|Motorcycle Safety Tips
Safety Tip of the Month:
January 2015 ::
February 2015 ::
March 2015 ::
April 2015 :: May 2015
May 2015 Tip:
Riding in the Wind
As riders, we’ve all had to do this. Depending on where you’re riding, the
high winds may be accompanied by sandblasting dust. The idea is to keep the
elements off you, reduce risk, and be safe.
High winds can be challenging but they are not impossible,
if you know how to handle them. The key is don't overreact. Stay calm, stay
relaxed, and don't fight too hard.
In a steady crosswind, if you stay relaxed, don't tighten
up, and don't fight it, you can ride along way without hardly noticing.
Thing get a bit trickier when a big gust hits you, but the same principles
apply. Stay relaxed.
The worst thing you can do is suddenly jerk the handlebar to
try to counteract the winds effects. Remember your counter steering
principles. When a gust hits you, push on the handlebar in the direction the
wind is coming from — but do it gently! Don't jerk. It won't take much to
correct your course. Let the weight of the bike and its inertial forces be
your anchor in the wind.
Another principle to remember is good lane positioning. When
you're riding by yourself, you might want to consider riding more in the
center of the lane to give yourself a little more cushion. The wind probably
won't move you around as much as you think, but it's always good to have
more space to maneuver than less.
This is especially true on two-lane roads. Remember, in the
left third of a lane when there are big semi trucks coming in the other
direction you may wish to move to the right part of the lane to avoid their
big wind wash - which often feels like it wants to suck you into oncoming
Always keep in mind the road conditions. The center of the
lane can be more slippery than the outer two-thirds, especially if it's wet.
And if it's windy and rainy, that's probably a good time to find an
underpass or someplace to wait it out.
If you're riding in a group or with another rider, give
yourself the following distance you need to ride in a manner in which you're
More following distance will also give you more time to react to objects or
debris that may blow across the road. Be extra alert to this possibility.
Constantly scan the area ahead for things that could suddenly appear in your
path. Be vigilant.
The kind of motorcycle you're riding - or how it's equipped
- can make a difference in how the wind affects you. The larger the profile,
the more it will catch the wind. But the same principles apply…..stay
relaxed and remember your counter steering and don't overreact.
A fairing or windshield is great for keeping the wind off of
you in normal conditions but can also catch more air in a crosswind. And
even wheel choice can be a factor, like the solid wheels on the HD Fatboys.
These things aren't bad or good, just additional factors to consider. In any
of these situations, the key is to know your motorcycle and know what to
expect when the wind kicks up. Don't let any of these factors catch you off
Riding position can also make a difference. A more "active"
position, with your feet underneath you, your body leaned slightly forward,
and your hands comfortably forward, gives you greater control than a more
Make sure your chosen eyewear has shatter-resistant lenses.
Sunglasses leave lots of opportunity for dirt, dust, sand, or even small
pebbles to blow into your eyes from the side. Having a pair of goggles
available will alleviate this problem.
In windy conditions, it's often wise to cover your nose and
mouth, as well. A simple bandana can do wonders to keep your lips from
drying out (or at least slow the process), and keep dust and dirt out of
Finally, cover your skin completely: long sleeves,
over-the-ankle boots, scarf around your neck - anything to keep the wind
off, and the dust and dirt out.
As usual, dealing with high winds is about reducing the
risks involved not eliminating them. If ever the wind gets so high it puts
you outside of your comfort zone, don't ride. It's always better to swallow
your pride and be safe than let it put you in a dangerous situation.
March 2015 Tip:
Riding two-up can be one of motorcycling's great
experiences. However, whether you're riding with your spouse, your nephew,
or the neighbor's kid, riding with a passenger is serious business, for all
the obvious reasons. Remember, it isn't just you that you're responsible
for, now. There's more to it than simply being extra careful. Making sure
your passenger is "on board" psychologically is every bit as important as
teaching him or her how to hold on properly.
It always helps to be sure the person you're about to
whisk away is willing and ready--really ready--to be whisked. Few things
are worse than an uncomfortable or petrified passenger hanging on to the
back of your bike. Determine first if they've even been on a bike before.
