safety tips for new riders

TexasDav

New Member
Aug 19, 2008
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Houston
I just went for a ride for the first time with my son and seen him pedal thru a turn. I was surprized he made such a basic mistake. Lucky the pedal did not hit and send him flying. So I started from the idea he knows nothing about the small mistakes that we all learned the hard way. On a motorized bike those small mistakes become a big mistake fast.
These may seem so common but common sense is not common.
Here is a few things I thought he should be aware of, please add to this list

At a intersection have the pedal in the right position and pedal thru and be prepared if you kill the motor to pull in the clutch and pedal. If in doubt walk it across.
When parking bike at a store, chain it with the exhaust facing the pole, because little children want to touch stuff, and these bikes attract attention.
 

svc

New Member
Jan 10, 2009
43
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sydney australia
This thread needs to be built up. I commute to work in Sydney Australia. (Horrible roads in places and worse drivers, not to mention far to many blind people driving 4wds). I haven't riden bikes much since i was a kid, and have only had this one for just over a month, but ive done alot of Km's.

I rode like an idiot for the first few days, but figured i wasn't going to last like that. Toned it down alot for the next few weeks but was still having plenty of attempts on my life. i was discussing this with a friend who also has a MB and figured out what i'm doing wrong. I have done plenty of city driving and can usually pick an idiot but while ive been new on the bike I haven't been watching far enough ahead. ive been keeping left and watch out for tyre swallowing potholes.

If you are riding in the city you need to be very aware of your surroundings. Ive had alot of close calls from people turning across or U-turning from the oncoming lane/s. Use hand signals when turning. Watch out for the stereotype bad drivers (taxi drivers, 4wd's , volvo's etc.) they get that rep for a reason ( apologies and thanks to the good one's)

I think the most important safety point in heavy traffic is to plan your route. Take backroads and cycle lanes.

The worst time to ride here is around 3:30 when the mums are out picking up kids from school. In general they spend far to much time looking back at the kids to be aware of cyclists.

Stay safe all. cycle vs car = bad

.rd.
 

Dave31

Moderator
Staff member
Mar 1, 2008
11,204
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38
Aztlán, Arizona
If I make a right turn, I always have the right pedal to the top of the stroke, same thing when turning left. This way I know no matter how hard I go into a turn my pedal will not hit the ground.

When I come into intersections with a green light...I am scanning! First I keep an eye out in my mirror for any cars turning right that might try to shoot in front of me and pass me before they turn.

I also keep an eye out for the turning lane on the opposite direction for any one turning left, if I feel they will try to beat me, or not see me, I slow it down and get ready to stop if I have too.

And I never go into the intersection without looking both ways, even if I am stopped at a red light and it turns green. You never know when someone will run a red light.

I always ride as far to the right as possible, even if I have my own bike lane. Sometimes I ride right in the drain storm. But be careful getting to close, we have some curbs that are real high and I have hit my pedal.

I am always careful when going down the road and a car is pulling out of a parking lot. I keep a close eye on them. Sometimes they do not realize how fast you are moving, some don't even see you. And I do not just watch for cars pulling into the roadway from just my direction, I watch the other cars from the other side. Some will make very wide turns and even go into the bike lane. Remember, they are looking for cars, not bicycles.

I always ride with at least one to two fingers on the clutch and my brake lever, I can make a emergency stop much faster this way.

Never assume the driver will do what they are suppose to do. If they are in a left turn lane, don't assume they will turn left...they just might go straight.

And I always never rely on my mirror all the time, glance over your shoulder, I use my mirror as a tool.

Defensive, defensive, defensive driving is your best bet. Always beware of your surroundings, anticipate the unexpected. Listen to what is happening around you, never let your guard down.

Sometimes when I am on a rural road with absolutely no traffic, I can hear a car coming behind before I can ever see it in my mirror. I always give a glance over my shoulder to see what is coming and hoping it will also grab there attention.

And use hand signals, I know some of you have gotten annoyed when other drivers do not use turn signals, I know I have. In some of my videos you can see me using hand signals. In one of my videos I even stop for a school bus when it has it's stop sign out. I operate my MB just as if I was driving a car.
 
