Thoughts from a daily motorcycle commuter...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by DMack_762, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. The_Precious_Juice

    The_Precious_Juice 2019 DL650XT Touring

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    Passing lanes and stuff could be reversed in that culture.

    Speed was the biggest issue.
  2. Karlfitt

    Karlfitt Long timer Supporter

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    I used to ride to work more often.

    Since I have started hitting the gym regularly after work I do it quite a bit less often, and that all comes down to space.
    I need to bring my lunch in to work with me, going out for lunch is not an option. I work a 12 hour shift, my desk must be manned and there are not extra people just hanging around to sit in for me while I go out. Plus I would have to deduct that hour from my time sheet.
    Add my gym back, and the bike is OK, until I get to the gym.
    I have to store my riding jacket, riding pants and helmet somewhere. Lockers inside the gym aren't big enough. It just makes it a pain.

    Guess I just have to ride my bikes for fun a little more.
  3. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Bigger luggage on the bike?
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  4. SmithSwede

    SmithSwede Been here awhile

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    This is a great thread.

    Another quick thought. Ride as if any crash you would have would be fully videotaped from all angles. And then posted on ADV and other forums for hundreds of experienced riders to analyze and critique.

    You might be surprised how much that affects your riding. Imagine that all the shortcuts and sketchy moves you make aren’t secret and private. And then stop doing that stuff.
  5. DMack_762

    DMack_762 Been here awhile

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    I want to share this with you all. It may be a bit long, but worth the read. Our passion is not enjoyed by all. Even most “bikers” are not what would be called “Motorcyclists” and I get that. I for one, choose to commute daily on my GSA. It’s a personal choice for me and a calculated risk. I wear my full gear every single time I ride, to include my Helite Turtle (airbag) Vest. I also dress in high viz, just to add to the visibility.


    My daily commute is roughly 80 miles of urban jungle, Mon to Friday. I have every one of my “danger zones” identified and mitigate those to the best of my ability. Today, I was very, very lucky.


    A large part of my commute is via a multi lane, high speed inner city thouroghfare. I always ride in the inside lane, for that gives me danger from behind, and to my one side. Merging cars, and cars coming up behind me are my biggest dangers. Unless a car flips over the center divider, I can focus my attention to the above mentioned zones.


    Coming home today, I was a bit later than usual, and my spidey senses told me to take surface streets. Well, I ignored that subconsious warning, and most of the commute was uneventful. There is the last 1/4 of my commute coming home, where that highway gains cross streets and traffic lights. I know when I am approaching it, so I always prepare for it.


    Coming up to the place where traffic always backs up, I started my rear view scan. I had one car approximately 300 meters behind me, and traffic was coming to a stop ahead of me, the lane to the right of me was also full, and stopping. I started my zig zag motion, and was covering my rear brake, making my Denali B6 LED brake light flash. I kept seeing the car behind me gaining ground on me, not appearing to slow down. I stood up, and sat back down, making the motion to make sure to draw attention, but the car kept coming.


    I was in first, BARELY moving, gaining on the car ahead of me quickly. In a split second, I had to make a choice. Bail to the emergency lane (full of road debris) or TRY to squeeze betwen the two cars in front of me and to my right. Time ran out and all I could do was stand up and prepare to be hit from behind.


    The car behind me never hit the brakes.


    I was braced for the impact from behind, hoping my airbag would at least keep me in one piece, but the impact did not come. I heard brakes squealing, and the car jerked to the emergency lane on my left at the last second. It went about six to eight cars ahead of me, stopping in the emergency lane.


    Adrenaline coursed through me, and I began to feel light headed. The guy in the van next to me said “Damn, that was close”.


    Traffic started moving, and I crept up to the little Honda Civic in the emergency lane. It was a young girl, barely 18, and she was sobbing.


    “Mister, I am SO SORRY. I almost hit you. I promise, I will NEVER text again while I am driving. OH MY GOD.”


    I pulled over and got off my bike. I wanted to shake her, but I didn’t. I made sure SHE was ok, and made her promise me she would not text while driving again.


