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I don't leave first gear at lights and stay checking my mirrors until I observe at least the car behind me, if not the car behind it come to a stop. I always try to pass that one on to people since it seems more and more common for people to get mowed down at stoplights these days.
 

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I don't leave first gear at lights and stay checking my mirrors until I observe at least the car behind me, if not the car behind it come to a stop. I always try to pass that one on to people since it seems more and more common for people to get mowed down at stoplights these days.
not surprising with all the cell phones. "hang on mom, ill call you back, I just ran over another one of them motorcycles"

seriously, I work in a drive through - they cant even drive in a straight line up to the window. it's frustrating when you see first hand how stupid people can get.
 

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When I'm behind a vehicle, approaching an intersection which has cars in the opposite turning lane that are waiting to turn left, I make sure I veer out from behind the car in front of me so the turning cars know I'm there. Because of the small size of the bikes, you're likely completely blocked from view of oncoming traffic. Should minimize the likelihood of people turning into you or in front of you cuz they didn't see you.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I don't leave first gear at lights and stay checking my mirrors until I observe at least the car behind me, if not the car behind it come to a stop. I always try to pass that one on to people since it seems more and more common for people to get mowed down at stoplights these days.
good one, forgot to add this to the list

When I'm behind a vehicle, approaching an intersection which has cars in the opposite turning lane that are waiting to turn left, I make sure I veer out from behind the car in front of me so the turning cars know I'm there. Because of the small size of the bikes, you're likely completely blocked from view of oncoming traffic. Should minimize the likelihood of people turning into you or in front of you cuz they didn't see you.
good one, this is exactly the types of tip I was looking for
small little things which are often overlooked, not immediately obvious, and probably not included in books
 

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By bumping the starter do you mean trying to start the engine when it's already cranked?
yes. it will not damage anything. the gears are always engaged anyway.

oh.. and in addition, most states have a sort of unspoken rule that you CAN run a red light after X time. for example, here in NC, the wait time is 3 minutes. if you can cross safely after 3 minutes of waiting at a light and it will not respond to you, then you may proceed, yielding to all other directions' traffic
 

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The thing about gear or neutral at stop lights deserves a thread on its own. The book (Roadcraft) says neutral, because if you are hit from behind the jerk will cause you to release the clutch, open the throttle, and possibly wheely through a red light. A lot of instructors and police riders, including some who have input into the book, disagree and say keep it in first so that you can get out of the way.

I sit on the fence on this. If you can see a safe exit route and if you can keep one eye on the mirror, I'd keep it in gear with a view to being able avoid being rear ended. On the other hand, if you're in a position ewhere there's very little that you can do, you'll be safer in neutral if the worst does happen.

I'm another rider who tends to stay in gear until the car behind has come to a full stop, but I'll admit that it's lazyness as much as anything else - it saves switching feet to change in and out of neutral while still having the brake foot on the peg as long as the wheels are turning. That's something I don't compromise on.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #48
I'm sure there probably has been a thread about it. I think it started out as a poll about what you do at a stop light.

Eh...I don't know if I'd agree with Roadcraft on that.
I'm sure the people who wrote it were more experienced chaps than me but all the same, the point is to avoid being hit.

I guess I take the best of both worlds out of laziness and safety.
When I get to a stop light, I'll stay in gear until the car behind me comes to a complete stop, sometimes the car behind it if I'm feeling extra paranoid, and then I'll shift into neutral because I'm lazy.
If I'm feeling paranoid that day, I'll continue to check my mirrors every so often.

For me, staying in gear once I've come to a stop isn't out of laziness. That counts as work to me since I want to stretch a bit and I can't do that with my hand on the clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #49

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Discussion Starter #50
Another Street Trick
  • When parking in a normal parking lot parking space, park the bike to the rear of the space.
    Reason: So cars don't think the spot is empty and crash into your bike while coming into the space at 10 mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #51 (Edited)
(Continued from first post)



