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Thoughts from a daily motorcycle commuter...

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Thoughts from a daily motorcycle commuter...

Old 05-29-2019, 01:28 PM
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I agree with xl above, the average rider on the average street bike CAN'T remotely begin to stop anywhere near as quickly as just about anything with doors!
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:31 PM
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I had a friend years ago that rode a Honda from his home (I think Fairless Hills PA) to our factory in North Brunswick Nj. He rode that bike almost every single day, Summer, Spring, Winter and fall and in the rain. The only time he didn't ride it was snow or ice and when it got colder than 15* , the reason he stopped @ 15* was he told me his eyeballs would freeze. He always had the windscreen up but he said he was always falling asleep when he drove his "cage".
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:43 PM
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While you wake up in the morning thinking about your daily bike ride my friend wakes up all hours of the day thinking about bikers. Does he ride? Hell No. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon who does trauma for two local Hospitals. He says bikers have paid for his house and most of his retirement account. He tries his best to put them back together best he can so they can go out and do it again.

Stay safe because you probably don't want to meet my friend.
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:55 PM
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I have had different bikes over the years, Hurricane 1000, Shadow 750, WR 426, XR 500, DR 400 but since my daughter was born 16 years ago only dirt bikes, a couple months ago I bought a tricked out XR650L, I have always wanted one, but I can't bring myself to drive it on the road, I thought I could before I bought it but just too many stories of people getting creamed by people not paying attention, there was a post on here just recently where someone said their friend and wife were killed when they were hit from behind and pushed into oncoming traffic. The tragedy to me would be what it would do to the people I love if I was killed or severely injured.
I don't think there is anything you can do to make it truly safe the way people are now with cell phones which it really too bad.

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Old 05-29-2019, 02:03 PM
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The only thing we need from you now is MORE INSTAGRAM POSTS!!!!
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:32 PM
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I have a 2016 GSA...

it gets gets worse ha mileage and costs more to fill up (premium) than my Prius. I love my GSA, but it ain’t no commuter.

I drive the prius to save money, I ride the bike/run the boat for fun.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HatchieLuvr View Post
I agree with xl above, the average rider on the average street bike CAN'T remotely begin to stop anywhere near as quickly as just about anything with doors!
Seriously? What do you ride that takes that long to stop? I can stop this in less time than the Tahoe or Hummer and it ain't near as accommodating as a lot of other bikes.. ???

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Last edited by Shag; 05-29-2019 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DMack_762 View Post
Thoughts from a daily motorcycle commuter:

Hopefully, this is the proper forum for this. I just jotted down some thoughts to spur some conversation and maybe give folks some things to consider.

For most people, motorcycles are not a part of their lives at all, much less, a daily part of their lives. For some folks though, motorcycles are more than a status symbol, or something that allows them to become part of a club. Riding on the weekends, track days, or occasional road trips are normal for most motorcycle owners. But, for people like me, commuting daily on a motorcycle is a choice. I mean, who wouldn’t want to dress in layers of protective clothing, cover yourself from head to toe in abrasion-resistant padded gear and ride to and from work every single day, rain or shine? I’m not speaking from the occasional rider’s view point, I’m someone who commutes to work 80+ miles round trip, Monday to Friday, and then trips on the weekends. My vehicle of choice is a 2019 BMW R1250GS Adventure, “Exclusive model”, to be exact. This bike is a very large, heavy, yet surprisingly athletic and nimble collection of parts that come together to make a truly beautiful riding machine. They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” right? Well to me, my GSA is a thing of profound beauty. I chose this bike because it fits my lifestyle, and my riding style better than anything else out there. No matter what you ride, if you commute on a regular basis in urban traffic, some of these points will stand out to you. I may bring something to your attention that you have not thought about, or may say something you don’t agree with. I just wanted to put my thoughts down, to encourage discussion and open up a venue to share techniques and experiences.

I was getting off my motorcycle the other day at work, unbuckling my helmet, when a guy walked up to me and said “Ah, another successful ride in this morning, aye?” I just sort of looked at him, not really sure how to answer him. However, his question resonated with me. “Another successful ride” meant, I kept the rubber side down and didn’t get into a crash. This caused me to reflect internally, to see if I really did everything I could do to mitigate the risks of riding a motorcycle in today’s vehicle traffic.

