1. Perfect Your Roadcraft
Good roadcraft means less stress - and avoiding awkard and dangerous
situations. Be courteous and acknowlege courtesy to you. Never be
2. Ride Deliberately
Think clearly and ride decisively. Overtake quickly but safely so the
road is left clear for other traffic.
3. Develop "Bike Sense"
Know your limitations. Know your bike and treat it
sympathetically. Ride smoothly so as to reduce wear and tear.
4. Use your Horn, Signals and Lights Sensibly
Aggressive use of the horn is as bad as not using it at all. Give
good clear signals. Use your headlights at all times, day or night
Total concentration is the key to good riding. It improves control
and ensures that nothing is missed or misunderstood.
6. Think First, Then Act
A good biker never rides automatically. Every hazard is different and
needs to be thought through in plenty of time and negotiated carefully.
7. Hold Back
When in doubt, hold back. Keep your distance until it is safe to
overtake, and don't cut in too quicky.
8. Corner Safely
Safe cornering means being fully aware of the forces at work on your bike,
and applying correct cornering principles.
9. Use Speed Intelligently
Never go faster than you need to. The speed limit is not the same as
the "safe speed."
10. Know and Obey Highway Laws
Keep up on the changes to them.
Using Caution With New Tires
New tires have very poor traction for about the first 50 miles. They need a
chance for the mold release compound to be worked out of the tire’s surface. Use
caution until your new tires have had a chance to break in. Also some automotive
tire cleaning products can also reduce your motorcycle’s traction. - Milo Bjerke
Keeping Your Hands Warm
We have all ridden in cold weather and despite having heavy gloves,
possibly including extra liners, those fingers get too cold and begin to
(By the way, I have found that silk liners offer better cold weather
protection than heavier cloth liners.)
So, what to do about it?
Here is a tip that we came up with a couple of years ago when we were out
on the last leg (612 miles) of a week on the road and it was so cold that our
fingers began to get numb. We pulled to the side of the road, got off our bikes,
and dug into our first-aid kits. We pulled out a set of latex gloves and put
them on over the liners, then put our regular gloves on over the latex gloves.
It's amazing how effective that simple idea turned out to be.
(You do carry latex gloves in your first-aid kit, right?)
Can You Make the Grade?
Can You Make the Grade? By Robert Vaughan
Can you judge how long it
will take a train to get to the grade crossing? Will the gates come down on
time, or do they give you time to ride around them and still make it
Cars often have trouble judging a motorcycle's distance and speed because
we are smaller than cars. A train's distance and speed are hard to judge for the
opposite reason--trains are so large. Large objects appear to be moving slower
than they are. When a jet is coming in for a landing, it appears to be moving
very slowly, though it is really doing about 150 miles an hour.
Viewing the train almost head-on gives it little apparent motion and makes
it seem even slower. The parallel lines of the tracks going toward the train
make it look further away than it really is. The combined effect of the trains
looking both slower and farther away than it really is, gives us a false sense
of security. Most trains take about two minutes to clear a crossing. It only
seems longer. Yet, many people gamble two minutes against a lifetime, a real
Don't the crossing gates have a safety margin built in so we actually have
plenty of time after they first come down? The answer is sometimes, but not
always. The gates are timed for a fast train and activate when the train is a
quarter mile from the crossing. If all trains were fast, the train would always
be at the crossing within 25 seconds. Even slow trains make the crossing within
a minute. Unfortunately, the slow trains also make us think that we always have
extra time. If everyone took this extra time for granted we would be fine for
all the slow trains. However, the first fast train coming down the track would
make mincemeat of all the drivers who didn't make it.
Railroads are now experimenting with new types of crossing signs and new
ways to paint engines. Operation Lifesaver has helped to reduce crossroad
fatalities. The highway department has even put a radio-equipped officer in the
locomotive who looks for motorists who drove around the crossing arms. He has
street patrols ticket the driver. Unfortunately, railroads and highway
departments can't help the driver who sees the train but decides he can beat it
across the crossing. In case of a tie, the train always wins.
As motorcyclists, this reinforces something we learned long ago--the
biggest vehicle has the right of way. It's easier to fight city hall than
The Hurt Study
According to the Hurt Study:
5.1 percent of all motorcycle crashes occur in the 5:00-7:00 range
10.4 percent occur in the 8:00 to 10:00 range (from
7.2 percent occur in the 2:00 to 4:00 range (from the right).
77.1 percent of all motorcycle crashes occur in the 11:00 to 1:00 range
(directly in front of you).
So: while riders must be aware of hazards coming from all directions, the
vast majority come from directly in front of you. Hazards from the rear are
important, but overrated.
Wear full protective gear, including a helmet. Good riding apparel protects
you from the elements, keeps you comfortable, improves your visibility, and
connotes responsible riding in addition to protecting you from injury. - Pat
Headlight angle is greatly affected when carrying a passenger. Have a spot
on your garage door or wall, where the headlight normally shines with you
sitting and when it's adjusted properly. (If you need to, make a mark of some
sort in order to check your headlight aim periodically.) Now you can easily
check and adjust your headlight if you carry a passenger. An improperly-adjusted
headlight will drastically reduce your effective vision at night as well as the
ability of other motorists to notice you during the daytime. - Milo Bjerke
When riding with others, never assume the person in front of you will give
you lots of warning when stopping. If a child or animal runs out in front of
them, they may brake hard very quickly. It is YOUR responsibility to be ready
for this to happen at ANY time. - Charlie Coons
When riding with other motorcyclists with whom you haven't ridden with
before, leave more distance between the bikes until you understand the
differences in riding styles and comfort levels. - Milo Bjerke
Most motorcycle crashes happen between 3 and 6 p.m. Most fatalities happen
between 7:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. Most injury crashes happen in populated areas.
Most fatality crashes happen in rural areas. There are reasons behind this. Find
out what the crash trends in your area are, and use the information to adapt
your riding preferences to put you at an advantage against the statistics. - Pat