Then, prior to riding, explain some ground rules and how motorcycles work.
Be sure to cover the following:
• Point out what's hot and what spins.
• Remind them that their feet stay on the pegs/floor
boards at all times unless they're getting off or on the bike.
• They only get on or off the bike when you say it's
• Explain how to mount the motorcycle. Left hand on
your shoulder. At your sign (maybe a nod), they put their left foot on the
peg/floor board and swing their right leg over. Encourage them to try not
to pull on you, which will pull both of you over onto the ground, but to get
their weight in the middle of the bike by leaning in. You should brace
yourself with your left leg and get ready before you give the nod.
Sometimes, a curb makes this easier. When you stop, have your passenger put
their left hand on your shoulder and say something like "ready?" before they
get off. That way, you're ready and they can get off safely. These two
routines, getting off and on, are vitally important to keeping your bike's
bodywork off the ground.
• If you don't have intercom, agree on a few signals
for the passenger. It's easy enough to speak with a passenger during around
town riding, but it's tougher on the freeway, so work out a few basic hand
signals. A couple of ideas that have worked well in the past are: "I need
a bathroom stop", them touching the inside of your thigh; "too fast" is
squeezing you with their legs; and "stop" is putting their right hand over
your shoulder and making a chopping motion.
• Remind your passenger that the bike will lean and
that failing to lean will make bad things happen. They need to stick with
you, that is, to remain in line with the bike as it leans, even though it
feels weird. Have them look over your right shoulder on right turns and
your left shoulder on left turns. Remind your passenger to look up the road
when you're cornering, they'll feel better than if they're staring at the
pavement right in front of the bike, which is getting closer every time you
go around a turn.
• If you have a backrest, install it. Passengers love
knowing that they won't fall off the back.
• If your passenger is relaxed, they will help you be
smooth. Spend a few minutes with them prior to start-up and give them the
scoop on how to sit and hold on securely (and in a manner you're comfortable
with). If the bike you're riding doesn't have grab rails or a
backrest/sissy-bar, have them hold onto your waist and not your upper body;
doing the latter will be far less secure for them (there is a "Buddy Belt"
that straps on the rider's waist and offers passengers specially designed
grab handles is perfect for two-up riding, especially when the passenger is
a rookie [www.buddybelt.com]).
A passenger's weight can radically change a bike's
handling behavior and stopping distance, so be sure you're familiar with the
concept before you put someone on the back seat. Maintain an eagle's eye
for errant cars and cellphone toting drivers and practice "your scan and
As the rider, you have a significant responsibility to
be as absolutely smooth as possible. Feed the throttle in small increments
and slow the bike using engine braking when possible. Shifts should be
smooth and cornering lines should be the classic arcing line. You have
added a significant amount of load to the bike (even for light passengers)
and the bike will want to be treated smoothly. Shifting should ideally feel
like an automatic transmission.
If possible, you should add preload to the rear shock
to handle the additional weight. Be sure to remember how many turns,
clicks, whatever you added so you can set it back to solo settings easily.
Tire pressures may need to be increased as well, so be sure to check the
bike's recommended inflation rates.
If you and your passenger are clunking helmets, you
need to step up your game as a rider and get smoother. You'll discover that
your ability to ride smoothly with a passenger will bring you enormous
benefits when you ride by yourself. If the bike isn't getting jerked
around, up and down, fore and aft, you'll be faster and more in control.
Here are some general tips for riding with passengers
(courtesy of MSF):
1. Be extra smooth in braking and accelerating (it
can be harder for passengers to hold on).
2. Take turns slower and use less speed/lean angle.
The extra weight works the suspension much
harder and diminishes the handling of your bike.
3. Give yourself extra room for turns, the bike will
feel quite different!
4. Communicate with your passenger to make sure they
are comfortable and okay.
5. Take it easy on the speed. If you ever want the
person to speak to you again, don’t exceed your
passenger’s comfort level.
