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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been around awhile... Haven't ridden for over 20 years. Had a small Honda, then a Honda 350 SL, then a Suzuki 750T..

The VSTROM looks like the machine to get. Did some research on cruisers, other bikes, etc.

Question is I just really am concerned again with the safety factor. I know, I know, a good helmet, safety gear, a MC training course, etc all would help to increase my safety... Plus, the old addage, well, you can't live forever.....Just when I read about how wonderful bikes are I turn around and read about some poor dude getting in an accident. I guess you just have to accept it and move on.. Comes with the territory.

I also understand I'm kinda preaching to the choir here. If I posted this question on a police, doctor or lawyer forum, they may have a totally different answer.

Am I be too cautious? Did any of you struggle with this?? I know two wheels move the soul, I just don't want to move my soul too quickly into the next place...

Thoughts?
 

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Over the years I've heard it so often....everybody knows somebody who's met an untimely end on bikes.
However, everybody knows somebody who's met an untimely end in cars too......but nobody ever debates whether they should drive a car.
The vast majority of motorcycle accidents could be avoided. There are on rare occasions, circumstances that can't be anticipated....but they're very, very rare.
People say "A car pulled out on me"....but what they don't say is the speed they were doing, and any forward anticipation they could or should have made at that time.
Bottom line: There's a graveyard at the end of the road. There's a queue outside....and we're all in that queue. We can make decisions that push us to the front, or can keep us at the back. If you make the right decisions, and have the right attitude, you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Good comments Pete... Only thing is I'd rather be in a car than on a bike IF an accident occurred... When on my bike, I used to flip my front lights on when a car was thinking of pulling out in front of me, also pump the rear brakes to let them know behind me to slow down.. Lots of things you can do.

Just seems like there are SO MANY more cars on the roads these days then when I was riding.. I find myself while driving in my car constantly wondering, now, what would I do if I were on a bike right now... How would I react? etc?

Any other "smart" techniques you use? Or, other things you do to anticipate an action or reaction to avoid trouble?
 

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I've been around awhile... Haven't ridden for over 20 years. Had a small Honda, then a Honda 350 SL, then a Suzuki 750T..

The VSTROM looks like the machine to get. Did some research on cruisers, other bikes, etc.

Question is I just really am concerned again with the safety factor. I know, I know, a good helmet, safety gear, a MC training course, etc all would help to increase my safety... Plus, the old addage, well, you can't live forever.....Just when I read about how wonderful bikes are I turn around and read about some poor dude getting in an accident. I guess you just have to accept it and move on.. Comes with the territory.

I also understand I'm kinda preaching to the choir here. If I posted this question on a police, doctor or lawyer forum, they may have a totally different answer.

Am I be too cautious? Did any of you struggle with this?? I know two wheels move the soul, I just don't want to move my soul too quickly into the next place...

Thoughts?
i think youve answered your own question, however if you ride responsibly, lookout for other peoples potential mistakes, approach junctions with caution etc youll be relatively safe, good luck
 

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Like the others said :p

I'm also a returning rider. I rode many years ago (closer to 35 for me though) and earlier this year decided I wanted another bike. I bought a DL650, took the MFC BRC, and never ride without as much protective gear as I can stand. Last summer I did forego my heavy pants, but never rode without a helmet, gloves (armored), jacket (armored), and boots.

Just like everything else in life riding a motorcycle is a function or risk management. You can choose to live in a coccoon and never get out of the house, and still fall down the stairs. You can try to be absolutely safe in everything that you do and accidents will still happen.

Motorcycles, in and of themselves, are not inherently dangerous. A motorcycle sitting on its sidestand will never hurt anyone (unless it fall over on them). Two functions define the level of danger: The environment in which the bike is ridden and the attentiveness and abilities of the rider. Only a fool jumps on his first bike, runs out in the heaviest traffic he can find, and rips down the super slab at a buck+. A smart person knows his limitations. He stays aware of everything going on around him, he wears gear that he feels will protect him if an accident occurs, and he does his best to stay within his limitations.

Personally I started slow. I took the BRC before I ever got on my bike, even though it was sitting in the basement begging to be ridden. As I said, I never ride without my gear, and I stay within what I feel are my limitations. If people I'm riding with want to set a pace I feel is over my head, that's fine. I'll meet them down the road somewhere. I also "Try" to see everything happening around me, although that is really not possible.

