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 All Forums
 Motorcycle Safety
 General Discussion
 Freeway
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Lgald
Starting Member
9 Posts


Hesperia, CA
USA

Peer Review:

Posted - 05/13/2005 :  10:23 PM                       Like
I'm a new rider, just completed the basic riders course and today was only my 3rd time on a bike. I just bought an 04 Victory Vegas and rode it on the freeway for about 8 miles. Is it just me??? I was SCARED !! Couldn't go past 55, kept feeling real shakey with the wind and other riders were flying past me at 80 !!! Anyone else out there experience anxiety on the freeway and how do you get past that? I really like my bike and on the streets I'm cool, but I'm a little leary about trying the freeway again, any tips or suggestions would be really welcomed Thanks

kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 05/13/2005 :  10:54 PM
I would have 2 suggestions.

  • Get a few more miles under your belt before going back on the freeway
  • You'll probably feel better if you speed up enough so people aren't zooming past you


Statistically, the freeways are safer than any other roads.
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Dawn
Advanced Member
712 Posts
[Mentor]


Los Angeles, CA
USA

Harley-Davidson

2007 Street Glide

Posted - 05/13/2005 :  11:01 PM
Welcome to the great new world of motorcycling and to the forum. Hang around...there is plenty to learn!

As I'm sure you'll hear from others, the first and most important thing for a newbie is to understand that motorcycling is an aquired skill and must be practiced. You can't expect after one basic class and three times on the bike to ride like it's second nature and a 20 year lifestyle. Don't feel like it should be. Don't beat yourself up when you find it's not. Accept that you need to practice. The first time I got on the freeway I couldn't get myself over 40! It all felt SO fast. But your feel for the bike, the road, the wind, the speed will develop with patience, skill and practice. Keep at it. Don't get discouraged and follow your own sense of timing as you gain experience. At all times, ride your own ride and ride smart.

As far as tips for getting used to the freeway...I suggest avoiding the busiest times of the day. Don't travel in the right most lane so that you can avoid all the merging traffic. Find someone, a car or other bike, to pace behind so you don't feel everyone is rushing by you.

Dawn
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fz6yamaha
Standard Member
242 Posts


USA

Posted - 05/13/2005 :  11:27 PM
Hey, it is just a matter of practice and you are not alone. My first time I felt that the wind will blow me away and also the noise from the wind was driving me insane. I got ear plugs now, fell more relaxed and I can concentrate on the surrounding sounds better and my engine without the wind noise. About being scare in the freeway is always there but in less dimension, now is not afraid it is ALERT MUST OF the time, there is a lot of wackos out there so watch out. If you feel better you could try what I did, find a good friend that rides (kind of like a mentor) and tell the guy (or girl) you want to ride the freeway but do not want to go alone. In my case I felt a lot better if I knew I had someone close by, I will follow lines and work on my riding, but if you are really new to riding do not over rush it right now, get use to your bike, work on your alertness, 360 safety cushion, and all the stuff you been taught by now. The freeway will always be there and chances to ride as well, so there is not rush.
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g6civcx
Standard Member
110 Posts


USA

Posted - 05/13/2005 :  11:44 PM
Additional comments for you:

* If you consciously make an effort to widen your field of vision and look further down the road, things will appear to move more slowly and your perception of speed will be reduced. If you look straight down, the ground sure is moving pretty quickly

* Bringing your attention out wide will also help you spot potential problems you may encounter, such as surface debris, upcoming traffic, weather conditions, etc. It will give you room and space to respond.

* Freeway are really easy to ride, if you take away all the crazy drivers But seriously, you're going at a moderate speed (yes, 55 mph is a moderate speed), and the road is wide with wide turns and gentle banking to help you. You can even steer the bike with just one hand or even just a few fingers.

Just get some more experience and you will stop driving yourself crazy. Relax and enjoy the ride!
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  7:27 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
All the other advice you received here is right on so I would like to offer you a tangent.

Fear can kill you - it leads to riders freezing at their controls in an emergency and taking no corrective action whatever. It also leads to doubts that are self-fulfilling. "I can't make that turn!"

But we, ALL OF US, were afraid to begin with. How to get over it should be the question you answer because by observation you know that virtually all of us did just that.