Above all, strive to give your passenger a good two-up
experience; plenty of backseaters become riders themselves, and nothing
kills the desire to ride more quickly than a bad backseat experience.
Hope this helps. Ride Safe.
February 2015 Tip:
Proper Spacing While Riding In A Group
There are three formations for riding: Wheel to wheel,
Staggered, and Single File. Most of the time, we utilize the staggered
set-up, but single file is usually used for freeway on and off ramps as
well as for riding through a series of tighter curves. In the staggered
formation, the goal is to maintain a two-second interval on the rider in
front of you, the one ahead in your third of the lane.
Divide the lane into thirds. The Lead rider should be in the left third
of the lane, the second rider should be in the right third, the third in
the left third, and so on, and no two-wheel motorcycle should be in the
center. Trikes and sidecars should ride in the center, near the back of
the group in front of the Sweep rider. As a side note, realize that the
center of the lane tends to be in worse shape than the left and right
thirds. Why? Less cleaning action by tire treads and more oil and other
fluid leaks there.
The goal is to be two seconds behind the rider ahead of you in your
section of the lane. Since we cover more ground in two seconds at faster
speeds than at slower speeds, the distance varies from city to highway:
Closer in town, further apart on the highway.
Perhaps the best example of beautiful formation keeping are the displays
put on by our military precision flight teams, the Thunderbirds or the
Blue Angels, for example. Now, why do you suppose these teams work so
hard at formation flying. Is it just for show? No, it is also for safety
in combat. There is strength in numbers, there is safety in having a
wingman to cover your six.
Not as dramatic, but in a similar light, there is safety in group riding
when the group maintains consistent, tight, formation. Other vehicles
are much less likely to pass part-way and dive into the group when no
big gaps are apparent. The group is more visible as a coordinated entity
when the speed and spacing are consistent.
Some days, it’s not to be. Sometimes, we are all going to find ourselves
in a biorhythm funk. Our concentration just isn’t there. Our throttle
control is all messed up. Maybe it’s obvious why, maybe it’s not, but
the problem is there. What do to? Drop back.
When you see that you have dropped well back and the spacing has gone to
pot, with a much larger than desired gap ahead of you, wave the next
rider around…and the next, and the next, etc. You will gravitate to the
back of the group, still ahead of the patient Sweep rider and still a
part of the group. But now the pressure is off. You get to ride at the
pace that is right for you right now. Later in the day, probably the
biorhythms will improve and you’ll be back up in the pack.
Please hear this, this is important: Each group rider has both the
authority and the duty to pass the rider who is allowing a big gap to
develop, even when you are not signaled around! When a group gets all
strung out, the fault is not with the rider immediately behind the gap
alone. No, all of the riders – except the Sweep – behind that person are
also at fault for not passing and reforming the proper spacing ahead of
the lagging rider. Harsh? No! It’s for the safety of the group.
Riders, you cannot control the spacing that goes on behind you. All you
can control is how well you are spacing on the rider immediately ahead
of you. If, in fact, you are spacing properly and a large gap does
develop behind you, it’s the duty and responsibility of successive
riders to pass so as to fill in the gap.
If the inability to keep spacing develops after you are already near the
front or middle of the pack, then wave the following rider or riders
around. If you don’t signal, and he or she does a safe pass anyway,
please realize that they are not being discourteous to you but are
merely doing what’s expected of them right out of the ALR Riders'
Finally, let’s suppose that it’s really not your day and you realize
that you probably should be riding alone on this ride, not sharing in
the group. Now what? Well, as you wave people by and gravitate to the
rear, and now only the Sweep remains behind, go ahead and wave that
person by but give the Thumbs-Up, “I’m OK,” signal so that they know you
are making a personal decision to drop out on this leg. Yes, it would be
even better to have done this at a previous gas/bio break where you can
talk face-to-face, but if you missed that opportunity, an acceptable
alternative is to do it as I’ve described.
Let’s work to always keep improving both as individuals and as a group.
Speaking for myself – and probably a few others, too – I know that I
feel pleasure and pride when Chapter 58 group rides cohesively and
presents a sharp, unified, appearance to those who see them on the road.