    Just goes to show, no matter HOW careful we can be as motorcyclists, you just NEVER know.


    Ride Safely. Ride Often. Wear your GEAR!


    Cheers!


    Darren
  6. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Weather permitting I commute a great deal. I would guess half of the drivers I pass or pass me are actively reading their phones or texting. Maybe 60% even. This singular reality has drastically changed how I drive. They scare me to death.

    Glad you are ok, and glad the young lady was OK. And hopefully the young lady truly got the stupid scared out of her.
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  7. DMack_762

    DMack_762 Been here awhile

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    I’ve been replaying it in my mind since getting home. I asked myself realistically, what if I had been in my truck? I drive a big Power Wagon (Lifted Ram 4x4) and I beleive if I had been in it, she would have hit me. I believe what got her attention, was my zig zag motion, my flashing brake light, and my very bright gear. Had I been in my truck, I too, may have been distracted, not paying any attention. I was THIS close to bailing into the emergency lane... but looking back, it may have not been the right choice. Glad it worked out. I wanted to share with the group, just as a reminder, that we all have to stay frosty. Even with this incident, I still prefer my GSA over my Truck. Nothing makes me more awake than riding. Cheers Mates!
  8. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    @DMack_762 from one Darren to another, glad you're here to tell the story. I too, commute daily but my bike is small and light to share lane so whenever traffic slows to a crawl, i always split to avoid this very incident you experienced. PLus it's legal in California.

    -Darren
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  9. doug s.

    doug s. Long timer

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    the majority of my riding is commuting. and yes, it's quite scary out there.

    dmack's story reminds me of something that happened to me way early in my riding career - before computers, let alone cell phones. iirc, we'd just gotten push-button phones a couple years back, replacing our old dial phones! :D anyway, i was stopped at a light in city traffic. i always kept an eye on the rear-view mirrors when stopped in traffic, especially when no one was behind me. well, just like dmack, i see someone coming that looks like they're not gonna be stopping any time soon. i immediately pull the bike in between the car in front of me and the car along-side it. i hear tires squealing, and the car stopped with about 18" of room left between its front bumper and the rear bumper of the car that was previously in front of me. fortunately, for me, even as a newbie rider, i had enough sense to try to be aware of everything happening around me.

    doug s.
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  10. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    1200 GSA has always been my dream bike. Hands down they are beautiful. But I Currently need to finish helping 6 kids through college first. (As long as they bust their asses I will do the same to help them ). As a result, I ride a KLr, which I truly love, mostly... And despite what all the haters say, compared to the GSA , my KLr feels like a little enduro bike. Many times I have pulled into the space between cars or onto the median when I felt a car was less than FULLY ENGAGED in their driving, and at these times I appreciate the fact that I can pretty much pop the front wheel over any curb, cone, pothole, etc without much trouble. I wouldn’t have that dexterity with a mucho larger bike, but then I also avoid the freeway due to the Klr’s gearing and flat power band over 5k rpms.

    Interesting to think about the difference in “perceived safety” afforded by different commuter bike styles....GSA is still the dream girl.
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  11. zouch

    zouch part-time wanderer

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    glad you're OK.

    proof that even though we can do everything possible to stack the odds in our favor, we still have to try to have a way (or 2) to bail out when necessary, in the likely even that Caca Pasa.

    have fun, but Be Careful!


  12. bsidethecside

    bsidethecside n00b

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    Firstly good to see you are OK. Here in the UK a new driver is automatically disqualified if caught using a phone hand-held while driving and the rest of drivers have quite stiff penalties. There's now calls for banning all use, hand held or not... Speaking of hazards, the next one is the autumn clock-change when I'm in the tin box for a while. Apparently the clock-change week has the year's accident peak. Be careful out there!
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  13. DENALI Electronics

    DENALI Electronics Been here awhile

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    Wow--that could have ended so much worse. I commute every morning on my bike also, and feel like I'm constantly scanning at every stop. Really glad to hear this ended the way it did, and hopefully at least that driver will not make the same mistake again.

