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Since Spring is springing and there are already articles and forum posts about dead bikers, I thought I'd ask people if they have any little things they have learned to do in the interest of staying alive.

Hi Viz has been debated to death, so keep that down to "I wear it" or "I don't", it's not a new discussion on that.

Here's a few things I've learned;

- Yup, I wear Hi-Viz.

- I'd rather get a speeding ticket than hang with a pack of cars on the highway. So far so good, no tickets, but that's going to be my (useless) defense if I ever get pulled over for speeding on the highway. I do everything in my power to keep some distance between myself and the car drivers. If they aren't near me, they can't cut me off, force me off the road, or rear-end me.

- Never, EVER take your eyes off the left turner at an intersection. In an attempt to mitigate their tunnel vision I usually start a "wobble" as I approach the intersection. I read somewhere, (maybe here) once that it can catch the car drivers attention.

- I watch the front tire and the eyes of the driver when approaching intersections. The tire never lies, when it moves, the car moves. The drivers eyes are another issue.....sometimes they just seem blind (see "wobble" above).

- When following a car I make every attempt to be able to see their face in their rear view and side view mirrors, and avoid entering their blind spot.

- I'm planning on adding some yellow LCD lights on my crash bars next.
 

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When following cars I try to allow at least 2 or 3 car lengths between us. When on the interstate I ride to the left or right of them so I can see the road ahead of them for stuff they can run over and kick up at me.

Hi-vis my jacket has some I also run driving lights and some of the bikes have brake light modulators

In the end I'm not sure any of it really matters. Just like in the Hi-viz post distracted drivers don't see any of this.
 

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I ride to the left or right of them so I can see the road ahead of them for stuff they can run over and kick up at me.
that's a good point...a piece of 2 x 4 or a decent pot hole can be lethal :oops:
....avoid following cars as much as possible
 

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Not a Hi-Vis follower but I have adopted red jackets over recent years and bright, not necessarily matching coloured helmets.
I believe that my safety is primarily my responsibility I and am always alert when any vehicle may possibly enter my safety zone. I look at the driver at intersections and in multi lane traffic never remain beside another vehicle. I will speed up or slow down to make myself visible to others, briefly touch the brake etc. and have fitted extra brake/tail lights.
Our biggest danger surely comes from other road users so as above, I attempt to keep my distance and be highly visible to other road users.
 

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No hi-viz for me, but I do make sure I have sufficient reflectivity on my bike and gear for dusk / night help. Yammy Noob has stated that contrast is better than simply "bright", so jackets that highlight shoulder and arm lines are better than all white, silver, or even yellow. Visually speaking. My jacket is black with tan highlights.

DanDanTheFireman makes the point to rock your bike when approaching intersections to wobble your headlight. The added movement is more eye-catching to oncoming traffic and might keep a left-left-turner in their place. It's not something I do, but it's a valid point to avoid "in-attentional blindness".

Finally, I use Ryan @ FortNine's advice. (I watch alot of youtube...) I mostly ignore what I might look like and ride as if I'm invisible. Look at cars, avoid obvious texters (there are plenty these days), huge space cushions, and do constant head checks in traffic. I hate getting passed by that one hot-shot car going faster than everyone. If I can see them, get over, and give them the lane before they pass, my day is all the better for it. I never fight lane positions with other vehicles while on a bike. Non-issues dont bother me. And riding angry is something I've made a rule about to never do.

Loved all your points btw! Great topic!
 

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Yeah, keep plenty of space between me and the cars. Whatever that takes.
Assume, every time I get on, some inattentive driver is going to try to kill me. This leads to the ultimate defensive driving game. "Is that one going to try to kill me? Maybe that one." Wash rinse repeat. Yes, wiggle the bike coming up to an intersection. Flasher secondary brake light.
 

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I follow a lot of what's already been mentioned -- Hi-Viz, contrasting colors, 'wobbling' for oncoming turners, etc.