My suggestions are simple:

  1. Convert fear into respect. Understand and acknowledge that the sport is dangerous and that what you must do to survive it is UNDERSTAND everything you can about it. Ignorance is the cause of a great deal of fear.
  2. Make sure that the motorcycle is ALWAYS mechanically sound. Your life depends on just two wheels, it only makes sense to insure that they are well maintained.
  3. Practice and then practice some more. Practice in all kinds of environments, not just a parking lot. Practice in the rain. Practice on gravel. Practice stopping and starting on a hill. Practice stopping quickly (in a parking lot!) Practice going fast (speed limited by law.) Practice going SLOW - this IS important!
  4. Be prepared. You cannot practice enough to have experienced everything - the car that moves into your lane at freeway speeds should be an event that is new to you. The unexpected does happen - often. Sometimes, unfortunately, things break - even if properly maintained. In other words, you should assume that sooner or later you will find yourself getting off your motorcycle unintentionally (it falls over in a parking lot with ten of your friends watching you.) You should be dressed to not only survive that experience, but so that you will be uninjured or minimally affected by that dismount. (Can you say 'helmet', 'gloves', 'leather'?)

Now, to go back ... your objective should be to convert fear into respect. I do not mean respect merely of the dangers or of your motorcycle - those are the least of it. You need to develop a respect of YOURSELF - an absolute regard for your ability to CONTROL the motorcycle at all times. An immense pride in YOUR ability to make it - that is, that 100 horsepower machine - do exactly what YOU want it to do.

When that happens, you have won. And freeway riding will be just one more ABILITY you will have mastered.

It is not for no reason that we ride our motorcycles with grins on our faces. Welcome to the 'family.'
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g6civcx
Standard Member
110 Posts


USA

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  10:42 AM
Jim, thank you for your comments. I agree with everything that was said.

I would also like to add the following comments:

quote:
Fear ... leads to riders freezing at their controls in an emergency and taking no corrective action whatever.


Fear can also lead you to react incorrectly. For example, you panic and grab the front brakes. Reacting correctly involves more than just good reflexes. Instead, it requires knowing cause and effect. You must know what actions cause what series of events to happen. This is how you can decide what to do in an emergency situation.

quote:
Practice and then practice some more.


Learn the technique, and apply what you've learned by practising. Everyone learns at their own pace, and everyone learns slightly differently and develops a slightly different style. This is just how we are as human beings. Don't worry if your friends can learn things you can't do. There will be things you can do that they can't. Just work on developing your skills.


Being comfortable with the bike is also important, especially when you are new. Your first couple of bikes will most likely develop how you will ride for the rest of your life. Once you drill techniques to perfection, it will be very hard to change them.

Some people get on bikes that are bigger than what they can handle. They end up developing a nervous and sporadic style and will be really hesitant to change that style, even after they put a lot of work into it. This is because they have drilled certain ways of doing things and it's hard for them to break the habit.

I don't know what you ride, but I hope you're comfortable with it. Not being comfortable makes you an unsafe rider for reasons Jim said.
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Marco
Starting Member
9 Posts


Ashland, OR
USA

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  12:05 PM
Like others have said... practice, practice, practice. Motorcycling takes much more skill, thinking, and focus than driving a car. You have to take baby steps before you can run. Riding a motorcycle is not something you can just jump into and expect to be able to do anything you can do in a car. It takes time.

Also, be your own rider. I've been riding for more than 20 years, and riding on a crowded freeway is still one of my least-favorite things to do. I'll go out of my way to find the little country roads that bypass the freeway. You have to set your own standards as to what you think is safe or not. Everybody has a different learning curve and different ways of doing things. You'll find yours when you keep at it and ride a lot.

Something to think about is that, statistically, new riders get into the most accidents during the first two years of riding. Statistically, there are more accidents on backroads and city streets than on the freeway, but when there is an accident on the freeway it is much more likely to be fatal. Speed is probably the biggest factor in the fatality of motorcycle accidents.

For me, if I were to get into an accident, I'd rather that accident happen at 35 MPH on a side street than on a busy freeway at 65 MPH.

Edited by - Marco on 05/14/2005 12:06 PM
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6950 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  4:25 PM
quote:
Originally posted by g6civcx

Your first couple of bikes will most likely develop how you will ride for the rest of your life. Once you drill techniques to perfection, it will be very hard to change them.


My first six motorcycles were "enduros", now known as Dual Sports. I had to learn a whole new set of riding techniques when I bought a pure street bike for number seven. Then when I bought my first street bike with modern suspension and radial tires, number thirteen, I learned new riding methods once again. I'm currently riding numbers eighteen and nineteen.