There are no guarantees. You, I, anyone else could do everything right and still get hurt, but you can bend the odds in your favor. Number one in my book is taking the BRC. It doesn't matter that you've ridden before, I guarantee you'll understand afterwards. It is the single best thing you can do to help protect yourself at this stage.

The decision is yours. As you mentioned, you are preaching to the choir and we have already made ours. If you decide you get another bike you'll enjoy it just like you did years ago, but only you can make that decision.

Just seems like there are SO MANY more cars on the roads these days then when I was riding.. I find myself while driving in my car constantly wondering, now, what would I do if I were on a bike right now... How would I react? etc?
**THAT** is the attitude to have. You are using motorcycle attitudes all the time now. You are aware of what is going on around you even while driving your car. I've noticed that since I returned to a bike I've started doing the same thing in my truck, and I feel like that is an important attitude to have at all times.
 

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Any other "smart" techniques you use? Or, other things you do to anticipate an action or reaction to avoid trouble?
Firstly valpo....let me tell you that I've never had one second's training on a bike. I can only tell you what works for me.....and I learned (like most of us oldies did) the hard way. Back in 71 if you did something wrong you got pain, not professional correction. It's a hard way to learn but you never forget.
Anyway, 35 years later I'm still here....never broken a bone, never trashed a bike (and I've had 54 of them), and never made an insurance claim.
So what I do, and how I ride works for me.....but I'm not a riding instructor so don't take my word as gospel.

Read on, it's a bit long, but you may find it of interest.

For survival....remember two words....Observation Linking!

Observation links can often be the difference between getting into trouble or having a care free enjoyable blast, and by using O/L you can often pick up clues long before you reach the area of imminent danger.

For example, in the Summer riding along a quiet country road you come across a pile of steaming cow shit. Most people would immidiately think of how to avoid going through the shit, but the switched on rider will think "Where are the cows that just deposited the shit"?
Simply because if it is still steaming it has obviously been left there very recently, and a slow moving cow impacting with a briskly moving motorcycle is not a good mix. Now if it turns out that the cows have simply moved across the road, then great, but they may have a half mile walk to the milking sheds and may be further down the road.

Likewise if you come up behind a Bus and you see a passenger stand up, most people would simply be thinking about how to get past the bus, but with the advanced warning you have the opportunity to make a more in depth assesment

1. Where is the bus stop?

2. Is it likely that another passenger is running from the other side of the road to catch the bus that you are following?

3. Is there a bus in front of the vehicle I am following?

4. You often get another bus stop on the other side of the road, so is it possible that another bus is approaching from the opposite direction?

5. Buses run on Diesel! Where do we often find Diesel and Oil spillage? Around bus stops.....so is the road surface likely to be slippery?

6. Are there vehicles or pedestrians obscured from our vision by the sheer size of the bus?

And so it goes on. The fact that the passenger was seen to stand up maybe a minute or so before reaching the bus stop gives you an additional minute to link what you can see to what may possibly affect your safety.

During the summer, the waft of freshly mown grass reaches your delicate nostrils. Is it someone simply mowing their lawn, or is it a commercial hedge cutter just out of site around the next left hander doing 2MPH right in your line? Early clues may be signs of grass clippings on the verge or carriageway, but by looking it gives you added reaction time, and it won't come as a particular shock to the system.

Stationary vehicles? Is the driver in his seat? Is it possible that he may move off without warning? In the winter, is there any sign that the engine is running? Is there fumes coming from the exhaust?

Around petrol stations, consider the possibility that apart from vehicles pulling in or out, there may be fuel spillage where someone has forgotten to put his filler cap on properly etc, etc, and therefore there is again the possibility of a slippery road surface.

The options are endless, and it would take too long to cover every link on here, hence just a few examples but everything out there can be linked to something that may affect our safety.

So next time someone mentions observation, take it one stage further and relate it not only to how far and how deeply you look at a situation, see if you can read into the situation by linking what you can see, to what may, could or will happen as a result of what you see.

Hope this is of some use! :)
 

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Its the fact that you question,that makes you an alert rider,the fact you are more aware of your own mortality, helps keep recklessness away.
I was on the verge of quitting motorcycling,i had a near miss which put the fear of god in to me,basically i misread a situation,i emergency braked i gave the car aiming at me an escape route and ultimately i looked away as i thought that this was my moment,luckily the car took the escape route i gave him, otherwise, i would have been, to use an american phrase, Roadkill.
But that incident got in to my head to the point that the next journey i made in busy traffic i basically was shitting myself.
The moral of the story is:- if it is your time then whether you are in your car,on your bike etc then whatever is meant to be, will be.
I use all my senses when riding,i trust no one and i try to ride within my own limitations,but ultimately i try and enjoy myself,something recently i forgot.
You my friend are a motorcyclist,you know it and you know that you know it,so get a DL 650/1000,they are excellent bikes and live for the moment.(obviously well beyond that also).
 