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svc

New Member
Jan 10, 2009
43
0
0
sydney australia
Nice links, the first 1 has some great safety tips. And the last one has some great advice on morals and assertive riding. I have been known to sneak the odd red light when its quiet. After reading that article i had to rethink that approach.(i expect car's to stop for them, i guess i should be doing the same) Same goes for turning signals. Alot of motorists here have a disrespect bordering on hatred for bikes of any kind. Sharing a red light phase with them may help :)
 

fm2200

New Member
Nov 16, 2008
258
1
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new york city
I had a motorcycle in a south Texas border town, because of the weather being real good I rode everyday. Never having to much trouble with traffic and the drivers were reasonable. This gave me a favorable riding experience, so when I started out back in Sept 08. I thought that, well I have a lot of history when being on a two wheel vehicle this should be similar. After 2 weeks of riding around in moderate traffic I was thinking this is really nice. Then while riding along curb area on a sunny warm day this car traveling along side of me suddenly makes a right turn right in front of me. His aggressiveness causing me to brake hard sliding the bike sideways trying to avoid hitting the side of his car. This happened again 2 weeks later the same way and now I am very afraid when coming up on intersections with cars traveling in the same direction along side of me. And I thought I knew it all, so much for conventional confidence that I once had.
 

TexasDav

New Member
Aug 19, 2008
528
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Houston
Be sure to be as visible as possible. I use the Bell flashing LED red taillight and a red tail light, a Bell flashing LED headlight and a head light with side marker. It is two systems that if I should lose one the other will work. I wear a reflective yellow vest and always a helmet. I have been to too many funerals of motor cycle riders who lost their life because of not wearing a helmet; the other benefit is that cops don't bother you near as much if you look like you are trying to be safe. And the other reason I wear all the safety gear is I know kids are watching me and I would not want to be a bad example.
 

TexasDav

New Member
Aug 19, 2008
528
0
0
Houston
I had a motorcycle in a south Texas border town, because of the weather being real good I rode everyday. Never having to much trouble with traffic and the drivers were reasonable. This gave me a favorable riding experience, so when I started out back in Sept 08. I thought that, well I have a lot of history when being on a two wheel vehicle this should be similar. After 2 weeks of riding around in moderate traffic I was thinking this is really nice. Then while riding along curb area on a sunny warm day this car traveling along side of me suddenly makes a right turn right in front of me. His aggressiveness causing me to brake hard sliding the bike sideways trying to avoid hitting the side of his car. This happened again 2 weeks later the same way and now I am very afraid when coming up on intersections with cars traveling in the same direction along side of me. And I thought I knew it all, so much for conventional confidence that I once had.
I have had that happen alot. One lady stopped an apoloigized saying she thought I was a bicycle and did not relize I was going that fast. We are precieved as a slow going bicyle because we sit in a upright relaxed position compared to a fast crouched bike rider. All you can do is all you can do. Waiting at a intersection for a light to change in heavy traffic is a real challenge. We get no respect as some drivers don't think we should be on the roade in the first place, slowing them up in any way makes them very agressive. I try to take the whole lane on a 4 lane street, because if I get over to the right even just a bit, they pass me in my lane instead of moving over to the other lane or waiting for a opening in the other lane. Main thing is to be alert all the time.
 

Dave31

Moderator
Staff member
Mar 1, 2008
11,204
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Aztlán, Arizona
I too have just started wearing a safety vest, and I will admit it does grab drivers attention. I have notice a huge difference in drivers noticing me.

And I always wear a helmet and eye protection, good point TDav. And lights is a good ideal not just for riding at night. Anything to make you more seen is a good ideal.
 

jasonh

New Member
Jun 23, 2008
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Longmont, CO
I've started wearing a helmet now. Bike helmets are not good enough. Get yourself a good DOT or Snell approved helmet. I have a Skid Lid MC helmet I got from Spookytooth for $40. Well worth it in my opinion.

If you're in a bike lane, or even just at the right side of a lane, when coming to an intersection, move to the center of the lane no matter what color the light is. Too many people will not pay attention and turn in front of you. Make sure to look over your shoulder first, and slow down and let any cars pass if they're close.

Eye protection, always. In many places it's the law.

During the spring and summer, it's a good idea to not wear a shirt with an open collar, or v-neck, etc. Getting stung by a bee in the throat at 25mph does not feel good. Trust me, I know.

As you're getting used to your bike, avoid traffic. Ride in the residential areas mostly till you get the hang of it. Practice things like swerving and stopping quickly in emergencies.
 

TexasDav

New Member
Aug 19, 2008
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Houston
I know about bees, been stung more then once. Always amazes me that they turn their butt toward you when you hit them, never hit one that did not sting me:)
 

jasonh

New Member
Jun 23, 2008
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Longmont, CO
Funny thing, the first time I was ever stung by a bee in my life was the first time I took a ride longer than 5min on my first MB, haha. That sucked. Trying to stop for a red light while your neck is on fire is no fun.
 

