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Old 03-14-2012, 08:17 PM   #21
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Dude, I could write a whole academic dissertation on motorcycling the freeways. Actually... hrm, I think I will.

WATCH THE OTHER DRIVERS

OK so primarily keep your eyes on the road, look where you want to go (avoid target fixation!). Still, glance into the windows of the cages and check out everything you can. You're looking for two things: inattentive and aggressive drivers.

Distracted drivers
Simple enough, look for people doing anything other than drive. In heavy traffic nowdays there's literally 80% of people either on the phone or texting. Also watch for people eating - this goes with drinking, and empty cups sometimes go out the window. Same with cigarette butts. Are people playing with the radio, children, GPS or themselves?

How to handle
Just give 'em space. Never EVER ride beside anyone if possible, especially someone suspicious. If someone's drifting or driving irratic speeds, or mindlessly staying beside people, give them even more space - even if it means changing lanes or going faster/slower than you otherwise would.

Aggressive Drivers
They're out there - and you'll find they target you more when on two wheels. The good news is, they almost always give themselves away if you know what to watch for. Look at their HEAD and their HANDS. Scan the cars/trucks ahead of you, and see who all is checking their mirrors and how often. If someone begins to constantly check (esp. driver's side mirror) as you get close, they probably see you. Maybe they just like bikes, maybe they think the world is better off without you. People will change their hand position on the wheel before changing lanes/direction, and this is the biggest clue.

How to handle
Mostly just don't give them anything to be angry about. There's no telling what motivates people. Some people are just bullies; make yourself appear non-responsive and they'll turn to someone else. Some folks are bonzo-paranoid about people who speed; even if you look like speed racer they'll relax if you ride like an ol' Grandpa. Don't be a douche; don't tailgate, don't jump in front of people. Use your signals. Respect the fact that other people want that nice gap as much as you. Don't honk your horn, flash your lights or wave a one-finger salute.

bonus technique
If you're really suspicious about someone, try this, if there's a gap in front of you and you want to speed up, but worry that someone a lane over up ahead will try to sideswipe you. Drop a couple gears, make noise. Creep up, then tuck in. Just before you're beside them, brake hard. Rare but every once and a while some crazo will lunge over. Scares the **** outta you the first time it happens, but if you survive you'll learn.


LANE POSITION

Tends to be a matter of personal preference. I change positions within lanes constantly, for numerous factors. These include:

DEBRIS - the road's littered with it, especially on freeways. Most common hazard is chunks of rubber that break off of truck tires. If you cannot see these things because of someone in front of you, they'll appear suddenly from their undercarriage. Make sure to leave as much following distance as you can, so that you can have time to brake/swerve. This is why we ride towards one side of a lane: so that we can see around those ahead of us. Make sure that whatever side you're on includes an "out" - don't want to swerve around a tire, cup or raccoon and into a Silverado or guardrail.

SLICK SPOTS - oil collects in the middle of the lanes, other car fluids end up dropping on the right side. Worse when roads are wet (oil floats). Left side of lanes usually offer better traction.

VISIBILITY - make sure to stay where others are most likely to see you. Sometimes you'll want to be assertive and claim your space, most of the time you'll want as much physical distance from others as possible. Don't get close to people when passing.

=========

to be continued... maybe...
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:26 PM   #22
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If your motorcycle is air-cooled, I'm almost certain that you are allowed to filter through stopped traffic (around 5mph faster than speed of traffic) so that your motorcycle doesn't overheat.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
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If your motorcycle is air-cooled, I'm almost certain that you are allowed to filter through stopped traffic (around 5mph faster than speed of traffic) so that your motorcycle doesn't overheat.
Lol, naw
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:30 PM   #24
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On a positive note ...I bet once you get used to the ride you will start wanting to take the bike even when you do not have to.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart View Post
Dude, I could write a whole academic dissertation on motorcycling the freeways. Actually... hrm, I think I will.

WATCH THE OTHER DRIVERS

OK so primarily keep your eyes on the road, look where you want to go (avoid target fixation!). Still, glance into the windows of the cages and check out everything you can. You're looking for two things: inattentive and aggressive drivers.

Distracted drivers
Simple enough, look for people doing anything other than drive. In heavy traffic nowdays there's literally 80% of people either on the phone or texting. Also watch for people eating - this goes with drinking, and empty cups sometimes go out the window. Same with cigarette butts. Are people playing with the radio, children, GPS or themselves?