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I've been around awhile... Haven't ridden for over 20 years. Had a small Honda, then a Honda 350 SL, then a Suzuki 750T..

The VSTROM looks like the machine to get. Did some research on cruisers, other bikes, etc.

Question is I just really am concerned again with the safety factor. I know, I know, a good helmet, safety gear, a MC training course, etc all would help to increase my safety... Plus, the old addage, well, you can't live forever.....Just when I read about how wonderful bikes are I turn around and read about some poor dude getting in an accident. I guess you just have to accept it and move on.. Comes with the territory.

I also understand I'm kinda preaching to the choir here. If I posted this question on a police, doctor or lawyer forum, they may have a totally different answer.

Am I be too cautious? Did any of you struggle with this?? I know two wheels move the soul, I just don't want to move my soul too quickly into the next place...

Thoughts?
There's no doubt that riding is more dangerous than driving. A chunk of that risk can be mitigated, using stategies like those in Pete's excellent post, but it can't be eliminated totally. Soooo, the question then becomes; is the enjoyment you get from riding worth that extra risk? Only you can truely answer that.
For me it's a no brainer, I can't imagine life without riding. But lots of people tell me I'm not well. :D
In your situation I'd look for a nice, clean 2-3 year old bike. It's already taken the big depreciation hit, so if you ride it for a while and then decide to sell you'll lose very little money. Also, get David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling", it's got tons of great safety info and strategies.
 

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Wow, Pete, great advice! In fact, con permiso, I may just use this for the next safety talk at my GWRRA chapter meeting.

Valpo, here's what I do in addition to what Pete said. Every time I go out to the garage or parking lot to get on the bike (I commute to work 17 miles), I go through a little ritual. As I put on the helmet and gloves - I already have the Aerostich suit on - I think, realize, meditate, whatever, that in just a few moments I will be out in traffic and will have to be extra alert. I realize that I am engaging in a dangerous activity, and that I am on the edge. I consciously push my observational bubble outward and heighten my alertness.

BTW, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a K7 Wee. It'll be here next week to join the ST1300 and KLR650 in the stable. Buy the bike! --Gene
 

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Wow, Pete, great advice! In fact, con permiso, I may just use this for the next safety talk at my GWRRA chapter meeting.
No probs Gene.....carry on!
If people want to know the source of the info, it's probably best NOT to tell them it came from a donkey owning Welshman in Spain who spends his time in caves with Gypsies! :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks much for all the comments!! Excellent responses!!

BTW, any handy tips on convincing the spouse? Other, than, hey, I'm buying this damn thing and you need to live with it!!
 

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Three options:
1. shoot her
2. Divorce her
3.Grovel,beg and plead
 

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Very good discussion. I can't say it never crosses my mind even after all these years (I'm 47 and started on dirt when I was around 10.)

I have a boss who is a very intelligent guy. I would hate to know how much higher is IQ is than mine. He can analyze a business situation and come up with a logical and simple solution that consistently amazes me. But he is like the Nutty Professor. I hate riding with him in a car I can't imagine anyone letting him ride a motorcycle. I don't know if he just doesn't think that driving is an important skill or if he just can't master the simple task but he makes turns from the straight through lane, tailgates, and in general just does not seem connected to the task at hand. And he has the accidents to prove it.

Now my point is not that we should condemn him and get him off the road (though we should) my point is that if you in any way resemble that description then motorcycles are not for you. On the other hand if you see driving as a primary job, and if recognize that even in a car you need street strategies to be safe, and if you have a record of safe driving, and if you can recognize a possible dangerous situation before you get into it, and know that even if you are right you are going to be the loser in an accident and it is you that is ultimately responsible for your own safety, then you may be a candidate for a bike.

Truth is I see street strategies as a zen thing. Sure there are some rules that can help you stay safe but there is a zen element too. Those subtle clues that let you know that guy is going to pull out even though he is looking right at you. Sometimes they are so subtle you can't even put your finger on why you slowed up but there was just something about the way that guy was driving that made you get out of his way then down the road you see him in an accident.

