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I've learned that I'm invisible. That's right, completely and totally invisible. Even with a giant flashing yellow light on my head. Not a person on earth—even that guy with the "start seeing motorcyclists" bumpersticker on his car can see me.

Yet, even so, they all seem to know how to kill me.
 

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Don't ever think you're experienced enough that you won't drop your bike in the garage at any moment.

And don't ever--I mean EVER--say anything like, "the last time I dropped my bike was YEARS ago."

Remember, gravity and motorcycles don't mix.
 

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Spidey said:
Don't ever think you're experienced enough that you won't drop your bike in the garage at any moment.
Tell me you didn't! You _can't_ have, Stew will move up to NoCal just to kick your ass every day for the next ten years!

big
 

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bigiain said:
Tell me you didn't! You _can't_ have, Stew will move up to NoCal just to kick your ass every day for the next ten years!
Nope, but it's still good advice. And I nearly dropped my racebike last month.
 

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You guys touched on this a few times already. But I totally agree to super scan the operators in the cages especially on the highway. I commute 100 miles to/from work and contend with fuk brains every day I ride. Watch and be aware of their jestures and actions. Keep your eyes scanning their every move. People with the yakk-boxx stuck to their ear. Arguments umong boy-girl, parents-kids with head shifting and hands flying. The guy reading the news paper/map wrapped around the stearing wheel. MP3 headsets and head bopping jerks. He is chugging a large coffee, she has a vibrator plugged in. I can eat this Big-Mack with extra mayo, whoops there is my exit. I'm getting real tired, probabbly tooo many blooody mairries fer brekfesht. I saw a guy once stroking his noodle going 85. You get the point...
 

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Today on the way into work:
Just because someone's stopped at a stop sign doesn't mean they won't decide to pull out right in front of you. Thankfully, they looked like idiots so I was already on the brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #128
erik822 said:
Today on the way into work:
Just because someone's stopped at a stop sign doesn't mean they won't decide to pull out right in front of you. Thankfully, they looked like idiots so I was already on the brakes.
Good one! I think as bikers we all have to engage in a little driver 'profiling' to stay alive.


Another one to watch for is if a driver seems lost and pulls over to the right. Be careful passing him because he just may flip a U turn without looking.
 

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People will generally telegraph their lane changes. If you're watching for the signs you can see it coming a mile away. I don't mean looking a them either but that's part of it. Getting a feel for the flow of traffic will help you recognize people who are going to do something "interesting", because often they won't be going with the flow.

Riding on country roads, stay away from the opposing lane over hills. I don't want to even think of the number of times I've had people come over hills half way in my lane because they think they're alone.

Always be prepared to adjust your line in a corner to accommodate the person who is too inept to pilot their car within the boundaries of their own lane (or who chooses not too, or who make a deliberate effort to freak you out).

Given that there are 3 motorcycle lanes in each car lane, be prepared to stay in either the inside or outside around corners that may have dirt/gravel in them. Cars will tend to clear away the debris as they travel through the lane, you can use this to your advantage. Following any type of apexing line will lead you across the middle lane and the crap sitting in it. Ask me how I know... ;)

Good will is a good thing™. A lot of people talk about breaking mirrors and kicking doors when they get cut off or whatever. Try to remember that people make mistakes, they didn't mean to do the wrong thing but if they've tried their best then you really can't expect anything else from them. Yeah, I know that could mean an accident for us but that's why you have to expect nothing from everyone, or to put it pessimistically: expect anything from anyone.

Speed differential is what hurts you (me, you, all of us), if you're going 15 to 20mph faster *or slower* than traffic, you're putting yourself at risk. Not only will you stand out for ticketing purposes, you'll also increase your chances of not being seen by other drivers.
 

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Discussion Starter #130
Good points EvilSteve, around here we get a lot of BMW and pickup drivers who like to clip the apexes on twisty roads. Only problem is they're clipping the apex in my lane! They expect to be able see far enough ahead and to get out of the way when another car is coming, but a bike can travel so much faster that it catches them unaware, and in my lane. So yes, stay to the right, very good advice.

As for telegraphing, yup, absolutely. Erratic, impatient behavior always gets my attention. On multi-lane highways drivers will often ride on the line for a bit before they actually cross it. I take this behavior as an "I'm coming over" signal, and make sure I'm not in a blind spot.

And +1 on the Good Will thing. As part of my job I do usability testing on computer software, and I'm constantly amazed at the number of errors people make and never realize. I'm sure it is the same when they're driving. I think the number of times someone has done something purposefully malicious toward me is very, very small. And with those folks I try to get away as quickly as possible; in any tussle between bike and car the bike is going to lose.
 

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I've had two occasions in the recent past where I've had to resist the urge to follow someone home. Once a woman was attempting to pass me on the shoulder on a two lane road while I was doing 5 over the speed limit and the other was when I was doing the speed limit in a very touristy town and a guy started to overtake me in a 30 zone on a double yellow while I was doing 30. It took a lot of effort not to follow these people but nothing like that ever turns out well. Recently I had a guy come around a corner part way in my lane and swerve at me, I was already expecting to have no room so it was fine but as you said, these irrational & dangerous people are the *last* ones I want to be anywhere near.
 

