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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 3/15/2006 6:59 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Most every motorcyclist that has survived years of riding in traffic with minimum personal injury has a developed sense of "intuition" relative to traffic. This is the sense of riding they had developed that helps them see things in traffic before it happens, and helps them avoid situations that could cause them to react in a panic mode.
 
This intuitive knowledge, developed over years of riding in varied conditions is the knowledge base we experienced riders draw from for our daily riding. Its also the knowledge many of us draw from to help others on this forum develop thier riding knowledge base to get over that "anxiety" about riding. But, this knowledge base can be learned fairly quickly of course by reading books and information from other expereinced riders. Here's a method to consider.
 
Instead of getting ticked when some no-brain in a cage causes us to pucker the vinyl in a panic reaction, use that charged mental state to your benefit. Hopefully you cleared the hazard, so take a moment to think of everything that got you to that precise moment of potential conflict. Then, honestly, really think about everything you did or could have done to not get in that position. Were you being inattentive? Distracted? Wrong mental attitude? Were you following to close? Were you in the wrong lane position? Were you not analyzing traffic conditions? Were you not looking far enough ahead? Whatever the situation, look for something YOU did/didn't do that you could change about your riding to avoid that situation. Over time, applying that learning attitude will constantly setup your riding guidelines to the point that you see things happening before they happen. Over time, less surprises and panic reactions wiil be the result of your fine tuned riding intuition. This is a mental aspect of riding that should be active 100% of every moment your bike is moving. The tough part of this is to take the blame of what the cage-drivers do to us, and put it on ourselves to honestly review on what we do to ourselves in our riding.  

20 years ago I used to gauge my riding season by the number of close calls I had (within 2,000 miles or riding per year). I finally had a brainstorm, "Ya idiot! Why are you even having any close calls?" After that bit of soul-searching and introspection I realized I WAS THE MAIN REASON I WAS HAVING CLOSE CALLS! I changed a lot about my riding, tried to learn something from every ride, and analyzed every situation from the perspective of "what did I do to cause that?" These days, with about 10,000+ miles per year average for the past ten years, I can honestly say I rarely experience what I even consider a close call. From that I have developed my riding intuition. My goal is NO SURPRISES.
Ride and learn, but enjoy the ride! Any comments?
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YellowDuck
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   Posted 3/15/2006 9:16 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy, I think you are right on with this line of thinking.

I just realized that I have now been riding for 20 years (minus a few years' break when I was in grad school and too poor to own a bike). I have gone down more times than I can count just sitting here. Some wipeouts were caused by not predicting or  handling tricky road conditions properly (ice, loose sand in the dark), a few others by overly aggressive riding (over-riding my sight lines and getting surprised). I can only think of one case where I actually went down that involved questionable actions by another motorist, but even in that case, a little introspection showed where my fault lay.

I have however successfully evaded dozens of blatant attempts at vehicular homicide on the part of clueless cage drivers. I basically treat every car like it was a wild animal - completely unpredictable and given to random, illogical actions. Once I make eye contact with the wild animal's trainer (driver) I know my chances are much better, but up until that point I treat the beast as if it were unleashed and oblivious as a dairy cow. Maybe it is that attitude that has kept me (mostly) clear of altercations with cars over the years.

As for the other types of accidents (the self induced ones), hopefully with maturity I am going to get past those as well. Honestly, nowadays when I get to overcooking it on a public road, the sensation is not one of excitement, but rather just guilt - a little nausea-inducing ball in my stomach. Takes all of the fun out of the ride, which is as it should be. That psychological reaction to overly aggressive street riding or riding in otherwise risky conditions now informs all of my riding decisions - not only how and when I ride, but also who I ride with (usually no one) and the type of bike I choose.

Honestly, it is my personal opinion that motorcycles are extremely ill suited as commuter vehicles, to be used in heavy traffic, or regularly under non-ideal road conditions (rain, darkness, etc). I am probably in a minority with that opinion, but I really do feel like the risks are not worth it. Get a car for commuting, ride the bike when and where you can do so most safely. Too many unleased wild animals on the busy highways and city streets. You can't predict what ALL of them will do.


I can't complain...but sometimes I still do.
Life's been good to me so far.
 

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 3/15/2006 10:31 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Very good points Yellow Duck. I think if more motorcyclists looked first at how they ride and what they do when riding we'd have fewer incidents and a greater number of skilled and well informed riders.

I appreciate your comment about making eye contact. But, myself, I can't rely on it for a few reasons. One, to actually make effective eye contact I feel you have to be too close to the beast to do anything about it at that point. Two, cage drivers have so many distractions attacking them they could be looking through/past you when you think they are looking at you. Third, since I mostly ride with a dark faceshield on my FF helmet, or a clear shield with dark sunglasses behind, the cage driver cannot make eye contact with me. Fourth, what about low light or night riding conditions?

