What's more dangerous - highway or back roads? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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What's more dangerous - highway or back roads?

Yesterday I rode with some friends out to Shenandoah National Park. Took country roads out there, highways back. Statistically, I know that most motorcycle accidents happen at intersections and in turns. On the back roads there are unfamiliar turns, cars emerging from unseen driveways, gravel, etc. It would seem like the highway is safer. But when I get on the highways around here it really freaks me out. People drive so fast and so aggressively. The speed limit is 70, I'm going 80, and there are cars tailgating and darting around like crazy because they want to go 95.

What's your take? What's really safer?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 07:59 AM
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I feel safest on local back roads with 45 MPH speed limits, I watch very closely for cars leaving driveways and I slow down when I see someone ready to pull out or other possible danger. I try to avoid multi-lane roads with heavy traffic, local interstates are not too bad but I still avoid them when possible. Riding for me is about having fun and I don't get in a hurry, if I'm in a hurry I'll jump in my Challenger R/T!

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Nazium View Post
Yesterday I rode with some friends out to Shenandoah National Park. Took country roads out there, highways back. Statistically, I know that most motorcycle accidents happen at intersections and in turns. On the back roads there are unfamiliar turns, cars emerging from unseen driveways, gravel, etc. It would seem like the highway is safer. But when I get on the highways around here it really freaks me out. People drive so fast and so aggressively. The speed limit is 70, I'm going 80, and there are cars tailgating and darting around like crazy because they want to go 95.

What's your take? What's really safer?
I had a work friend who commuted by bike. He would never take the highway. He ended up striking an errant left turner on a slower two lane road that ended his riding career...and even his work career for quite a long time.
None of it's particularly safe. I commuted by bike for decades on the highways and never had a wreck, but struck a deer out on a two laner that put me in the trauma center for the better part of a week.
The one benefit to the highway is at least everyone's headed the same direction.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 08:49 AM
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ive had far more and far worse close calls on surface streets and back roads then i have on the highway/ freeway, highway and stuff i mostly have people cut me off or try to merge into me. easy to avoid, back roads and what not ive had cars pull out on me cars just stop in the middle of the road, deer, random piles of rocks and dirt , stuff like that

yes im a guy.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 09:22 AM
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Dangerous? City streets. Even residential areas. Over a many year period I've had more close calls with "blue haired ladies" who can barely see over the wheel or teenage girls late for social events, or teenage boys trailing those teenage girls. They aren't focused on driving and aren't accustomed to motorbikes on their streets. The lower speeds help to mitigate the effects, but there are way more blind corners.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 11:32 AM
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There are dangers on all roads/highways for motorcycling, we just need to be aware and actively protecting ourselves.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-13-2016, 07:22 AM
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From most dangerous to safest... IMHO:

1. Any street or highway in or near a city

2. Secondary, non-Interstate roads

3. Interstate Highways outside of major cities
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-13-2016, 08:15 AM
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Statistically, it goes faster roads are safer. However, there are still dangers everywhere. Ride how and where you are most comfortable & confident. Riding in fear is an extra danger!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 10:56 AM
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From most dangerous to safest... IMHO:

1. Any street or highway in or near a city

2. Secondary, non-Interstate roads

3. Interstate Highways outside of major cities
-----------------------------------------
I agree.

I improved #1 (for me) - by no longer commuting to my office (downtown).
And improved # 2 - by taking a couple of advanced riding classes to learn better cornering technique, and I've dialed back my speed some.

I've seen a lot more deer this past year. They seem even bigger, dumber and sometimes faster than usual.

Last edited by trialsguy; 11-15-2016 at 10:59 AM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:53 PM
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Take with a grain of salt, being that I am basically new to riding again over the last years. For a 10 mile commute, I prefer the slab vs. a mix of smaller highways and local streets. I usually get in the fast lane so I can bail to the median lane if needed. I am always racing to get out of the blind spots, and if stuck between cars in fast traffic, I hit the horn occasionally to remind the cagers that I am there. I trust no one. I love the country highways, but hate the hay wagons, slow farm equipment, blind curves and rises, loose animals and friends in PU trucks stopped to say hello to each other.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 01:18 PM
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Take with a grain of salt, being that I am basically new to riding again over the last years. For a 10 mile commute, I prefer the slab vs. a mix of smaller highways and local streets. I usually get in the fast lane so I can bail to the median lane if needed. I am always racing to get out of the blind spots, and if stuck between cars in fast traffic, I hit the horn occasionally to remind the cagers that I am there. I trust no one. I do not like the lane seams and buildup of debris, but at least it usually comes to rest in the middle of the lanes. My biggest fear is the speeder who pays no attention about changing 2 or 3 lanes at a time since they were talking or texting and were about to miss their exit. I am amazed by the poor driving skills I witness daily. F...ing idiots. Best one was a couple of weeks ago when some young girl starts tailgating a cop on the interstate. She actually flashed her lights. He pulled over, let her pass, then pulled her over.

I love the country highways, but hate the hay wagons, slow farm equipment, blind curves and rises, loose animals, friends in PU trucks stopped to say hello to each other, people flying out of driveways, sometimes in reverse, gravel and loose dirt?

