A Short List of Safe Riding Strategies - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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A Short List of Safe Riding Strategies

The loud pipes thread got me to thinking about the steps I take (or think I should take) while riding to stay as safe as possible. Not all of my loved ones are enamored with the fact that I ride my bike to work in the city with the second longest average commute time in the U.S. It's busy (though I leave very early to avoid this as much as possible). Most people around here are type As, they tend to be in a hurry, and many of them (not all) are either asses or relatively oblivious to their surroundings on the road. I thought about what I tell my loved ones about how I stay safe. I came up with these as my top 8. I've pretty much made these habit, though I find myself violating them now and then and have to remind myself about them. I'd be interested if anyone has any big ones I missed --- I probably did.

1. Always ride with a heightened sense of awareness of what is going on 360 degrees around you. I admit that this takes a bit of work and can take some of the fun out of it. Each rider decides his/her own degree of adherence to this strategy.

2. Always have an out. Same work/fun tradeoff as in 1. Your call how much to worry about it for yourself.

3. Never enter an intersection, whether you have the right of way or not, when a truck in the other lane substantially obscures the view of both oncoming traffic and those on the cross-road that are "supposed" to be stopped. I consider doing this to be Russian Roulette. It sometimes pisses off people behind me, but I'd rather do that than be squashed like a bug.

4. Never ride in a blind spot without an both an out and a heightened sense of awareness of what the other driver is doing.

5. Avoid as much as possible riding in a blind spot even when you have an out.

6. When approaching an exit, be especially aware of all traffic behind you (and beside you if you're stuck with that). Be prepared for asses like the guy in the Audi behind me on GW Parkway two weeks ago that decided my speed (about 8 mph over the speed limit) wasn't fast enough for him to reach his exit over the memorial bridge as quickly as he wanted. He zoomed into the left lane around me, zoomed back to the right lane, and exited right in front of me. I had a friend almost killed from a rocket scientist that conducted a similar experiment a few years ago. This is big one that we often forget. Where I live, the ass to nice guy ratio is rather high. (I sometimes call it the ass_ole coefficient. These coefficients vary by city. It makes my wife mad when I talk this way, but it seems pretty true to me.) Inattention to this possibility near exits could be fatal.

7. Avoid riding in the middle lane when there is a lot of tailgating traffic. What's your out? You may have one, but it's a dangerous out.

8. If either the left-most or right-most lane does not have a shoulder, avoid it if you can. Ride where you have an out. If no lanes have shoulders and there is a lot of tailgating traffic, well, that's no fun. If that goes on for miles, I get off and try to find another route.

What big ones have I left out? I suspect there may be old threads on this, but thought I check to see what folks think about my personal list of safe-riding strategies.

Happy and safe riding,
Dan
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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After sending in my 8 strategies below,I realized I forgot two strategies that have become so second nature I for got them. I've added them, which brings my list to 10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VulcanDan61 View Post
The loud pipes thread got me to thinking about the steps I take (or think I should take) while riding to stay as safe as possible. Not all of my loved ones are enamored with the fact that I ride my bike to work in the city with the second longest average commute time in the U.S. It's busy (though I leave very early to avoid this as much as possible). Most people around here are type As, they tend to be in a hurry, and many of them (not all) are either asses or relatively oblivious to their surroundings on the road. I thought about what I tell my loved ones about how I stay safe. I came up with these as my top 8. I've pretty much made these habit, though I find myself violating them now and then and have to remind myself about them. I'd be interested if anyone has any big ones I missed --- I probably did.

1. Always ride with a heightened sense of awareness of what is going on 360 degrees around you. I admit that this takes a bit of work and can take some of the fun out of it. Each rider decides his/her own degree of adherence to this strategy.

2. Always have an out. Same work/fun tradeoff as in 1. Your call how much to worry about it for yourself.

3. Never enter an intersection, whether you have the right of way or not, when a truck in the other lane substantially obscures the view of both oncoming traffic and those on the cross-road that are "supposed" to be stopped. I consider doing this to be Russian Roulette. It sometimes pisses off people behind me, but I'd rather do that than be squashed like a bug.

4. Never ride in a blind spot without an both an out and a heightened sense of awareness of what the other driver is doing.

5. Avoid as much as possible riding in a blind spot even when you have an out.

6. When approaching an exit, be especially aware of all traffic behind you (and beside you if you're stuck with that). Be prepared for asses like the guy in the Audi behind me on GW Parkway two weeks ago that decided my speed (about 8 mph over the speed limit) wasn't fast enough for him to reach his exit over the memorial bridge as quickly as he wanted. He zoomed into the left lane around me, zoomed back to the right lane, and exited right in front of me. I had a friend almost killed from a rocket scientist that conducted a similar experiment a few years ago. This is big one that we often forget. Where I live, the ass to nice guy ratio is rather high. (I sometimes call it the ass_ole coefficient. These coefficients vary by city. It makes my wife mad when I talk this way, but it seems pretty true to me.) Inattention to this possibility near exits could be fatal.

