it.

Don’t forget to check the instruments and gauges regularly, too.


Once you have identified the hazard(s), the next step is to quickly determine if they could affect you. Ask yourself, “what if?”

Think about how hazards can interact to create risk for you. Anticipate potential problems and have a plan to reduce or eliminate the risk. Think about your time and space requirements in order to maintain a margin of safety. You must leave yourself time and space to react if a dangerous situation occurs.


Carry out your decision. What are you going to do and how are you going to do it?

To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard:

  • Adjust your position and/or direction.
  • Adjust your speed by accelerating, stopping or slowing.
  • Communicate your presence and intentions with turn signals, lights and/or horn.

Apply the SEE strategy to give yourself time and space. It works anywhere and can help to minimize your risk and the risk of others.