You May be Right but You’re Still Vulnerable
Alberta Rider's Tips and Tricks
By: Debbi Serafinchon
You’ve probably all heard the saying “you can be right, but on a motorcycle, you’ll be dead right.” Even if you follow all the rules of the road, you are vulnerable on 2 wheels. The Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society works hard at educating both drivers and riders on our roadways. We put out public service announcements through our media sponsors. We continue to attend tradeshows to create awareness of the importance of street legal motorcycles, proper riding gear, and approved helmets. We create campaigns based on trends and our relationship with enforcement, government officials, industry and motorcycle schools.
Knowledge is power.
The information that keeps us safe does not only come from the ‘official’ avenues though. There are many riders that have tips and tricks that keep them safe and are willing to pass on that information to others. While some ‘advice’ is less than stellar, I have gathered up some of the better offerings and put them together for you here.
- Watch the vehicles wheels, they will tell you more than signals.
- Change lane position to own the lane.
- Never hangout in a vehicle’s blind spots.
- Be extra cautious of left turning vehicles, they may not see you.
- Stay vigilant and expect vehicles to pull out in front of you!
- Visibility is key. Make sure you can see what is happening around you, and make sure other vehicles can see you. If you can't see that it's safe, don't go.
- Even if you make eye contact. Don’t assume they see you or will obey the laws for you.
- Watch wheels on stopped vehicles at intersections, then glance at driver’s eyes to see they're not looking past you.
- Don't put your bike in neutral at lights.
- Watch your rear view for when sitting at a red light, leaving enough room between you
and the car in front of you in case the car behind you doesn’t slow down.
- Keep your head up, off the instruments! Always scanning ahead.
- If you can see your shadow on the road in front of you, you are invisible to oncoming traffic.
- Trust your Spidey senses!
- Always have an evolving escape route always thought important.
- Beware of the painted lines and tar strips, they are slippery dry, and treacherous when wet.
- Go to a parking lot and practice emergency stops. Both brakes, don't do the sudden quick grab, ease them on so you don't skid.
- Use counter-steering when riding in cross winds because you can't 'lean' quick enough to make up for a gust of wind, but you can push on the handlebars that quickly.
- Use two fingers on the brake lever only; your index and middle finger. Keep the others wrapped around the throttle.
- Always keep growing. Take a riding course as a new rider starting out or an advanced
rider course to continue to hone skills.
- Save your testicles and use your knees. Yes, I am well aware of the fact some of us riders don’t have testicles but it makes the point to grip the tank firmly between your knees, then relax your upper body.
This is by no means a comprehensive list but rather some great advice collected in a short time frame. Keeping an open mind and listening to what other riders is a great way to continue learning. It would be arrogant to think that you know everything there is to know about riding and that arrogance can cause a lot of damage. We can complain all we want about drivers on the road but the fact remains that even if you are right, your bike and you are defenseless against even the smallest of compact cars weighing in at 3000 pounds.
All we ask is to #ridesmart, #ridesafe, and #thinkbike!