Safe driving tips - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Safe driving tips

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to pick the more experinced rider's brain on tips, or anything you have learned over the years. Ive only been riding about 2 years so Im a bit green as it were. After a car accident last winter, I've come to learn a new apprication/respect for the road.
So anything about safty or what you should do in a situation would be greatly appricated.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 04:43 PM
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Hi. One suggestion I have is to get a copy of David Hough's book "Proficient Motorcycling" and then perhaps "More Proficient Motorcycling." These books are well written, funny in their own way, and full of useful information which, if you internalize and execute, will help you enjoy riding more and may well keep you alive.

If I can offer advice from personal experience it is to do what you can to be VISIBLE because to far too many drivers you are INVISIBLE. Even after you do things like position yourself so you're not in a driver's blind spot and wear high viz gear and put some extra see-me lights on your bike, assume that no one sees you and, on the off chance they do see you, assume they plan to run you over.

Practice low-speed maneuvers and smooth braking in an empty parking lot.

Look where you want to go and you'll go there.

Don't look where you don't want to go (i.e., avoid target fixation).

Have fun...that's what it's all about, really.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 05:35 PM
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Don't drink and ride, period.

ATGATT

Check your tires, fluids, and brakes at every fill up.

It's never too late to retake a BRC or take an advanced rider course to refresh what you already know. You might find a new friend or two to ride with.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 07:41 PM
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Here's an extreme approach. Wrap yourself in bubble wrap and exile yourself to a very dark closet.

Seriously, Bones' suggestions are very good. Considering yourself invisible is an excellent starting point. Practice and practice and then more practice is also beneficial. Having to concentrate on performing routine functions reduces the percentage of attentiveness available to locate, assessed, and avoid hazards. Practice will (or can) enable you (or me or most anyone) to perform routine functions without having to think about them. Ergo, more brain cell available to watch for the great unwashed road users - busy texting.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 08:45 PM
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Don't drink and ride, period.
Super +1. I won't have even 1 drink if I know I'll be riding in the following few hours.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 10:58 PM
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Pretty much what everyone else has said. David Hough's books are excellent.

Various OTC drugs are as bad as or worse than alcohol so be careful with those too.

Go buy a bunch of tennis balls, cut them in half and use them as part of your practice. Cheap and they work great. Easy to see and if you run over one it isn't a big deal. walMart sells bags of "unpressurized" balls very cheap.

Watch the front wheels of cars. You will be able to see the wheel rotate before you will notice the front bumper move. This has saved me several times in the cage and on the bike.

Replace the poor excuse for a horn on the bike with a Stebel, PIAA or whatever. I'm pretty sure there is a guy in a pickup still trying to pull bits of his seat out of his backside after he heard my Stebel when he started to pull out in front of me the other day.

The best way to become a better rider is to ride. No truer words have been spoken.

Have fun!

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SWM Engine Guard; Windscreen de Jour on a MadStad bracket; Motowerk Peg Lowering kit & Stand Big Foot; ProTaper ATV Low bars; Stebel horn; KTM Duals Rear Rack; Coocase 36L topcase...and more to come


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 11:46 PM
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I used to believe that they WERE out to get me.
I have since come to believe that only some were out to get me & the rest were simply STUPID.

Always be aware....whether your up on two wheels or two legs.
NO ONE can insure your safety better than your self.
Being aggressively defensive is all that keeps me on this side of the grass.
No one sees you, no one cares about you, ain't no one loves you but your mother and she might be jivin you too.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bones View Post
Hi. One suggestion I have is to get a copy of David Hough's book "Proficient Motorcycling"
+1

Just bought this book after seeing it recommended in another thread. Chapter 2 on motorcycle dynamics alone is worth the price of the book. I pinpointed several bad riding techniques I have; but more importantly I now understand why they are bad and how to go about correcting them. Looking forward to finally improving technique and confidence with slow(er) speed maneuvering and cornering.

Thanks for the great recommendations guys, keep 'em coming!

"Negative Ghost Rider the pattern is full."
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 12:43 AM
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I think the key to staying safe is drive like you're invisible. Scan for cars with their blinker on to turn left at an intersection you are approaching and leave yourself a way out if they suddenly dart out; same with cars waiting to turn onto the street in front of you; don't drive in a car's blind spot, either drop back or pass them. I read someplace 33% of single vehicle motorcycle accidents involve alcohol - the rest are due to excessive speed, it jumps to 66% on a Friday night or weekend.