And when that doesn’t happen? Yuck! It’s embarrassing and frustrating.
When you ride with Chapter 58, you ride with the Best! Let’s show that
to the world!
SAFETY TIP 1
Riding In the Rain Requires Preparation
- Getting the right gear, making sure the bike is ready for
action, and ensuring you have the proper skills will make your rain
riding experience safer and more enjoyable.
- It is best to avoid riding in the rain for the first 15
minutes, that is when all the oils that are left behind by car tires
rises to the surface and is most slick.
- Put your gear on BEFORE you get wet.
- Is my gear ready?
- High Quality Rain Gear (Waterproof, Highly Visible,
- Boots (Waterproof)
- Gloves (Waterproof, Squeegee on left thumb for wiping visor)
- Helmet (Full-face preferred; consider using anti-fogging
product or soaking the visor in warm water with liquid soap)
- Is my motorcycle ready?
- Am I ready?
- Be prepared to ride when there is less than perfect traction
- Increase safety margin and following distance.
- Try to keep the bike upright and use less lean angle when
- More than anything, your skills should meet or preferably
exceed the riding scenario.
SAFETY TIP 2
ABS: Stopping Quickly with Technology
Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) for motorcycles appeared for the first
time in 1981 on BMW motorcycles. Systems vary, but in general ABS use
computers to monitor wheel spin to determine when a wheel is on the
verge of locking up. Instant instructions are given to the braking
components to release and reapply braking pressure to prevent skidding
even though steady pressure is applied at the brake lever or pedal. The
end result is slowing or stopping without losing traction; a big
advantage for motorcyclists.
ABS systems are easy to use from a rider's perspective: BRAKE HARD!
Aggressive braking will initiate the ABS system immediately allowing the
rider to concentrate on the immediate threat versus possible loss of
ARE WE SAFER? WHAT'S NEXT?
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
revealed that motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes are 37 percent
less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than models without ABS.
California Highway Patrol, concluded after testing that ABS reduced the
number and severity of accidents and now mandate them on their police
Domestically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is
looking seriously at making ABS mandatory for all new motorcycles sold
in the United States. Internationally, the European Union will approve
later this year a mandate requiring all motorcycles greater than 125cc
to come with ABS as standard piece of equipment sold by motorcycle
manufacturers after 2016.
Pieter de Waal, Vice President, BMW Motorrad USA, says "It's time for
all of us in the motorcycle industry to embrace the benefits of ABS.
Extensive testing by safety experts, law enforcement authorities and
journalists around the world consistently demonstrates that ABS reduces
overall crashes and saves lives." BMW will be the first to offer all
models with ABS as standard as early as 2012.
SAFETY TIP 3
Brake Fluid: Key Ingredient to Stopping Well
Riding a motorcycle well includes not only going fast, but stopping
with control and precision. Motorcycles offer high performance in an
affordable package with some motorcycles capable of going from 0-60 in
just over 2 seconds. With all that go power, we need to make sure we can
stop quickly to avoid a hazard. To be safe we should understand how
brake fluid works and when it needs to be replaced.
How Brake Fluid Works
Brake fluid resides in a chamber called a master cylinder and within the
brake lines (series of hoses, braided lines, connections, and/or metal
tubing). When a rider actuates the brake lever or pedal, typically a
piston presses the brake fluid on one end of the system. The brake fluid
presses on the pistons within the caliper on the other end of the system
causing the pistons to squeeze the brake pads to the rotor. The
resulting friction from the brake pads to the rotor helps to stop us.