Riding Techniques (continued)
  • In Traffic
    • The rules on following distances don't mean anything when there is traffic. Instead, focus on giving yourself as much following distance as possible without leaving a gap for cars to try and fill.
    • Look ahead and know what cars are doing as far ahead of you as possible.
      Reason: If the "pack" of cars you're travelling in is going 40mph and the lead car, which is half a mile up, all of a sudden hits the brakes and slows to 10mph, you can bet that the sudden 30 mph stop isn't going to be dissipate too much by the time it hits you. Therefore, take pre-emptive action which for me would be to start slowing down ahead of time so that by the time the "wave" hits me, I'm already going say 15-20 mph.
    • Pay close attention to the cars surrounding you especially the one behind you and if you've got it good, stay there.
      Reason: Look for a good driver in front of you that isn't tailgating the car in front of it, etc. This way you attempt to minimize the number of sudden braking, etc.
      The car behind you needs to be attentive more than the driver in front of you needs to be because if anybody is going to crush you between cars, it's going to be the car behind you. So if you see them on the cell phone, with a ton of bouncy kids in the back, etc., I recommend you try to find another place to be. (Me, exalted512)
    • Avoid staying in the center lanes of any road/highway, especially in traffic. Keep to the leftmost or rightmost lane.
      Reason: Being in the middle lane, you have to worry about two lanes worth of cars not seeing you. You are also unable to position yourself properly in the lane to maximize your visibility. The best you can do is stay in the middle which in traffic, can seem like an empty spot to cars.
      Also, by staying to the side lanes, you usually have somewhere to go even if it's a curb and grass in the event that something really bad happens. Curb and grass is better than getting caught between two cars. Some roadways even have half a lane's worth of pavement which you can move onto if a car blindly merges into you. Speaking from personal experience, I know that the extra pavement has saved me from an accident once.
    • On a highway, etc, never get between a car and their exit; be wary of being in the right lane when an exit is coming up.
      Reason: Cars want to get off and as we all know, most car drivers don't turn their heads or even check their mirrors before switching lanes. (ZX6RRNewbie)
    • When passing a car, stay in the powerband.
      While important on all bikes, this is even more important on a 250, because you have to make the most of the power that you have (aka choose the right gear for your given speed).
  • In the Rain
    • If you see lightning close by, take shelter.
      Reason: Unlike a car, you will NOT be safe if your motorcycle is hit by lightning for, what would seem to be, obvious reasons. (ZX6RRNewbie)
    • Avoid anything metal on the road in the rain (jy7347)
      Reason: They're especially slippery in the rain.
    • Note that when it first starts raining, oil in the road will rise to the surface and thus reduce grip(Rj316)
      Long story short, just be wary that your traction is less in the rain
  • While Riding
    • Don't dwell on that close call you just had
      Reason: If you keep thinking about it and you have starting to replay it in your head to see what you or they did wrong, you aren't putting your full attention on driving anymore and are more likely to have something else happen. Keep your mind on the present and what you are doing then, and not what happened. (M M) (taken from http://www.kawiforums.com/two-wheeled-discussion/138318-commuter-safety-tips.html)
    • Weave ever so slightly while driving in lane.
      Reason: Might help eliminate motion camouflage (steve_t & KF's sleeve)
    • Use hand signals for turning and stopping (KF's sleeve)
    • Avoid large trucks and buses if at all possible. Especially avoid being in front, between, or spending an extended period of time next to large trucks
      Reason: because we are harder to see as it is. Trucks have poor visibility as well. No need to compound our already poor visibility with even more poor visibility.
      While tragic and not the rider's fault, I believe this could have been avoided if this rider had simply not chosen such a shitty place to be, between two city buses in the middle of rush hour.
      Lincoln Tunnel smashup: Motorcycle pinned, 3 buses crash, dozens hurt, commute snarled - Yahoo! News
    • Avoid riding behind semis (KF's sleeve)
      Reason: if they blow a tire, the resulting tire "shrapnel" and pieces could very well kill you or at the very least cause you to get into a bad accident
    • If going by a truck or other large vehicle, which is travelling in the opposite direction, be particularly careful of the turbulent wind immediately surrounding said trucks (tropicalbikey)
    • You know what, just avoid large vehicles, period.
      Reason: because you value your life
    • Stay back and keep your distance from anything you can't see over or through (williamr)
      Reason: the closer you get the less you can see
      It's the accordion effect. The first guy stops and the second is not paying attention. Then he slams on the brake and you are caught in a nasty situation. Avoid this by knowing what is going on in front of the car directly in front of you. (taken from http://www.kawiforums.com/two-wheeled-discussion/138318-commuter-safety-tips.html)
    • In hot temperatures, take a drink of water before riding (cyberdos) (taken from http://www.kawiforums.com/two-wheeled-discussion/138318-commuter-safety-tips.html)
      Reason: You'd be surprised how quickly dehydration sets in, especially when you're wearing full gear
    • Avoid staying in the center lanes of any road/highway, especially in traffic. Keep to the leftmost or rightmost lane.
      Reason: Being in the middle lane, you have to worry about two lanes worth of cars not seeing you. You are also unable to position yourself properly in the lane to maximize your visibility. The best you can do is stay in the middle which in traffic, can seem like an empty spot to cars.
      Also, by staying to the side lanes, you usually have somewhere to go even if it's a curb and grass in the event that something really bad happens. Curb and grass is better than getting caught between two cars. Some roadways even have half a lane's worth of pavement which you can move onto if a car blindly merges into you. Speaking from personal experience, I know that the extra pavement has saved me from an accident once.
 