One thing that does not lie about the cage driver and its beast is the tires. If I see slightly rolling tires on a car at a stop I assume the car is coming out at me. If I see a left turning car ahead and the tires are even slightly turned and/or rolling that car is a threat and I prepare/adjust for it. If I see a car/car tire crowding toward the left third of its lane (if I'm on its left, opposite if I'm on the right) I assume the beast is coming into my lane or coming at me. These visual clues alert my riding intuition to either prepare and/or take action to minimize the risk.
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DataDan
Rodent Of Unusual Size



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   Posted 3/15/2006 11:35 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
YD wrote:
Once I make eye contact with the wild animal's trainer (driver) I know my chances are much better, but up until that point I treat the beast as if it were unleashed and oblivious as a dairy cow.
Andy VH wrote:
I appreciate your comment about making eye contact. But, myself, I can't rely on it for a few reasons. One, to actually make effective eye contact I feel you have to be too close to the beast to do anything about it at that point. Two, cage drivers have so many distractions attacking them they could be looking through/past you when you think they are looking at you. Third, since I mostly ride with a dark faceshield on my FF helmet, or a clear shield with dark sunglasses behind, the cage driver cannot make eye contact with me. Fourth, what about low light or night riding conditions?
I agree with YD's statement about eye contact exactly as he stated it: "chances are much better". Not perfect, but better.
 
Eye contact should be seen as a necessary but not sufficient condition. Do not use it as a positive indicator:
mad  If I have made eye contact, it is safe to proceed.
Rather, use it only as a negative indicator:
smile  If I have not made eye contact, it is not safe to proceed.
Making eye contact with a potential transgressor isn't an assurance of safe passage. They seem to see you, so it's OK to proceed with caution--including keeping a sharp eye on the wheels as Andy suggests.
 
But I treat absence of eye contact as a sign of immediate danger. I have literally stopped halfway through an intersection because I was looking at a crossing driver's ear rather than his eyes. Good thing, too, because he didn't see me and he did enter the intersection.


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

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YellowDuck
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   Posted 3/15/2006 1:56 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
DataDan said...
Eye contact should be seen as a necessary but not sufficient condition. Do not use it as a positive indicator:
mad  If I have made eye contact, it is safe to proceed.
Rather, use it only as a negative indicator:
smile  If I have not made eye contact, it is not safe to proceed.
But of course Dan has an advantage in these decision-making type things, since his brain works in binary.  Those of us with the older, analogue models have to deal with static and such.
 
roll 


I can't complain...but sometimes I still do.
Life's been good to me so far.
 

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louemc
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   Posted 3/15/2006 3:06 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Umm, not dis-agreeing with Dan, because I don't, but advantage? (I guess I'm dis-agreeing with Yellow Duck). Andy VH says everything exactly like I see it, I wish I could say it as well as he does. There is a whole higher level of skill to be had, than what gets put out in rules to follow, rules are what you start with, to the best chance of surviving long enough to get to intuition. Not everyone gets there.


 Focus the forces, Be The Force

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Luke
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   Posted 3/15/2006 6:42 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
This whole thread makes a large monumental main point. The rider's whole attitude and approach to riding contributes as much as skill (could be argued more than skill) in surviving the streets with the 'wild animal' cagers.

I like the comment about not being suprised... because you are expecting it (and have already made allowances and plans for it).

And don't forget the times when you think you made eye contact and they still pull out in front of you... but of course, we expect that too!


If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

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Poolboy1
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   Posted 3/23/2009 3:02 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
In the old days the cowboys carried guns to protect themselves from wild animals that they might meet on the trail.
Maybe motorcycles should be allowed to carry guns so if the wild animals (those driving cages) need an awaking we could shoot a few shots over their heads to get their attention. Or between their eyes, if it is determined that no one is at home upstairs.


Life's journey is like riding a bike.  Enjoy the smooth parts of your ride on the sunny days.  When storm clouds come and the sun goes down and the rain pours, lean into the curves, keep your eye on where you want to end up, use your brake sparingly, and do not be afraid of the throttle.
 
500 CC VULCAN PURCHASED 07/2008 MILES DRIVEN 00508 Season 1 ended.  Season 2 starts with at 513 miles.

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Well Enuff
--- Regaining my sanity --- one ride at time



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   Posted 3/23/2009 7:11 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I do carry a gun for self-defense, but I would not ever suggest using one as Poolboy suggests. Everything about that is wrong.

Any further followups on this subject should NOT be posted in this thread but should be carried over to the Campfire.

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