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Street D'fense - Defensive riding tips

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hagrid...:
STREET D'fence

The Top 10 tips for Street D, that's Defensive Street Riding for Motorcycles.  If you don't read or do anything else, read the first three, they will save your life.

1. You should always slow down when approaching an intersection. Intersections are where most accidents happen, and unfortunately, it is were most motorcycle riders are crippled and killed.

2. You should never speed up to make a yellow light.  Adding speed going into an intersection is the most dangerous move a rider can make. Cars and trucks might anticipate the green and pull into the intersection early, or someone might make a quick right turn. Not to mention all the others possibilities, like a pedestrian or bicycle crossing the road.

3. You should never anticipate the green and lunge into the intersection.  Cars are always speeding up to make the Yellow Light and more often than not, they are going thought on the Red Light.

4. Slow down when you see a car waiting to pull out or to cross the road that you are on, see if you can make eye contact or at least see that they are looking in your direction.

5. Always slow down in areas where cars are pulling out into traffic, ride in the outside of your lane. This will make you more visible and will give you more time to react.

6. Always slow down in areas where where cars are parallel parked. Cars will often pull out without looking or open their doors, and cars will often make a quick stop to grab a parking space.

7. Don't ride to close to the vehicle in front of you.

8. When in traffic, ride to the outside or inside of your lane.  This will allow you to see changing conditions in front of you, especially those ladders, matrices, desk, chairs, couches, and BBQ Grills that falls off cars and trucks.

9. Don't make rapid lane changes.

10. Last but not least, don't think for one minute that cars are looking for you, the fact is that they are not. To often I see motorcycle riding with "road-rage" again cars that don't see them. In my opinion, this is not only stupid, but a waste of time.  I have excepted the "fact" that cars do not see me, and I drive accordingly.  It's bad enough that they don't see you, it's even worse when you let them make you act like a fool.

11. Added just for the return of WhiskeyRR - welcome  back - Beware of cars with idots talking on the cell phone.  Like I said before, people in cars are not paying attention and are not looking for motorcycles.  So be onguard.

I hope that people will share other tips and comments for Street D'fence, this is what keeps us alive so that we can ride hard and fast when conditions allow, or on the track.

BlackNumberOne:
12. keep a finger or two on the brake

hagrid...:
BlackNumberOne - Good suggestion, is that something you typically do when in traffic or all the time?

Hagrid...

phi2one:
i'm especially guilty of #3, my reasoning being that i wanted to get some space opened up between myself and the traffic behind me, but the light bulb just clicked on. thanks for inspiring me to rethink that one.

Bounce:

--- Quote from: hagrid... on August 03, 2006, 05:51:35 PM ---BlackNumberOne - Good suggestion, is that something you typically do when in traffic or all the time?

Hagrid...

--- End quote ---

I do it all the time on the street.

I agree with the list except:

--- Quote ---3. You should never anticipate the green and lunge into the intersection.  Cars are always speeding up to make the Yellow Light and more often than not, they are going thought on the Red Light.
--- End quote ---

The very last two places that I want to be is in an intersection, and in a clump of cars.

So...after I filter up to the front at a light, I spend my time at the light watching cross-traffic.  When the light goes yellow, I start watching to make sure everyone's going to stop.  Usually, it's pretty obvious...and if I don't get positive confirmation that people will stop, I don't go.  If I do see that everyone's going to stop, I'm out of the clutch and on the gas as soon as the light turns.  This gets me through the intersection as quickly as possible AND gets me ahead of the pack of cars that I was sitting at the light with.

The other things that I would add:
1.  Don't get emotional.  If someone cuts you off, get over it.  You're not going to win an argument with a car, so just say "asshole" inside of your helmet and move on with life.
2.  Don't think like a cager.  You don't need a space the size of a car when you're on the bike.  If someone starts into your lane, don't sit there like an idiot honking your horn (which they probably can't hear anyway)...MOVE YOUR ASS.  If that means you have to accelerate and lane-split between a couple of cars to get to the next clear spot, then so be it.  Don't hesitate to put your bike anywhere you need it to be in order to maintain your wellbeing.  I've ridden on sidewalks, shoulders, lawns, driveways, and (once time) a drainage ditch.  I don't do it as a matter of practice, but if I'm getting squeezed and feeling uncomfortable with what traffic around me is doing, anyplace that's big enough for my bike is fair game.  The one time I got pulled over for it (riding across a lawn to escape some jackasses in a car who were intentionally trying to mess with me, I explained to the officer that I'm happy to be alive to have this conversation with him and I'd do the exact same thing next time.  The officer let me off...but even if he didn't, a ticket is better than a funeral.
3.  Learn to use your brakes.  Most people on the road today don't know how to stop their bikes.  Spend a Saturday morning in an empty parking lot working on braking.

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