(See Figure 3)
When to Replace Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is one key ingredient to our braking system on a motorcycle,
but it often gets overlooked at designated service intervals. Of course
we should check with the Motorcycle Owner's Manual to determine when to
replace our brake fluid and what type (e.g., DOT 4) is necessary for
replacement. Here's some insight into brake fluid:
DOT 3/4/5.1 fluids have some benefits:
- Glycol ether based, thus it doesn't compress creating a firm
brake lever feel
- Recommended for high performance applications
- Color changes helping user to understand when to replace
- The higher the DOT rating, the higher the boiling point
DOT 3/4/5.1 fluids have some negatives:
DOT 5 has some benefits:
- Silicone Based
- High DOT Rating
- Don't absorb water
- Doesn't strip paint
DOT 5 has some negatives:
- Absorbs air
- Higher Viscosity for slower reaction
- NOT recommended for high performance applications
- NOT compatible with the other traditional brake fluids
Why should we change brake fluid every one to two years? Brake fluid
rated DOT 3/4/5.1 are all considered "hygroscopic". Meaning, the fluid
absorbs water which can cause corrosion within the brake system from the
inside out. It can also create boiling within the system causing the
brake lever to feel "spongy" and resulting in a loss of effectiveness.
DOT 5 Brake fluid is a bit different as it is silicone based versus
glycol based, and requires changing slightly more frequently. Its major
drawback is that it absorbs air and causes compression over time. It is
for this reason that it must be changed often to ensure safe operation
of your braking system.
Due to the fact that our braking system may be our greatest asset to
avoiding a crash, we recommend that your brake system is maintained by a
SAFETY TIP 4
Riding 2 Up
The passenger should be aware of the risks of motorcycling before they
even consider riding as a passenger. If they are under 18, we should
consider getting parent/guardian approval before riding. Keep in mind,
it is mandatory for riders under 18 to have a DOT approved helmet and
they must be able to reach their own set of foot pegs. Riding that niece
or nephew around the block on the tank may look cute to some, but law
enforcement regards this as Felony Child Endangerment.
Here's a quick checklist of items to discuss with your passenger:
- How to mount the motorcycle, especially how to avoid the hot
- Where to hold onto the bike/rider
- How to position the body when stopping and taking off, including
keeping the feet on the footrests at all times (no sudden movements)
- Proper attire before mounting the motorcycle
- Where to look during turns and cornering
- When crossing over an obstacle, rising slightly off the seat
SAFETY TIP 5
Motorcycling is a complex psychomotor task that includes mental,
physical and social competencies
and abilities. Motorcycling is a mental task because a rider must
process information and make decisions; motorcycling
is a physical task because it requires simple and complex motor skills;
and motorcycling is a social task because
it requires interaction with other highway users. Safe motorcycling is
more a skill of the eyes and mind than of the
hands and feet. Having a superior mental strategy reduces the need for
superior handing skills. Although having the
superior handling skills for that "Oh S_t!" moment is a great tool to
have in your tool case, safety on the road is more
about using the eyes well and using the brain to sort, organize and
prioritize factors in the traffic environment.
SAFETY TIP 6
Improper searching for hazards and inattention were the two leading
causes of traffic accidents. Today, it is important
for motorcyclists to be more vigilant and perceptive than ever. Devices
that distract other drivers are on the increase,
from cell phones that can be used for talking or texting to video
devices and navigation systems that create inattention to
the driving task.
SAFETY TIP 7
Use SEE (Search-Evaluate-Execute) as a personal riding strategy (see
Figure 4). Search, a visual function, means to actively scan and
identify factors that could create increased risk; Evaluate, a cognitive
function, means to consider potential problems from the interaction of
those factors; and Execute, a motor skills function, refers to physical,
manipulative actions required for communication as well as time and
space adjustments. SEE is an active, thinking strategy that places
responsibility on the motorcyclist to reduce risk by creating time and
space in order to control a personal margin of safety. Look ahead. Look
to the side. Look in your mirrors. Look over your shoulders. Keep
looking! Anticipate the oncoming, left-turning driver, the reckless fool
coming up behind you, the car poking its nose out of the driveway, the
guy beside and a little behind you who’s moving across the lane divider.
Never let your eyes fix on an object for more than two seconds. Keep
SAFETY TIP 8
Successfully piloting a motorcycle is a much more involved task than
driving a car. Motorcycling requires a fine sense
of balance and a heightened sense of awareness and position amidst other
roadway users (See Fig 5). A motorcycle responds
more quickly to rider inputs than a car, but is also more sensitive to
outside forces, like irregular road surfaces or
crosswinds. A motorcycle is also less visible than a car due to its
narrower profile, and offers far less protection by
exposing its rider to other traffic and the elements.
