Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Motor Cycle Safety Tips II

Here are 10 more motorcycle safety tips. These safety tips are taken from discussions in the Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson forums. Most of these riders have been riding a long time. Here are some of the reasons.

Expect that everyone who has the opportunity to pull out in front of you or cut you off will take it.

Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front, watch out for left turners, and stay out of blind spots.

Do you need to make an evasive maneuver? Remember the bike goes where you look. Don't fixate on any object unless you want to hit it.

When it comes to group rides, the primary directive has to be 'Ride Your Own Ride'. Many people get into trouble trying to keep up with a group.

At low speeds you can stabilize your bike by "loading" your rear brake slightly while idling in low gear.
With practice, you can roll up to a light so smooth and straight you can balance for four or five seconds before you need to drop a foot.

Check your tire pressure BEFORE every ride.

Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) class.

When stopping in traffic, position your bike either to the left or right hand side of the lane and stop at least 8-10 feet from the car in front. This gives a clear shot out if the guy coming up behind doesn't stop.

Don't allow your eyes to fix on one object too long. Keep searching your surroundings including your mirrors for hazards and potential hazards.

Never start across an intersection from a stop light without looking at the oncoming cross traffic. Someone may be running a light and heading right for you.

Related article here: Honda Passport Motorcycle

Friday, October 13, 2006

How to be seen while riding

Motorcycle and Bike Safety is something that some of us think about, some of us worry about, but many of us do too little or nothing about it! For many of us, it seems that protective clothing is too restrictive, or is much too hot in the summer heat. Just look at your average rider rolling down the boulevard all cool, collected and casual. Tank tops and brain buckets are the norm with this group. I've been there, done that, how about you? And don't forget the sport bike missile rider that launches past you in the hammer lane at 100+ mpg! I haven't done this one, but what about you? These are two of many types of riders that are riding in denial. It is these two types of riders that are contributing to the increasing death rate for motorcycle riders here in the USA and worldwide. While we are contributors to our own accidents and injuries on a motorcycle, we are also victims of actions we had nothing to do with.

One of the greatest causes of death or injury, and the leading mortality factor for bikers, is not being seen by nearby motorists. Many of us have died simply because another motorist didn’t see us. It’s not that people in cars can’t see us, they just don’t see us. Motorist get into the habit of driving "in zone" and not necessarily in a full awareness mode. We are all guilty of it. Driving becomes so second nature that it’s almost a reflex rather than an activity. When we drive our cars, it becomes especially easy to drop into the zone while we sing along with our favorite CD, play with the cell phone, or dine on burgers and fries while engaging the highway or interstate. While in the zone, mostly only big objects tend to enter our Zone and call attention to themselves. Think about it… Do you know anyone that had an accident when they were truly making an effort to drive cautiously? Probably not. All my mistakes in my 35 years of driving came from being in the Zone. The zone is bad for the driver but it can be critical when a motorcyclist meets up with someone "in the zone."

As a motorcyclist, if you want to avoid being injured or killed by another motorist, stay out of their zone! The best way to stay out of the zone is to call a lot of attention to you, your bike, and your presence. A huge Mack truck does a pretty good job of staying out of the zone. Most motorists will absolutely see a Mack truck. Your itsy bitsy tiny motorcycle is another story completely. It easily, very comfortably, hides in the zone and calls little attention to itself. Often, a motorist appears to look right at you and still pulls out in front of you. We bikers need a much bigger zone presence and anything you do to increase your zone presence can save your life!

Thankfully, there are a few inexpensive things you can do to increase your Zone presence and some of them only require a few minutes of your time. First, do you ride in daylight with your high-beam on? Is your high beam properly adjusted for maximum legal beam height? Most bikers are riding in daylight with the low beam. Furthermore, many bikes have a misadjusted headlamp, pointing way too deeply into the asphalt. Next time you see an approaching biker group, pay close attention to the pack. After you get over the fact you’re not riding with them, look at the pack and pick out the bikes that command attention to their zone. They are the few, believe me. You will notice which bikes have great zone presence and which bikes have weak and non-existent zone presence. It is these bikes that are more easily involved in left turn collisions with cars.

Some bikes are very noticeable while others can easily disappear into the Zone. Which bike do you have? If you have a properly aligned headlamp (high beam always on in daylight) and properly aligned running lights, you can easily increase your zone presence to that of a much larger vehicle. It's hard to left turn in front of a biker when his headlamps are blasting bright rays into the windshield of the left turning car. Take immediate action now and adjust your headlights, and use them always on high beam and running lights on during the day. It can greatly improve your chance of not getting hit!

For all that believe "loud pipes save lives," I say to you that "loud lights save more lives!"

