Road Cycling Skills

How to Emergency Brake Suddenly Without Skidding

Learn how to brake in time to avoid sudden collisions and also prevent skidding or falling off

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It happens to all of us at some stage. You are bombing down a hill or following a route at a decent pace and then out of the blue a pedestrian steps onto the road, a fox leaps out of a bush or a car pulls out in front of you which prompts you to slam on the brakes to avoid collision.

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In the heat of the moment, and with a sudden jerk of the brakes, whilst you might have stopped your bike from hitting the obstacle, you are at risk of skidding or flying over the handle bars. However, following a few simple steps, you can keep safe…

How to emergency stop

  • Apply both brakes firmly, but put slightly more pressure one the front brake
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed (or try to) and keep the bike straight
  • Hold your weight slightly to the back of the saddle, and continue to look forwards – concentrate on stabalising the back wheel and preventing it from skidding
  • If you feel the back wheel skid or lift off the ground, reduce pressure on the front brake

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Be prepared in advance

Obviously it goes without saying to always remain vigilant on the  bike and try and anticipate where the risks of collision might arise. Always keep your sight ahead of you and ride with your hands on the hoods and over the brakes so you are in the right position to react.

Remember that weather and road surface plays a large part in stopping distances – so if it’s wet, adjust your speed accordingly.

Ask the Expert: I Can’t Reach my Brake Levers

Finally, make sure your brakes are in good working order by taking your bike in for a regular service.


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