SAFETY TIP 9
Check Your Motorcycle
A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. A minor
technical failure on a car is seldom more than an
inconvenience for the driver. The same failure on a motorcycle may
result in a crash or having to leave your motorcycle
parked on the side of the road. If anything’s wrong with your
motorcycle, you’ll want to find out about it before
you get in traffic. The primary source of information about how a
motorcycle should be inspected and maintained is
its owner’s manual. Be sure to absorb all of its important information.
A motorcycle will continue to ride like new if it is properly
maintained and routine inspections become part of its maintenance cycle.
A pre-ride inspection only takes
a few minutes and should be done before every ride to prevent problems.
It’s quick and easy to check the critical
components and should be as routine and automatic as checking the
weather forecast before heading out for the day.
A convenient reminder developed by MSF is T-CLOCS. (See
T-CLOCS Inspection Checklist.pdf)
SAFETY TIP 10
A motorcycle crash is usually caused by a combination of factors that
accumulate and come together in such a way as to
cause a crash. A good rider chooses to reduce these factors. Each factor
can be viewed as a rung on a ladder. The more
factors that are accumulating the higher you will climb up the ladder. A
reasonable person would not choose to climb to
the top of a 24' ladder and jump. Be aware of your risk factors. (See
SAFETY TIP 11
Improper braking technique remains a significant contributing factor
in many motorcycle crashes. Your motorcycle has two brake controls: one
for the front wheel and one for the rear wheel. Some motorcycles have
braking systems that will apply pressure to one or both brakes for you.
Always use both brakes every time you slow or stop. The front brake will
provide at least 70% of your total stopping power due to weigh transfer
during the stopping process. As the motorcycle’s weight transfers
forward, more traction becomes available at the front wheel, so the
front brake can be applied progressively harder after braking begins.
Using both brakes for even “normal” stops will permit you to develop the
proper habit or skill of using both brakes properly in an emergency.
When you have the opportunity, practice your braking. You can always get
better at it.
SAFETY TIP 12
Braking in a Corner
Any time a motorcycle is leaned over, the amount of traction
available for braking is reduced. The greater the lean angle, the more
the possibility of the tires losing traction. A motorcycle's tires have
a finite amount of traction available. Some of this traction reserve is
being used in a curve to prevent the motorcycle from slipping off the
curve. In order to stop a motorcycle quickly in a curve and not exceed
the motorcycle's traction reserve.
SAFETY TIP 13
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Our eyes don’t
necessarily tell our brain what we see;
rather our brain tells our eyes what to look for. Look quickly at Fig 7
and Fig 8, what do you see?
SAFETY TIP 14
Since a motorcycle is smaller than a car we can divide a lane into 3
parts. We need to choose a lane and position ourselves within that lane
to provide the best opportunity for searching ahead and gives us the
greatest probability of being seen by other traffic. Additionally, keep
a large a time and space cushion as possible to provide room to respond
to other traffic. Lane position should not be static but dynamic. A
motorcycle moving side to side is easier to spot than a motorcycle that
is static and blends with traffic. (See Fig 9 and Fig 9a)
SAFETY TIP 15
Do not ride in peoples blind spots. Tractor trailer truck have huge
blind spots. Minimize the amount of time you are near large trucks. Stay
out of the No-Zone (See Fig 10)
SAFETY TIP 16
It probably surprises no one to know that the majority of accidents
involving collisions between a motorcycle and another vehicle happens at
intersections – the most frequent situation being that of a vehicle
turning left in front of a motorcycle. Wiggle your handlebars and
therefore your headlight when approaching an intersection where other
vehicles have the possibility of entering your right of way.