I do a fair bit of night riding due to my current work schedule. And, until recently, most of that commute was outside the city limits. I live in deer country, so hitting one in the dark is always a possibility. I took to following a car or other larger vehicle after dark, to the point where I've pulled over and let another vehicle pass me so I could run behind it. They then serve as an 'early-detection system/battering ram' for anything running out onto the road. I try to maintain a 3-4 second gap, which gives me time to recognize their emergency braking and slow or avoid obstacles myself.
 

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SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You) is highly effective at increasing conspicuity and I use that technique of a quick side-to-side movement to create a weaving motion nearly every time out. It has most certainly saved me from left-turning traffic, as well as traffic entering the roadway from the right side. Cannot even begin to count the number of "surprised" drivers who have suddenly become aware of a motorcycle in their field of view.

Not a "hi-viz" wearer, per se, but wear a white helmet, which has been shown to be the most visible, and have a triangle of reflective stickers on the rear of each of my sidecases.

Riding as though every other driver on the road is actively trying to kill you is a good starting point. Constant visual scans, mirror checks, etc. keep surprises to a minimum and riding with a heightened awareness is generally a good idea.

On the back roads, one method for maintaining clear riding is to not just jump on the road behind traffic but to create a gap by staying stopped beside the road for a while to allow traffic ahead to clear the way. Sometimes that is not possible, but often times you can simply wait until just before "next batch of traffic" approaches and head out just in front of that grouping.

I also try very hard to "work" my way to empty traffic pockets when riding the superslab and do not spend time behind or beside traffic, especially vehicles with tarps, bikes, kayaks, coolers, skis, etc. as I have seen way too many items fly off along the highway!

All the focus on other drivers sometimes leaves us vulnerable to other hazards like two-toed forest rats, birdstrikes and more when we are riding out in the middle of nowhere. Knock wood, no deer collisions but have run headlong into a black vulture--he, however, was the one who was surprised--right up until he broke his neck, leaving me with a nice reminder bruise as birds that size are heavy and hitting them at any speed should be avoided.

Lastly, the idea of staying to one side or the other of vehicles ahead so you can better see would have prevented the inglorious bloated groundhog strike of 2007...can still smell/taste that funk of nastiness that exploded all over me and my old Honda when the rider ahead of me simply weaved around the roadkill leaving me no choice but a direct hit!
285646
 

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The safety tip that has served me best is the one given to Maverick by Viper in TopGun, paraphrased, "Don't push a bad position". You know when you're doing it, and when you've done it. I ride within my limitations and those of the motorists around me. At my age I don't have much to prove, only that I still deserve to be here because of the decisions I've made.
I avoid high traffic areas and times of day. I don't ride on interstates. I don't do things on the street that only belong on a track. I wear all the gear that's practical, including Hi-viz. If you're worried about being seen, well...
Best, DD
 

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1. Hi vis is good, but sometimes cagers can't see it because of trunk box or fairing. The one thing they can always see, and draws their eyes, is a white helmet. You can see a white helmet for a long ways. However, nothing will draw the attention of someone texting...
2. NEVER tailgate. A friend of mine was tailgating, and the car driver had to stop quickly, and he didn't have enough time to react enough to get around the car. He now has a prosthetic lower leg.
3. Always leave yourself an "out". Ride on the left hand section of your lane, especially in town, so you can get past the car in front in case the car behind doesn't stop. I find that if I ride to the left of the lane, the cars behind usually stay to the right of the lane.
4. We NEVER have the right-of-way. Get used to it and get over it. Paranoia will save your life.
 

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Agree with the Ryan F9 video. I wave at the cars while crossing intersections or when they look like they will turn. It works they almost always wave back.
 

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Modulated headlight.
All white helmet.
Hi-Viz jacket.
Aux. lights in front forming a distinct triangle with the headlight.
Flashing brake light.
 

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Don't ride during critter hours, "Dusk to Dawn". I am not a LD rider so I have no need to ride during those hours. I know way to many that do and they all have hi hit rates.

