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good article for street riders
by RACER X 06-08-2012, 02:49 PM

http://www.sportrider.com/ride/146_9...ips/index.html

Riding Tips for Commuting - Urban Guerrilla
From the August, 1995 issue of Sport Rider
By Nick Ienatsch
Illustrator: Scott Fike




Click to View GalleryTen years ago I signed on at Motorcyclist magazine and began commuting to work on a motorcycle over the busiest freeways and streets of Los Angeles. In those 10 years of commuting, two staff members had commuting accidents, neither of which caused significant damage or pain. That's five to seven editors riding to work every working day for 10 years. If we were the survey panel, the conclusion would be that commuting on a motorcycle is an extremely safe way to get to work. And with the proper skills, it can be.

Experience is a great teacher, but an often painful one. To help shortcut experience, we've compiled five basic steps to existing in traffic to help get commuters out of their cars and onto motorcycles. You'll save time (one of the few nonreplenishable resources we have!) and reduce parking problems, and your work day will begin and end with less stress and more pleasure. One thing we know for sure: That sport bike in your garage isn't just for Sunday mornings.

URBAN GUERRILLA STEP ONE: TRUST NO ONE
Click to View Gallery
This missing mirror lens blinds... read full caption Click to View GalleryThis missing mirror lens blinds the driver to your presence until you are alongside and is a detail you must learn to automatically recognize and avoid as you scan traffic.Learn to rely on one person, and one person only: yourself. Be paranoid. When you see a dented, dirty or neglected car, be especially paranoid. Dents are a rolling history of mistakes, and you don't want to be involved. Dirt and neglect show disinterest, and that disinterest probably bleeds into their driving as well.

Experience has taught us to watch for particular car types in addition to neglected cars. Volvo works hard to promote the safety of its cars, and that means some owners of Volvos buy them because they know they're going to be in an accident. Sure, it's an unfair generalization of Volvo owners, but it's an observation made after a decade in Los Angeles. Watch for minivans. They're usually purchased to carry the kids, so the driver is often dealing with much more than the road. Beware of high-performance cars in a hurry; a modern car can accelerate and change lanes surprisingly quickly, so give them room if they're driving aggressively. Give four-wheel drive pickups some room because (another unfair generalization) they're often driven by aggressive young men who believe that might makes right. What car types can you trust? None.

URBAN GUERRILLA STEP TWO: AVOID BLIND SPOTS

Click to View Gallery
How other drivers interpret... read full caption Click to View GalleryHow other drivers interpret your actions has a great deal to do with urban riding skill. If this rider uses his turn signal to show his intention to make a right turn on the upcoming street, the Volkswagen driver exiting the 7-Eleven may assume the rider is pulling into the 7-Eleven and mistakenly accelerate directly into the bike's path. In this case, the rider must stay in the left side of the right lane and signal his right turn immediately before the street-and keep a close eye on the VW.If one thought rules your urban riding, let it be this: Stay out of blind spots. If you can't see the driver's face in the car's mirror, that driver can't see you and you simply don't exist. Place blind-spot avoidance on top of your priority list for urban survival. Use acceleration, deceleration and lane position to "ride in the mirrors" of the cars around you. Develop a blind-spot warning buzzer that blares every time you approach a blind spot. The Highway Patrol teaches its riders to constantly move through traffic, to ride slightly (slightly!) faster than traffic and move through blind spots rather than sitting in them. Good advice.

Of course, just because you're riding in the mirrors of a car doesn't mean that driver will use that mirror before changing lanes into you. Position yourself so that if the driver fails to see you in the mirror, you still aren't in danger of getting tagged. You will know when you're riding well and staying clear of blind spots because you are no longer using your horn to warn encroaching drivers of your presence; they've already seen you in the mirror, alongside or ahead. In fact, our response to "loud pipes save lives" is "get out of the blind spot."

URBAN GUERRILLA STEP THREE: BE DEFENSIVE, BE AGGRESSIVE
Click to View Gallery
By predicting this car's last-second... read full caption Click to View GalleryBy predicting this car's last-second freeway flop, this rider has made plenty of room for the expected mistake. Avoid passing on the right, and never pass immediately before a freeway exit, intersection or driveway; give the driver a chance to drive poorly without your involvement. Accelerate ahead or fall behind.Combining defensive tactics and aggressive riding will create a riding portfolio that will weather any storm. The secret is knowing when to use each of the tactics. After all, blasting aggressively down Main Street is an open invitation for trouble. Conversely, creeping slowly down Main Street invites different but still deadly trouble, putting you at the mercy of other drivers' skills-or lack thereof.

