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I thought we could all share any tips we might have in aiming for the most safest rides.

Mine is when I pull up to a stoplight, and I'm behind a car, I leave the bike in gear clutched while watching my rearview for someone coming up behind me and not stopping. If it looks like the car behind won't stop, I'm ready to shoot out on one side or the other.
 

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Taking from "Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough;

Make it a practice to constantly scan for escape routes, and imagine scenarios where you might need them. Know what might come ahead before it happens. For example, if I see a car in a driveway or an intersection waiting to pull out; I take a look at the oncoming lane to see if there's traffic, look to see how wide the shoulder is, etc. In essence, if they pull out, what's my escape plan?

I also make it a habit to cover the brake in any sort of situation like that. Car in the oncoming lane that's stopped and/or has their left turn signal on, car at an intersection, etc.

Both sound complicated, but in fact it's more complicated to explain than it is to do. Put a couple of fingers over the front brake handle as a habit, be aware of what's going on around you, etc. Amazing what a second or two can do for you. When you're cruising at 60mph, you're covering a LOT of ground quickly until you actually hit that brake. Shaving the time it takes to make that happen is huge.
 

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My tip is "practice, practice,and more practice". I went down to the college where I got my endorsement last summer and was using the course in the parking lot to practice slow speed manuvers? , doing the small things right in heavy traffic has been crucial to my safety
 

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I look at the wheels.

When I see a car/truck wanting to pull out, or stopped at a light and I am crossing, I look at the wheels for movement. I think the first movement of the wheels are easier to see than the whole body against various backgrounds. Most wheels have a "spoked" look to them.

Just what I do.
 

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I know this is cliche...but seeing so many on the roads without helmets still...hmmm...what word shall I use...concerns..yah that's appropriate... concerns me.

With the technology we have today in helmet design, comfort, and protection...it's just hard for me to understand why folks choose to not protect themselves when they're on their bikes.

I've experienced first hand a helmet's importance to saving a life...as well as visited hospital rooms and grave sites of those who've ignored its importance.
 

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Keep a space cushion and exit/escape route, I don't stare at the problem. Look for a safe spot & count on accelleration. Braking is a losing proposition. You can stop quick, but cages cant.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

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My tip for us northern riders, slow down in the turns. This time of the year there is still plenty of gravel and other foreign material deposited in most cases right at the apex of turns. This due somewhat to melting snow banks and rain run off just slow down in those turns !
 

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Cage or bike, when changing lanes, I first look in the mirror(s) to see if it appears safe to move over. Then I turn on my turn signal, wait a second then glance in the mirror again, and finally turn and look back to make sure that there was nothing in a blind spot (I NEVER trust my mirrors no matter how carefully I set them) and/or that I have plenty of room to move over safely even if it looked like it in the mirror. From the time I turn on the turn signal until I have verified that it is safe to move over, about 3 seconds have passed.

That is plenty of warning time and in normal moving traffic will get you the minimum distances required by most states from initiating the turn signal to actually moving over. It also allows time for me to determine if the following car in the other lane is one of those a-holes that speed up when someone is changing lanes in front of them or if the car behind me is going to dart around me like I offended them with my turn signal. Yeah, sometimes I get blocked from changing lanes or don't feel that I am being given enough room to safely get over, but I won't make a dangerous lane change just because I'm stuck behind slower moving vehicles, and I always start trying to get over well ahead of any upcoming turns. If it takes a minute to get over, so be it.

Part 2 of this is that once I commit to changing lanes, I do like my MSF course instructor taught us, "change lanes with authority." By that he meant to essentially do a quick, controlled swerve into the other lane, and accelerating if appropriate. Don't lollygag around moving over. If they didn't see your turn signal, the quick change will hopefully grab their attention. It could keep them from drifting into your space because you weren't there a few seconds before and they "didn't see you" move over.
 

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Don't trust turn signals. Cars (and bikes) leave them on sometimes.

Watch your back at intersections when coming to a stop. I start slowing early and "officially" stop with a huge buffer in front of me and then watch the people behind me. You would be amazed at how many people are texting, eating, sleeping and what not while stopped. I inch forward a bit every few seconds keeping my brake light on so I can create a buffer behind me as well.

Keep your brake light on while stopped. If doofus behind you is texting and sees the red light go off, they might let their foot off the brake and ram you while they are busy finishing their text.

If you are in the left turn lane and have 1 car in front of you... give yourself a few seconds before you follow them through the turn and watch for oncoming trafic going straight. The car opposite you will not see you if you are too close to the car in front and might percieve the open space as an opportunity to speed through the light.
 

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Don't trust turn signals. Cars (and bikes) leave them on sometimes.

