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Those of you who have read (or watched) Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist II, it is easy to recognize what is going on in this thread. Even the thread title about "tips" gives it away. It's covered in the start of the video, and in the Author's Note section of the book. From page x & xi:

Technology Versus Tips
I want to outline the different categories of information you might receive about riding your bike. There are four; remembet rhem. Each piece of info that comes your way will fall into one of these categories.

Destructive Advice:
"You don't know how fast you can go until you crash."
"Wait till the other guy brakes and count to two."

Friendly Advice:
"Keep the rubber side down."
"Be smooth."

Useful Tips:
"Go wide around that bump."
"Try this section in the next taller gear."

Real technology:
"You always use a later turn-entry point for a decreasing-radius turn *."
"Going off and on the throttle in turns affects suspension compliance, reduces traction and makes the bike run wide."

Real Solutions
True technology has broad application and regularly resolves riding problems. It contains a basic understanding of what the rider is trying to do and forms a constructive bond between the rider and the machine's dynamic* requirements. Counter-steering is a perfect example.
(See Chapter 12 for a description of counter -steering). Practically everyone learns how to ride without any understanding of counter-steering, but the moment it is fully comprehended and applied, it opens the door to vast amounts of improvement in every possible situation that requires steering the bike. Counter-steering perfectly matches what the rider wants and needs with what the machine wants and needs. That's what I call technology. Do you see the difference between that and useful tips or friendly advice?

I'm not saying there isn't a place for tips and advice, because there is - when they demonstrate an understanding of honest technology in practical application. Then a tip or piece of advice becomes a useful tool. But I've listened to many sincere words of advice on riding, most of which were worthless.


My advice? Learn from the pros. Hough, Ienatsch, Code, Parks, Palladino are good places to start. Then it will be much easier to categorize each of the posts in threads like this.
 

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High beams always on, that extra bit of visibility might make the difference.

I think the single most important thing is visibility or line of sight.

As others have said, scanning way far ahead, when your vision is out further things appear slower and are easier to digest/interpret. Big vehicles like buses, semis, lifted half tons, etc. get away from them as soon as you can and stay away. They are blocking you from being seen, and I always make it a point to get away from them ASAP. When riding in traffic I try and do quick assessments of traffic and always try to have plan B visualized if it needs to be used, this includes looking for something I call "kill zones" (blind spots near cars, clusters of cars with little room to escape, etc.)

At night I slow down from 65 to 50 mph roughly (105 to ~80-85 km/h), helps a ton with not outriding the headlight. Wear bright red, or bright anything with reflective at night (I have to get on the last one).
 

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rode to and from a flag football game yesterday. bad idea.
post game i had a pulled hamstring (im old) and was too tired to be riding a bike. I wish i had my car.
So the tip is dont ride tired


a tip about mufflers (speaking as the driver of a car)

blipping your throttle to blast your exhaust doesnt make other drivers more aware of you. it surprises and scares the **** us into making jumpy decisions. Want to have a car do something erratic; scare them with your muffler.

remember cage drivers dont have that loud blasting muffler so we arent used to it. they do have a horn. use tactics they are familiar with.
 

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Always assume that everyone around you is just about to do the absolute stupidest thing possible.
Ride accordingly.
 

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always look for sand! i was dumb and didnt see this patch that was the same color as the road and i almost slipped on it while turning... never doing that again.
 

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-everyone in the oncoming left lane plans to turn left and doesn't see you.
-don't stay in a car's "shadow" (the car blocking you from other's view)
-be very cautious passing left-turning vehicles on the right. Someone will turn left in front of you across your path because they don't expect you to pop out
-if you can't see them, they can't see you. If you can see them, they still can't see you
 

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-everyone in the oncoming left lane plans to turn left and doesn't see you.
-don't stay in a car's "shadow" (the car blocking you from other's view)
-be very cautious passing left-turning vehicles on the right. Someone will turn left in front of you across your path because they don't expect you to pop out
-if you can't see them, they can't see you. If you can see them, they still can't see you
all wise information here, as victim of a blind left turner, well that still scared me to this day
 

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In my area, deer scare me more than anything else because they're even more unpredictable than cagers. I always scan the ditches watching for their eyes at night. It has served me well MANY times. I've had dozens run out in front of me & haven't hit one yet. :rock:
 

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Know that your invisible regardless of the bright colors you wear or how loud or flashy your bike is. I don't think this tip can be repeated enough.

