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Some things that have helped me over a decade of bike-only lifestyle:

  • Sightline - maximize it to see and avoid that dead animal, pothole, tree branch, tire scrap, easy chair (seriously Kansas City what the fuck). When riding behind a car, your bike should be aligned with a side mirror so they can see you and you can see past them. Don't dwell behind trucks, buses, or anything carrying a load. If you're stuck behind one, give yourself a buffer for blowouts or obscured hazards.

  • Pace - In general it's best to be slightly faster than the average on highways. Even if you are overtaking a lot of other vehicles, you should still push towards the slow lane whenever possible. Getting passed on the right (or left if you're in a left-hand country) is generally bad form and hints at a lack of awareness. If you want to cruise at an easy pace, find two cars in the slow lane with space between them and slot in, but don't be the rearmost slow vehicle in a line.

  • Second mirror check after head check - Most riders do a mirror-check, head-check, and go. Instead, after your head-check, give your mirror a quick second glance. Consider if a high schooler in his parents' Mustang GT just crested the hill 1/8mi behind you at 110mph. He'd be approaching your ass end at 60mph and hasn't yet spotted your tiny brake running light. Do you think he can slow in time once he does? This idiot is rare, but look out for him whenever the left lane opens up. This doesn't just apply to actual lanes of traffic, it is a relatively normal on the DC Baltimore-Washington parkway and Massachusetts turnpike to see people passing on the shoulders and exit lanes, so be on the lookout.

  • Fail your assumptions - There's a semi or city bus you intend to pass. Is there stopped traffic, a disabled vehicle or debris in the lane adjacent to and obstructed by it? Do your checks for each lane every time, NEVER swoop across multiple lanes at one, that is an easy way to die and not worth the half second you save. Take the next exit if you have to.

  • Don't ride at all on drinking holidays. The closest call I ever had was riding home on a rainy new year's eve, some guy in a pickup truck blew a stop sign and made a left-hander in front of me. Because it was dark out, I didn't notice he failed to stop until I was maybe 15 feet from his front grille, and I swerved into the opposing lane to avoid a head on collision. I am still astounded that he didn't hit the rear end of my bike, it was a flash.

  • Don't get complacent. Risk management is a constant process, you should be scanning for hazards, doing "what-ifs" and adjusting proactively. If you find yourself fixating on something for more than a moment, force your gaze away from it and rescan the whole picture. If something surprises you, take the time to figure out why.

  • Evaluate your habits while you're off the bike. We live and die by them, so if we reflect on them honestly and make the effort, we can improve.
 

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  • I use my 'Passing Light' in the daytime. Pull and hold the light to alert side traffic that I'm on the road IF I think they don't see me.
Not sure if I agree with that suggestion. It is difficult to judge the distance to a vehicle with its high beam on, especially with today's bright LED's.
Also, peoples attention is natually drawn to anything moving or pulsing. Look in a shop window some time and you will see that your attention is draw to whatever is moving.
When unsure that I have been seen I pulse the pass button.
 

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Pulsing the pass button means 'go ahead and pull out' in the USA.
 

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Pulsing the pass button means 'go ahead and pull out' in the USA.

Something like once or twice a second for a few flashes would likely be taken as a go ahead. A much higher flash rate that you can do with LED headlights and sustain for several seconds seems to be taken quite differently.

..Tom
 

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on my FJR I installed Skene P3 strobe brake lights
Removed the rear red reflector and installed two strips in parallel, it was a perfect fit.

Selected mode; 3x quick strobe, 3x slow blink, glow steady until you let go the brake lever. The lights are also lit at all the time, and I also selected the mode for them to flicker at all time (it's a very rapid flicker very noticeable during daytime and especially at nighttime.
The P3's are VERY VERY bright, great product (y) ...will be getting a pair for my Strom as well.

Installation - P3 | skenelights

285748
 

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Pulsing the pass button means 'go ahead and pull out' in the USA.
Wow. Never heard of that before.
Downunder it is taken as "I am trying to attract your attention to avoid possible conflict" or "there is a speed trap ahead of you".
 
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As for the triangle of headlights, there is science in that. Even the train engines around my area have a triangle of headlights. That reminds me, I gotta get a couple more head lights for my Wee...
i agree, gotta have that "triangle effect" ;)

added two 4000 lumens aux led's, pointed slightly downward, no cut-off feature, but I use them only at daytime.


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Some things that have helped me over a decade of bike-only lifestyle:

  • Sightline - maximize it to see and avoid that dead animal, pothole, tree branch, tire scrap, easy chair (seriously Kansas City what the fuck). When riding behind a car, your bike should be aligned with a side mirror so they can see you and you can see past them. Don't dwell behind trucks, buses, or anything carrying a load. If you're stuck behind one, give yourself a buffer for blowouts or obscured hazards.

