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Keeping these ideas in mind can help prevent accidents with automobile drivers.
Help drivers know you're there.
Don't assume you are visible to a driver. As a motorcyclist, it is your responsibility to make your presence known to drivers. Select and wear an appropriate helmet with retroreflective materials. A DOT-approved motorcycle helmet is your most valuable piece of protective gear and should be visible to drivers. Wear bright, contrasting protective clothing. If you wear dark clothing, wear a fluorescent vest.
Use headlights while riding on the highway, and use high beams rather than low beams. Also consider a modulating headlight.
Proper lane position is important. It helps drivers see you and protects your riding space. Remember, if you can see a driver in the side-view mirror, the driver can see you. Don't "hide" in a driver's blind spot, and always signal before making a move. Never weave between lanes.
Remember, there is no one safe place to ride. Use lane positioning to be seen and to provide extra space for emergency braking situations or avoidance maneuvers. Never share a lane with a car. Drivers may not expect you alongside their cars and may not be aware of your presence.
Know when crashes are likely to happen.
You are more likely to be involved in an accident when:
A car is making a left turn in front of you.
You are riding in a driver's blind spot. Drivers may not know you're there, and they sometimes fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or making a turn.
There are hazardous road conditions. Potholes, wet leaves, railroad tracks, and other road obstructions may force you to make a move a driver does not anticipate.
You are obstructed from the driver's line of sight. Sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks can block a motorcycle from a driver's view. This means you may seem to appear suddenly.
Keeping these ideas in mind can help prevent accidents.
Remember that motorcycles can be easy to miss.
Motorcycles are already more difficult to spot than cars because of their smaller profiles, and drivers are conditioned to look for other cars, not motorcyclists.
Traffic, weather, and road conditions require motorcyclists to react differently than drivers, so it is often difficult to judge and predict when riders may take evasive action.
This means drivers must always be aware of their surroundings. Remember: Check twice, save a life.
Know when crashes are likely to occur.
You are more likely to be involved in an accident with a motorcycle when:
Be more aware of motorcyclists.
Remember that motorcyclists have the same privileges of other drivers. Be sure to give riders a full lane of travel, and always keep a close watch for motorcyclists--especially at intersections and on highways.
Anticipate a motorcyclist's maneuvers. A piece of road debris that poses no threat to a car may be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive moves a motorcyclist might take by always being aware of your surroundings. Also, don't follow motorcycles too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
Trying To Avoid Hidden Critters
I read an interesting article on how to avoid a deer. All though, like motorcycling, itís impossible to eliminate all your risks, but it is possible to manage your risks. I decided to let Art Friedman do the talking in this addition of the Rider Education article.
From the April 2004 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine.By Art Friedman.
* Deer travel in groups. One deer means there are probably more, so even if the one you see is off the road and going away, slow way down immediately.
There were a few things at the December gathering that I wanted to cover, but for some reason I got a little side tracked. It all started when I mentioned the words ďspace heaterĒ. I think I can thank Ron Walters for getting me side tracked. At least thatís how I remember it, but either way we had some great laughs that day. Now, speaking briefly of space heaters, and I know this isnít motorcycle related, but you, my friends reading this, are motorcyclists, and I want to make sure I say something about it. About 4 days before Christmas, a friend of mind who lives in Oklahoma, lost his mobile home to a fire. He barley escaped himself, and ended up with a few burns. The cause? Space heater! Please, be careful with those things. Make sure you donít have any flammable material nearby that could possibly come in contact with it. Thatís what happened to Jim. Okay, moving on. Fog! Well, we got to see some of that lately. You may have woke up on New Years day considering riding your bike to Famous Daves, and when you looked out your window in the morning, you didnít see much. I know I didnít in Miamisburg. Now, fog doesnít have to be a reason to not ride, but you do need to be aware of a few things when riding in fog. With limited visibility you are unable to see the horizon, which is what we use to help maintain our balance. Passing trees give you some hint of vertical, but not always reliably. Anyway, if you are in a curve and must stop quickly, you have no way of knowing if the bike is vertical when you get stopped! Before you know it you find the bike falling over and you are unable to stop it. All because you could not see the horizon, (even though you do not consciously look at it in order to gauge vertical.) Studies have shown that people tend to gradually increase speed while driving in the fog. I didn't know that, and cannot recall that I have had that happen to me, but I certainly understand how it could happen. With any experience at all we tend to look at our speedometers rarely as we can judge pretty well what our speed is using the passing scenery for cues. In the fog those cues are unreliable.
What is fog? Fog is tiny droplets of water in the liquid state that form when moisture laden air is cooled below its dew point. Fog is like clouds in nearly every way except how it's formed. Clouds form when moisture laden air rises and is cooled. Fog forms when moisture laden air cools at or near the ground surface. Because fog tends to be a local condition, accurate forecasting is rare. Your favorite drive time radio weather forecaster may be cheerfully commenting about "possible patches of fog this morning" just as your Gold Wing plunges into a mile long fog bank. The most obvious risk to a motorcyclist is a sudden, drastic reduction in visibility. Abruptly, you don't know what (if anything) is stalled on the highway just ahead, or just how soon you'll reach the next curve in the road. If you're riding at night, your headlight beam is suddenly diffused, destroying your night vision with its glare. If you're riding in daytime the sunlight above the fog illuminates it, making you think you're surrounded by bright cotton candy. In either daytime or night, set your headlight to low beam; it will reflect less off the moisture drops. Your best riding tactic is to roll off your speed rapidly, but not abruptly, by gradual braking. Not only does fog keep you from seeing the perils ahead of you; it also means the 18 wheeler behind you can't see either, and he may not have rolled off his speed! If you choose to pull off the highway, do so quickly, carefully and completely. Then turn off your lights so that same 18 wheeler high balling into the fog behind you doesn't mistake you to be still underway ahead of him and smack into you! When riding in hilly country where dips and valleys fill with patches of fog while the hills and higher areas are clear, resist the urge to blast through the fog. WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE, CAN HURT YOU.