When you combine a brightly lit high beam head lamp and two properly positioned running lights, your zone has suddenly become loud, noisy and maybe a pinch irritating to oncoming traffic. This is the perfect scenario to break through the zone and get the attention of the motorist. Simply put... Maximize your frontal zone appearance and you decrease chances of suffering the number 1 cause of mortality in our brotherhood.

The back of your bike is a problem too. Being rear-ended is a "not fun" activity. If you have a tiny, measly and anemic brake light, as do many stylish models, replace it immediately or consider one of the Halogen brake light bulbs from J.C. Whitney for about $10.00. These halogen brake lights are about 35% brighter and can add a little visual noise to the rear of your bike and help call attention to your brake when applied. Also consider installing rear running lights that also supplement your brake light. Three bright lights on the back of your bike are much safer than a single anemic brake light. It only takes minor changes to generate a huge safety payback. Correct bike lighting is your first defense against being rear ended during a quick stop maneuver.

And while on the subject of lighting, consider adding side lights as well. Side lights are much more effective in night riding and they can help avoid being taken out on your left or right side when approaching an intersection. There are an assortment of extremely bright LED illuminators that can be mounted under your fuel tank and cast a warm light glow on the asphalt below. These super bright LED lights can create quite a large lighted space on the roadway and can be seen for several hundred feet away. Check with your state laws to determine legal colors and requirements first, but if legal, add them!

For nighttime riding, I strongly recommend reflective materials both on your body and on your bike. A well illuminated bike is going to bring you to the attention of a motorist that is within striking distance, especially if you ride with multi-color reflective items. My favorite configuration is a large and bold reflective helmet graphic kit, a reflective vest or jacket, and you can even buy an assortment of reflective motorcycle graphic kits. I suggest that you investigate reflective products and pay close attention to items that can be permanently attached to your helmet or motorcycle. My favorite place for reflective motorcycle graphics and helmet decals is Streetglo. They have a very impressive photo at this site that demonstrates the effectiveness of reflective helmet decals and reflective motorcycle graphic kits. On my own bike, I have a large racing stripe configuration on my helmet that is visible from the left, right and rear of the helmet. On my motorcycle itself, I have at least 144 square inches of highly reflective graphics in the form of decorative pinstripe and gas tank flames and fender flames. These graphics have a custom painted on look in the day, but they are explosively bright at night. With the right combination of reflective decals permanently installed, you are still pretty well protected even when you forget to bring along a reflective vest or jacket. Reflective materials are especially important if you have a typical bike such as dark reds, blacks and blues. If you are not willing to consider reflective decals on your bike, and if your bike is a dark color, you might want to consider airbrushing with contrasting bright colors on your fenders and tank. There are a number of really nice airbrush sites on the Internet that can give you ideas for your own bike. The point that should be taken here is dark colors don’t reflect light very well. If you want to ride safe, you must take all available actions to make sure your bike is seen, especially at a 90 degree angle when riding at night.

If you have a black bike or other dark color, consider adding contrasting and bright color to your bike. It’s almost always possible to add a bright contrasting color to your bike with airbrushing or vinyl graphic decals. If you visit the Motorcycle Index below, there is a large listing of airbrush sites. Have a look at some of these airbrush sites to get an idea how to make your own bike much more noticeable on the street. While airbrushing can be very expensive it can add great visual impact to your ride not to mention some designs can make an ordinary bike an extraordinary one! If something less expensive is on the agenda, consider vinyl graphics which are relatively inexpensive. If you go the route of vinyl graphics, then select Reflective Vinyl Graphics over any other type. There are several companies that specialize in reflective vinyl graphics. You can completely customize your bike with reflective graphics for less than $100 including really bright helmet decal designs. Having your head illuminate like an alien spaceship when a car is within striking distance of you is a pretty cool idea!

To maximize your appearance at night with reflective graphics, we suggest a combination of items including large and bold reflective helmet decals, reflective pinstripe and reflective motorcycle graphics. You can find really attractive tank flame graphics or other tank graphics to suite your taste. Combine them with attractive fender graphics for a totally illuminating experience! If you are a sport biker rider with factory graphics, consider overlaying reflective graphic designs to make a multi-color graphic. There are some ready to install kits or you can order a custom kit for not much over $100 or even less. If you aren’t much into decorating your bike, consider same color reflective tape. While this will do little in the daytime, it can save your life at night. Same color reflective tape sells for about $5 a roll and it won't change the appearance of your bike.

If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for in ready made graphics, consider having it custom made. From all accounts, custom made graphics are extremely affordable. Decide what you like and at least request a quote from a reflective graphics company. Custom graphics can be provided in single or multiple color designs.