Defensive riding means being aware of your space and maintaining that space by positioning yourself in surrounding traffic. Riding defensively is a way of looking at traffic to predict its effect on you, and making sure that effect is minimal.

Riding aggressively is much less a way of riding than an applied technique to be exercised only occasionally. As motorcyclists, we must put ourselves in view, and sometimes that means a bit of aggressive throttle use to come up even with a driver's window. Simply put, sometimes slowing down is extremely dangerous and some aggressive acceleration or lane changing is called for.


Click to View Gallery
Correct lane positioning will... read full caption Click to View GalleryCorrect lane positioning will allow you to be seen and keep you away from danger. This rider approaches the cab in the right side of his lane so the cab driver will see him in the cab's mirrors. As the rider approaches the cab's blind spot, he moves left to gain valuable space in case of a sudden lane change.Create your own traffic destiny. Put yourself in a position with an escape route if your worst-case predictions come true. Look for traffic patterns and try to move through traffic, rather than sit within a knot of traffic. The time you become lethargic will be the time somebody parks a Suburban in your lap at 60 mph.

URBAN GUERRILLA STEP FOUR: MAKE ROOM FOR OTHERS' MISTAKES
In case you haven't noticed, drivers make mistakes. Dozens of them, from no turn signal to last-minute freeway exits to locked brakes at a yellow light to-well, how long a list do you need? America's current driver's training programs aren't going to correct America's drivers in the foreseeable future, so the secret is to plan on and predict the mistakes and make sure you're not affected. In other words, give 'em room to screw up.


Click to View Gallery
A car's blind spot varies... read full caption Click to View GalleryA car's blind spot varies according to the vehicle, mirror size and mirror adjustment. Anytime you're parallel to a car, truck or van, you're in the most dangerous spot on the road. Learn to move through this Death Spot aggressively; don't ride in a blind spot, even for a few seconds.Understand this: You won't change the mistakes being made out there, but by recognizing and giving them room to happen, you won't be negatively affected by them either. There's no reason to get upset, violent, aggressive or reactionary; once you begin to make room for mistakes, it becomes almost humorous to watch the stupidity around you because you will no longer be taken by surprise or put in danger.

URBAN GUERRILLA STEP FIVE: SLOW DOWN IN TOWN
Speed itself doesn't kill, but it sure makes those sudden stops painful. Basically, too much speed makes us unreadable. The car driver looks down the street, sees a headlight approaching at what he guesses to be the speed limit, and proceeds through the intersection. Unfortunately, the bike is doing double the speed limit and slams into the side of the car. Whose fault is it? Not the car driver's. Slow down to be seen; slow down to avoid being misread.


Click to View Gallery
An ugly chain reaction can... read full caption Click to View GalleryAn ugly chain reaction can be started when a car squeezes into the right lane of a crowded freeway, and you'll be affected if you don't take action. Predict possible outcomes and place yourself safely in surrounding traffic. Often that means safely accelerating ahead of the mess.Slowing down allows you to stop before becoming involved in someone else's mistake. Even if you're the Kevin Schwantz of braking, it takes more distance to stop a bike from 50 mph than it does from 30 mph; that extra distance usually isn't available to urban guerrillas.

Slowing down gives your brain a chance to notice things and more time to react. Your peripheral vision widens and you relax enough to read and predict traffic. Try walking down the supermarket aisle and reading labels, then try running down the same aisle. Now imagine all those soup cans are about to jump into your path and you'll see how slowing down affects your perception. There are plenty of places to go fast, but in and around traffic isn't one of them. If you can't slow down in town, put me in your will.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:49 PM   #2
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URBAN GUERRILLA BONUS STEP: PRACTICE


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Intersections are our toughest... read full caption Click to View GalleryIntersections are our toughest challenges. This rider is moving into the right side of his lane to gain and give the most unobstructed view possible, a good idea since the car waiting to turn left is all but blinded by the UPS truck. Slow down, cover your brakes, and use your lane to position yourself for maximum conspicuity.When everything goes wrong and the above five steps fail to keep you in safety's arms, you'd better be a good motorcycle rider. Get to an empty parking lot and practice braking; take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Experienced RiderCourse. Experiment with flicking lane changes. Become intimately familiar with the effects of countersteering, experimenting with differing pressures on the handgrips. Practice quick glances in the mirrors and hurried looks over your shoulder, as if you were initiating an emergency lane change. Use your turn signals in all conditions so that you'll remember to cancel them when things get stressful. Know the route you and your neighborhood commuters take on the way to the freeway and study the mistakes being made; when you're not on your bike, watch traffic patterns and instances that would get a rider in trouble.