Every morning, after I wake, I start my routine. Almost the same as a Pilot would conduct a pre-flight checklist, I do the same thing mentally as I prepare myself for the ride to work. My ride in the morning wakes me up more than the strongest cup of coffee ever could. Having a routine, for me, is comforting and gets me mentally prepared to do battle in traffic. I say “battle” because every single ride I take, has the potential of being my last. Let’s face it, commuting on a motorcycle is not considered “safe” by anyone’s standards. However, it is a calculated risk that those of us who choose to ride daily accept with open arms. Mitigating the risks, can’t be defined in a single list. The way one can mitigate the risk of riding, is individual, but there are things that every rider can and should do to keep the risks to a minimum. I will cover these things fairly well as we move on.

Commuting daily on a motorcycle takes dedication. Space is limited and cargo must be chosen carefully, because there is no back seat or trunk to carry extra items. Fortunately, I work in an environment where I can bring gym clothes and shoes, as well as an extra change of clothes and keep them at my office. I live in Florida, so the weather changes at the drop of a hat. Our summers are hot. Not just any hot, I’m talking scorching hot. Humid air and direct sunshine makes the temperature rise. Choosing to dress in full riding gear, even on the hottest of days, is an outward expression of the inner dedication that I speak of. I for one, am that guy. I wear complete gear, every time I swing a leg over my bike. We’ve all heard that a successful motorcyclist will “dress for the slide, not for the ride”. That is very true for me. I always say, when it comes to wearing full riding gear, “I’d rather sweat a lot, than bleed a little.”

Riding a motorcycle on a daily basis, can lend itself to a mindset of “us vs them”. We have all used the term “Cagers” referring to people who drive cars (cars, trucks, vans, any vehicle besides a motorcycle). Well, very few motorcyclists only have a motorcycle. Most of us have cars that we drive as well. Driving is a divided attention task, as we all know. When we first start driving a car, we all got overwhelmed in the beginning. Once you have driven for a while, it’s nothing to be listening to the radio, drinking a cup of coffee, and some drivers feel the need to send and receive text messages on their phones, or read email, or even put on make-up as they drive. This takes that “divided attention” activity and turns it quickly into a “task-saturated” activity. Since I began commuting on a motorcycle, the term “Distracted driving” has become glaringly obvious to me.

I will discuss a few points now.

Lane position: This is a very important topic. As a motorcyclist, we can move freely within our lane of traffic because we are narrower than a car. We can position to either side of the lane, or take position in the center of the lane. Taking a strategic position allows us to see better, to accurately predict what a car driver will do in a given situation. In traffic, it is always too easy to follow too closely to a vehicle in front of you. A motorcycle can out-accelerate most cars and trucks, it can easily out brake them as well. But, think of road debris. A vehicle has four wheels, can straddle most road debris without issue, but a motorcycle can’t do that. So, we must leave some reactionary gap between the car in front of us and our front tire. That way, if the car ahead of us straddles a blown tire, or a large piece of wood, we have time to react to it. Riding in the center of the lane is also not a very good idea. The road grime, oil, contaminates, etc. all collect in the center of the lane, because of the vehicle traffic. By riding to the left or right of the lane this puts our tires in the same area that the car’s tires are traveling. Also, always try to avoid riding directly beside a vehicle, and stay out of their blind spot. I make it a habit to keep my head on a swivel, like a radar dish. I’m constantly scanning mirrors, doing head checks, watching vehicle’s front tires, heads of the driver, where they look, anything to help me read what the cars around me are doing.

Danger Zones: Two areas where most crashes occur are intersections and merging traffic. If you are at an intersection, keep your bike in gear, covering your brakes with your hand and foot, and watch your rear view mirror until the car that is behind you comes to a complete stop. I always angle my bars out to the side of the lane, in case I have to squirt away as an escape. Never assume that a vehicle approaching a stoplight at an intersection sees you, most times they are distracted and stop at the last minute. Merging traffic is also very dangerous. Anytime there is an on / off ramp, be ultra-conscious. I have witnessed countless times, where a vehicle driver decides at the last minute to leave a freeway, cross over three lanes of traffic and barely make the off ramp. I always choose to ride in the inside lane, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Merging traffic is also dangerous as they will enter the flow and cross over lanes of traffic without regards for anything around them. Remember, as a motorcyclist, we have a much smaller footprint and leave a smaller visual reference. Also, the way most motorcycles are lit, it makes it hard for a vehicle driver to accurately depict our speed and distance.

We’ve all heard the saying “Ride like you are invisible”. That is true, to an extent. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars, trucks, vans. So, we have to make ourselves seen. I won’t get into the Black / White / Hi Viz debate, because there are countless threads on this. But, I will say that it is always a good idea to make yourself more visible to the other drivers out there.

I’m interested in the input from other commuters out there. What do you do to make your ride safer? Thanks for reading, I look forward to everyone’s input.