Ultimately it is your decision if the benefits out weigh the risk. You can manage the risk and lower it but it can never be eliminated. Larry Grodsky who wrote the Stayn' Safe column was the guru of motorcycle safety. There was arguably not a more talented and experienced road rider around. He was killed this year when a deer ran out in front of him. For me I am never more alive when I am out riding. So there you have it. Benefits vs risk.
 

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Riding a motorcycle requires the rider to pay attention their surrounding a lot more. In a car, you can pretty much worry about yourself and be fine for the most part. On a bike, you not only have to worry about yourself but everyone and everything around you, because people in vehicles don't look for you. They are used to seeing boxy vehicles around or giant SUV, or Hummers running to the gas station. I generally don't ride on the Interstates. Those are some of the most dangerous roads in America. The back roads may take a little longer but you get a better view minus all the heavy semi-tractor trailers clogging up the Interstates.
 

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Valpo, just get the bike and ride it. Take a training course, read Proficient Motorcycling and More Proficient Motorcycling. Read many of the tips from the riders of this forum, we have a wealth of info here. The Strom, either 650 or 1000 will be a great bike. Just decide which suits your desires the most. Either bike is capable of reasonable off-road riding and are a real pleasure to tour on. Riding safe has to be practiced every ride. From the sounds of your question you have already decided riding safe is the best. Look well ahead and anticipate the improbable happening. As a teenager I was told by a friend of mine to always expect the unexpected. It works. In my 20's I drove transit buses for 6 1/2 years without a chargable accident. With the car and bike I practice the same strategy. Modern bikes and safety gear make riding a real pleasure for sure. The danger will always be there but so will the pleasure, the feelings of freedom on the road and the smiles and giggles.
 

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I was going throught the same tought as "do I want to leave 3 kids a and a mother alone if anything happens" and unfortunatelly I waited 3 years until I broke down and decided to pursue my riding dreams (at 40) ... BRC course and so on , new rider new bike... spent lots of time in parking lot, than around the block and so on...now 2 months later commute to work (about 3 days a week 70 mile roun-dtrip) using freewas and surface streets.

The BRC course will give you the tools, you will have to use them. Firts ride on busier surface streets .. car pulls in front of me ... expected since it was a big SUV and the person was on the phone.... he never saw me... it made me so exited that here it was something which I learned and actually used it to avoind (maybe a smaller but neverthless) an accident.

So if you decide, take your time to know the bike, know the controls before you venture on busi streets , start with local area around your block where you know all the streets and signs driving patterns , until riding becomes natural so instaed on concentarting to kepp the bike upright and find the turn signals , horn etc you can concentrate onthe road and it's hazards..

I agree with all the above posts and I can assure you ...once rode a bike you will never (or never should) think again like a "cage" driver ...

Just my two cents worth of advise..
 

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BTW, any handy tips on convincing the spouse? Other, than, hey, I'm buying this damn thing and you need to live with it!!
That works ... or just sign her up for the same rider course so she can actullay see the "other" side ... it is ony about $250 .. well worth. (least in my case) My lovely is now thinking of a 250cc scooter to use for her 10 mile commute to work ... and yes parking space becomes a smaller problem
 

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I gave this very topic a lot of thought (and fielded a lot of questions from friends and their nervous wives). It came down to two very clarifying thoughts:

1. You can be very, very careful on a motorcycle and still have shameful amounts of fun.

2. I don't want to live a risk-free life. The price is just too high.

Prediction: If you don't go for it, you'll regret it for the rest of your life. That's the price.
 

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I'm a returned rider ,I gave up because of the risks years ago ,now I ride again and I realise part of me was missing for those years .
My life changed when a doctor told me I had the worst levels of this type of cancer , funny it is not . I have survied about 2 years of cancer so I figure what do I want to do? go out without the pleasure of riding or ride.
I ride when it suits ME ,I do not ride to work ,I do not like playing with traffic as this is where serious accidents happen ,I ride for fun , my fun .
Go and live your life a bit , decide what risk your want to take for you never know when you will die but you can choose how you LIVE.

On bikes the Vstrom is a fun bike when you get use to it . It is as safe as you make it.Take your time, ride when there is no traffic around ,travel in the country,etc

Wear all the gear and ride safe you can enjoy yourself without too much risk .

If you have ridden before you can remember that there are times your " head was not on straight" and you shouldn't have ridden . My motto "head on straight before helmet goes on"
 

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I generally feel safer on my bike because I can see better and have more options. And honestly, I pay a lot more attention when riding than when driving.
 
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