At the beginning of August 2015, as part of my training as a CBT instructor, I was running my own CBT for the day under the watchful eye of one of my bosses. I had three students at the end of Element C that were safe enough to take for the compulsory two hour road ride. As we returned from the first hour for the swap around my boss gave me my card and said I was free to take the last 2 hours by myself. So, from that day I have been officially working as a CBT instructor! However, there is more training to do as I need to get myself prepared for the two day test at Cardington with the DSA.
So back to what this topic is about - and the reason why I have decided to write this entry. There is a thread on TSR (The Student Room) where we discuss all things motorbikes. We quite often get peeps who are very new to riding or want to find out how to go about getting started. Recently I have been private messaged by a new motorcyclist who is slightly unclear on how to tackle junctions. In comes the O.S.M.P.S.L routine. For those who have been riding a while you may have forgotten what all that means - or you do it without thinking. For those new to biking or about to embark on your motorcycle journey or for those who just want to recap - lets chat about OSMPSL.
OSMPSL is a set of steps that you, as a motorcyclist (which includes those who ride mopeds), need to follow at every junction (including roundabouts) to keep yourselves safe. It is designed to reduce the risk of an accident occurring due to our natural vulnerability on a two-wheeled vehicle. For those who are car drivers - think of it as an expanded version of the M.S.M (mirror, signal, manoeuvre) routine. As motorcyclists we have a choice of positions that we can be in on the road - 1, 2 or 3.
Stripped down to its basic level, we stay in position 2 unless we need to change position. This makes us as big as a car – we don’t need to worry about cyclists, being too close to oncoming traffic or other vehicles that try to get on our inside or outside. It also means we have a choice of positions at junctions. For this blog post lets focus on minor to major junctions and major to minor ones.
Minor to Major
Lets start with positioning. If we are turning left we should get ourselves in position 1 at the end of the road. This closes the gap for cyclists, making it clear for you to turn left if safe.
If going straight ahead – position 2. The cyclists can turn left and you hold a defensive position.
When turning right get into position 3. This allows other vehicles to turn left or go straight ahead.
Before we get to the end we need to follow the OSMPSL routine. This means the following:
O – OBSERVATIONS. See what is happening in front of you and check your mirrors.
S – SIGNALS. Do this nice and early and when it is appropriate. If there is a road on your left before the junction and you want to signal left wait until after the road on the left before putting on your signal, otherwise you will give a false signal. Straight ahead does not require a signal.
M – MOVE into
P – POSITION. For left - position 1, for straight ahead - stay in position 2, for turning right - position 3. Before we change position we must do a shoulder check (left if moving into position 1, right if moving into position 3). No check is required for straight ahead as you aren’t changing position. You want to make sure nobody is trying to undertake/overtake you and that there are no cyclists to your left before you change position.
S – SLOW. Start slowing your speed down – Mopeds – roll off the throttle, apply some front brake and then some rear brake. Motorcycles – roll off the throttle, apply some front brake, apply some rear brake, clutch in, tap down the gears and stop in first gear.
L – LOOK – look nice and early if there is no danger, there is no stopping. If you can walk the bike out, you can ride it out. If you are unsure – stop and wait. If there is danger, stop and wait. Make sure it is safe before you pull away.
On your new road remember: get into position 2, check mirrors, cancel signal and get up to the appropriate speed.
Major to Minor
We use the same routine again, but our positioning is different as we are now on a road that has priority. If turning left you want to stay in position 2 to control your space. Before you turn, you need a shoulder check in case a vehicle is pulling out or a cyclist has caught up with you.
When turning right you need to get yourself into position 3 to allow the priority traffic to keep moving. Position yourself as shown to the right. Too early and the vehicle in the minor road will think you are letting him out. Too late and you won’t make the turn. Before you turn you must do a LIFESAVER – that final check before you commit. A car or motorcyclist may become impatient and attempt to overtake on your right. It is your last chance to check before you make the turn – this is why it is called a lifesaver.