What are the usual causes of skidding? Select all that apply What are the usual causes of skidding? Select all that apply

  • A. overbraking on one or both wheels

  • B. heavy acceleration

  • C. changing direction suddenly

  • D. riding too fast on wet or unsealed roads

    The correct answer is A, B, C, D
    All of these are causes for skidding, however A (over-braking) is the most common cause.

What is a skid?

A skid is where one or more wheels locks, slides sideways or loses traction due to too much acceleration.

A tyre's contact patch with the road defines how much of the tyre's surface touches the road at any one time. In general the larger the contact patch the more the grip. The size of a contact patch on a motorbike tyre can be as little as the size of a credit card. 

This small patch of rubber on the road has to cope with braking, turning and accelerating. If the conditions are slippery due to rain or dust on the road then the motorbike will slide more readily. While riders in races learn to use the point at which a tyre slides to help them with handling, when you are riding on the road you are not always expecting the tyre to slide.

Locked wheel

A locked wheel can be caused by too much braking force being applied or if something jams the wheel. A jammed wheel can be the result of a chain coming loose or something entering between the spokes such as a branch

Sliding sideways

If too much force is applied sideways the tyre can slide. On a motorbike this usually means that the rider will enter a highside or lowside crash. It's extremely difficult to catch a slide on a motorbike.


Wheelspin is skidding caused by too much acceleration. The torque of the engine overcomes the friction the rear tyre has on the road and spins the wheel.

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