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I know this is old hat to some of you reading this but newer riders may benefit from it. Always, Always leave yourself a way out when stopped in traffic. We worked an accident over the weekend where on a 4 lane divided highway a tractor trailer was backing down the road. Have no clue why but whatever. A bike stopped behind the truck but the driver didn't see him and backed over him and the bike. He suffered severe injuries to his arm but he was lucky. Now I don't know where the bike stopped or exactly what happened here but my assumption is that he couldn't get the bike out the way of the truck fast enough. When the bike first stopped he may not have been in the truck drivers field of vision. I'm not saying the biker did anything wrong, this accident was clearly all to blame on the truck. I'm just putting it out there to remind everyone to not stop real close behind anyone, especially a large vehicle that may have trouble seeing you. Leave yourself enough room to get out should the need arise.
 

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Absolutely. I have no idea why a trucker would be backing down a four lane highway, but from experience I can tell you those signs you sometimes see on trailers that say "If you can't see my mirrors I can't see you" are absolutely true, so it's easy to see how he wouldn't know the biker was there. One of my biggest pet peeves while driving trucks is having a four wheeler tucked in behind you so you can't see them. We're trained to be completely aware of our surroundings and having a car tucked into a blind spot like that is very disconcerting when you don't know they're there and they suddenly pop out. I've learned to look for shadows and other clues a car might be there, but that takes my attention away from the million other things I have to watch while navigating an eighty foot long, 13 speed, 80,000lb piece of equipment through traffic.

Anyway, rant over. I'm not trying to take away from the point of the post. From how you describe it the trucker was clearly at fault for backing up illegally, but I agree that you should always leave an escape route when stopped in traffic. And make sure you can be seen.
 

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A couple people have stopped in front of me at a red light, and then started backing up. When you see the backup lights on a car turn on, dont blow your horn and wait to see if they stop, get out from behind that car.

But they are not the ones you need to worry about, its the car coming up behind you and not slowing down. They are the ones that will pancake you into the rear of the car in front of you.

Always leave at least half a car length between you and the car you have stopped behind, and stop your bike in the left side of the lane, pointed to the left of the car infront of you, so the instant you see you are in danger you can go around that car.

When all else fails jump off the bike, towards the curb if possible. Full coverage on my Vstar 650 is only $75 a year.

If someone totals my bike or forces me to jump off and drop it, Yamaha will be more than happy to build me a new one.
 

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Excellent points guys! My MSF course couldn’t stress leaving yourself an out enough. Having worked thousands of wrecks over the years as well, I couldn’t agree more.


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A couple people have stopped in front of me at a red light, and then started backing up. When you see the backup lights on a car turn on, dont blow your horn and wait to see if they stop, get out from behind that car.

But they are not the ones you need to worry about, its the car coming up behind you and not slowing down. They are the ones that will pancake you into the rear of the car in front of you.

Always leave at least half a car length between you and the car you have stopped behind, and stop your bike in the left side of the lane, pointed to the left of the car infront of you, so the instant you see you are in danger you can go around that car.

When all else fails jump off the bike, towards the curb if possible. Full coverage on my Vstar 650 is only $75 a year.

If someone totals my bike or forces me to jump off and drop it, Yamaha will be more than happy to build me a new one.
75.00 a year in what state? i'm paying closer to 400.00 with a perfect driving record in ct. the 3,000 accessory coverage is only 50.00 so the policy is really 350.00 for liability, comprehensive, collision, and trip interruption with 50 mile towing
 

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$75.00 a year in what state?
NY state, clean driving record, Progressive Insurance, MSF beginners course 10% discount. 60 years old. The fact that my Vstar 650 only costs about $3500 to replace is probably part of the low cost for insurance.
 

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..... Keep it in mind when riding near transports.. This is very similar for dump trucks and straight trucks too .
That is part of the reason why I don't ride on Interstate highways with semi's and buses, unless I have no other way to get where I'm going.

Big rigs almost never drive on secondary roads.
 