  • Pace - In general it's best to be slightly faster than the average on highways. Even if you are overtaking a lot of other vehicles, you should still push towards the slow lane whenever possible. Getting passed on the right (or left if you're in a left-hand country) is generally bad form and hints at a lack of awareness. If you want to cruise at an easy pace, find two cars in the slow lane with space between them and slot in, but don't be the rearmost slow vehicle in a line.

  • Second mirror check after head check - Most riders do a mirror-check, head-check, and go. Instead, after your head-check, give your mirror a quick second glance. Consider if a high schooler in his parents' Mustang GT just crested the hill 1/8mi behind you at 110mph. He'd be approaching your ass end at 60mph and hasn't yet spotted your tiny brake running light. Do you think he can slow in time once he does? This idiot is rare, but look out for him whenever the left lane opens up. This doesn't just apply to actual lanes of traffic, it is a relatively normal on the DC Baltimore-Washington parkway and Massachusetts turnpike to see people passing on the shoulders and exit lanes, so be on the lookout.

  • Fail your assumptions - There's a semi or city bus you intend to pass. Is there stopped traffic, a disabled vehicle or debris in the lane adjacent to and obstructed by it? Do your checks for each lane every time, NEVER swoop across multiple lanes at one, that is an easy way to die and not worth the half second you save. Take the next exit if you have to.

  • Don't ride at all on drinking holidays. The closest call I ever had was riding home on a rainy new year's eve, some guy in a pickup truck blew a stop sign and made a left-hander in front of me. Because it was dark out, I didn't notice he failed to stop until I was maybe 15 feet from his front grille, and I swerved into the opposing lane to avoid a head on collision. I am still astounded that he didn't hit the rear end of my bike, it was a flash.

  • Don't get complacent. Risk management is a constant process, you should be scanning for hazards, doing "what-ifs" and adjusting proactively. If you find yourself fixating on something for more than a moment, force your gaze away from it and rescan the whole picture. If something surprises you, take the time to figure out why.

  • Evaluate your habits while you're off the bike. We live and die by them, so if we reflect on them honestly and make the effort, we can improve.
Yes unfortunately they don't teach most of these "valuable / lifesaving" tips & tricks in ridding schools, Motorcycle training books should have a collection of these real life hints.

...and likewise Car driving training books, should also have similar "tips & tricks" i.e.:

1) when you see a motorcycle in your rearview mirror;
  • don't assume all bike riders are here to brake the law, and annoy cagers
  • don't try to get out of the way, slowdown or accelerate
  • don't move to the shoulder (to make room for the biker to pass)
  • driving partially on the shoulder will "sandblast" a poor biker and leave him in the cloud of dust
  • don't use your windshield washers, please
  • use your signal lights in timely manner
  • etc
 

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I went to all LED signals and did some simple wiring changes so the fronts are on all the time and rears also function as brake lights.
 

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Very good points. A few things I would suggest is:

1. I use the signalMinder from Kisan which in addition to cancelling the turnsignals convert's them to running lights for added compiscuity.
2. I also added 3m reflecting tape:
Speedmetal 7MM Wheel Stripe Reflective Tape With Applicator available at cycle gear to my rims for side visibilty and
3. I have a Nolan dayglow yellow helmet that has a ESS is an exclusive presence and braking signalling indicator with a LED light installed in the back of the helmet.


Emergency Stop Signal function: signalling of sudden braking by means of a LED light with high intermittence
  • Built-in triaxial accelerometer
  • Exclusive algorithm that calculates the acceleration
  • Adjustment of the braking sensitivity level
  • ESS system is unrelated to the braking system of the bike, as it analyses the acceleration sustained by the helmet independently
 

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I'd rather die in a bike crash than of dimentia but I'm keen to delay it as long as possible. I survived a serious crash 30 years ago. I can walk & even play tennis but not a day has gone by that hasn't offered a reminder of the day a young lady sped through a red light & didn't see me. My tips - I could go on all day but these off the top of my head:
(1) I teach kids to drive nowdays. We don't measure following distance in "car lengths" any more. Instead we tell them to let the car in front pass a landmark/shadow across the road, then count. "1-mississipi, 2-mississipi". If you can't finish the second "Mississipi" you're too close. Measuring distance in seconds seems easier and auto-compensates for speed. Also I practice dodging maintenance covers in the road as they come up from under the car in front. If I can't, I'm too close.
(2) I've fitted some LED spotties on the crash bars of my mini-V. To be honest I bought them ages ago - happened to have them so fitted them, however looking at myself in a shop window the flash from the LEDs comes up noticeably faster then the halogen headlight's high beam. They offer a bit of extra light to high beam but they're MUCH more effective for the "see me" flash.
(3) practice the silly stuff, that you would have done as a kid. Try locking the wheels. Practice evasive turns. Do it on dirt (tip from FortNine) where you can do it slower). Start the learning curve before the actual emergency, you'll have a better chance of doing it right when you need it most.
(4) My bike's yellow & my winter jackets all have reflective lines on them. In summer I wear denim, and a high-vis vest. I missed the "fashion" gene. I have a bike because I love to ride, not because I think it makes me look sexy.
(5) some great tips in this discussion, read them all - several times. Some will speak to you & the tiny adjustment you make to your habits could save you from becoming a grumpy old sod 30 years ahead of schedule.
 

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Very good points. A few things I would suggest is:

1. I use the signalMinder from Kisan which in addition to cancelling the turnsignals convert's them to running lights for added compiscuity.
I switched to LED signals because I was a little worried about the current draw and heat buildup in the "pod" enclosures. Not a lot of airspace around the bulbs and no ventilation. No shortened bulb life or heat distortion of the plastic parts on yours?
 

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Very good points. A few things I would suggest is:

1. I use the signalMinder from Kisan which in addition to cancelling the turnsignals convert's them to running lights for added compiscuity.
Previous owners had installed those on my last 2 bikes - and I pulled them both out. If you ride in city traffic a lot, like I do you find that no matter what you set the delay to, your signals are getting turned off prematurely. I figure that if I can't pay enough attention to shut off my signals with the blinking lights on the dash, that I probably can't pay enough attention to ride safely.
 
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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.
Be ware of unintentional blindness.....
 

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Wow. Never heard of that before.
Downunder it is taken as "I am trying to attract your attention to avoid possible conflict" or "there is a speed trap ahead of you".
Canada also...except we'll signal like that once, get no result then we'll wave our arms "Go, you idiot!!" and the person will then feel bad for not following directions and panic, blindly turn left across in front of the signaling car and assuming that lane beside the signaling car MUST be empty.....right?" So...if there's a gap anywhere, assume some knob is in the process of jamming his car through it.

Also, stuff that hit home when I took my course:
  • They beat downshifting WHILE emergency braking into us...you had to be in 1st when you stopped...If YOU had to emergency brake, the guy behind you did too..and you might have to get out of his way.
  • Stay left when stopped behind a car, leave enough space that you can pull up beside them if you need to get out of a possible squeeze.
  • Never sit in traffic in neutral...this one seems so obvious, but so many people do it....

And we were taught left foot on the ground, right foot on the brake. There's lots of arguments on that, but whatever. I always thought that the front brake was just as good as the rear brake when sitting stopped.....credit Ryan F9 again, he pointed out in a recent video that a bump from behind would be an instant down with the front brake pulled and the front wheel angled towards your escape route. Way more chance of staying upright if bumped with the rear brake on.
 

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  • They beat downshifting WHILE emergency braking into us...you had to be in 1st when you stopped...If YOU had to emergency brake, the guy behind you did too..and you might have to get out of his way.
Yup. Amazing how many people just grab the clutch and brake and hold tight. Not as important in an abs bike, but downshifting is your best rear braking in a non abs bike.
 

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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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First of all, I have been riding since 1961. Although I have bounced off the ground a few times, I am still alive and ridinga lot of miles per year. First do not ride outside your comfort/safety envelope. If your group is going faster than you feel comfortable, stay at your speed and catch up later. experience will come with miles added. Next, the visibility clothing may seem good. You are still invisible to most car drivers. You are not a threat to them.
Second, at a stoplight count to 5 before taking off when it turns green. You will be amazed at all of the cars running the red light.
Third lighting. I always put a set of led bar brake lights on either side of my plate. You can set them up to flash. They will get the guy's attention coming up from behind you at the stop. They are not hard to hook up. Will not wash out in the bright sun.
Fourth >> Do not ride in a straight line. weave a little bit. catches the other driver's attention.
Last ... Whenever I can I will use both the turn signal & arm signal. I have had lights blow out and did not know it. ( brakes also), Plus helps to get the drivers attention behind you
BTW My wife started riding 25 years ago. she uses these tricks. After350 + K miles, she still has not had an accident.
 

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Yup. Amazing how many people just grab the clutch and brake and hold tight. Not as important in an abs bike, but downshifting is your best rear braking in a non abs bike.
Actually you stop faster with the clutch lever pulled in.
Without the clutch disengaged the motor is working against the brakes, even down shifting!

Down shift thru the gears with clutch disengaged while slowing. Be in the right gear if you need accelerate though.
 

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Not if you keep the revs up, it doesn't.

Incidentally, ABS does not make you stop quicker - well, perhaps yes for most of us klutz, but race bikes and race cars do not run ABS as it interferes with maximum braking effect.
Its there to prevent us panicking mortals from locking up a wheel.
 
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