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EvilSteve said:
I've had two occasions in the recent past where I've had to resist the urge to follow someone home. Once a woman was attempting to pass me on the shoulder on a two lane road while I was doing 5 over the speed limit and the other was when I was doing the speed limit in a very touristy town and a guy started to overtake me in a 30 zone on a double yellow while I was doing 30. It took a lot of effort not to follow these people but nothing like that ever turns out well.
I always remind myself that it's not _my_ job to teach these people to drive. No-one's paying me to correct their mistakes. If they want to go through life driving in a fashion that makes everyone else think they're a jerk, that's their choice...

(I always try to remember to word it that way if I happen to pull up next to them at lights too "Hey Mate! That lane change you pulled back there without indication or looking? People will think you're a ****wit if you drive like that all the time!")

big ('course, _sometimes_ they just get "the bird" as I accelerate away...)
 

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My concern isn't that their driving sucks but they put my life in danger. I don't care how anyone drives until the put me at risk. Doing so by accident is a forgivable offense IMO, doing so deliberately makes me want to kick the living **** out of someone. I'm always trying to point out the distinction to people when the subject of mirror smashing comes up. The number of people that don't understand or choose not to take the difference into account really surprises & concerns me.

As far as saying something to someone, I wouldn't want to do that but your way of putting is pretty funny. Probably works for you too. :)
 

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AndyK said:
Just pretend everyone else is trying to kill you.
lol that's the best! i tend to hang a little to the left while in the fast/carpool/lane next to the curb. i'm so use to my car driving skills that i've come to like accelerating past them if u don't like how they drive and when the car in front stops too quick using lane splitting as a last ditch effort
 

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Watch out for cars with temporary tags. Even if the driver is normally an attentive driver, they still won't know their new car's blind spots, how the radio works and where all the controls are. Same goes for people driving rental cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
erik822 said:
Watch out for cars with temporary tags. Even if the driver is normally an attentive driver, they still won't know their new car's blind spots, how the radio works and where all the controls are. Same goes for people driving rental cars.
Excellent one! I hadn't considered that when thinking about risks.
 

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As my friend Bob the EMT pointed out to me, the vehicle with the most lugnuts ALWAYS wins, and pinch bolts area poor substitute. Even in Bike vs Ford Festiva, the Ford comes away as the winner.

Riding gear, like divorce, is expensive because its worth it.

My chrome-finish helmet may look kinda funny, but it makes me very visible. Same with my Icon Millspec vest at night. I'd rather have them see me think me funny looking than not see me at all.

The sound from my horn travels at roughly 770 mph. The light from my headlight travels about 240 times as fast. Between the two I have a pretty good chance of getting their attention if I need to.

The hottie on the sidewalk is going to laugh really hard if I run into something in front of me while I'm watching her.

Try like hell not to wind up shiny side down.

As previously stated, tell your family you love them. Often.

Lastly, because bad things do happen, sign the back of your license.

~Gibby
 

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Mostrobelle said:
I've been riding a tiny, little while, but here's a few...

1. Always give yourself an "out." If I'm riding at 80 mph I'm looking for the safest spot to go in case someone does something stupid. If I'm coming to a stop, I always leave room and have a good line on an escape in case the cage behind me doesn't decide to stop. (I always stop a little ways behind the crosswalk at a light if I'm the first one there, just so I don't have to ride into the intersection to move out of the way of a car who doesn't stop.)

2. I generally try to keep my bike in gear at a stop, unless I'm sure the car behind me is at a complete stop and the light is known to be very long. This generally applies to #1 and holds true for bad neighborhoods too--get ready to move when someone is walking towards you!

3. Make eye contact with other drivers/riders whenever possible.

4. Be courteous--try to be anyway. A friendly wave or a nod of the head often defuses potentially hostile situations and helps promote the good image of our sport.

5. Be especially careful when riding around other bikers. I often encounter other motorcyclists who don't check their mirrors, their speed, are rude, preoccupied, posing, flirting, listening to music, are ill-equipped/dressed, or experiencing mechanical problems. If you don't know the motorcyclist, give him/her plenty of space to do the unexpected.


Talk about promoting the good image of our sport, there have been two incidents recently here in St Louis where a pack of 30 or more riders on sport bikes have vandalized moving cars on the highways. One car had its rear window smashed out with a rock, and there were back set passengers at the time. There are plenty of violent crimes committed in the St Louis area every day, but these boobs are making bikers look like criminals
 

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To build on a couple of things that have been mentioned above:

1) At intersections where you've got the right of way, be aware of what the WHEELS are doing on cars that appear to be stopped. Since you're moving & your perspective is constantly changing, cars that look stopped may actually be creeping out into the intersection. The wheels don't lie. Unless they're those spinner hubcaps, and then they're just sad.

2) When riding in cow or sheep country, be extra aware of places where ranchers may have been driving stock across or along public roads. That sh*t's mighty slick and isn't always clearly visible until you're in it! First time I was aware of the issue was my first road (bicycle) race in Idaho, when the race referee's pre-race talk included that warning. That, and I learned that there's ALWAYS a breakaway attempt after the field crosses a cattleguard, but that's for another forum...
 
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