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If i'm on a 400 series highway ( equal to the interstate) I will say the right hand controls where i am a lot.. coming up to a transport I'll overtake one but I'll pass them like my bike is on fire LOL .. I hate being beside or behind them.. and I'll always try to be in the other lane in front of one. Too many 2 lane roads around here so passing a transport is a common thing on my nights out riding. Been hit by too many stones behind larger trucks that I'd rather put pavement between us. even if it means i can't pass I'll hang back about 5 car lengths or more to avoid thrown rocks..plus it gives ya room to accelerate and pass when it's clear :)
 

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You are right about the rocks. Every car I have owned in the last 20 years had the windshield cracked at least once from rocks on the highway.

The thing that will kill you is a truck throwing its tire tread. In the US they are allowed to use re-tread tires. Usually you can smell the rubber burning before it comes loose, and sometimes you can see it smoking.

If you are riding next to one when it flies off, it wont just kill you, it will take your head off.

Aside from all that, the appeal of riding a motorcycle for me is to be out on the open road, to enjoy the ride, the villages and towns and countryside that Im riding thru. Im seldom in a hurry to get where Im going, and riding on a giant runway with 3% grades and 1/4 mile radius curves is not something that I find enjoyable, or even interesting.

A two lane asphalt road with no centerline winding thru the hills and mountains, forests and streams, is my idea of motorcycle bliss.

An added benefit, at 60mph or less, my 650 with no windshield is perfect for the task.
 

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I hate being behind or next to tractor-trailers and dump trucks in my car. Hate it even more so, when I am riding on Big Bertha. I pass them as fast as I can. Like my head was on fire & my ass is a catchin'!
 

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Driving in Houston is always challenging. You learn in order to ride a bike and survive you can not lose consertation of your surroundings, not for one second. While it can be stressful at times, I will not quit riding my bike. Here's a shot of I-10 in Houston that I travel everyday.

Can you lane split there and zoom up the center?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You know it's truly amazing how different we sometimes live compared to others. Les it took you over an hour to go 17 miles. My daily commute is just under an hour but I cover right at 50 miles. I go non stop with no traffic. Honestly if something changed and tomorrow I had to sit in traffic for 20-30 minutes a day, I would find another job. I can't stand traffic. Heavy traffic I have no problem with, as long as it's moving. It's the stop and go that drives me nuts. I have to drive to DC tomorrow to watch my daughter graduate college and I am already dreading that drive up 95. Usually once you get north of Fredericksburg it begins to start backing up and that just over 1/2 way my total trip.
 

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to ride a bike and survive you can not lose consternation of your surroundings, not for one second.
well.. that explains the continuous stream of profanity coming from riders in Texas!

Some group at MIT did a study on traffic and they figured out what I have known for 40 years. The cause of stop and go traffic on a highway is tailgating.

When cars are bunched too close together for the speed they are going, when one driver lets off the gas a little, the car behind him has to tap the brakes, the car behind him has to get on the brakes, and the next car back is skidding his brakes. At that point everyone further back has to come to a complete stop, in a 70mph speed zone, for nothing.

When you are on the interstate, like 95 south of DC, you can see the brake light wave coming back towards you, sometimes from a mile ahead.

The buffer between cars is necessary, several car lengths at speed. Then when one cars slows down a bit, there is space to take up that disturbance in the flow.

It really is that freaking simple.
 

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I feel ridiculous when looking at the photos. It takes less than 10 minutes for me to go from one end of the biggest city in my region to the other end. Actually, Ville Saguenay is the largest city in the province of Quebec after all the towns and villages fusioned together to make one big city that is a good 30 miles long. Most of this distance is farm land or uninhabited.
 

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Can you lane split there and zoom up the center?
No lane splitting in Texas. ?. Plus I would have to sell my bike and get a narrower one. Too many pickups with wide mirrors that are just about head high.
 

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When I'm at a stop, I leave enough room in front of my bike to maneuver left or right if needed. I also keep it in gear because if you have to bolt, you probably won't have enough time to engage.
 

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I hate being behind or next to tractor-trailers and dump trucks in my car. Hate it even more so, when I am riding on Big Bertha. I pass them as fast as I can. Like my head was on fire & my ass is a catchin'!
Invisible grains of sand feel like fist sized stones.
 

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A bird hit the chin of my HJC RPHA full face carbon fiber helmet today when I was going 60mph.

Me and the helmet are fine. The bird... not so much.
 
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