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Where Do Those Toes Belong?
Above The Levers

By: James R. Davis

If your feet are on your pegs you are probably doing this anyway, but an incident just occurred that reminded me to post an article to at least raise your consciousness level.

It seems that a rider was making a sweeping right-handed turn when the tip of his pointed-toe boot struck the ground. This caused a massive torque to his foot and dragged it off the peg, severely injuring the ankle in the process.

Apparently the rider was not more seriously injured and he did not lose control of his bike, but either or both could have happened in the blink of an eye.

When your feet are on the pegs your toes belong ON TOP OF the rear brake lever and above the shifter lever. [Please note that this applies to most touring bikes where the pegs are straight down rather than well forward of your sitting position. Many sport bikes are designed such that you cannot keep your toes above the brake lever for any length of time without extreme awkwardness or cramping.]

Being on top of the brake lever is obvious - you need it there to minimize the amount of time it takes to activate that brake. Sometimes you simply need a different position of the foot in order to relax it and prevent a cramp, I know - been there. Moving back on the peg so that the balls of that foot rest on it is fine for awhile. Sometimes it makes sense to put the heel of that foot on the peg. But it NEVER makes sense to put your toe UNDER the brake lever, as this injury demonstrates.

Keeping the left toe above the shifter also makes sense for the same reason.

A few weeks ago Elaine and I were riding on a freeway and observed another rider dangle his feet straight down in order to 'stretch'. His feet were only a fraction of an inch above the ground when he did that. It was insane! Had a foot touched the ground his leg could have snapped in two if a peg had caught it (driver's or passenger's.)

You need to stretch? Use a highway board/peg, or stop the bike and get off it for a few minutes.

I guess it doesn't really have to be said, but if you are in a turn it doesn't make sense to have your toes positioned like outriggers - pointing away from the bike.

Keep those toes on the brake lever and over the shifter, and you will be able to walk after you finish the ride.

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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