# The Counterintuitive Physics of Turning a Bike

If you’re riding a bike and want to turn right, you might think that you should turn
the handlebars to the right.
However, that’s wrong.
Because, unlike a car where turning the wheels merely changes the direction the car is pointed,
turning the front wheel makes a bike lean.
When you turn the bike wheel to the right, the wheel goes to the right, right out from
under you and the rest of the bike.
So now you’re leaning to the left, and the force on the bike from the ground will be
directed to the left, and a leftward force, of course, makes you go to the left.
Since physics seems determined that you’re going left, you’d probably better just give
in and let the handlebars turn to the left, too.
And that’s how you turn left on a bike –\hby first turning right.
If you really wanted to go right, you should have started by counter-steering to the left.
Once you finally get yourself into a right turn, you’ll also need to work to keep yourself
in the turn, since most bikes and motorcycles have a tendency to automatically stabilize
and straighten out on their own.
This happens because a right-leaning bike automatically steers itself even farther to
the right to get the wheels back underneath its center of mass, so you’ll actually need
to apply a slight torque to the left to keep the wheels from turning too far to the right.
Yes, it’s counterintuitive: to turn right on a bike you turn left, then keep trying
to turn left while leaning and turning right.
Bikes
are weird.