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 Motorcycle Safety
 Contrary Opinions
 Putting it in neutral at stop lights
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FRE
Standard Member
219 Posts


Albuquerque, NM
USA

Kawasaki

Ninja 500

Posted - 11/26/2005 :  12:44 AM
Here is a link to an official Canadian web site which states that one should wait in neutral at red lights:

http://www.ridertraining.org/

Since it's an official government web site, it is impossible for it to be wrong.
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bkikkert
Male Advanced Member
847 Posts
[Mentor]


Cornwall, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

Ultra Classic '08

Posted - 11/26/2005 :  11:35 AM
quote:
Here is a link to an official Canadian web site which states that one should wait in neutral at red lights:


I don't know where you found that on this web site???

The Canada Safety Council is a charitable safety organization and is not a government organization...
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FRE
Standard Member
219 Posts


Albuquerque, NM
USA

Kawasaki

Ninja 500

Posted - 11/26/2005 :  11:44 AM
Apparently the assumption I made was incorrect. From the name, it sounded like an offical government site; evidentally it wasn't.
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SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1208 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

FLHTK 2012

Posted - 11/26/2005 :  12:55 PM
I think I have voiced my opinion on this subject elsewhere on this forum BUT I have been very much aware of watching riders who do differently than myself to see if it seems safer or not.

IMHO (and observations) Almost without exception, those who put the bike into neutral at a stop light "say" later that they keep a keen eye on their rear mirrors, but what I "see" them doing is relaxing their hands, clasping hands together (left and right), looking around, preening, chatting with other riders, etc., which are of course ok things to do, but they are not paying diligent attention to the potential dangers looming behind them or from any other direction.

I have also seen some riders who keep their bike in 1st at a stop light, who ALSO DON'T STAY AWARE of what is looming behind them. ....

So ...... I'm wondering if staying more alert isn't the KEY ISSUE here, not neutral vs in gear???

99.5% of the time I keep the bike in gear and try and remember to use my perifferal vision to see anything happening in my mirrors, but on occasion, when I'm more tired or the arthritis is achy and there are cars/trucks stopped behind me at a longish light, I will remove my left hand and give my fingers and wrist a good chance to stretch.
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FRE
Standard Member
219 Posts


Albuquerque, NM
USA

Kawasaki

Ninja 500

Posted - 11/26/2005 :  1:36 PM
There is also the question of just what you can do about it if a vehicle does come up behind too fast. Often, there is no safe place to go anyway. If the cross street has heavy traffic, going forward could be suicide. Sometimes one can stop behind a car but be as close as possible to an empty lane in which case there is a place to go. Sometimes it would be possible to go between lanes, but trying to accelerate quickly while turning into a narrow space could be very difficult.

I'm still trying to find a solution for being unable to see well behind because the mirrors don't extend far enough out.

I'm inclined to leave the bike in low with the clutch disengaged if I won't be stopped for long. But if it's a long stop and there is a car or 2 behind, then I shift to neutral to relax my hand.

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Eddy
Male Starting Member
6 Posts


Trenton, NJ
USA

Harley-Davidson

Softail

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  5:41 PM
Occasionally I will kick the bike into neutral to stand up & stretch.
I'd hesitate to use this as a rule to measure anyones skill or lack of such.
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strider
New Member
11 Posts


College Station, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Posted - 10/06/2006 :  10:11 AM
I always kick it into neutral, less wear and tear on the bike. Do the same thing in my sports cars.
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Baggsy
Male Advanced Member
720 Posts
[Mentor]


Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Suzuki

09 Wee

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  10:50 PM
quote:
Originally posted by FRE

Here is a link to an official Canadian web site which states that one should wait in neutral at red lights:

http://www.ridertraining.org/

Since it's an official government web site, it is impossible for it to be wrong.




The Canadian Safety Council is roughly the equivalent of the MSF in the U.S. except they cover Traffic, Children, Seniors, On the Job, Sports, Community Safety - there are many different types of manufacturer/sponsors)

Here's the blurb from the Canadian Safety Council's Gearing Up Site:

Riding Tip
When sitting at a
stop light, slip the
motorcycle
transmission into
neutral. It saves
mechanical wear on
the clutch
mechanism and
prevents an
inadvertent release
of the clutch.