www.weather.com/glossary/b.html Thin, new ice on fresh or salt water that appears dark in color because of its transparency. Also refers to thin, transparent ice on road surfaces.
www.wrh.noaa.gov/spokane/outreach/glossary.htmThin, new ice that forms on
fresh water or dew covered surfaces; it is common on roadways during the fall
and early winter and appears "black" because of its transparency.
www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn A thin coating of ice (as from freezing mist) on a road or sidewalk; nearly invisible but very hazardous
These are just a few definitions of what black ice is. This is very hazardous driving 4 wheelers, and even more so on our motorcycles.
From Mn. DOT http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d7/newsrels/2004/01/blackice.html Black ice can be one of the most dangerous conditions on winter roads,Ē said District Engineer Jim Swanson. ďIt is almost invisible and can catch drivers off guard,Ē he added. Black ice is clear and appears black because the dark asphalt surface underneath shows through. It can form on heavily congested highways from auto emissions, but other roads are susceptible including those in shaded areas, near lakes and rivers, in tunnels and on overpasses.
Drivers can increase safety by observing the following tips:
- Be aware that black ice is almost invisible.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and tunnels and in early morning when the air temperature is rising faster than the pavement temperature.
- Never brake while driving on ice. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will cause a vehicle to skid. Brake only during your approach.
- Keep your distance. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as under normal driving circumstances. Keep at least a three-car distance from the vehicle directly in front of you. Black ice forms when the air temperature is warmer than pavement, which causes moisture to rapidly freeze and create a thin, transparent layer of ice on the roadway. It can be neutralized with salting and sanding. However, drivers should be aware that salt loses its effectiveness at about 15 degrees and colder.
Folks, whether youíre out in your cars & trucks, or sneaking in the winter ride on the motorcycle, please be aware of conditions that cause black ice. I donít have to tell you how fast youíll find yourself on your rear if you brake, steer, or maneuver a curve on black ice without proper caution.
Well, now that Spring has sprung, this has kicked off our riding season once again. Itís also kicked off the rally season for us. People have their favorite rally they like to go to, and for X2, Tennesseeís Spring Fling is one of them. There will be several groups heading down to Pigeon Forge at various times. This will mean several groups. At Safety Sunday Bud Rahe put on a very nice presentation on group riding, plus he & Peggy have presented it to X2 at our gathering. I wonít go in to all the nuts and bolts on group riding, but feel this is a good time to remind us of a few things. Why do we ride in a group? Well, for one, itís kind of fun, but more importantly itís a safe way to travel long distances. In case of a mechanical problem, or an accident, help is available. A group is more visible to other motorist. It also makes it a little easier for the motorist to predict what the motorcyclist will do. Thatís why itís important to follow some simple guidelines when riding in a group. I canít stress enough the importance of a role the lead bike, and tail bike (tail gunner) play. Your group should ride in unison. When the lead bike wants/needs to change lanes, he or she will call back to the tail gunner to secure the lane. Once that is done, then the command to look then move will be given, and the group should move all at once. When done properly, itís a thing of beauty. If the situation arises where the group canít change lanes at the same time, then youíll here the command to go as you can, or on your own. Remember, let that tail gunner secure the lane, then change lanes as a group on command. Iíve driven down the road when there was a ďgangĒ of bikes in various lanes, and riding very unpredictably. Itís very dangerous riding that way as the freeway turns in to a free for all. Not only that, youíre likely to get the motorist upset, and road rage can start to come in to play. There is a difference between ďgroupĒ riding, and ďgangĒ riding. Itís also important to keep the group pretty tight. You should have a 2-second distance between you and the bike in font of you. That would make it a one-second distance between you and the bike in the opposite track in front of you. Youíll want to give yourself a little more distance if itís raining though. That pretty much describes expressway riding, but we also ride the back roads as a group. For many of us, these are unfamiliar back roads, so caution should be used. For the most part we ride staggered. A reason for that is in the event for emergency breaking, youíll have a good chance to stop before climbing up the back end of the bike in front of you. Last year was a good example of why staggered riding is good. We were riding along enjoying the scenery when all of a sudden a dog came out of no where in front of the group. I was in the back of the group so I had a great view of what happened. The group (pulling trailers) came to a stop fast, and the bikes rested side by side of each other. It almost looked like a drill team exercise. When the lanes narrow you may get the command for single file, or a hand signal holding 1 finger up (preferably the pointer finger). This isnít always the case though. Itís important to remember even when riding staggered, the whole lane belongs to you when maneuvering curves. Letís all try to remember these few rules, and start the season off right with a safe trip to Tennessee. I know Darlene and I am really looking forward to it. Oh, and one other rule to keep in mind.
Keep the shinny side up and the rubber side down.
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