I first read Proficient Motorcycling by David L Hough back in college when a motorcycle-owning friend recommended reading it before buying a motorcycle. Proficient Motorcycling immediately made it on my short list of recommended books. When I first posted my list of Books Everyone Should Read I wrote:

This is the book on safe motorcycle riding technique. If a complete understanding of the content of this book was a prerequisite for applying for a learners permit for a car, the roads would be much safer for everyone.

I just read the ‘new’ second edition, and I still highly recommend this book. Hough doesn’t cover the absolute basics of driving a motorcycle—you’ll have to learn the controls elsewhere—but he does an excellent job of explaining what you need to know once you move out of the empty parking lot. This includes basics such as countersteering and how to choose the best line. More important than the basics of motorcycle control, Hough does an excellent job of covering how to deal with many traffic situations and poor roads. These sections of the book should be grokked by all drivers, even those who never intend to ride a motorcycle. Just reading this book will make you a better, safer, and more aware driver. Proficient Motorcycling isn’t just for drivers, it will also help bicyclists deal with traffic.

Proficient Motorcycling is well written for a skills-instruction type of book. The motorcycle dynamics sections are reasonably accurate and are covered in a way that anyone can understand them. Hough includes enough humor to be entertaining and easy to read without feeling forced. The classroom portion of the motorcycle Basic Rider Course is basically highlights from this book plus introductory material on motorcycle controls, but Proficient Motorcycling covers enough extra detail to be worth reading.

I highly recommend that everyone read this book. Even if you are already fairly skilled, reading this book will help you because you will have consciously thought about the skills and situation-awareness required required of all drivers.

BibTeX reference:

    Author = {David L Hough},
    Edition = {2nd},
    Publisher = {BowTie Press},
    Title = {Proficient Motorcycling},
    Year = {2008}