I thought I'd take some time to share thoughts. Recently two short time friends have told me they are going to stop riding on the street. They say "It's just too dangerous out there now". Neither one had been riding longer than 5 years so that got me to thinking. I asked my long time friends about thier decisions to either ride or not ride street any longer. Their answers came back to one thing, danger.
There is a perception that street riding is dangerous. I wont sit here and type the words "It's not dangerous" it is. I just want to help some of you to get where I'm at. In over 20 years of street and 25 years total of riding I have never once thought about restricting when and where I ride. To me it's everyting from a lot of fun to cheap transportation. With over 300,000 miles on the street I've learned a few things. For what it's worth here's the list of what I consider common sense to riding. It's not sage wisdom, much of it you already know. But if just one seems new I've done my job.
1) Ride everday you can. It keeps you sharp, teaches you lessons, and gets people used to seeing bikes on commutes.
2) Use your signals every single time you change lanes, every time you change directions.
3) Learn to use your mirrors. I check them often.
4) The only way to see if someone is in the lane you want to change into is looking. Never assume the picture stays the same or mirrors give the whole view. Dont do the full upper body, slow speed, track turn around. Just a look over you shoulder is enough.
5) When coming to a stop dont be afraid to put both feet down. If you're too short lower your bike. I've seen the one leg tip over. It's not pretty.
6) Always flash you brake lights a few times when rolling up to any stop or when approaching traffic. Be prepared to move between cars if the idiot behind you is coming on too fast.
7) Plan your lane splitting ahead of time. If you dont see a good position fall back into line.
8) Never lane split above 40 MPH
9) Neve lane split more than 5-10 MPH faster than the prevailing movement of traffic. When you get a freeway flier that wants to prove how stupid a rider they are pull to the side and let them pass.
10) Dont pass cars in the carpool lane entrance/exit points or a few hundered feet prior to or after them.
11) Obey speed limits in the city (too many avenues for collisions)
12) Ride in the carpool lane as much as possible.
13) Someone riding your tail is a reason to slow done not speed up. When it's safe just move out of the way and dont take it personal.
14) Your first thought when encountering danger should be to brake not gas it. I said first thought. Sometimes gassing it is better....most of the time not. If you have to choose one as an automatic response braking is it.
15) Always make lane changes one at a time. In traffic there are too many variables and unseen dangers.
16) When making lane changes open up distance in front of you. This makes it safer to shift your eyes away from forward and look over you shoulder.
17) Loud pipes are inferior to loud horns. I might recommend the "Hella Supertone" series. If you only have a second to let someone know you're there the horn is the best.
18) Assume every car on the road is trying to kill you. Every car in a left turn lane is getting ready to bolt out into your lane. They turn signals on to the right and go left, come right into your lane and get mad when they almost hit you. Every person is on the cell phone, or hates bikes, or is just a clueless self involved idiot. They are 16 to 96 and have no idea how to drive and never did. These are the people you trust to hold their lanes when you pass them.
19) At some point expect to crash. Fear is the best motivator.
Be responsible to your safety.
Last edited by oldskool; 02-23-2007 at 06:53 PM.