All this is practice, and it's just as important for the urban guerrilla as it is for the expert-level roadracer. You can't win a trophy with your commuting prowess, but you can step out of the car or bus and add two irreplaceable things to your life: time and enjoyment.

This article was originally published in the August 1995 issue of Sport Rider.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:05 PM   #3
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URBAN GUERRILLA BONUS BONUS STEP: AWESOMENESS

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Wheelie as often as possible, at least when accelerating from intersections, as the increased height and louder exhaust note will make you more visable to surrounding traffic. Other motorists will be placed in a state of "awe" at your supreme and inate coolness, thereby being rendered passive and subdued. Applying copious decals provided with motorcycle accessories, or purchased individually, and adornments such as helmet mohawks also increase both visual prominence and the aforementioned coolness. Remember, being so effing awesome is much less a way of riding than an applied technique...of being awesome.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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Yeah, this article is included in his book, "Sport Riding Techniques" or something along those lines. Good read as most of my riding is commuting mileage.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by less_than_coop View Post
URBAN GUERRILLA BONUS BONUS STEP: AWESOMENESS

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Wheelie as often as possible, at least when accelerating from intersections, as the increased height and louder exhaust note will make you more visable to surrounding traffic. Other motorists will be placed in a state of "awe" at your supreme and inate coolness, thereby being rendered passive and subdued. Applying copious decals provided with motorcycle accessories, or purchased individually, and adornments such as helmet mohawks also increase both visual prominence and the aforementioned coolness. Remember, being so effing awesome is much less a way of riding than an applied technique...of being awesome.

lol
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
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Racer X,

Great article, thanks! I had a cager lane change about two feet from me riding westbound on Hwy 6 in Sugar Land a few minutes ago. Friday afternoons are often the worst time of the week. The blind spot advice is spot on.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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Pretty much how I always ride.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #8
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Nice article find X - thanks for sharing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by less_than_coop View Post
URBAN GUERRILLA BONUS BONUS STEP: AWESOMENESS

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Wheelie as often as possible, at least when accelerating from intersections, as the increased height and louder exhaust note will make you more visable to surrounding traffic. Other motorists will be placed in a state of "awe" at your supreme and inate coolness, thereby being rendered passive and subdued. Applying copious decals provided with motorcycle accessories, or purchased individually, and adornments such as helmet mohawks also increase both visual prominence and the aforementioned coolness. Remember, being so effing awesome is much less a way of riding than an applied technique...of being awesome.
Well said
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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Yup, great article. I started riding at 15, on an under powered two stroke 125 dual sport in Houston traffic. Started me off right - with a healthy dose of paranoia. And the feeble engine rendered me unable to apply the Urban Guerilla Awesomeness tactic, making it even more important to stay paranoid.

That beginning mindset has served me well over the years. Friend of mine's son just got his first car: a Tahoe. Can't say he's likely to develop the same mindset, wrapped in 6,000# of steel
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:28 PM   #10
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Always picture yourself as the driver of the car, would you be able to see yourself easily from that car. If not, either create distance further back or pass.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:21 PM   #11
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awesome share RacerX ! thanx
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:27 PM   #12
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great.. we just need to keep that in mind as a noobie.. some just ride an don't watch others .. an then it happen.. rider down
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:07 PM   #13
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Got to keep the head moving at all times. Situational awareness is a must, for survival.

Same goes for practice.

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Old 06-08-2012, 10:25 PM   #14
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Got to keep the head moving at all times. Situational awareness is a must, for survival.

Same goes for practice.

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+1 and keep up on that maintenance, freshly tuned brakes make a huge difference.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by less_than_coop View Post
URBAN GUERRILLA BONUS BONUS STEP: AWESOMENESS

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Wheelie as often as possible, at least when accelerating from intersections, as the increased height and louder exhaust note will make you more visable to surrounding traffic. Other motorists will be placed in a state of "awe" at your supreme and inate coolness, thereby being rendered passive and subdued. Applying copious decals provided with motorcycle accessories, or purchased individually, and adornments such as helmet mohawks also increase both visual prominence and the aforementioned coolness. Remember, being so effing awesome is much less a way of riding than an applied technique...of being awesome.
Gold. Send that one in.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:37 PM   #16
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Yea good article but everyone should read his book!
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:29 PM   #17
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Riding a motorcycle in traffic is like playing chess with an idiot....expect them to make a retarded move.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Riding a motorcycle in traffic is like playing chess with an idiot....expect them to make a retarded move.
...and don't make stupid moves yourself...
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:43 AM   #19
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Good stuff for new people to read.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Yea good article but everyone should read his book!
:thumbup: I agree!!! Great read for anyone that rides sport bikes.

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