The picture below is me, about to make a left hand U-Turn at a stop light. The picture was taken by my wife, from her truck. I never take my bike out of gear until several cars are behind me, STOPPED, and not moving. I am always looking for escape routes.
tldr
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Shag View Post
Seriously? What do you ride that takes that long to stop? I can stop this in less time than the Tahoe or Hummer and it ain't near as accommodating as a lot of other bikes.. ???

If you started racing when you were 5..........10 years as a motor-scout.......ABS on that FLHP........you still probably couldn't out brake a Tahoe.

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Old 05-29-2019, 03:51 PM
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My FLHPI doesn't have anti-lock brakes. And yes, I can stop as quick as I can with a Tahoe with antilock brakes. Just personal experience.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:54 PM
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Where is your ADV sticker or a THT sticker ?
Nice bike !
I ride my 17 Tuono to work most days . But I wear shorts and short sleeve shirt as I have a 3 mile commute and if I had to suit up I would just take the cage . I wear full leathers for track days and leather jacket , gloves , Riding shoes and knee pads under my jeans for street , mountain riding .

Love bikes , just sold my Ducati Multistrada and Ktm 690 Enduro !
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Pro69SS View Post
Where is your ADV sticker or a THT sticker ?
Nice bike !
I ride my 17 Tuono to work most days . But I wear shorts and short sleeve shirt as I have a 3 mile commute and if I had to suit up I would just take the cage . I wear full leathers for track days and leather jacket , gloves , Riding shoes and knee pads under my jeans for street , mountain riding .

Love bikes , just sold my Ducati Multistrada and Ktm 690 Enduro !
I'm seriously looking at a KTM 1190 or 1290 Adventure. They do have anti-lock brakes but you can turn them on and off. You can actually cut the HP in half with the push of a button.

ETA: Not in place of my pig but in addition.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:10 PM
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I ride. Yes that is black tape on my tank. Ive yet to motivatmyslef to drain it and paint it. Bike was white and blue originally. Now matt black. Ive clearly been down on it.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:11 PM
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We posed on an Ultra Classic for a few years, I think it was a 2005 or so. 800 lb bike with no ABS. A riding buddy had a BMW, same year, not only ABS, but proportional braking, so if you stabbed both front and rear brakes, it would do a 70/30 ratio to rear and front brakes. Far superior bike when it came to braking compared to the Harley of the same year, and the weird ass riding position was actually comfortable.
Riding two up in Cave Creek AZ one morning, a cage turned left in front of us. I stab both brakes, the ass end comes around, and if I hadn't ridden in the dirt as a kid we would of high sided. Slid through the intersection, didn't hit the cage, and almost fell over at the next stop sign we were so shook.
I love the freedom and you can be the most alert, conscious rider ever, and some stupid bitch on her phone takes you out.
Once cell phones were invented, riding simply became too dangerous for us.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:20 PM
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Nope, no way. In high school some dude in a jeep hit a dude on his motorcycle, pop no more leg, its over there in the ditch. Eff that. I drive 3/4 ton suburbans, even then I'm paranoid as f*** about anyone not paying attention.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:21 PM
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And every biker that didn't make it, well, they ain't here to tell us about it...
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:21 PM
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Not only distracted drivers but there are so many more cars on the road these days. So now we have twice as many cars and most pay no attention to what is going on. I love riding but I just can't do it anymore.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:22 PM
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What could seem to be inconsistent, is that when the topic of boat safety (always wear a life vest, always have epirb, redundant radios and pumps, etc.) the THT collective is all for safety, and chastise those who do not follow the collective.

Yet riding a motorcycle on the wild, wild west that today's roads are -- well it is their choice to accept the risk, and they don't want to hear any lip about it.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Shag View Post
My FLHPI doesn't have anti-lock brakes. And yes, I can stop as quick as I can with a Tahoe with antilock brakes. Just personal experience.
Your FLHPI will take about 145 feet for 60-0. Which means it would out brake a Tahoe by about 10 feet. But that is one of the few vehicles on the road it will. All the 1/2 ton pickups and every Sedan out there will absolutely smoke you. Even the best bikes which are the 600cc super-sports take 125-130 feet to go from 60 to 0 and they will get torched by the Civics, Accords and Camry's that can all go 60 to 0 in under 120 feet. My point being , as a general rule cars will out brake a bike. Therefore 1) don't think you can out brake a car to be safe. and 2) don't let car driver think you can out brake them. It will get you hurt or killed.

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Old 05-29-2019, 04:34 PM
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Daily rider, also in Florida.....goldwing with 157K mi....Ride like everyone out there is trying to kill you....shocked at the number of drivers out there staring at their phones....
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