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Stroker

Highway Riding - Tips?

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Hello,

 

Really happy with the answers i got earlier.Have another question.

 

Highways in Asia are a mess.The vehicles swerve as they please, go on the wrong side, and try to drive over the divider to make a U turn.Bikers are at risk because cars don't slow as fast or care for riders.

 

1. If some one swerves suddenly in front of you, do you counter steer heavily to get out of the way or will you crash if you do that?

 

2. If you are not going to stop in time, is it better to not brake at all but steer away from the vehicle in front of you?

 

3. You can't get your knee to the ground on the highway.So how do you steer away quickest from an obstacle?

 

Thanks

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1. Depends mostly on the road conditions.

 

2. This seems like a really vague scenario? Example if I have an object fall out of the back of a vehicle I will steer away, if I am coming up to cars slowing down in traffic steering to avoid them might end you up in a worse scenario then braking hard enough to avoid crashing.

 

3. Again counter steering

 

 

It sounds like you could really benefit from a motorcycle safety class, a lot of these things are taught in these classes and you will practice these drills before having to learn the hard way. An uneducated rider and horrible drivers are a recipe for disaster!

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To all of your questions, i'd have to bluntly answer...you should have seen it coming/not put yourself in the scenario. In my opinion the best road safety tool isn't your brakes or reaction time, its your anticipation. Being able to spot the aggressive drivers, think 2 or 3 steps ahead of them and recognize that there may be a way to avoid the split-second decision all together is better than having to react to a situation.

 

I hope i'm not overly blunt with my answer to the point that you feel offended. I think you have a VERY useful question, but i also think some motorcyclists(and drivers in general) tend to "cop-out" on the excuse that "the car just pulled out in front of me", and want 6 figure settlements because they weren't observing what was really going on.

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I think the large population and lack of safety concerns make anticipating things like that more difficult than in Europe or America.For instance, you will find two scooters transporting a cupboard in between them, and six people on a scooter.

If you have ever watched the traffic on tv/heard people who visit here saying how terrifying it was you might grasp how the lack of safety and number of riders on the road make it more challenging to ride here.Even if you can stop in time, those behind you probably won't.I don't have a problem at city speeds.At the higher speeds on the highway, this is a serious problem.There is no lane discipline at all.People overtake and change lanes as they wish.

 

This is considered easy, light traffic.Note how people are all over the place.

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Traffic in Asia is generally crazy, and they have statistics to back it up. It's a result of poor roads, lousy education, horrible vehicles, high congestion and a general lack of understanding of what traffic is.

 

In 2007, WHO estimated the real number of deaths at more than 220,000 people on the Chineese roads and nearly 200,000 in India. Yet that's "only" 16-17 killed per 1000 inhabitants. Eritrea saw nearly 50 killed per 1000 that year! But USA ain't much better, averaging nearly 14 deaths per 1000. USA is an anomaly in the richer parts of the world, however, and is at least influenced by poor education and DUI.

 

You can read about traffic in India here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/08/world/asia/08iht-roads.html?_r=4&ref=automobiles& and see WHO's full statistics here http://www.nrk.no/contentfile/file/1.7212501!table_a2.pdf

 

My point is that it is nigh on impossible for Stroker to anticipate a lot of the situations he will experience because his riding environment is so alien to what most of us are used to.

 

My advice would be to ride as relaxed as you can and maintain a pace that is most likely best suited to keep you out of trouble. From what I understand, creating room around you is very difficult, but you should still do you best to keep some distance in every direction. Also, by wearing bright colours and proper protection you both make others aware of your presence as well as enhance your chances of survival should you be unfortunate and get tangled up in an incident. Practice braking and qucik steering a lot so that it is second nature. Envision how you will react in a situation - remember to counter-steer, you go where you see, steer behind the thing you want to avoid if it is in motion. Also, even though I am not religious, it may not hurt to pray :D

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We Indians always say - " If it is our fate to die today, so be it ".Some try to make sure of it that very day.

 

Thanks Eirik, for the stats and write up.The normal " Look Sharp " just does not cut it here,There are just too many things to keep track of, and people drive as they please.No way people will pay attention to a reflective jacket or even if i wrap myself with LED lighting :P

 

I kid you not when i say, if you steer away sharply to avoid some one, you might crash into another guy because there is just so much traffic..