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Discussion Starter #52 (Edited)
Road Hazards
  • Wet Leaves and Sand are to be avoided as much as possible.
    Toward the end of winter and during the fall, there is a lot of sand and leaves on the road. Both can affect traction to a very large extent and can send your bike skidding in an instant if you hit a large enough patch.
  • Road marking lines are especially slick in the rain. Take care when crossing them, especially the white ones (steve_t)
  • Construction zones are 100% road hazard (AJK)
  • Be extra careful at intersections with red light cameras
    Reason: Red light cameras DECREASED people running red lights and INCREASED accidents due to people stopping more suddenly than they would before to make sure they didnt get a ticket. The result was people slamming on brakes to prevent from getting a ticket when in reality they would have been fine, thus causing people behind them to rear end them because A) they thought they would go through the light and B) not expecting to having to slam on their brakes (which really relates to A). (exalted512)
  • Be wary of what people have in the bed of their trucks
    Reason: I saw (while in the cage) someone carrying a kids play house and the roof (not strapped down) flew off the house at 70mph. Moral of the story, be aware of what people have in their beds and stay away from them when you can as you never know what could be about to fly at you. (exalted512)
  • Be careful of cars when there is a cop car with his lights on for whatever reasons.
    Reason: Cars will often focus on the cop car and not on the road (Ninja650RKid)
Street Tricks
  • When parking in a normal parking lot parking space, park the bike to the rear of the space.
    Reason: So cars don't think the spot is empty and crash into your bike while coming into the space at 10 mph.
  • Sometimes our motorcycles have trouble tripping the red light sensor at intersections.
    Briefly press the starter button while the engine is still running
    "the electromagnetic pulse from the current running to the starter trips the inductive pickup loop in the roadway in some cases.. not always.. but sometimes" (whitey)
  • When putting the kickstand down and laying the bike on it, get in the habit of looking at the kickstand until the bike's weight is fully seated on it and the bike is down for sure.
    I've dropped my bike twice in the garage, both when the kickstand went down, then rebounded back up. Others will drop their bikes because they forgot to put the kickstand down. Once is too many for something stupid like this. So get in the habit and save your wallet some money, as well as your ego.
 

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  • Braking
    • Start with most of the braking power on the front brakes. As your speed decreases to a stop, shift the braking power from the front to the rear brake. For the last 5-10 meters of braking, you should be on the rear brake only.
      Reason: I've always done this just because I liked a smooth ride but there are safety benefits to this as well.
      If you've ever driven on a low traction surface (aka winter and icy roads) in a car, you know that slowing down isn't the real problem; stopping completely is the big problem. With mild and controlled braking, your wheels will not lock up when slowing down from a high speed but are pretty much guaranteed to lock up with the same pressure on the brakes in the last 15mph of braking. Your experiences might be slightly different, maybe all the cars I've driven are the exception but this has been my experience for the par.
      Carried over, expect that you will have low traction the last bit of braking. If you lose your traction on the front wheel, you're pretty much screwed. Lost rear wheel traction is fairly easy to recover from one.
    Don't agree with this at all. Why would you switch from the wheel with most load to the wheel with least load?
 

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Discussion Starter #55 (Edited)
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Don't agree with this at all. Why would you switch from the wheel with most load to the wheel with least load?
[/LIST]
Because if there happens to be some oil or whatever the last bit of stopping distance, you don't lose the front wheel traction but rather lose rear wheel traction which is easily recoverable.

I imagine it as though you were riding on ice and at least in my experience, the difficult part isn't slowing down but rather coming to a complete stop.