7. Avoid riding in the middle lane when there is a lot of tailgating traffic. What's your out? You may have one, but it's a dangerous out.

8. If either the left-most or right-most lane does not have a shoulder, avoid it if you can. Ride where you have an out. If no lanes have shoulders and there is a lot of tailgating traffic, well, that's no fun. If that goes on for miles, I get off and try to find another route.

9. When being tailgated, I tap my braklights twice to get the person to give more space. If they don't, I tap them twice again and look back. It usually works for me, but not always .

10. At stop signs and stop lights, I am always aware of what is happening behind me and give myself an out if possible, ususally escaping up the right shoulder. I leave enough space so this is possible, and am aware of what the person behind me is doing.

What big ones have I left out? I suspect there may be old threads on this, but thought I check to see what folks think about my personal list of safe-riding strategies.

Happy and safe riding,
Dan
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 08:16 PM
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All very good advice Dan.
Personally, I wouldn't ride a motorcycle to and from work unless it was a pleasurable experience. I used to commute 30 minutes each way in a pickup and found that 30 minutes to be beneficial in planning the day and winding down before getting home. Sounds like your commute is too stressful on a motorcycle unless it's beneficial to be wired for your job. I'd be a nervous wreck.
#11. Take a couple swigs of Maalox before each commute adventure.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:46 AM
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I ride with a 3 second distance between me and the car in front of me. I need to be able to react to anything that may be in the road
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:57 AM
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vd61,, Safety is yor number 1 priority, shortest list: stay home.?

otherwise all good stuff. and on a good day, its still a roll the dice, crap shoot, good luck with that, hope for the best, only 5 slugs in that 6 shooter, take yor chance, ride em and rope em.



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 10:03 AM
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A quick note on using that empty shoulder as an out.

When shyte hits the fan and everyone starts slamming on their brakes looking for a place to burn off that extra speed they shouldn't have been carrying...Well that empty shoulder isn't likely to be empty anymore.

I'm not really big on lane splitting; but don't write off riding & stopping between two lanes of traffic. That shoulder may not be empty when you need it to be.

Scott

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redfish View Post
All very good advice Dan.
Personally, I wouldn't ride a motorcycle to and from work unless it was a pleasurable experience. I used to commute 30 minutes each way in a pickup and found that 30 minutes to be beneficial in planning the day and winding down before getting home. Sounds like your commute is too stressful on a motorcycle unless it's beneficial to be wired for your job. I'd be a nervous wreck.
#11. Take a couple swigs of Maalox before each commute adventure.
I hear ya. A colleague of mind also rides to work, and he's got it worse, as he comes up I95, whereas I am mostly on a parkway. We've talked about how in some ways it's not really a "fun" ride. I'm a little wierd in that I actually enjoy the safety challenge some. It probably goes back to my private pilot days, where the entire routine centers around safety. Perhaps if I have a closer call than that Audi I mentioned I'll reevaluate.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho Villa View Post
vd61,, Safety is yor number 1 priority, shortest list: stay home.?

otherwise all good stuff. and on a good day, its still a roll the dice, crap shoot, good luck with that, hope for the best, only 5 slugs in that 6 shooter, take yor chance, ride em and rope em.
Well, from two months of reading these forums, I've learned that Poncho 1) calls it like it is and 2) says it concisely and doesn't mince words. I couldn't agree with you more.

Part of this, I think, is that some of us enjoy the challenge of staying safe. Yes, I like riding past horse and wine country on Sunday mornings when the ants discussed in Zen are still still sleeping more than I like my commute. But right now, I like riding on my commute better than becoming one of the ants.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
A quick note on using that empty shoulder as an out.

When shyte hits the fan and everyone starts slamming on their brakes looking for a place to burn off that extra speed they shouldn't have been carrying...Well that empty shoulder isn't likely to be empty anymore.

I'm not really big on lane splitting; but don't write off riding & stopping between two lanes of traffic. That shoulder may not be empty when you need it to be.

Scott
Good point I hadn't thought of. I haven't ridden enough since coming back to riding be brave enough to run up between lanes, and I never had the balls to do it when I was a youngster either. But I wouldn't want to hesitate to do so if it were the best way out.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
I'm not really big on lane splitting; but don't write off riding & stopping between two lanes of traffic.

Scott
Also to continue on that, when stopping I always angle myself towards the center line and stop as close as I can to it. That way if I get hit from behind before I have the chance to look in my mirrors I just get pushed into the center line pin ball style, and not sandwiched between 2 cars.
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