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I understand what you are saying, Stroker. Some people are really good at knowing what's around them and just seem to know what to do in a critical situation. I am not like that. I'm the one who always bump my head because my brain didn't absorb the obstacle when I first bent down. Or I forget about the curb after parking my car and have the rear wheel climb over it when I turn as I drive off. That sort of thing. Hence I'd be likely to turn away from one hazard and into another. Others are much better at this than me. You can practice these skills, and I think you will benefit greatly from enhanced awareness.

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I think Stewal has the right idea. If you have to make a panic maneuver, it's because you failed to anticipate the potential scenario that was unfolding. Granted, in a truly chaotic situation like urban India, this may be nearly impossible, but you are far better off focusing on anticipating and avoiding, since once you're in a tight situation your options may be very limited.

 

I live and ride in NYC, which is a crazy traffic environment by North American standards, although I concede it's nothing like the subcontinent even though that's where most of our taxi drivers come from. From decades of experience, beginning as a kid on a bicycle, I've somehow developed a good knack for this kind of thing. I would say I need to make a sudden stop or turn to avoid a collision maybe two or three times a year at most, riding over 20,000 km/year, I always look as far ahead as possible, and try to position myself so I never have to rely on the other road users seeing me and yielding to me.

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Hey Stroker,

 

I watched the video and i still have to say working on your anticipation would be the most helpful. You already know that EVERYONE drives like that (cutting people off to cross traffic and make u-turns) so you should def be able to anticipate most of these situations fairly easily when coming up on openings in dividers like the one in the video and seeing people ahead doing it. Yeah, not all of the situations are perfect, but its a start.

 

My biggest tip would be to think about how you drive. All those people in cars and on scooters aren't going to drive much different than you would in their situation. A couple tips: mainly pay attention to the motorists to the sides and in front. Maybe riding so that the motorists to the sides are directly beside you would prevent them from being able to turn in front of you. Also, it may sound like the opposite of what you want to do but, maybe speeding up would actually help your situation. It may give you a little more control of the traffic flow around you. I realize that the highways here prob have a different traffic situation than there but i find that if i am stagnant in traffic, other motorists are more likely to forget i'm there.

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Highways in Asia are a mess.The vehicles swerve as they please, go on the wrong side, and try to drive over the divider to make a U turn.Bikers are at risk because cars don't slow as fast or care for riders.

 

Stroker,

 

I have ridden a lot in similar environments out of USA; traffic discipline in Latin America is not better.

However, the relatively low speeds (as shown in your posted video) make it a controlled chaos (considering how many crash versus how many share the roads).

 

I can tell you that rule #1 is to slow down as much as is practically possible.

As you may know, braking distance is not directly proportional to speed, required distance increases much faster than speed.

Hence, 2 km/h less may make the difference between hitting a tricycle or stopping 3 meters earlier than the point of colision.

Your reaction time is between 0.8 and 1.0 seconds; less meters are covered in that time if you are moving slower.

 

Rule #2: Stay in the proper gear at all times, so you always have enough torque to spring out of a bad situation, like a truck coming to hit you. For any other situation see rule #1 above.

 

1. If some one swerves suddenly in front of you, do you counter steer heavily to get out of the way or will you crash if you do that?

 

Yes, you push the handlebar on the side toward which you want your bike to go. Practice that many times, until you can do it while sleeping; that evasive maneuver will save your life one day. If you are not going crazily fast and the pavement is not oily or wet from a first brief shower, the front tire will stick, regardless of how fast and hard you counter-steer.

 

2. If you are not going to stop in time, is it better to not brake at all but steer away from the vehicle in front of you?

 

Yes, most of the times that works.

However, there is always the possibility of hitting that car even if you steer away.

Because of that, I have been practicing to reduce the speed of impact as much as possible, before starting the evasive steering away maneuver (never combine both).

Braking most be progressive, so the front tire has enough weight transferred onto it to be able to develop maximum stopping power (avoid a panic handful of brake).

Note that this requires constant practice on a parking lot or some other quiet paved area.

