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New to the board, sorry if this has been recently covered. I'm purchasing a new 2002 road king classic. Have not riden in 10 yrs. The wife is very scared about me being killed, etc. I researched all the death stats etc on drugs, alcohol, speeding, etc. I do none of the above so to my advantage. Big question.....what about the other drivers.

Is this the largest contributing factor to accidents where the other driver does not see you thus the horrible call to the wife. Looking to put our minds as easy but realize that "YOU" must be aware of your surrounding at all times. Thanks, any advise or stat links is greatly appreciated.
 

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Yuo will probly get lots of responses...but the short answer is take the MSF course..Read "proficient motorcycling" by David Hough...AND watch out for left turners!!
Have Fun!!!
 

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There aren't any stats out there that are likely to help your case. Riding a motorcycle will always be more dangerous than staying home and say...collecting stamps. Rider training and experience are the only big factors once you eliminate drinking so all you can do is take the training and practice as seriously as possible and hope it's enough. Make sure your bike is always mechanically sound and never, ever, never ride after drinking even a little.

Not gonna give a straight yes or no opinion on the helmet issue...unless you are able to predict exactly what kind of accident or situation you are going to get into, whether you wear one or not is a crapshoot in my opinion. Anybody that tries to tell you there is solid, overwhelming evidence either way is kidding themselves which is why it should always be a personal choice. Personally, I think the way to decide is based on whether or not a helmet will make you more comfortable so you are better able to concentrate on the road and the stuff going on around you.
 

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The last post is as good advice as you are likely to find, but I think it goes even beyond that.

Once you get past training and experience, factors like personality and even an individuals view of life come into play. It is very hard to explain with words. It's sort of like a high speed chess game with attitude, you always have to be a few moves ahead of the game and be agressive within reason. Some people are very trainable and can become very good riders in a short period of time, while others will always be a danger to themselves and others to one degree or another. Over cautious riders are way over represented in accidents, almost as much as squids.
You just have to come up with a realistic assesment of your own capabilities, and try to improve the odds in your favor.
There is no such thing as a sure thing, and even the best rider in the world can get unlucky, contrary to what many will try to tell you.
 

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Well if you are interested simply in the stats try this ~~~>

http://www.motorcycle-accidents.com/pages/stats.html


Being aware of your surroundings certainly can minimize the risk. The ability to quickly and properly react is only as good as your awareness first and experience second. In other words, you may be able to quickly manuver but it won't do you any good if you are zoneing.

Riding is a choice made despite of the risks. Good riding is understanding the risks and properly respecting and preparing for them.

There is no right or wrong answer. One thing that you will learn in time is the ability to put yourself in a persons mirror. You should not wonder IF they see ya, you should make sure they DO see ya.

Hope this helps.
 

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Ditto. Unfortunately, the motorcycle accident rate has been increasing for older drivers. What? That runs counter to all reason. Bottom line: a lot of older guys are "returning" to motorcycles and think they can manage a big bike for hundreds of miles. WRONG! Anyone gets tired after a long ride and your reflexes are diminished. The bikes are a lot more powerful today than 10 or 20 years ago. Keep that in mind when you go for a 300 mile ride with the HOG chapter. Stay away from alcohol while riding and enjoy that MSF course. You've gotten some good counsel today. Share it with your wife. She'll appreciate your honesty.

Let your wife be the "chase truck" for awhile. She can follow in the car/truck. (Suggestion from my girl Leece.)

Look forward to seeing you post again.

Ride safe.
 

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Riding a motorcycle is a lot like making love.
The more time you spend doing it, the better you get at it.
EXPERIENCE is probably the key to staying alive on a bike.
Take the MSF course, read, and listen to all us old farts who have been around the block once or twice.
 

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As a retired MSF Instructor, I agree with everything said in all the posts above! Very good advice from everyone!