How to handle
Just give 'em space. Never EVER ride beside anyone if possible, especially someone suspicious. If someone's drifting or driving irratic speeds, or mindlessly staying beside people, give them even more space - even if it means changing lanes or going faster/slower than you otherwise would.

Aggressive Drivers
They're out there - and you'll find they target you more when on two wheels. The good news is, they almost always give themselves away if you know what to watch for. Look at their HEAD and their HANDS. Scan the cars/trucks ahead of you, and see who all is checking their mirrors and how often. If someone begins to constantly check (esp. driver's side mirror) as you get close, they probably see you. Maybe they just like bikes, maybe they think the world is better off without you. People will change their hand position on the wheel before changing lanes/direction, and this is the biggest clue.

How to handle
Mostly just don't give them anything to be angry about. There's no telling what motivates people. Some people are just bullies; make yourself appear non-responsive and they'll turn to someone else. Some folks are bonzo-paranoid about people who speed; even if you look like speed racer they'll relax if you ride like an ol' Grandpa. Don't be a douche; don't tailgate, don't jump in front of people. Use your signals. Respect the fact that other people want that nice gap as much as you. Don't honk your horn, flash your lights or wave a one-finger salute.

bonus technique
If you're really suspicious about someone, try this, if there's a gap in front of you and you want to speed up, but worry that someone a lane over up ahead will try to sideswipe you. Drop a couple gears, make noise. Creep up, then tuck in. Just before you're beside them, brake hard. Rare but every once and a while some crazo will lunge over. Scares the **** outta you the first time it happens, but if you survive you'll learn.


LANE POSITION

Tends to be a matter of personal preference. I change positions within lanes constantly, for numerous factors. These include:

DEBRIS - the road's littered with it, especially on freeways. Most common hazard is chunks of rubber that break off of truck tires. If you cannot see these things because of someone in front of you, they'll appear suddenly from their undercarriage. Make sure to leave as much following distance as you can, so that you can have time to brake/swerve. This is why we ride towards one side of a lane: so that we can see around those ahead of us. Make sure that whatever side you're on includes an "out" - don't want to swerve around a tire, cup or raccoon and into a Silverado or guardrail.

SLICK SPOTS - oil collects in the middle of the lanes, other car fluids end up dropping on the right side. Worse when roads are wet (oil floats). Left side of lanes usually offer better traction.

VISIBILITY - make sure to stay where others are most likely to see you. Sometimes you'll want to be assertive and claim your space, most of the time you'll want as much physical distance from others as possible. Don't get close to people when passing.

=========

to be continued... maybe...
You should definitely continue this sometime, and make a thread for it so many people can see it. Very informative, domo arigato friend
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:52 PM   #26
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That was an excellent write up Bart. I usually ride the hov lane if at all possible. I. actually have to slightly back track to get to work but feel its safer. And yeah air cooled bike in stop and go gets pretty hot.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:58 PM   #27
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I forgot to add, look out for ricers and loud musclecars. They are far more likely to drive recklessly when they hear a motorcycle. Best way to get rid of them is drop a gear, watch them take off, and then be thankful the next speed trap is taken care of.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:11 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rael View Post
I forgot to add, look out for ricers and loud musclecars. They are far more likely to drive recklessly when they hear a motorcycle. Best way to get rid of them is drop a gear, watch them take off, and then be thankful the next speed trap is taken care of.
If hearing a harley rumble makes them reckless, then they got issues lol. But once I drop a gear she turns into a completely different animal and then she might really attract the ricers and brostangs. So Ill just stay at 2-3k rpms. The roads will be safer for everyone
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:41 PM   #29
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Quote:
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If hearing a harley rumble makes them reckless, then they got issues lol. But once I drop a gear she turns into a completely different animal and then she might really attract the ricers and brostangs. So Ill just stay at 2-3k rpms. The roads will be safer for everyone
Any loud engine-like noise triggers a primal response in them. A few weeks ago a simple downshift was enough to send a camaro across three lanes of traffic and out of sight at 100+ mph. I'm on a two valve air cooled 700cc commuter bike with stock pipes. Don't underestimate the instinctive responses of ricers and brostangs.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:57 PM   #30
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When heavy traffic is unavoidable, i try to keep a eye on the cagers tires as well. Generally the tire moves long before the steel on top does. Its hard to explain but knock on wood 45 hasnt gotten me yet.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:08 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowroll View Post
When heavy traffic is unavoidable, i try to keep a eye on the cagers tires as well. Generally the tire moves long before the steel on top does. Its hard to explain but knock on wood 45 hasnt gotten me yet.
Another good piece of advice. The tire will give away if the car is going to move.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:20 PM   #32
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The days I ride in, I leave earlier than usual. I also leave work earlier to avoid traffic on the way home. My only traffic is on 290, but I catch the HOV lane and avoid most of the traffic.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:49 PM   #33
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Just be alert & keep in mind the advice that has been given out.
The more you ride , the better you will get.
Leaving early is a plus .
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:04 PM   #34
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I don't commit myself to one lane or even a particular part of a lane. I move to where I feel comfortable. I watch my mirrors constantly because I want to know what's potentially aiming to mow me down. I look at the drivers in cars to guage their attention level and adjust my position to them as I feel needed. I always assume another vehicle wants the same lane I'm about to change in to. And I'm always ready to move whether it's to swerve, brake, or accelerate.
Also be prepared to have cars passing you while they're still partially in your lane. What I usually do (and not something I advise) is move towards the car to claim my space back because it me off.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:01 AM   #35
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If you are stuck in a blind spot, or moving through a heavy section.... let the pipes speak a little. Don't redline... but don't be coasting along in a blind spot or into the next lane.

