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 Motorcycle Safety
 General Discussion
 On and Off (Mounting/Dismounting)
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SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1208 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

2018 Tri-Gliide

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  11:54 AM                       Like
I thought I would begin a new (likely repeated) thread on this subject.

I tend to mount my heavy bike from the right. I also dismount to the right. I suspect I do it this way 97% of the time.

Why? Well it just seems easier for me. Maybe it's age, better flexibility on the left side of my body? I'm not sure. In one way it doesn't seem logical as I have to raise my leg higher from the right than I would from the left when it is on the side stand.

In thinking about this again as I write, I feel more stable mounting from the right because once I have my leg over I can just "plop" down on the seat as gravity and my COG seem to aid me.

I could be wrong in my analysis as everyone knows I am not an engineer. Most of the riders I see and ride with mount and dismount from the left, but they seem unstable on dismount.

Do any of you know of any safety reasons why I should work on changing this?

James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17379 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  12:20 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Oh, one time in a thousand you will leverage your bike off its side stand as you mount the bike, probably no big deal. But it could result in the bike falling onto you. The police insist that their riders mount and dismount from the right - but that is for a traffic safety point of view when at the side of the road. I can't argue with that logic, but normal mounting and dismounting, in my opinion, should be from the left side of the bike.
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SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1208 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

2018 Tri-Gliide

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  1:02 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

Oh, one time in a thousand you will leverage your bike off its side stand as you mount the bike, probably no big deal. But it could result in the bike falling onto you. The police insist that their riders mount and dismount from the right - but that is for a traffic safety point of view when at the side of the road. I can't argue with that logic, but normal mounting and dismounting, in my opinion, should be from the left side of the bike.



James R.

Thanks for pointing out this potentially dangerous out come (pulling the bike off its stand). One in a thousand is not a lot but I do ride often and make more pit stops each year.

I will put mounting from the left on my to do list for the spring PLP and garage practice, heck I can even practice this one in the garage while there is snow on the ground! Might even help my aging hip flexibility.

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HeavyMetal
Male Junior Member
94 Posts


Kimberly, Idaho
USA

Honda

Valkyrie

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  6:46 PM
I also mount and dismount from the right most of the time. I don't understand how I can leverage it off the side stand as I just lift my left leg over the bike and sit down. The bars are turned to the left so gives more room. I don't move the bars or try to right the bike until I am sitting down. I am not trying to be argumentative but just want to make sure I am understanding.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17379 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  7:01 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
You would not have a passenger mount from the right, would you?

When you mount a motorcycle you tend to hold onto a grip as you lift a leg over the saddle, then sit on that saddle. If you mount from the left, you can (and probably do) pull the bike toward you as you move toward the bike. The bike doesn't actually move because the side-stand prevents that.

On the other hand, mounting from the right you probably are very careful NOT to pull the bike toward you as you move toward it. If the bike happens to have a long side-stand, or there is a slight camber to the right, it is very easy to tip the bike over to the right.

Most of the time you will not do that, but occasionally the bike lifts off the side-stand as you mount. You catch the weight of the bike on your right leg and prevent it from falling over - unless it is an unexpected event.

Similarly, when you have a passenger mount you tell that person to move their body toward the bike instead of pulling it toward them. You know why you do that, even if they don't.
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HeavyMetal
Male Junior Member
94 Posts


Kimberly, Idaho
USA

Honda

Valkyrie

Posted - 12/04/2010 :  7:46 PM
OK James, I see your point. As I said I don't normally even hold onto the grip when I get on the bike. I guess my legs are long enough and the seat short enough to just step over. Probably not so for most people.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6950 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 12/05/2010 :  9:42 AM
quote:
Originally posted by HeavyMetal

As I said I don't normally even hold onto the grip when I get on the bike.
Both of my current bikes are quite tall. I normally have to grab the right grip to help pull myself aboard (while holding the front brake on). Sometimes with my Honda, I'll actually lean it a bit to the left, sidestand up, to make it easier to get on it. Obviously that's a lot easier on a 350 pound bike than something weighing more than twice as much.

Getting on a motorcycle from the right side always feels awkward to me, although I still do it once in a while.
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CaptCrash
Male Advanced Member
744 Posts
[Mentor]


Nampa, ID
USA

Honda

Phantom

Posted - 12/05/2010 :  12:13 PM
I have an extremely tall bike (Suzuki DRZ4000SM) and an extremely short bike (Honda Phantom). After taking some good natured ribbing from LEO about mounting from the "wrong" side instead of the "right" I decided to test it out.

Results? I have no desire to get on the DR from the right. It seems harder to do, probably because you whack your foot on the exhaust which is high on the right side.

However, for some reason the Phantom is more readily accepting of mounting from the right. In fact, I now tend to mount from the right. I believe it's due to the saddlebags. When mounting from the LEFT, you have to HOLD your leg up longer and it FEELS like you're reaching farther in order to clear the right bag. Leg up, REEEEACH, drop foot. From the RIGHT you lift your leg up, and swing and drop at the same time.

I know it sounds odd, but it doesn't feel like your reaching as far to clear the saddlebags. That contributes to the comfort feeling. Myself? I've only nicked the bags when mounting from the left. YMMV.

This also may contribute to why some folks can comfortably mount from the right without handling the bike. A little math and geometry might verify the radius, height and DISTANCE your leg must maintain that height to clear the bike and how it varies from right to left.

Just a thought.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17379 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/05/2010 :  1:00 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
And some of us ride bikes that you CANNOT swing a leg over to mount. That is, you MUST step over the saddle instead of swing that leg over the rear.
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 12/05/2010 :  1:27 PM
Having seen several people swing their instep or shin against a tall "sissy bar" and a virtually infinite variety of "failures to successfully mount", it might be appropriate, depending on your circumstances, to devote a bit of thought as to the best way to get on your particular motorcycle and perhaps establish a protocol for your passenger should that also be a factor. I have witnessed passengers, already seated upon a motorcycle, catching a riders foot in the head as a result of the rider stepping on a peg or foot-board and attempting to swing a leg over the passenger. