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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings to all,

Now that I am back into riding (14 years off), I am looking into improving my safety on my 650 V-Strom. It's the safety of being seen. I have looked at the flashing headlights mod, the flashing brakelights mod, extra running and extra brake lights. There is simply a dazzling number of options and choices out there. All to increase the odds of being seen instead of being plowed into.

The one assumption here is that the standard 60WX2 headlights are not enough to be seen by day. The same assumption is that those 2 running lights/brake lights on my Strom are not enough. Yet, I think you'd have to be blind not to see my headlights in most any condition. My tail lights are way brighter than a single tail light in a car or truck. Same for the brake lights.

My question to all of you is this. Is there any data saying that a standard modern motorcyle (on par with the Strom's) cannot be safely seen on the road? Do we know if you need all the extra's or are they mosty "warm & fuzzys"? How many accidents would have been prevented with the extra's but not with the standard excellent lighting on the Strom?

I am not making a case here. I really do not know. However, my previous 85,000 miles on bikes and my 1.5 million miles of driving professionally, do not make me think all those extras are such a big key to safety.

I would appreciate your thoughts and any data you have.

Thanks.............. Bill


ps :wink: ...... but I strongly believe in loud air horns for those who do not bother to look!
 
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A driver has a finite amount of brain power. When portions of that finite supply are channeled into a phone conversation, applying makeup, inserting a CD, daydreaming, unwrapping a candy bar, whatever - they are not all that focused on driving. Take a good look next time you are out on the road. An extremely high percentage of driver's are talking on a cell phone. As driver's these people are impaired - the majority of their focus is not channeled into their driving. Then you have the DUIs out there - alcohol, drugs, medication. There is an excellent chance that a driver won't see you due to impairment of one type or another. Heck, they crash into other SUVs - doesn't have to be something as small as a motorcycle. :shock:

It is probably a good idea to do what you can to improve your visibility. Headlight modulators, extra of flashing brake lights, additional side reflective material, reflective vests, riding with high beams on during the day - all that could help. But I wouldn't totally rely on any of it.

The most important thing is to ride like your are invisible. Assume that car next to you is going to change lanes and hit you. Don't hang out alongside a truck or car on the freeway if you can avoid it. Assume that the car stopped at a stop sign is going to pull out into your path. Cover your brakes and think out an avoidance route as you approach. Watch your mirrors when you are stopped at a light. Leave yourself an escape route if the car behind you doesn't stop and have your bike in gear - not in neutral. These tactics are way more important than anything you can wear or bolt onto your bike.
 
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I agree with Paul! You have to watchout for yourself more than hoping your headlights and tail lights are bright enough, not that modulators and led's aren't a good addition. I would recomend reading "Proficiant Motorcycling" and "More Proficiant Motorcycling". There are alot of statistics and techniques for street riding in them. They will dramatically help your riding if you practice what you read.

I am tempted to buy the "HYPER BRIGHT" led's for the tail light. I like the idea of a flashing/swirling BRIGHT brake light. :wink:

Good luck and Ride safe!
 
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Instead of installing a modulator onto the headlights, why not modulate it yourself? Use the headlight pass switch on the left handlebar, and flash your lights at intersections and whenever you want to attract attention. Try to "engage" the tin box drivers.... make eye contact.... and flash your lights at em.

And NEVER NEVER TRUST THOSE SONS OF BITCHES.
 
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^^^ Good idea. But watch out for the people who think that you are letting them out infront of you. I have had that happen...only once though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys,

I really do appreciate your imput. I will also look to get the book proficient motorcycling.

Bill
 

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Nobody's mentioned it yet, but if you are coming back after awhile, take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. Later, you can take their Experienced Rider course. It will be the single best thing you ever do for your safety.

The single best skill you can develop is emergency braking. Always, always use your front brake, every time you stop. That way it becomes a reflex reaction to use it, because you don't have time to think in an emergency braking situation. And at least once a month, when on some deserted stretch of road with nobody behind you, practice some hard emergency braking several times. Learn how to brake as hard as possible without actually locking up the tires.

Bob
 

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IMHO I woud like to see the headlight modulators outlawed. I recently had a gold wing behind me (while in my rover) with the modulator flashing. It was hypnotic and I kept getting a strobe affect from my rear view mirror. As a safety professional, I strongly feel they they have the potential to cause more harm than good, although I do not know of anything that has been studied to prove their functionability either way.