The reason is that you will not be able to think during a life or death situation, you will only have the habits that you have developed with dedicated practice.

I know from experience that your brain immediately switches from the reason mode to the instinct mode, there is nothing that you can do to avoid that.

The instinct will take over and will command your hands and feet to do what has became a habit; if you don't have developed such habit, either nothing or the wrong action will be commanded.

 

3. You can't get your knee to the ground on the highway.So how do you steer away quickest from an obstacle?

 

I don't see how the knee and a quick swerve are related.

See my response to the question #1.

A quick counter-steer is the only way to achieve a quick change of direction.

 

Please, read these excellent articles:

 

http://forums.superb...p?showtopic=109

 

http://www.msgroup.org/articles.aspx

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Know your trouble spots; merge areas, lanes with slower than normal traffic, always be on the lookout for distracted drivers, avoid riding in blind spots. And my #1 highway riding tip is, "If you don't see an escape route, your in the wrong place at the wrong time".

 

Learn to predict traffic as much as possible because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 

How do your predict something from chaos?

 

Safe and happy riding!

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It seems the other riders are handling the traffic.

1. As mentioned earlier being able to read the traffic and anticipate what could or will happen then position your bike in the least risky position.

2. Riding slower helps as you,ll have more time to react.

3. More practice so that you can control/suppress your survival reaction, hone your ability to counter steer and proper throttle control to be instinctual, this can prevent panic.

4. If you have no experience on the road(driving or riding) talk to some more experienced road goers in your area.

5. Always expect the unexpected

 

Good luck.

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Pretty much the whole of day 2 at the School is devoted to this...all the visual skills. If you don't have that, for sure one would want the information in Twist 2.

 

Another couple of points: some brake TOO progressively. A lot of braking distance can be used, by being too gradual. Without snapping it on, one can usually do some decently hard braking with the front, even in street conditions (enough to lift the rear wheel on most sport oriented bikes). Braking straight up and down too. While doing that hard braking, practice not staring right in front of the bike.

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..........Another couple of points: some brake TOO progressively........While doing that hard braking, practice not staring right in front of the bike.

 

Great two points, Cobie.

 

Then, there is too-slow / too-little emergency-steering:

 

"Can you steer your bike as fast as your car? If your answer is "no", my next questions are: What business do you have riding in traffic with cars that can out-maneuver you?, and, Ain't that dangerous? The answers, not pleasant ones to swallow, are: none and yes. You lose." - Keith Code

 

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.php?showtopic=109

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Excellent quote!

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I had a chance at Laguna Seca to work on the Braking bike with Mike. It was a fantastic opportunity to work on Cobie's point about not looking in front of the bike while braking......MASSIVE DIFFERENCE. Being able to maintain a wide view while braking hard really increased my confidence level.

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I had a chance at Laguna Seca to work on the Braking bike with Mike. It was a fantastic opportunity to work on Cobie's point about not looking in front of the bike while braking......MASSIVE DIFFERENCE. Being able to maintain a wide view while braking hard really increased my confidence level.

 

Excellent point - I remember when I did the brake bike I was SHOCKED at how hard I could brake, and how fast I could stop. It really, REALLY increased my confidence in braking really hard and when I was eventually confronted with an emergency, more than a year later, I was able to brake super hard with no loss of control and no hesitation, thereby avoiding a collision without any drama.

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There is a downside to Braking too quickly in some situations, nothing like stopping well short of what was in front of you only to be plowed into from behind. Whenever I need to do a quick stop or hard braking after a good initial brake application, IE making sure I can stop in time, I always check my mirrors to see what's behind me and adjust my braking distance to give the vehicle behind me enough time to stop also.

 

Tyler

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I have always practiced braking to the verge of lock-up and also beyond all the way back to 1980 when I first started riding. I find it especially useful to lock up the front wheel on purpose on wet roads because it happens so easily and it allows one to check out how the bike reacts with the wheel lock. You also learn to release the brake or crash :D

 

McKeen, I'm fully with you on checking the mirrors and also using all the available space when coming to a stop in traffic. I also head for the road shoulder when I know traffic is behind to leave the following vehicle a gap beside me to head for in case they cannot stop; I'd rather they hit the car in front only instead of sandwiching me in between ;)

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