If you're an everyday rider like me learn how to control your bike if you end up accidently drifting or slide it when its raining, throttle through don't let off the gas.
 

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If you're an everyday rider like me learn how to control your bike if you end up accidently drifting or slide it when its raining, throttle through don't let off the gas.
+1 usually you just save it and keep going, worst case you lowside, which is still infinitely better than a highside
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
In my area, deer scare me more than anything else because they're even more unpredictable than cagers. I always scan the ditches watching for their eyes at night. It has served me well MANY times. I've had dozens run out in front of me & haven't hit one yet. :rock:
I herded one down the street for about 150 yards last night before it turned and bolted into the woods. That was humorous.

One of these days I will sit down and type out the things I do in detail that have helped to keep me safe.
 

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Ride like everybody around you is blind, deaf and dumb... and I don't mean mute, I mean dumb as a sack of hammers.

Assume that they are always on a cell phone, putting on makeup, eating a five course meal, grooming their dog, fighting with children in the back seat, trying to juggle baby geese AND trim their nose hairs. All at the same time.

Unfortunately, here in Southern California, most of these warnings are true and accurate.
Cell phone for texting. Cell phone while doing makeup. Cell phone while stuffing face full of McDogfood. Cell phone while french kissing girl doing 85mph . <-- yes, I have seen this more than once. Cell phone while little nuclear ratdog stands on steering wheel. Putting on makeup and fighting with kids. Putting on makeup, while on the cell phone with a news paper draped across the steering wheel. Putting on makeup while simultaneously doing hair. Reading a full-sized newspaper across the steering wheel. Reading a kindle. Reading an iCrap device. Makeup and texting. Texting and having an animated conversation with a passenger; doesn't anyone just talk to their passengers any more? Always on a stupid cell phone. I've seen people eat tacos (messiest food, ever). I've seen people wiping their seats and dashboard down. I've seen things being written on notepads while talking on cell phone. I've seen laptops used. I think I even saw somebody getting road-head once. I know I've seen someone masturbating in rush hour traffic. I've even seen people try to use their foot to steer.

Above all other warnings: Assume that you are not going to be seen.

Also never, ever assume that because you made eye contact with somebody that they "see" you. I've had people look me straight in the eye (or vice-versa) through a clear visor and then point their cars directly at me.
 

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For actual useful tips? Here are a few that I follow religiously and correct myself on all the time.

Still ride like everyone around you is blind, deaf and dumb as a sack of hammers.

Don't just "look around", but SEE what is around you. It's a difficult concept to grasp until you figure it out. It's the equivalent difference between knowing something, and comprehending that something. Alleyways, driveways, parallel-parked cars and other such locations are prime targets for an accident. Be sure to see what might be lurking there in the shadows.

Keep your eyes and head UP! You should be less concerned in most cases about the cars or pavement 10 feet in front of you, you should be caring about the pavement and especially the cars more than 100-200 feet in front of you. Look as far down the road as you can. Remember what you were taught in your MSF course? (You did take the MSF course(s), right? Right? ;)) You look where you want to go. If you spend all your time staring at the ground in front of you, that's where you're going to end up. You'll also never see that box that fell off of the back of that truck 5 car-lengths ahead if you don't look ahead and will not have time to avoid it.

Scan the road. Always keep your eyes moving, looking for hazards, obstacles and the next inattentive cager about to try to kill you. Road hypnosis is very easy to get on a motorcycle if you let your eyes get lazy. "Splitting hypnosis" is even easier to get if you're splitting through a long line of cars on the freeway.

Look for and watch the subtle movements and spacial relationship between a vehicle and the neighboring roadway lines. It's often easy to spot someone who isn't paying too much attention to where they are in their lane or driving in general as they drift.