The smaller local streets are terrible, especially those with parking on each side so people coming out of driveways can't see you, and people running stop signs or red lights. And, pot holes really suck, especially while trying to avoid the blue hair who just cut you off. That could actually be a blue hair, teenage girl texting, teenage boy trying to show off, soccer mom, football dad, grand pa who should have quit driving 5 years ago, an uber driver trying to make talk, pizza delivery guy going to buy drugs, or on drugs, bicyclist, or Hillary. Take your choice, or pick all or some of the above. Just joking on Hillary, was not trying to make this political, just funny. She has not driven in a while due to her position in life and having a Secret Service entourage for a long time. It's a jungle out there. Be safe.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 08:17 PM
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When you say highway, do you mean interstate? I feel safer on the interstate because you don't have to worry about people pulling out from side roads or oncoming traffic turning in front of you. I have a couple rules I follow on the interstate. 1. Don't ride next to someone or in their blind spot unless passing or being passed. 2. Don't follow anyone pulling a trailer, or a truck with stuff in the bed. 3. And this one should always be followed, Ride like your invisible.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 05:29 AM
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When you say highway, do you mean interstate? I feel safer on the interstate because you don't have to worry about people pulling out from side roads or oncoming traffic turning in front of you. I have a couple rules I follow on the interstate. 1. Don't ride next to someone or in their blind spot unless passing or being passed. 2. Don't follow anyone pulling a trailer, or a truck with stuff in the bed. 3. And this one should always be followed, Ride like your invisible.
Very important to watch for potential objects flying out of trucks/trailers, a guy I knew about 20 years ago was cruising on a local multi-lane interstate on his Goldwing when a mattress flew out of a truck he was following, it struck him and he didn't survive!!! So be very careful out there.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 09:16 AM
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When you say highway, do you mean interstate? ... Ride like your invisible.
I basically mean any 2 or 4 lane non interstate, like many of the semi-limited access state routes where the speed limit is 45 - 60 MPH. +1 on all your tips.

Re Zero's comments on debris or stuff coming out of vehicles, I had two close calls in my cage years ago. In the first one, a semi ran over a 4 x 4 piece of plywood, and the vacuum from the truck caused the plywood to go up in the air, and while twisting, it ran down the side of my car taking off the drivers side mirror and doing some major dents. A year later I am going up another x-way, and a shovel drops out of the back of a City service truck. At 60 MPH, this thing started dancing end over end right in front of me. I could not avoid it, and ran over it breaking it off at my bumper with the handle and part of the hilt hitting my hood and glancing off my windshield. In either case, if I had been on my V, I probably would not be posting this message. Be safe.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 11:10 AM
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I think the answer to what's safer also depends on location.

Last weekend I drove from Cincinnati to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and back again. On the way down I set my Zumo to curvy roads. The rural highways that I took to get to KY were awesome. Most of the riding was on curvy roads at about 45mph. The traffic was light and the roads were in good shape.

If I ride similar roads to the east of Cincinnati it is a different situation. Traffic is heavier, the road surface is not usually as well maintained, and there is almost always loose gravel because of the way that they extend the shoulder by packing gravel along the side of the road.

I was short on time when I left the RRG so I headed home on I75. I did not feel safe on I75. Due to heavy truck traffic I stayed out of the slow lane. The traffic was so fast in the fast lane that I hit 100mph 3 times just avoiding traffic and getting out of blind spots. The return home was not fun.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 01:46 PM
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I think the answer to what's safer also depends on location.

Last weekend I drove from Cincinnati ...
Have we crossed paths at any of the coffee and cars down on Riverside Dr., or any other things in town? I usually ride with one or two guys on Saturdays, and end up stopping out on Old Wooster at the guys place that re-builds the CBX's.

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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 01:49 PM
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If you're going to discuss the pro's & con's of motorcycling & it's inherent dangers ...
You're as right as rain. I have made the choice to enjoy myself on 2 wheels. It is what it is. I could have been greased in my car with either of the incidents recited. HAVE FUN!!!

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 01:53 PM
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I think the answer to what's safer also depends on location.

Last weekend I drove from Cincinnati to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and back again. ...
I was short on time when I left the RRG so I headed home on I75. I did not feel safe on I75. Due to heavy truck traffic I stayed out of the slow lane. The traffic was so fast in the fast lane that I hit 100mph 3 times just avoiding traffic and getting out of blind spots. The return home was not fun.
Forgot to comment on this part of your message. My definition of "scary" is travelling across the Brent Spence bridge on a MC, in either direction.

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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 01:57 PM
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Have we crossed paths at any of the coffee and cars down on Riverside Dr., or any other things in town? I usually ride with one or two guys on Saturdays, and end up stopping out on Old Wooster at the guys place that re-builds the CBX's.
Probably not. I usually ride alone and most of my riding in the past has been commuting to and from work. I spent the majority of the last 12 months training for an Ironman so I did not have time to ride the Versys much (I just bought it this year). It would be nice to ride together some time. I am on the east side in the Milford area.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 02:04 PM
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Forgot to comment on this part of your message. My definition of "scary" is travelling across the Brent Spence bridge on a MC, in either direction.
I have not crossed the Brent Spence bridge on a motorcycle. I have been able to avoid it so far. How about the Roebling suspension bridge? The surface is grating so it feels like you are riding on ice.
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