2door

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 15, 2008
16,326
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Littleton, Colorado
I ride as if I'm invisible.
People pay way less attention to bicycles than motorcycles and they tend to ignore them. I always assume automobile drives will not see or respond to me no matter what I'm wearing so I ride very very defensively. I always slow down and try to make eye contact with a driver waiting to pull onto a street or make a turn in front of me. If I see them lean foward, trying to see if the way is clear its a signal to me that they're not seeing me. If I'm invisible, then it's up to me to make sure the path is clear before I proceed and not rely on other drivers to yield.
Tom
 

TexasDav

New Member
Aug 19, 2008
528
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Houston
You are so right 2door. Either we are invisable,but to some it appears we have a big target on our backs and a bounty on our heads:)
 

tylerlough

New Member
May 28, 2008
109
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0
Mishawaka, IN
I was ridding my motor bike to school almost ran a red light because I was trying to check the time on my speedometer.
Conclusion; don't look down for more than a second.

Also look out to those dang loose dogs, especially on rural rides. All that noise freaks them out.

If someone is coming up from behind on a 40mph or higher road I'll pull over to let them pass if I know they can't pass me right then.
 

Weedylot

Angry Old Fart
Jun 12, 2008
453
1
0
Tucson Arizona
Good advice all around. I ride with two fingers on the hand brake at all times. Just a few days ago the "right turner" scenario happened, again. I had to lock up the coaster and skid almost sideways to avoid hitting the girl's passenger side. She glanced up at my angry countenance, then continued her cell phone conversation. Oblivious. :D
 

Shadeslay

New Member
Feb 25, 2009
119
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0
Arroyo Grande, Ca
I just ordered a helmet myself. The first couple of rides I really didn't think much or wearing a helmet. But bikes going 30+ can get a bit sketchy so picked up one from motorcycle-superstore for $60.

I'll add one, always check your bike before going out, anything that can work loose will. I was checking what I thought was everything, but missed the cranks. I really didn't think those would work loose but they did and almost fell off while riding.
 

seca40

New Member
Nov 15, 2008
131
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0
Albuquerque
A warning to those not running chain guards. I was just having tooooo much fun. Ripping through a right hand turn. Plenty of visibility good road not a speck of dirt to be seen anywhere on my intended line. Then WHAM! The back wheel locks up solid and down I go..kick2.kick2 My left pant leg got sucked into to the engine drive gear. I went down pretty hard on my right elbow but my long sleeved shirt saved me. My wallet got road rash through my jeans pocket.

Watch the old pant leg. Tie it up. Tuck it in. Or just run the Chain guard.
 

tylerlough

New Member
May 28, 2008
109
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Mishawaka, IN
I never have got around to mounting my chain guard because I figured it was one more thing a that can get loose, fall off or make noise.
Rubber bands work well for baggy pants, it also helps keep em clean.
 

Cowboy Rider

New Member
Apr 20, 2009
75
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Illinois
Bees. Oh gads! I made the mistake of riding with Shorts on back in the real motorcycle days, and one got me right in the inner thigh. OW!!! Now I think I'll stick to full jeans whenever I'm riding the MB cycle.

As for traffic, I'm pretty afraid to take on anything other then the residential neighborhood where my shop is located. I haven't even ridden the bike Home yet, on account of the roads to get there. (4 lane highway and a narrower County road w/ a 45 MPH limit.) I might try it when I get some lights figured out for my bike. Brake and Turn signals at least, to let drivers behind me know my intentions.

Still, in the residential area I am forever looking all about and turning my head back to check for upcoming traffic. I will yield and allow them to pass. To make a left turn, I will get into the middle of the lane and use a hand signal for the car behind me. If I have to stop to allow an oncoming car to keep going, I'll pull over and let all cars clear before I make the left turn.

I like Tom's remark about being invisible. I think along the same line. I look after myself when dealing with the cars, cause I feel like I Need to. I'm the small guy that will get hurt if I do not look after myself. The laws that give us bikes the right to share the road with cars aren't worth two dead flies if I'm laid in the hospital recovering from broken limbs. I don't care if the laws and insurance will pay for the injuries, I just don't want to even have the injuries to start with.

I like this topic and am glad I found it. If I can think of anything more to add I will, but that's all I can think of for now. Take care folks, and ride safe!