Watch how drivers react to other drivers around them. Are they skittish? Do they close gaps between neighboring vehicles? Do they swing way wide around other vehicles?

Watch for subtle movements of front tires and the left hands of drivers, as well as reflections/movements in the side mirror to help you figure out if someone plans to cut you off or not or is being oblivious.

Loud pipes don't save lives, but they do help you get noticed on the road. They can spook drivers if, for instance, you're a squid splitting lanes when traffic is already moving at 80. People aren't expecting something to pass them at high speeds or narrow safety margins once they are already moving at highway/freeway speed.

Make yourself visible. Ever wonder why those guys running the virtually useless, cheap, tiny Chinese LED turn signals and crapped out, half-broken integrated brake light/turn signal kits almost get hit time and time again? One, because they're probably riding like a *******, speeding or doing other generally squiddish stuff, and two: nobody can see what their intent is, whether it be braking or turning. Flush-mount turn signals might seem like a good idea at the time and may even look cool at the time, but are largely a hazard for you and others on the road. Skip em.
Reflective material has come a long way and damn if there isn't some incredibly bright reflective stuff out there. Wear a jacket with shinies, wear a vest and maybe even think about a Helmet Halo. In the day, there isn't much you can do if you have mostly black riding gear like myself and many other riders do except wearing a hi-vis vest or trading out your drab black jacket for one that's a bit more colourful. I have one with day-glow green on the shoulders and back, but it's an oven over about 70f. Because of that I'm fond of my green hi-vis vest.

A headlight modulator would also be a great suggestion for daytime. It might just be that I'm a rider and pick up on obviously motorcycle-ish stuff, but they really seem to catch my eye.

A brake light modulator such as a Back-Off unit has saved my skin more than once. Pair it with an LED tail lamp and you've got a recipe for seriously being seen under braking conditions. LEDs often aren't super bright in the daytime, but the intensity is what gets noticed.

Hold your line! Make prompt decisions and stick with them. Don't be indecisive or you will confuse others around you. There is also no reason to pretend that you're so fast that you need to warm your tires up MotoGP-style. Hold your line.

Ride within your limits. If you don't know what those limits are, the street is the most dangerous place to find them. Find a parking lot or sign up for a track day. Take an advanced MSF course. Better yet, practice some Moto Gymkhana!

Learn how people drive in your normal riding territory. Every metro area has its own unique style of drivers. SoCal (in my 11 years experience of living here) is hell in a hand basket staffed by brainless midget monkeys. NorCal drivers (in my year experience of living there) are much more attentive, much nicer and easier going in terms of drivers. Missouri (Warrensburg and surrounding area) has slow, but polite and attentive drivers. Get up towards Kansas City and collective stupidity starts to form. Those are the only places I have long-term experience with.

Make sure you know what to do if you hit gravel, sand or other loose roadway debris. Know how your unique motorcycle reacts, and if you have a chance, learn how another motorcycle might react if you have access to one.

Make sure you know what to do when it is wet out. And not just when it is soaking wet, but when there's been a 5 minute sprinkling which just slightly moistens the road; remember, that's the most dangerous time of all is just after a light rain/sprinkle. What does hydroplaning feel like? Well, find out or hire someone to help you find out (perhaps through the use of a skid-pad or something similar).

Know the limits of your brakes and tires. Find a parking lot and figure out just how much pressure it takes to lock a given wheel up and what it feels like; I'd wager you'll be incredibly surprised at how much braking power you can put to pavement through the front brake and one skinny little tire. I know I was. Don't fear your tires, but learn where their usable limits are. It's pretty easy to out-bank cruiser tires or tires on older motorcycles that don't have a large radius.

Practice how to handle your vehicle at very low speeds. Moto Gymkhana is not only incredibly fun, but it is an outstanding learning tool. It doesn't even have to be crazy complex. Learn figure 8's. Learn to do a 2mph crawl without putting your feet down. Learn what it feels like when you're bike is at full steering lock.

Practice, practice, practice! Riding is always an adventure and is ALWAYS a learning process. A mere week without riding will leave you a little bit rusty at first.