Wear gear, including motorcycle pants with armor. Jeans wear through after the first 1 ft of a pavement slide on a pressure point like your knees. I discovered this last fall on the Bedford Hwy when I slid to a stop from 65kph after a taxi pulled out in front of me and I accidentally locked the front brake in a panic reaction. I would have been uninjured had I been wearing motorcycle pants and not jeans. My jacket, boots, gloves and helmet saved me and have the scars (and not me) to prove it. My jeans were useless and I was left with no skin on my knee and 2 months of recovery.

Also recommend SW Motech engine bars as they protected the bike which probably would have been an insurance write off other wise -just minor damage to a fairing panel as the bike slid on the crash bars. Also handy when you drop the bike on its side. One of the few mods you can do to the bike that will pay for it self.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 08:00 AM
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even before you go...

All of the tips given above plus even before you go EVERYTIME, no matter the distance of the trip... do your T(ires and wheels) C(ontrols) L(ights and electrics) O(il and other fluids) C(hassis) S(idestand) inspection.

http://www.msf-usa.org/index_new.cfm...cycle%20Basics
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the good information. This isn't the 1st thread i've seen mention of that book, so i went to amazon and bought it.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 10:07 AM
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I didn't read everyones response so forgive me if I repeat some.

I agree that David Hough's books are a must read. Once you have read the proficient motorcycling series, buy yourself "Street Strategies" and read a page every morning to remind yourself what you are up against.

I have started to embrace Hi Viz gear more and more. Started with a Vest and now hae a Olympia Phantom Hi Viz riding suit. I am amazed at the folks that will start to go and then be like "dang, what is that coming down the road" and not pull out.

I also leave at least 3 seconds between me the car in front of me while riding and at least a car length when stopped at a light. Most vehicles following me get the hint and leave the same distance between them and me.

I also add more lights to my bike to increase it's conspicuity as well.

Pictures don't capture how much this suit makes you stand out.




Some of the lighting I have added to my bikes.




I really like the lights from Skene Designs. I have added them to rear of all my bikes and put them on the front of the Concours, and may add them to the front of other bikes.
http://www.skenedesign.com/lights/index.shtml

My Versys Travels:


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 02:50 PM
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Lots of good ideas for you. Also - ALWAYS have an 'out' (somewhere you can go) for when the "sh*t-hits-the-fan", and don't EVER tailgate!


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 10:31 AM
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Can't think of anything to add. Except...

And a it seems like a small thing but you "get it" when you are there.

During early and very foggy morning commutes prior to buying the Versys i can't tell you how many times i'd wished for hazard lights for visibility.

Hazard lights, on a low price street bike, who wouldof thought.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 11:21 AM
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One more thing and its in the PR book too.

Watch out for those effing left turners.

Those are the potential high speed son of batches!





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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 11:38 AM
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One more thing and its in the PR book too.

Watch out for those effing left turners.

Those are the potential high speed son of batches!
Good advice.

Concerning this, and you may hear different opinions, I've learned some things to-do and not-to-do. I used to think it was a good idea to flash my high beam a few times coming up to an intersection where someone was waiting to turn left. Learned the hard way when someone who was completely stopped, apparently mistook my flashes as "go ahead" signal. I've heard of this happening to a few other riders as well.

Usually what I'll do now instead of just rock my handlebars back and forth to create some movement in the bike to wobble the headlight a little. This seems to be a lot more effective without the possibility of a mistaken signal.

My technique for riding through busy intersection is first to slow down a little, then to do some aggressive scanning prior to the intersection. As I'm about to go through, I'll actually focus my attention ahead, using peripherals to detect anyone who might be an issue. I like being in the left lane going through most. We have a lot of Yield signs in the South and those can be particularly troublesome as well. As others have said, imagine that nobody can see you, and know that if you ever find yourself in a bad spot, the odds are that you put yourself there. I feel like in general, the less I have to use my horn, the better my riding strategy was.

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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 06:25 AM
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BRAKES BRAKES BRAKES

It's better to woe than to go.
Become the best braker you can.
Practice emergency stops until they become second nature.
Other have posted good things.

Being able to stop when somebody does something stupid will keep you alive.

MotoEd
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 10:13 AM
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Don't know if you have a motorcycle federation in N.S., but here in Quebec we do and they have some sort of training days organise on a regular basis, and it's quite interesting and fun

I've taken those 4 time in the last 5 years and still learned something every time


Good luck

LOP
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 10:44 AM
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Here's an extreme approach. Wrap yourself in bubble wrap and exile yourself to a very dark closet.
LOL Best piece of advice ever.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 12:54 PM
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Here's an extreme approach. Wrap yourself in bubble wrap and exile yourself to a very dark closet. ...
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LOL Best piece of advice ever.
But DON'T forget to put your aluminum-foil hat ON...!


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