Watch your back at intersections when coming to a stop. I start slowing early and "officially" stop with a huge buffer in front of me and then watch the people behind me. You would be amazed at how many people are texting, eating, sleeping and what not while stopped. I inch forward a bit every few seconds keeping my brake light on so I can create a buffer behind me as well.

Keep your brake light on while stopped. If doofus behind you is texting and sees the red light go off, they might let their foot off the brake and ram you while they are busy finishing their text.

If you are in the left turn lane and have 1 car in front of you... give yourself a few seconds before you follow them through the turn and watch for oncoming trafic going straight. The car opposite you will not see you if you are too close to the car in front and might percieve the open space as an opportunity to speed through the light.
I was taught that the "2 second rule" applies just as much when starting off as it does when already up to speed. It infuriates me how many folks, cage or bike, follow too closely when starting off from a stop, even though they may back off after picking up a little speed. You never know when the vehicle is front of you is going to make a sudden stop.
 

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My safety tip applies both to the new riders in the MSF classes I teach, and for the seasoned riders; my guiding principle for my riding is NO one is more responsible for my riding and what happens to me on the road, than ME 1st. I take the approach that I am the only one who can really control anything about my riding and I am the 1st one to do anything about making my ride better, less risky, better managed.

Note, I didn't say "safer" because riding is inherently risky, FAR more risky than driving a car. All we can do is strive to control or reduce the risks by our own actions and choices. I have no expectations on other road users to make my ride better, in my book, IT'S ALL UP TO ME.

That said, I do not at any moment excuse the idiot drivers/distracted drivers/tweaked drivers/drunk-high drivers from all if their stupid moves and ignorance or lack of care about us riders on the road. I just chose to be the best, most prepared and capable rider at all times when on my bikes. When I took on this attitude nearly 30 years ago my traffic issues reduced significantly, and have remained so ever since.
 

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Glad to see this thread still alive. Safety is only as important as we all make it.

I turn 60 years young next month. I credit a large part of my making it thus far to safety practices. I could regale you with numerous stories about near misses avoided only because I had that split second I bought with safe riding practices.

Choosing to ride is a risky endeavor; there is just no getting around that fact. We can however improve the odds by practicing safe riding techniques.

Some great advice has been posted in this thread! I'm glad to find fellow riders out there that are safety conscious. But let's face reality. There are some riders out there that seem to think that riding like Evil Knievel is the way to ride!

So here is my two cents worth of submission for this thread:

Even though it is 'cool' to ride with other riders in a group formation, it isn't always a safe practice. Trust your inner voice when it tells you that you shouldn't ride close with a certain rider. This feeling can come from previous observations or lack of information. Group riding requires skills beyond single rider techniques. No matter how good/safe a rider you are, it only takes a split second for that rider tucked in close to you to commit a stupid/unsafe mistake that takes both of you down.

Let's be safe out there!
 

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Some may not agree with me, but I feel the annual (May here in Wisconsin) "Watch for Motorcycles" is little more than a "nice" reminder that we are out there, but largely useless to actually improving our relationship with traffic. I'd prefer a program focused first on us riders, advising us riders to consider how all of our actions, our choices, our riding habits/styles impact what happens to us on the road and in traffic. By expecting other road users to improve OUR riding is missing the point in my book.

Granted, being a multi decade rider nearing 300,000 miles under my butt, and 25+ years as a motorcycle riding trainer, I analyze every riding situation and every rider I see on the road. And honestly, I see a LOT of riders riding into their own issues: following WAY too close, riding too relaxed (feet on highway pegs in heavy traffic), moving too quickly through traffic, and numerous other simply dumb/ignorant riding habits. Yet, I bet those same riders are very vocal about how other road users are the problem, without looking at themselves and what they bring into the traffic issues.

However, I can also say that my attitude of analyzing every aspect of my riding has improved my situational awareness to a high level, has built my rider intuition/gut feeling to a very high level, has greatly reduced my issues in traffic. If we riders don't evaluate everything that we bring along on our rides, then we are doomed to suffer whatever traffic throws at us.
 

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While you are riding (or even driving), assume that everyone and everything---car driver, truck driver, animal, pedestrian, etc., is going to do that stupid thing that puts your safety and well-being at immediate risk of death, and be prepared to take whatever action is necessary to mitigate that risk. If it happens, you are as prepared as you can be for that particular circumstance. If it doesn't happen, you will be better prepared for the next instance.
 

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Ride like you are invisible. Be totally alert, ready to divert in an instant. Ride daily & practice skills. Use lights, horn, clothing, etc. To your best advantage, but don't count on them to protect you. Be engaged and aggressive, you can control what's in front of you, not what's behind - know your way out to a safer spot.

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