And one last, important philosophy that I subscribe to with every fiber of my being is that you should ride for yourself and yourself alone. Don't ride to impress anybody.
If your friends decide they want to race off down the road doing stupid things, let them. I would personally rather be (and rather see another rider be) ridiculed or poked fun at by "friends", than trying to dig out gravel and asphalt from wounds and pick up pieces of my bike up off the road.

Ride safe, ride smart, and have fun!
 

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Gymkhanadog,

Thanks for the very detailed and informative post. It should be a sticky. I copied it and will share it with both new and veteran riders that I know.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Gymkhanadog, I mostly agree with what you said, except for the part about holding your line.


This video illustrates the optical effect of "looming" where the motorcycle and rider appear small for a long time and then suddenly appear large, which tricks the car driver's judgment of speed and distance.

The video then describes a deliberate weave in order to break the looming effect.

I do not precisely follow the suggestion, but I do switch sides of the lane in order to be seen better or to give myself space in case I'm not seen.

For example, when riding down single lane, undivided, two-way roads, I usually ride in the left wheel track, but I will move to the right or center of lane depending on obstacles (such as oncoming cars passing pedestrians or bicyclists) or to make myself more visible to cars waiting at intersections.

If you are riding behind a truck in the left wheel track, a car waiting to turn onto your road from your right may not see you in time. Moving to the right wheel track makes you visible to that car for a longer period of time. I would move back to the left wheel track as I get closer to the car to give myself more time in case they pull out anyway.

When riding in the leftmost lane, I ride in the right wheel track. There are lots of people who set their car mirrors too close--half the mirror surface is pointed at the side of their car--leaving them with large blind spots. Approaching them from the far side of the lane means you're in their blind spot for longer.

Speaking of blind spots--position yourself first to be seen and second to be unaffected when you are not seen. That is, try not to ride beside the rear half of a car for long. If you can't pass, then stagger so that if the car changes into your lane without dramatically changing their speed, yeah, they'll be close, but you won't be in their path.

Be aware of traffic in all lanes around you, not just the cars in the lanes immediately beside you. Someone merging with poor timing a couple of lanes away can cause the guy beside you to decide to change lanes and run you down if you don't recognize the situation ahead of time.

Be aware of traffic behind you. Know who is catching up and who is falling behind and who is keeping up. If you need to change lanes, you'll know where the openings are.

In general, constantly observe and analyze things happening around you and take proactive steps to avoid potentially dangerous situations before they develop.
 

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Gymkhanadog, I mostly agree with what you said, except for the part about holding your line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqQBubilSXU

This video illustrates the optical effect of "looming" where the motorcycle and rider appear small for a long time and then suddenly appear large, which tricks the car driver's judgment of speed and distance.

The video then describes a deliberate weave in order to break the looming effect.

I do not precisely follow the suggestion, but I do switch sides of the lane in order to be seen better or to give myself space in case I'm not seen.

For example, when riding down single lane, undivided, two-way roads, I usually ride in the left wheel track, but I will move to the right or center of lane depending on obstacles (such as oncoming cars passing pedestrians or bicyclists) or to make myself more visible to cars waiting at intersections.

If you are riding behind a truck in the left wheel track, a car waiting to turn onto your road from your right may not see you in time. Moving to the right wheel track makes you visible to that car for a longer period of time. I would move back to the left wheel track as I get closer to the car to give myself more time in case they pull out anyway.

When riding in the leftmost lane, I ride in the right wheel track. There are lots of people who set their car mirrors too close--half the mirror surface is pointed at the side of their car--leaving them with large blind spots. Approaching them from the far side of the lane means you're in their blind spot for longer.

Speaking of blind spots--position yourself first to be seen and second to be unaffected when you are not seen. That is, try not to ride beside the rear half of a car for long. If you can't pass, then stagger so that if the car changes into your lane without dramatically changing their speed, yeah, they'll be close, but you won't be in their path.

Be aware of traffic in all lanes around you, not just the cars in the lanes immediately beside you. Someone merging with poor timing a couple of lanes away can cause the guy beside you to decide to change lanes and run you down if you don't recognize the situation ahead of time.