This however isn't taught during the Gearing Up course since it occurs in a parking lot.

Personally I leave it in first gear, or on the rare occassion when I miss-shift, second gear and hold the clutch in.

I did the same in my car. In a car I would find it too much work when going up a steep hill to put it into neutral.

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smertens
Male New Member
16 Posts


Phoenix, AZ
USA

Honda

GL1800

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:07 PM
Well I know this will sound very hard, but there are only two times when riding a motorcycle when the right foot should go down. The first is when backing up, and the second is when parking. Your right foot should never be down at any other time, not even at stoplights.

First you want to keep your brake light lit up so keep your right foot on the brake. It will make you a little more visible to approaching traffic. Don't depend on any lights however to keep you safe. I have witnessed riders pulling up too close to the car in front of them, with both feet down and hands roaming around. Only to have to attempt an emergency pullout. Fortunately when I pulled up next to him he attempted to back up to talk to me, pushing his bike in neutral backwards. As I watched him thinking what a dope, for some reason I glanced in my mirror only to see a full size pick up barreling down on us. I quickly did a pullout to the right that put me in between two cars. He attempted to get his bike into gear and do the same, and wound up running smack into a car in the lane to the left of him. I waited with him for the ambulance. It was mostly his pride that was hurt, and some major damage to his Ducati, not to mention the car he hit.

Also remember that if you get into a hilly situation, you will need to use your rear brake to hold you on the hill while using the throttle to get you going. This is very difficult to do using the front brake and throttle at the same time.


Enough of my rant. I told you it would sound harsh.
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ColoRexer
Male Advanced Member
616 Posts
[Mentor]


Castle Rock, CO
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:21 PM
quote:
Originally posted by smertens



Also remember that if you get into a hilly situation, you will need to use your rear brake to hold you on the hill while using the throttle to get you going. This is very difficult to do using the front brake and throttle at the same time.



I prefer to use the front brake to hold on a hill. It only takes one finger, and I found it less error-prone to coordinate that with the throttle, than using the rear brake. It may not be as easy to do this on other bikes.

I will hold the front brake lever to keep my lights on, and generally flash it when cars come up behind.

Don't assume someone is a dummy just because both feet are down...
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17292 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:24 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Again some of us seem to have very different opinions on the matter.

I believe that finding neutral is a start-up activity and should not be done at intersections. The only other time, besides start-up, that finding neutral makes sense is if you are in a parade with frequent stopping and you need to recover (or prevent) left hand cramps.

Putting your right foot on the ground (along with your left one) makes a great deal of sense to me when you stop your bike, especially the larger that bike is.

Your brake light works just fine when you use your front brake, and except in unusual situations, you can use both the throttle and the front brake at the same time to begin moving on a hill, and if you need to use your rear brake (because that hill is too steep and you are not competent with using both right hand controls at the same time), you can still (and should) stop by putting both feet down and THEN moving your right foot to the rear brake to prepare to move again.
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Duane
Male Advanced Member
863 Posts
[Mentor]


Buffalo, New York
USA

Suzuki

Boulevard C90T

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:26 PM
I'm not sure why you feel that your right foot should almost never touch the ground. One can keep the brake on with your hand and still do a quick move out of the way by simultaneously letting off the brake and rolling off the throttle. I would think that you would want both feet on the ground when stopped to better stablize the bike. I always use both feet when stopped.

Duane


Edited by - Duane on 05/22/2007 4:16 PM
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ColoRexer
Male Advanced Member
616 Posts
[Mentor]


Castle Rock, CO
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:31 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

...

I believe that finding neutral is a start-up activity and should not be done at intersections. The only other time, besides start-up, that finding neutral makes sense is if you are in a parade with frequent stopping and you need to recover (or prevent) left hand cramps.

...



Interesting, another situation where the type of bike may influence riding habits. Some bikes have 'positive neutral finders' that make going into neutral much more predictable, which may alter this preference. Just like having one-finger brakes may encourage front brake use a stops. More reasons to not be too absolute.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17292 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:31 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Let me guess, smertens is a RiderCoach.