There are many other things you can do to improve your chances of surviving your next motorcycle ride. First, realize your own mortality is in your hands every time you mount your bike and pull out of your driveway. Realize that your greatest threat is not being seen, followed by your own ignorance of not anticipating turns and bends in the road. If you find yourself entering a turn too fast understand that experience may be the difference between completing the turn or rocketing over the shoulder or into oncoming traffic. If you haven’t taken a safety course, take one now. Safety courses aren’t just for the beginner. Personally, I prefer to ride in light traffic situations. I’m not an interstate rider and I don’t enjoy 70 mpg cruising. My point is that you should ride your comfort level and don’t go beyond it. If you stay in your comfort zone, you are more likely to avoid an accident and you’ll enjoy your ride much more. And don’t forget to check your lighting and make the necessary adjustments. Take action now on your bike to make it naturally safer with visual effects. It can keep you out of the Zone and this is a good thing!

Article you may read: Honda supercub

Saturday, October 07, 2006

How to be safe when learning how to ride

Take your time and don't get in any hurry.

Roll the throttle slow and easy.

Keep your speeds on the low side.

Give yourself plenty of time to see what's going on around you.

Give yourself plenty of stopping room, learn to use front and rear brakes together and always remember to pull the clutch lever for that quick stop.

When making a turn, always look in the direction you want to go and not where you don't want to end up.

Always ride like no one else can see you or knows that you are around.

Always give big trucks and all other vehicles the right of way no matter what.

Always watch for that person that likes to make left hand turns in front of you.

Stop for the yellow light before it turns red and always wait for the light to turn green before taking off.

Keep your knees into the wind, shine side up and rubber side down while having fun.

related article here: Honda Super Cub

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Motorcycle Safety Tips I

The following safety tips are taken from discussions in the Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson forums. Most of these riders have been riding a long time. Here are some of the reasons.

Be very cautious after the first rain after a dry spell. All the oil that has accumulated on the road comes up in the first half hour and is very, very slick.

Ride like you're invisible.

Here are 155 articles, most written by James R. Davis, all on advanced techniques. Most of them are things we don't WANT to experience to learn.

Toll booths have the most oil problems for motorcycle riders. Slow way down as you approach. Stay in the left tire track area. Stop and catch yourself with your feet ever-so-gently, and pull away with the greatest care you can because you will almost certainly have some junk on your tires when you pull away. Make your passenger aware of toll booth dangers as well and if they are handling the tolls, make sure they don't move the wrong way and cause an unnecessary spill.

An important book, full of basic and advanced safety tips, is David L. Hough's Book, "Proficient Motorcycling." Buy it and read it before and after every riding season.
Buy Proficient Motorcycling:

Practice various riding skills such as emergency braking skills, swerving, slow turns, and smooth throttle operation at least 15 minutes a week in a vacant parking lot or other area devoid of people and traffic.

Slow down before entering blind turns and be watchful at intersections and when passing driveways and alleys.

Stay to the left side of your lane when passing parked cars to your right.

Park where either gravity or the engine will get you out of a parking spot. In other words, back into a downhill sloped space and pull straight into an uphill sloped space.

Look ahead, plan ahead! Look as far down the road as you can. Pay close attention to colors and shapes on the road surface (scanning for trash, bumps, holes, cracks, new asphalt, old concrete, spills, puddles, etc.) and also observe how other vehicles are reacting to the road (scanning for brake lights, swerves, bumps, etc.).

Practice hard braking when you don't need to so you can "safely" apply the brakes under an emergency situation. Practice in vacant parking lots or quiet streets that won't interfere with other people/vehicles.

New riders should never carry passengers until such time as they are "very" comfortable with their bike. Usually this takes at least a year without a passenger.

Another related article: Honda C70

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Honda Motorcycle Accessories Can Customize A Ride

By: Jessica Deets

A motorcycle is a means to an end when it comes to getting from Point A to Point B. But, for many, a motorcycle is a statement, an extension of who they are and what they do. These people, and many others for that matter, want their bikes to be different from any other in the pack. Honda motorcycle accessories range from those meant to boost up the bike's sound quality to those designed to make touring easier. The choices are many and when used in the right combination, they can help ensure your bike doesn't look like any other on the road or they can make long-distance travel easier by adding extra storage and creature comforts. Honda owners looking to find accessories for their choppers will find they come in these basic categories: Visual enhancements. Ranging from chrome to gold plated accessories, these are meant to give a bike a different look.

They include such things as chrome sidestands to saddlebag scuff covers. There are even specialized exhaust tips for Hondas, front fender emblem replacements that are snazzier than stock and more. Tweaking a Honda can be pretty easy thanks to the options out there meant to fit a number of this bike maker's machines. Each Honda model typically has its own line of accessories, too, custom fit to the machine. Sound enhancements.