Be aware of traffic behind you. Know who is catching up and who is falling behind and who is keeping up. If you need to change lanes, you'll know where the openings are.

In general, constantly observe and analyze things happening around you and take proactive steps to avoid potentially dangerous situations before they develop.
VERY GOOD VIDEO! and a great idea as well.
 

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Remember If you do go down, it's not over once you hit the pavement. Be aware that the driver behind you, next to you, in an incoming lane may not see you. We're invisible to most people when our exhaust, headlights, gear are all trying to get people's attention. If you're now sliding on the pavement at a speed lower than the traffic around you you're in a tough spot.

If you can get up right away, watch where you're stepping.


Sent from my iPhone using MO Free
 

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Remember If you do go down, it's not over once you hit the pavement. Be aware that the driver behind you, next to you, in an incoming lane may not see you. We're invisible to most people when our exhaust, headlights, gear are all trying to get people's attention. If you're now sliding on the pavement at a speed lower than the traffic around you you're in a tough spot.

If you can get up right away, watch where you're stepping.


Sent from my iPhone using MO Free
as sliding, also make sure you're stopped before getting up (tap the ground to be sure). If you stand up while sliding at 30mph, you're in for a nasty tumble.
 

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Gymkhanadog, I mostly agree with what you said, except for the part about holding your line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqQBubilSXU

This video illustrates the optical effect of "looming" where the motorcycle and rider appear small for a long time and then suddenly appear large, which tricks the car driver's judgment of speed and distance.
Golden Chicken, that is a great video and great food for thought, but it seems to me as if the British way of avoiding accidents in this manner actually might be more hazardous for the rider than if he were to simply hold his line and use his Flash-to-Pass trigger if there is any doubt. A flashing white light is eye-catching. This is why emergency vehicles use side-facing white strobes; they're for clearing intersections because a white strobe or flash draws the eye faster and with more intensity than any other colour or method. It's also required equipment on all modern motorcycles as far as I'm aware to comply with European standards and laws.

You are now telling the rider to begin a "strong weaving" while traveling down the road; perhaps a wet or oily road in adverse conditions, forcing the rider to now divide his attention several ways.

1: Wondering if the car he's trying to get the attention of knows what is going on. You are now distracting the driver by this odd maneuver and sudden movements that I would wager not many have ever seen or heard of. (This is my first time in my many years of riding and many more of driving ever having seen such a thing.) It may cause the driver to perceive you as a threat to himself or his car, which could cause unintended reactions such as trying to get out of the way to avoid someone who appears out of control.
2: Should the need arise to apply a load of front brakes, your weaving pattern now becomes a hazard to you as the rider and everyone around you because you are dividing your traction and balance/control between ceasing this weave and strong braking. I feel that only experienced riders should even attempt such a maneuver given that such a large segment of the riding community still thinks that you shouldn't brake at all through corners and have little to no experience or know how to react, and very mistakenly that the front brake is the kiss of death in a corner.
3: Law Enforcement likely will not know what you're trying to accomplish and I'd bet on them perceiving you as just another one of them motorcycling jerks doing stupid things on the road and intervene. Lets face it, you're going to end up looking like "That Guy" trying to warm his tires up GP-style.

I can't say that I necessarily agree with the assessment that motorcycles are essentially tiny until they're right on top of you but I can understand the concept and idea of the illusion; I chalk up the demonstration accident to bad driving practices, not a specific motorcylist fault. As a driver and a rider, anything moving needs to be summarily identified for what it is. Large boxy shape? Likely a truck or SUV. Small boxy shape? Probably a car. Bicycle shaped/slender and obviously on two wheels? Bike or motorcycle. Something moving low and long along the ground? Flat trailer.

It's not necessarily a bad concept to consider, but by giving the driver this excuse, you are now allowing him to say "Well, I didn't see that bicyclist." with just as much authority and conviction as "I didn't see that motorcyclist." If a driver is not looking for something as small as a bicycle on the road, he's not going to be paying attention to a motorcycle either and that's a serious danger.


Great suggestions all around!
 
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