I'll take it down in the meantime.
I remember there was some long thread about braking just recently. Don't remember what the outcome of that was (though there probably was never a definite answer).
Will have to try and find it
 

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[/LIST]
Don't agree with this at all. Why would you switch from the wheel with most load to the wheel with least load?
[/LIST]
Because as you slow below walking speed the weight transfer effect diminishes, so the load on the front tyre diminishes. At very slow speed the rear wheel actually has more load because that's more near where the rider's sitting.

Also, if at these very slow speeds you do inadvertently lock the front wheel there's a very good chance that you'll fall off. If you lock the rear you won't.

The bit about weight transfer doesn't apply so much under heavy or emergency braking, but you shouldn't be doing that anyway coming to a stop under normal circumstances.

Rob
 

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Thanks for the post. Some really worthwhile info to consider here. :)
 

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The thing about gear or neutral at stop lights deserves a thread on its own. The book (Roadcraft) says neutral, because if you are hit from behind the jerk will cause you to release the clutch, open the throttle, and possibly wheely through a red light.
Wow, never even thought of this and it does raise an interesting point. I think I will still stay in first gear at lights until at least 2 cars are stopped behind me but this is something to think about.

-Pat
 

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This stuff probably goes without saying, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

1. Never trust someone else's turn signal.

2. Assume the worst and always adjust yourself for it. Assume the car in the next lane 10 feet in front of you is going to change lanes and slam on the brakes to avoid something. Slow down and increase the gap even though you're not directly behind the person.

3. Make yourself as predictable as possible on your bike. We all do the best we can to watch everyone else and avoid problems, but some situations are out of your control. The only thing you have at that point is to make sure the other drivers can see you and you don't do anything crazy in case another car has to swerve or something.

An example of this would be if there is a car in the lane next to you which is closed 100 feet ahead and that person is ahead of you in his own lane: Unless you absolutely have to, don't hammer the throttle coming from behind to try and get ahead before they merge. They probably won't assume you're going to fly by them and will merge without checking their blind spot since they already saw you in their rear view and assume you're staying there.
 

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Local authorities are responsible for setting the timing of traffic lights, and over the years they've all gradually set them with a pause at 'all red' simply because they've found that it reduces accidents on their 'patch'. To me that just seems like commonsense.

Lights where there's a record of accidents also tend to be fitted with automatic cameras that issue a ticket to any vehicle jumping the lights.

There's no central government mandate or regulation. Local authorities have just found that it saves them the cost and hassle of clearing up the mess.

Nothing stopping you from finding out which authority is responsible for the lights in your area and lobbying for a trial at any lights with a poor accident record.

Rob
The place I work at held a study about cameras and red lights. Red light cameras DECREASED people running red lights and INCREASED accidents due to people stopping more suddenly than they would before to make sure they didnt get a ticket. The result was people slamming on brakes to prevent from getting a ticket when in reality they would have been fine, thus causing people behind them to rear end them because A) they thought they would go through the light and B) not expecting to having to slam on their brakes (which really relates to A). What they found DECREASES red light runners AND accidents is increasing the yellow light by ONE second. So what does the town I live in do? Install red light cameras. Idiots. Then they get taken down because they had so many complaints...and theyre still paying out the remainder of the contract they had with the red light camera company. GENIUS!

So be EXTRA cautious at lights with cameras.

not a bad idea though I don't even remember what the hand signals mean off the top of my head. I doubt most cagers would either
I do the same. USUALLY I point at the direction I'm going. Raising my left hand at 90* isnt going to let people know I'm turning right, they're too stupid. But if I'm changing lanes and feel its safe to let my hand off the gas/front brake, I'll point right, otherwise, I just flash the brake lights if I'm turning...or just move over if I'm switching lanes (always with blinkers though). Left turns/lane changes is much easier, but again, I point. Hopefully people understand that. If anything, it gets peoples attention more so than not doing anything.

On road debris: I am sick of flying by latters, mountain bikes, bbc's, couches, palets, shovels, sheet rock, trees and elk.

watch ahead
Same thing with pick up trucks. I've been hit in the knee with a coke can that flew out of a bed once. Hurt like hell. I try to avoid them like the plague. I also saw (while in the cage) someone carrying a kids play house and the roof (not strapped down) flew off the house at 70mph. Moral of the story, be aware of what people have in their beds and stay away from them when you can as you never know what could be about to fly at you.