A few things I might add, just for thought:

Most Harley riders love to ride together and most of those you meet will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Once you meet them, ask questions..... experienced riders are usually glad to help out a newer rider. Their experience will be valuable to you. When you are asked to go along on rides, remember that they have been riding a lot longer than you....... DON'T try to 'keep up with the group' if you are not totally comfortable doing so!!!! Find out their route in advance, take your own map, and if you are not comfortable with keeping up, tell them you'll see them at the other end! You have nothing to prove to anyone, too many newer riders get hurt trying to keep up with more experienced riders because they let 'pride' or 'macho' get in the way of common sense.

When talking about accident stats, keep in mind that the number of stats has risen in recent years because the numbers of riders has also increased ! It doesn't automatically mean that there are more accidents per capita than before. In reality the accident rates are actually lower per capita than before, there are just more and more riders on the road and the media loves to dwell on motorcycle accidents.

Good luck to you!
DaveT
 

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Accident Rates

I think the #1 question to ask yourself is whether you are afraid to ride or not??

I'am no expert and don't claim to be one, but I have rode bikes all my younger life and I have never had any fear of riding. I think the worst thing a person can do is ride when they are really afraid but they want to be a macho man trying to prove a point to someone. I have rode with a few people before that I could tell they were scared to death of the whole experience, they are the ones that make up all the stats.
 

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flycasterjoe..
Some excellent posts above. I may add one thing... Motorcycling is only as dangerous as each person makes it. If you do some of the stuff listed above, such as a MSF course (beginner and also experienced) and also practice in parking lots... practice turning, stopping, etc... to get to know both the bikes and your limits, then never try to go past them, you will be fine. If you stay aware of your surroundings, you should not have any problems. Just remember that any car out on the road may not see you at any given time. For whatever reason... I ride like I am invisible, always on the look out for someone doing something dangerous, and it seems to keep me out of close calls more often. Also, approaching intersections alert and ready to stop/swerve, etc... is always important.

As for protective clothing. Well, you will have to do what YOU think is correct on this. Everyone will tell you what they like, right or wrong. Personally, I wear a helmet. Always.. but I ride with folks that don't always wear one. It's up to them. But I also wear long sleeves in summer and boots, gloves, etc... Wear what makes YOU comfortable to be on the bike. Regardless what someone else says.

Bill

But wait, there's more...
Don't try to keep up with anyone else. Ride at a pace/speed your comfortable with. Riding past someone's limits probably causes more accidents then anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
great info from all. thanks. went to border & walden books today for "proficient motorcycling", out of stock and had to special order. I will sign up for the safety course as well, both beginner then to the next level. I have nothing but patients, a will to learn and the skill that it will take to become an avid wall rounded rider. Oh, i'm not afraid of riding, just thinking out of the box to keep myself in 1 piece.

thanks guys, appreciate all the feedback.
 

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flycasterjoe said:
"....become an avid wall rounded rider.

1st lesson. You do not want to become "WALL ROUNDED" on a bike.


It will surely leave a mark!

BlahahahahahI'mSorryButIJustHadToDoIt HA!
 

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You can get the book from Amazon.com, and the same guy also wrote another book on street survival techniques you may want to read.


For a little different view on riding, check THIS SITE . Sort of a MSF without lawyers.
 

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Jimmy: You accident figures bear up what I heard from an insurance company many years ago: Bikers over the age of 25 have a greatly reduced accident rate. Actually they have a much lower accident rate than car drivers of similar age (allowing for proportions).

Riding with a helmet is safer. In this country I have never seen anyone riding without a helmet. It saved me twice - many years ago.

I always assume that the other driver is going to make some mistake - ride defensively.

Just Curious: With 2 second reaction time I wonder how the safety courses could prepare one for such an instinctive reaction. Any opinion Dave?
 