I like the idea of enhanced brake lights. The manual flipping of the high beam is good for passing, but that's about it. Like the fithcircle said, it just screams "pull out in front of me".


Brendan



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Discussion Starter #9
Hey Bob or anyone else who wants to answer,

It has been suggested I take the motorycle saftey course. about 18 years ago I signed up to take the advanced course but they accidently put me into the beginners class. I did not stay but it appeared to me that the beginners course is starts with, "this is a handlebar and your right hand goes here...". My son took the course this summer and they never got out of the parking lot. I was impressed with how little they taught. The topic of countersteering never even came up.

In any case, I do not see the benefit of taking the beginning motorcycle saftey course.. unless I am missing something. Still in all, if the advanced course is truly an advanced course, I will take that.

Yes, I have been practicing emergency stops and a lot of other things to make me a better rider. I have over 1100 miles on the bike in 17 days so things are getting smoother and better.

Bill
 
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most car drivers dont pay attention to motorcycles, the flashers and enhancers might increase visability; but the problem is in drivers heads. motocycles just dont register! you said you are a pro driver just remember most people are not. i ride like i am invisible!
 
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It had been 20 plus years since I had rode a bike, more than the occasional friend that was brave/stupid enough to offer to let me on theirs. This year, my wife got me started again. We both attended a MSF thru ABATE of Indiana. While I hadn't riden in a long time, the course was good for me, and very good for her. YES, it was very basic, to start. More like "Simon Say's" than anything else. But, you have to take into account that it is open to all folks. They supplied the bikes, facilty and the instructors for $50 a person. The Advanced Course makes you bring your own ride. So, if you crash, you pay!!

She drives a SCHOOL BUS for a living. Hard to believe that you can't see that big, yellow bus, flashing lights and all. But, she tells of people running her STOP ARM, every day.

So, what's the moral of the story: Ride like every day is your last, watch the other guy, give a biker a chance when you are driving an enclosed vehicle, and don't be fooled in your safety, no matter what you are in.
 

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MSF course

I took the MSF experienced rider course about 6 years ago, as a re-entry rider. Well worth the time and money. There were several people in the course who took it each time they bought a new bike. Not a bad idea. Since I just got my 'Strom, I'm thinking of taking it again this spring.
 

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Beginner MSF

FWIW...(not much)...if you have the option to take the MSF on a military base...they typically let/force you to ride your own bike through the drills. (btw...this means you have to have your 'learner's permit') Since you're doing everything slo-mo and on your own bike, it's great experience.

Also, you really learn to trust your bike and tires. (My not so humble experience) I had been off bikes for about 12 years, and the MSF helped me overcome my new and old 'bad habits'.

Also, in some states (WA included and TX I believe) waive the written and ride test of the licensing requirements.

My Two Pennies and not worth it!

John <--- needs to ride but a girlie man(TM) ;)
 
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Visibility

Sorry, this is a long post.

I just read two reports, one was an analysis of 931 MC accidents across Europe and another was an analysis of MC visibility issues in Victoria Australia. Both reports seemed to indicate what has already been stated on this board, and that is that cagers just don't process motorcycles visually when they are looking for other cagers.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the human brain just isn't programmed to interpret multiple sized objects simultaneously without additional training. Even when the MC is detected, most people have a difficult time intepreting speed and position of the MC when compared to an automobile and may pull in front of you due to a mis-perception of your velocity or position. This is particularly the case when the cager is moving in a direction 180 degrees from the MC, yet another reason that oncoming traffic turning left in front of you is the highest percentage collision. The only way to assist is to improve your "visual size."

Interestingly enough it the Australian report concluded that increased visibility was linked to three factors, daytime running lights (DRL), contrasting and visible colors, and frontal area. In other words, to increase your chances of being seen, keep your lights on (brights preferably during the day), wear brightly colored contrasting clothing, and ride a bike with a large frontal area (not much we can do about that). The three of which will increase your chance of being seen and improve the cagers ability to interpret your position and velocity.

The European report concluded much of the same. Some interesting facts from the study: Only 3% of all collisions are from the rear, so the LED's for your brake/markers may be of minimal help. Conversely, some 60% of all collisions come from the front, with the rest from the side.

Also, only two (2) of the 931 accidents in the European study (130 fatalities) involved a rider wearing hi-visibility clothing. Now that simply could be a result of a statistically low percentage of total riders wearing hi-viz clothing, but it makes you think (IMHO).

Just my $0.02.

Regards,
Mc2guy
 
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