Honestly, you have more room to move on a bike and can see more, so I feel a little better in traffic than in a car. I feel MOST people give me extra space and won't cut in on me... it's the ones that don't see you at all that are the issue. I commute 70+ miles a day... see it ALL the time.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:12 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rael View Post
Any loud engine-like noise triggers a primal response in them. A few weeks ago a simple downshift was enough to send a camaro across three lanes of traffic and out of sight at 100+ mph. I'm on a two valve air cooled 700cc commuter bike with stock pipes. Don't underestimate the instinctive responses of ricers and brostangs.
So true... 90% of the time they will try to race you. On my way to Sugarland on Monday someone in a semi-riced Corolla was playing with me trying to race me. I kept a constant speed, was not weaving in and out of traffic but when traffic dictated that I passed them... the first opening they had to pass me again they would blow by me at a high rate of speed and usually merge into my lane only slightly in front of me.

Some people are ... and as it turns out dudes in mustangs and camaros typically feel they have something to prove. I think its because they are driving a chick car. Soooo many Mustang Whores on the road.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:21 AM   #37
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I have got 26k miles commuting.

I do reccomend a cheap high-viz vest. You can usually get them at Academy, made by Wolveriene for about $15. If you ride a ktm you can swing the orange, but I like the yellow. High viz backpacks are hard to find, and I would not and i repete NOT SUGGEST suggest the Icon Sauad II because mine is falling apart way to fast. Get a backpack cover, or skin or whatever they are called and use your favorite backpack (if you need a bpack).

Oh yea, and they still won't see you.

Some will try to kill you.

Others will panic a the sight of a moto, especially one that looks like he either escaped a landscaping crew or is an official of some sort.

most of my tips are for surviving the heat on the moto during summer. How long do you plan to commute?
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:26 AM   #38
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I do not commute on any of my bikes...but over the years there have been times that I have... the older I get, and the longer I have been riding , the less I enjoy riding in the city...
when i do have to ride in the city... I use my 47 years of riding experience to remind me that every SOB on the road is there for the express purpose of killing me and I ride so as they do not get the chance...
lots of good technical advice has been given in this thread... but never forget that the others out there are really trying to run you over.. they have no other purpose on the road... don't let them win...
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:26 AM   #39
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Some people are ... and as it turns out dudes in mustangs and camaros typically feel they have something to prove. I think its because they are driving a chick car. Soooo many Mustang Whores on the road.
Oh really? When I drive my Camaro I don't initiate races but guys on bikes sure like to try to get me to race. If it's a liter bike or something similar I won't bother because I know the outcome. If it's something I'm not sure about, I'll consider giving it a run. I'll even put an SV650 in it's place. But since so many people don't know how to ride their bikes, I usually just leave them be so that I'm not a part of them wrecking.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:31 AM   #40
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I usually ride the hov lane if at all possible. I. actually have to slightly back track to get to work but feel its safer.
Gotta agree with this. Take the HOV, even if it means getting off an exit or two late. Take a backstreet instead of the feeder to backtrack if possible. Don't become complacent on the HOV either. One day very early in the morning, I was following a couple cars and came up on a hill. Somebody was broke down just over the crest but still taking up half the HOV lane. The cars in front of me slammed on their brakes. I not only had to swerve but had to deal with the guys in front of me stopping fast too.

Keep your foot off the rear brake and ride one gear lower than normal on the freeway so people know you're there.
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