We love ya, but dogma is not necessarily gospel.
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smertens
Male New Member
16 Posts


Phoenix, AZ
USA

Honda

GL1800

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:41 PM
If you really need two feet to stabalize a bike at a stop light perhaps you shoud get a smaller bike. My wife 5' 2" 130 lbs can hold her goldwing up with one foot.

Or maybe you just need to learn balance Danialsan!

Either way it will only take one emergency while at a light to change your mind. I hope it never happens to you.

Good Luck
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17292 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  3:51 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
quote:
Either way it will only take one emergency while at a light to change your mind.


Let me get this straight ... putting one foot down at a stop is safer than putting down both of them? With one, if there is an emergency you are better off having one foot down? Really?

Are you suggesting that it is faster to begin moving, or that you will get control faster, if you only had one foot down and were therefore not vertical to start with? Would you similarly argue that you should stop with the left foot only on the ground if you are riding a scooter where the rear brake is part of your hand controls? Dogma without consideration of reality is dangerous.

Did you know that the MSF used to teach that you should always put the RIGHT foot down, not the left, when you stop? Could it be that they learned something since then?

quote:
Or maybe you just need to learn balance Danialsan!

Snarkyness will not earn you many kudos, sir.
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ksuguy
Male Senior Member
366 Posts


Wichita, KS
USA

Suzuki

V-Strom 650

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  4:07 PM
I would much rather use both feet when I'm stopped. It makes it easier to stabilize the bike. I also use the front brake to keep the light on, it works just as well as the rear one.

I understand that some people have to use one foot on some bikes because they are not tall enough to use both, but if both feet can reach the ground I see no reason to only use one.

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smertens
Male New Member
16 Posts


Phoenix, AZ
USA

Honda

GL1800

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  4:14 PM
I knew the first post would draw some controversy I have heard many theories on this subject, and yes I do teach. But my opinions on this come from personal experience. Three times in my riding career I have had to make emergency pullouts from a stop sign or light. One of the three times the pullout was not necessary although at that moment screeching tires and bright lights in my mirror made me think otherwise. That driver stopped, but not by much!

So just for argument sake lets go thru what has to happen in an emergency. First lets assume as the first post that you are in neutral, with both feet down. Even if we assume that you are covering the clutch and have left yourself enough room to pull out without backing up. Your in the middle lane of a three lane road with a car in front of you in each lane.

You look in your mirror and see the emblem of some truck filling your entire mirror. You make a decision to pull between the two cars in the lanes in front of you . Your left hand squeezes the clutch your left foot comes up to the shifter. Your right foot has to stay on the ground so you can maintain your balance. Now you shift down to 1st gear. You begin to let the clutch out as you increase the throttle slightly. At this point your right foot has to come up to the brake to add a little trailing brake so you can make the tight turn to go in between the two cars.

In the same situation all I have to do is release the clutch and add throttle

My foot is already on the brake and adding trailing brake by default. Since I'm balanced on my left foot and am already in gear. I guarantee I'll get out of the way before you even begin moving. While I agree it may only be a second or two - it's enough to save your life.


So I can give you the benefit of my real life experience. I really don't even care if you take my advice. My goal is to pass on the experience, not to force it down anybody's throat. In the end we are all responsible for ourselves.
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Duane
Male Advanced Member
863 Posts
[Mentor]


Buffalo, New York
USA

Suzuki

Boulevard C90T

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  4:25 PM
Having the bike in neutral or 1st and having two or one foot on the ground are entirely different subjects. I leave my bike in first AND have both feet on the ground. I believe that I can make just as quick a pull out by simultaneously letting off the front brake and accelerating. I fail to see how using the rear brake makes a bit of difference.

Duane
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smertens
Male New Member
16 Posts


Phoenix, AZ
USA

Honda

GL1800

Posted - 05/22/2007 :  4:30 PM
Then perhaps you don't understand how adding trailing brake will help stabalize your motorcycle.

If we assume you can't pull past the car in front of you because he is at the limit line of an intersection. You have to do an emergency swerve from a dead stop to the left and then back to the right and go no farther than 10 feet forward and stop again. You won't be able to do it without rear brake to stabalize you.

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