Don't chase rabbits. My wife says that I have a problem chasing rabbits. The vehicle in front of me on the road. The speck that is miles away that I can see and I have to catch it. I can't help myself, it just happens.
 

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So much good advice guys!

A couple of things I thought of:

Don't spend time next to semis/large trucks. Hang back wait for a gap and motor through.

Be an assertive rider. Not aggressive or rude but be a bit faster than the general flow of traffic. Move out of the pack and stay in a gap.

Bonus tip! Don't get mad at other drivers. Let stuff go, people make mistakes. Even with drivers that are being jerks physics should tell you that trying to retaliate in some way won't go well for you on a bike.
 

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As per the information's available, contrasting colors, especially "yellow and black" 🚧🚧(stripes/squares/dots) are recommended for traffic conspicuity, many 3M reflective products available, so the more the merrier especially at the rear of your bike. (that is if you like the "construction look")...my 650 is black and yellow so some B/Y stripes will match perfectly.
***the only thing is zebra's stripes (beside cooling) also serve to "mess up" the depth perception and confuse predators......so don't go crazy with those 3M stripes on your bike 🦓🦓🦓 o_O don't want to confuse the cagers behind

even better solutions are "flashing /strobing lights", but that's not allowed so here's the (semi legal) workaround idea:

...on my Wing I had those (mirror finished/ chrome) helmet brackets dangling under the top box, every time I had friends following at night, they would tell me how "annoying" these are since they bounce around and reflect headlights back to the riders that followed (playing with mirrors on bright sunny day comes to mind)....so another great idea to make your bike more visible at night...and depending on placement similar "hanging chrome plates" would work during daytime as well. Same effect as when following trucks that have mirror finished chrome plates on their mud flaps.

p.s. I also noticed, when following other bikers, a loose bright colored (Hi-Vis) scarf / bandana ends etc flapping vigorously can be spotted much quicker

285650
 

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I guess I'm the opposite. I try to stay invisible. No hi viz. BUT I rely heavily on defensive driving.

Knowing what can go wrong can be a blessing and a curse. You will always seem to think people are nuts and will drive crazy.

I try to be a skilled rider and know how to ride out of bad situations.
 

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Triangle of lights on front. I have a pair of very bright amber aux lights mounted well below the headlight and as wide as possible, clear upper cut-off, aimed properly. I believe they have made a noticeable difference in my experience on the road.

I also very strongly believe it is counterproductive to try to blind the people that you want to be seen by. Riding with 100 watt high beams, shitty LEDs that produce nothing but scatter, off road racing lights, etc. I have had some very bad experiences with users of these lights on the road. It is very hard to judge distance and closing rate in these cases.
 

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Don't chase rabbits. My wife says that I have a problem chasing rabbits. The vehicle in front of me on the road. The speck that is miles away that I can see and I have to catch it. I can't help myself, it just happens.
One of my pet dislikes even in my Jeep but especially on a bike.
A guy comes up behind you, over the speed limit, and then slows to your speed, five car lengths behind. Open clear road and he sits there like a pet that does not want to be alone.
So I slow 10kp/hr. He slows 10kp/hr and sits there. So I slow another 10kp/hr. Finally he wakes and blows by, probably cursing the dumb drivers on the road today.

When I am traveling I will always make it easy for somebody who has caught up to me to pass by keeping to the side of the road and slowing as I come on to a straight. Even then many seem unwilling to pass.
If I let rabbiters push me to illegal speeds they will always simply maintain my pace, just five car lengths behind. :rolleyes:
 

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Needs area.

I proved that with a couple of short trips down the local motorway with my wife following. The first I was wearing a light gray jacket the second fluro. green. She could see me from several km away with the green jacket, the gray I disappeared into the noise within a hundred meters.
 

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Two little things to add:
If your shadow is pointing toward a car - the sun is in their eyes.
Blind Spot: If you can see the car drivers face in their side mirror you are not in their blind spot.
 
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