It's hard to think of a motorcycle needing a CD player or more, but for many they do. For motorcycles, however, these audio add ons are specialized and are meant to be protected from the elements in special compartments. When parked, these accessories can really help a bike rider turn up the jams. The options here include such things as a CB radio kit, CD changer, a passenger audio control so they can listen while you drive and more. There are even full-face headsets.Safety add ons. These can include such things as fog lights, new windshields, deflectors and more. These add ons are meant to improve the safety and visibility features on a cycle, which is always a good thing for the driver and his or her passenger. Touring add ons.

Those who love to hit the open road tend to love to do so while camping out as well. Saddlebags and trunk enhancements can add on to the storage capacity and make stowing all necessary gear easier on you and your bike.When it comes to Hondas owners will find almost no matter what model they have there are accessories to make that model stand out as different. When it comes to looks, owners can customize everything from the exhaust pipes and emblems to the running boards and more. Entertainment options, too, can be increased to include such things as CD changers, CB radios and more. Safety add ons are perhaps the most important of the custom options available. From more protective windshields to extra lights and more, safety equipment that's customized to be comfortable for the rider is vital.

Article Source: http://www.articleshine.com

Read related article here: Honda Passport

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Motorcycle Riding Tip

We all have enough "In memory of…" patches on our vest and do not wish to add any more. So here are 11 motorcycle riding tips to remind us of the things that can keep us in one piece and out of the hospital.
If you are a novice, sign up for and attend Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. Not only will this course teach you lots of the things that will help keep you safe but your motorcycle insurance will probably be slightly lower as well – and who doesn't want to save on insurance, especially when riding in states with Helmet Optional laws that require large bodily injury coverage to enjoy the right for those who ride to decide.
Remind yourself where your suicide or kill switch is located. This switch, if you realize you are going to have to drop the bike, can save you from having your own motorcycle run over you causing injury.
If you are just learning to ride and live in a highly populated area, have an experienced rider take you and your bike into an area with little or no traffic. A parking lot of a closed business works very well. Neighborhood streets can cause the residents to complain. Ride in this controlled environment until you feel completely in control of the vehicle. Learn how to stop and start easily and smoothly. Learn how long it takes to stop safely – it isn't the same as stopping a car.
First-time street riders should choose a time of day when the traffic is at a low. Jumping into rush hour traffic can easily lead to an accident on your very first outing. Select a route that takes you into very low traffic zones such as through neighborhoods, scenic routes and avoid at all cost getting on a freeway until you gain quite a lot of experience.
Never, ever become aggressive toward a car or truck driver. Those cars win every single time in a road rage situation. They are bigger, heavier and have a lot more power. If someone tailgates you, tap your brake lights a few times and if they don't back off, change lanes or give them the road by pulling off to the side
We all know black is the only cool biker color, right? Well, if you are going to be riding at night in a poorly light area, it is much more important to be seen than to be cool, no matter what your friends say! Be sure your lights are bright and clean for maximum visibility but also consider placing reflective tape on the back of your helmet (if you use one) and maybe a glow in the dark patch on your back.
Never trust cages. Car drivers somehow, no matter how loud or how rowdy bikers can be, manage to simply not see us! The blind spot in most cars is sufficiently large for a motorcycle to be completely hidden from view. But other cage drivers simply don't seem to look for us. Unless, of course, they son, daughter, husband or wife happens to ride; unfortunately, we can't tell who those people are and have to be doubly aware of other vehicles than when driving a car.
Never assume that just because there is no turn signal on that car that it isn't going to turn right in front of you. No matter how many other drivers don't use turn signals, ALWAYS use yours and, if you have a passenger during daylight, hand signals can be an extra preventative measure.
You know those trucker bumper stickers that say "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you"? Well, use this same common sense when riding. If you can't see the driver's face in the rear view mirror of the vehicle in front of you, chances are they can't see you at all. Stay out of blind spots at all times.
Once you become an experienced rider, when riding on city streets, always allow room for other people's errors. An added safety tip is that you should remain aware of where you would choose to put the scoot down if the need arose. If you get in trouble and have any time at all, select where to lay the motorcycle instead of allowing traffic or the bike to determine that for you. If you can elect to place the bike on the ground, allowing it to move out from between your legs at low speed, you will experience much less road rash than allowing momentum to take you with the motorcycle.
Novice riders should never carry passengers. That comes later with more road experience. The movements of a rider can cause a situation where you can easily lose control, especially at very low speeds.
Above all, plan for safety so you will come home safely to ride again another day. Road rash and accidents costing hundreds of thousands in medical bills are all too common. Be defensive and be aware to avoid losing your bike – or worse, your life.
Copyright 2006 Tyler Powers

Related article you may want to read: Honda Passport Motorcycle