SAFETY TIP 17
Quite often you’ll have to ride at night. After all, it is dark 50
percent of the time. Dusk is really the worst time, when people’s eyes
are adjusting from daylight to headlights. Be especially careful just
after sunset. Usually it is advisable to slow down a little when riding
at night, especially on any sort of winding road. Use your own headlight
and those of other traffic to keep an eye on the road surface. It is
more difficult at night to see the patch of sand or something that fell
out of a pickup. Your peripheral vision is greatly reduced when riding a
night so be hyper alert for animals.
SAFETY TIP 18
3 Components of Stopping Distance
As you are riding down the road, real estate is constantly moving
beneath your wheels. You will ride a certain distance before you
perceive an object you see as being a threat to you. That is the
Perception Distance. Then you will travel a certain distance before you
can actually cover your controls and start applying the brakes. This is
the Reaction Distance. Finally, you will travel a certain distance
before you can physically get the motorcycle stopped. This is Braking
Distance. Combine the three distances and you have your Total Stopping
Distance. (See Fig 11) This is a skill that should be practiced.
SAFETY TIP 19
Over riding your headlight
When riding at night you have reduced visibility. You need to ensure
that your sight distance is not exceeded by your Total Stopping
distance. If it takes you farther to stop than you are able to see down
the road you are overriding your headlight.
(See Fig 12)
SAFETY TIP 20
Passengers and Cargo
Carrying passengers and cargo will affect the way the motorcycle
handles. It takes longer to accelerate, stop, and may decrease ground
clearance when cornering. Carrying cargo can affect the motorcycles
performance as well. The motorcycle wants the weight to be distributed
between the axis of the two wheels and the crown of the Rider's head.
This is called the load triangle. (See Fig 13)
SAFETY TIP 21
Dogs love to chase motorcycles. What they will do with the motorcycle
if they catch it is beyond me. However, if a dog
is coming at you, the danger is not so much with being bitten as it is
with the dog getting caught under your motorcycle and
causing you to fall. Disrupt the dog's timing, The dog will approach you
in a straight line, slow down, maybe even downshift,
and accelerate past the point of interception. Avoid attempting to kick
at the dog as this could destabilize your motorcycle.
SAFETY TIP 22
Sand in curves
In a sand in the corner skid, steer slightly in the direction of the
skid. (If you’re leaned to the left and skidding to the
right, turn those handlebars a bit towards the right.) Chances are you
will clear the patch of sand, the tires will grip the
pavement again, the bike will stand up, and you’ll continue on your way.
Always try to minimize your lean angle in a curve if
there is a possibility of lose debris such as after a monsoon storm.
SAFETY TIP 23
Group Riding - Size Matters
At 70 MPH the motorcycle is traveling approximately 105 feet per
second. When a change is speed occurs it may take a second for other
riders to notice the change in speed. This increases following distance
for the other riders who will the speed up to maintain their following
distance from the riders in front of them. This accordion effect is more
pronounced the larger the group becomes. Try to limit the size of groups
to 6 - 8 riders depending on the rider's skill level.
SAFETY TIP 24
Running off the road, usually in a curve, often involving alcohol,
accounts for almost 40 percent of the total single vehicle motorcycle
crashes resulting in fatalities. This is more than twice the percentage
of any other cause.
SAFETY TIP 25
The greatest potential for conflict between you and another vehicle
will be at intersections. The most common cause of crashes at
intersections are other drivers entering your right of way.
SAFETY TIP 26
Use your head (to look where you're going.)
This may sound slightly remedial but it is an under-appreciated habit
of a skilled rider. It becomes even more important in corners where
riders tend to be mesmerized by the area of pavement directly in front
of their bike. As you round the turn, keep your head and eyes up,
looking through the corner as far as you safely can, at least three to
four seconds ahead. (If you can't see that far ahead, you need to slow
down until you CAN see three to four seconds ahead.) You'll be surprised
by what you may see. Couple this new-found vigilance with an escape
route (should something wicked come your way) and your chances of
getting intimately familiar with the pavement are cut dramatically.
Often a good game to play is the What if game. Try to anticipate that
car turning left in front of you and have an escape plan if it does.
Look as for through a corner as you can, that way you have more time and
distance to respond to anything that may make you take a tumble.