The thing about gear or neutral at stop lights deserves a thread on its own. The book (Roadcraft) says neutral, because if you are hit from behind the jerk will cause you to release the clutch, open the throttle, and possibly wheely through a red light. A lot of instructors and police riders, including some who have input into the book, disagree and say keep it in first so that you can get out of the way.
I think if you're paying attention, you're better off in 1st. If you're lazy and feel like gambling and not watching behind you, neutral is the safer bet.

I guess I take the best of both worlds out of laziness and safety.
When I get to a stop light, I'll stay in gear until the car behind me comes to a complete stop, sometimes the car behind it if I'm feeling extra paranoid, and then I'll shift into neutral because I'm lazy.
If I'm feeling paranoid that day, I'll continue to check my mirrors every so often.
I was hit from behind in my 2 week old 09 zx6. I looked behind me, car stopped. I was looking at traffic in front of me (I was at a stop sign) to see when I could go and got bumped. No damage done, but it scared me to say the least. The lady behind me was looking at someone walking and didnt realize she was rolling forward after she made a complete stop. So feel paranoid, it'll keep you safe.

[/LIST]
Don't agree with this at all. Why would you switch from the wheel with most load to the wheel with least load?
[/LIST]
If you're slowing down for the last few feet at less than 10-15 mph, unless you're slamming your brakes down, its not going to matter what wheel has the most load as both wheels will have more than enough traction to pull you to a complete stop. The problem is if you hit a patch of sand/gravel/oil/grease, if your back tire locks up, its a lot less of a problem than your front tire locking up.


I also thought I quoted the person about riding closer to the crown of the road, but maybe I accidentally deleted it or didnt quote it. Either way, great advice. If you're riding down a road where people frequently turn onto, youre going to be a lot better off riding away from the curb so people can see you easier.

Something else I tend to do: I typically DONT stop in the middle of the lane. Every situation is different, but I will stop close to the edges of that lane. On my commute, there's a stop light right off the access road which frequently gets backed up to all the way to the highway. So people are going 70 then expected to be stopped at the BOTTOM OF A HILL. Genius plan there. Either way, I slow down WAY before if there's someone somewhat close behind me. I'm not talking 35 off the highway, but when I hit the access road where you can no longer get off the highway, I slow down early. Not slam on the brakes either. Just a gradual slow down thats slightly slower than what most people do. Why? Well, if I go to the stop light and stop and the car behind me isnt paying attention, theyre going to hit you going fast. If I slow down early, I check my mirrors to make sure they are paying attention, and they usually continue to pay attention or can at least start to gauge the rate that youre decreasing speed at.

I also dont do that if theres not a car semi-close to me as it doesnt work. Then youre just the asshole thats doing 35 in a 55 and cause an accident as they dont know how fast youre going when theyre coming up on you.

Anyway, back to not stopping in the middle of the lane. At that particular red light, I'll put my bikes tires on the line that separates the shoulder. This does NOT work well if you dont have your eye trained on the people behind you...as theres a possibility of just getting your leg ripped off as thats the first thing someone will hit. But if you are paying attention, youre PROBABLY already safe from being hit from behind all together. But if not, youre 6" away from it. I sometimes worry that people will get CLOSER since youre off to the side, but I've never had that problem. If I'm between lanes, or no good escape route to the side with no lane (say parked cars and a tight spot), I'll get closer to the next lane as if almost ready to lane split. Again, I'm mostly out of the way anyway, but if something were to happen, I've got a lot less space to move as compared to the middle of the lane. I've never tested this theory (hopefully never will), but I usually leave enough room where most vehicles can completely miss me. I might get hit by a mirror on a big F250, but better that than the grill guard. I dont expect them to think 'lets swerve away from the motorcycle rider as he's the most likely to get hurt'...but I do think if you think youre going to get in an accident and just need more time to brake, if you see an object (motorcycle) off to one side to where you can probably miss them by swerving ever so lightly, you'll do that. Plus, if you leave a car link (See below), thats a lot of empty space they can go to if need be.

I guess you can kind of combine rules to say be diagonal closer to your planned escape route. Eliminates risking you leg being side swiped AND youre closer to your escape route.

When preparing to stop, I put my leg out (to stand up) earlier than necessary. This lets the car behind me know that I'm about to come to a full stop.

I might have missed this, but KEEP AT LEAST one car link in front of you if possible. That much more room for the car behind you to stop if you pull forward...and that much more room for you to maneuver to get out of the way. And in the case you cant get out of the way (or the 1/2 second you stopped paying attention if you have my luck), youre not going to get sandwiched between the car behind you and the car in front of you.
-Cody
 
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