If you're continually studying how to be a better rider, previous bike experience doesn't have to affect your future riding experiences. And you're never too old to learn how to be a better rider.
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g6civcx
Standard Member
110 Posts


USA

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  5:21 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

quote:
Originally posted by g6civcx

Your first couple of bikes will most likely develop how you will ride for the rest of your life. Once you drill techniques to perfection, it will be very hard to change them.


My first six motorcycles were "enduros", now known as Dual Sports. I had to learn a whole new set of riding techniques when I bought a pure street bike for number seven. Then when I bought my first street bike with modern suspension and radial tires, number thirteen, I learned new riding methods once again. I'm currently riding numbers eighteen and nineteen.

If you're continually studying how to be a better rider, previous bike experience doesn't have to affect your future riding experiences. And you're never too old to learn how to be a better rider.



I think that people who start off on dirt bikes have a really good foundation than those who don't. Dirt bikes demand a lot from the rider, and the consequences isn't as severe as compared to street riding.

Take, for instance, a person who has never been on a bike before, and that person goes out and buys a 1000cc supersport. How do you think that person's riding career is going to be like?

There are certain techniques that you carry over from dirt riding that are very helpful. For example, letting the front end track and not strong-arming it, or being comfortable with sliding the rear end around and not chopping the throttle.


Here, I'm talking about style, not technique. You can learn more techniques as long as you're willing, but it is very difficult to change your style. I define style to be your views and attitude towards riding in general. It is very difficult for "normal" people to change their style, unless as the direct result of life-changing catastrophic event, such as wrecking or other things outside of riding.


I think you are one of the rare fews who will always be trying to learn, and I commend you for it. I hope to never stop trying to learn as well.
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Lgald
Starting Member
9 Posts


Hesperia, CA
USA

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  5:55 PM
Hey everyone, thanks for all the great info and advice, I certainly read it all carefully and took it in. Took my bike out for a good 1 1/2 hours today. Felt so much better. Didn't hit the freeway this time but I did alot of riding in traffic on busy streets and then on some desolate, empty roads. Felt better this time and took it up to about 60 for a minute. I really appreciate everyones responseThis is a cool forum and look forward to reading all the good stuff here. Btw, any other Victory owners out there?
Lgald
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Lgald
Starting Member
9 Posts


Hesperia, CA
USA

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  5:56 PM
Hey everyone, thanks for all the great info and advice, I certainly read it all carefully and took it in. Took my bike out for a good 1 1/2 hours today. Felt so much better. Didn't hit the freeway this time but I did alot of riding in traffic on busy streets and then on some desolate, empty roads. Felt better this time and took it up to about 60 for a minute. I really appreciate everyones responseThis is a cool forum and look forward to reading all the good stuff here. Btw, any other Victory owners out there?
Lgald
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corkie
New Member
13 Posts


Canada

Posted - 05/15/2005 :  8:23 AM
I agree with all the others with their postings. The only other thing that adds convidence for me, was to read as many books (David Hough - Proficient Motorcycling, Lee Park's book - Total Control and Twist of the Wrist 2)as i could get a hold of. I am a person that feels more confident when I know more about what I am getting into.

When you're on the street (highway) don't grab the bars, but use them for "resting" your hands. Read Twist of the Wrist 2 and it will tell you that the three survival methods that people turn to that will get you in trouble is grabbing the bars, target fixation and getting OFF the gas and upsetting the balance of the bike. I know that this book was written mainly for racing, but alot of what is said refers to every day riding.
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subvetSSN606
Senior Member
418 Posts
[Mentor]


Ellettsville, IN
USA

Suzuki

800 Intruder

Posted - 05/15/2005 :  4:06 PM
Louis,

One of the things I recommend to people for getting used to the freeway is to start by trying it at a low traffic time to separate getting used to the speed from getting used to the traffic. Early Sunday mornings are a great time. If possible also try to get on somewhere where there's an exit pretty soon after you get on... that way if you're not comfortable you can get back off and go back around when you're ready. Before you know it you'll be fine.

With the wind... relax! Think of it like being in a boat in rough water... there's no way the boat is going to stay level. You can't stop that. You have to relax and go with it a little. Get too stiff and fight it too much and you're going in the water.
Just do what you need to do to stay up and maintain your approximate lane position... but relax and don't over-fight it. You may have to lean into the wind just to go straight, and back off the lean when the wind lets up... that's normal.

It'll come, don't rush it.

Tom
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