    Ride on and ride safely!

    Your Denali Design Team
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  14. DMack_762

    DMack_762 Been here awhile

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    I can HONESTLY say, I can recount a handful of times where my Denali additions have worked in my favor. I have the CanSMART, B4, D2, Soundbomb and D6 on my bike. Great kit, and makes my ride much safer.
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  15. rockitcity

    rockitcity Been here awhile

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    Another good argument for nationwide lane-splitting!
  16. markinthailand

    markinthailand Long timer

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    Exactly this. I live and ride daily in Thailand, and being able to slip between cars is a great protection. Once you learn how to do it, it is much safer, as the recent study in California showed. Filtering up to the front gets you out in front of traffic, and splitting keeps you out of harms way from getting rear ended. Rarely is it an issue with people changing lanes in front of you, and as long as the speed differential is low, not really a problem if they do.
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  17. DENALI Electronics

    DENALI Electronics Been here awhile

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    Our goal at Denali Electronics is to make the safest kit for your motorcycle--designed and thought out to be easy to install and use. We love hearing that it makes you feel safer on the road. As a daily motorcycle commuter, I know I can say I am able to enjoy it more when I can feel safer, and worry less. Of course, these days, with all the available distractions, it is harder and harder to do. We'll keep trying to evolve to keep up with that demand!
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  18. DMack_762

    DMack_762 Been here awhile

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    Well, since starting this thread, I have logged about 25,000 miles on my GSA. I have also moved to South Carolina, and my daily commute is very rural now. My daily commute to work is now 43 miles one way, all rural two lane roads, lots of curves, and LOTS of wildlife. I leave my house at 0400 give or take, and I have to be in my seat by 0500.

    One of the changes I have made is now, I keep my clear shield on my helmet. In the city, I could get by riding at night, with my lightly smoked face shield on, and never had any issues. Now, that I am in the "country", with no streetlights and very sparse road lines, reflectors, etc... it's almost impossible to see safely with the smoked shield. Even with all of my Denali lights, it just isn't worth it.

    Even though my mileage is the same as my previous commute, maybe a wee bit more, it's SO much more enjoyable. Coming to work, I maybe encounter 10 vehicles. However, I see Deer and Racoons every single morning. It has slowed me down a bit, and made me scan more actively.

    We have had a bit of rain in the past two weeks. This has tested my gear to it's fullest. Nothing like getting dressed in the morning, hearing the rain pounding outside, and then hopping on the bike by choice. Since getting here, I have only driven my truck to work once. I'm able to leave my uniform in my locker at work, and I change into it when I get there. When I leave, I put my uniform in my locker and change back into my riding gear.

    It has sparked some conversation from other riders here, mostly as to the "why" I choose to wear what I do. The vast majority of riders here are on Harley's. Very few wear anything other than the required gear the Military mandates. I'm ok with that, to each their own.

    One thing I am excited about, is the terrain here. I will be doing a LOT of exploring, and using my GSA for what it was intended for.

    I have not made any major changes to my bike, nor my riding gear. So far my selection has served me very well. I'm looking to pick up the Klim Baja S4 jacket and pants this summer. That would be my next purchase.

    Ride safe, ride often!

    ~ Darren
  19. DonBenito

    DonBenito Been here awhile

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    Up until recently I was also riding into work in the dark, and then riding home in the blinding AZ sunshine. I know some guys can fit a pair of sunglasses on while they're wearing a helmet, but I've never been able to due to my head shape. I used to swap shields before heading home, but I've been using the Arai Pro Shade ever since it came out. It's so convenient for commuting and touring, any ride really. Being able to go from a dark tinted mirrored shield to a clear one while you're moving is a game changer. I'm surprised other companies haven't copied it yet. I know some helmets have that internal flip-down shade, but the ones I've tried always seem to cut off and distort my field of vision in an awkward way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  20. HuntWhenever

    HuntWhenever Motorcicle Commuter

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    I use this same setup and I really like it.

    Also, when riding in the dark on a regular bases...an adaptive headlight is worth its weight in platinum.
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