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Rider training at any level is not a cure all solution, it is just a way to give you the knowledge and the techniques to train your instincts, and to show you the capabilities of your motorcycle, which by the way are much greater then most people think.
It is not up to the courses, it is up to the rider to develop the instincts and the judgment to the point where they become second nature. The mind is like any other part of your body, and develops a memory, you have to develop it to the point where it makes the right decision instinctively rather then thru a process of thought.
Accident reconstruction proves beyond any reasonable doubt that riders knew the way out, but just did not implement it for any number of reasons, panic being at the forefront as well as various impairments.
Therein lies the value of pushing the envelope under controlled conditions, as well as repeating the courses from time to time, in particular when you acquire a different bike.
The biggest mistake one can make is to be overconfident, due to simply taking or passing a course. It is just the first building block.
 

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JTF,

The reaction time is addressed in the MSF courses by several different methods. The first is to teach the proper mental skills necessary for safe riding. The mental process of S-I-P-D-E is:

S - SCAN constantly. Ahead, to the sides, in the mirrors, the road surface, weather, everything........ INCLUDING an alternate path of travel!

I - IDENTIFY any potential hazards. A hazard is defined as ANYTHING that will affect your path of travel.

P - PREDICT what the hazard will do. Always predict the worst !

D - DECIDE what your course of action will be. Slowing down, gearing down, braking, evasive action, etc.

E - EXECUTE your plan of action.

All this repeats every second of riding! You mentally go through each phase of the SIPDE with every movement of your eyes, constantly. The SIPDE process is taught to the students on Saturday during the weekend course. When they left on Saturday evening, I would make it a point to tell them to practice SIPDE in their cars on the way home and when coming back to the range on Sunday morning. When talking about it in the classroom on Sunday morning, the commets were the same, all were amazed at how well it works..... even when driving a four wheeler.


BUT...... as Hippo stated so well above, all the course can do is teach the basics and the mental principles. It is up to the rider to implement what he or she has learned, each and every time they ride. It has to be worked at until it becomes second nature. Forgetting the principles just once can be the one time they are needed the most. Each rider will also adapt what he or she has learned to their own riding style.

Then there are the physical skills like braking, swerving, emergency braking in a curve, braking then swerving, and swerving then braking, but also lots of simple things like covering the front brake and clutch while riding in traffic, gearing down while approaching a green light at higher speeds so you can take advantage of the transmission to help you slow if something unexpected happens.

There is so much more that can be listed JTF, but I guess the short answer is that the quick reaction necessary for safe riding has to be developed by each rider.... but it all starts with putting the brain in gear before putting the motorcycle in gear. And as a side note to that thought, it is amazing how many riders are 'brain impaired' when they are riding because of being tired, under the influence, etc. Even over the counter cold remedies can leave a rider 'brain impaired' when riding.

I used to tell my students to always think negative, and that is a positive way to ride. For example.... in the scan, identify and predict phases of being mentally prepared.... that car WILL turn left in front of me, that kid WILL chasee the ball into the street, that dog WILL run out in front of me, that car WILL turn right on red and does not see me, there WILL be deer where the signs say, there WILL be gravel in the turn, it WILL rain like the weather forecast said, etc,

One thing to keep in mind when talking about those 2 seconds as a reaction time....... at highway speeds, a rider usually has LESS THAN 2 seconds to COMPLETE all collision avoidance activities. Kind of a sobering thought.............................................

DaveT
 

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To the original post I would have to say little more can be added. I think the folks that spoke up here did a fine job and in particular I would like to thank Dave for his latest.

The decision to ride is a personal choice. If it is in your blood then it is wise to ensure a lifetime of joy ahead by being aware and ready for the risks.

Once understood, the risks all have a safegard. Once applied, the wind becomes part of your spirit and the concept of freedom takes on a life of it's own.

Convince yourself first, and then she who loves you will understand and accept your decision. If YOU have a concern and are unsure then you should wait. You will know you have come to a point where you KNOW you are going to ride, when the question posed...well...isn't.

Respectfully
 

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Many thanks for your very constructive input Dave. I wil pass on the SIPDE to my mates. Unfortunately we don't have any rider training courses here. We even have to go to Wales for the HOG courses! I suppose the basic rule is if you can learn to predict accident potential then there should be no need for emergency procedures.
Thanks again.
 
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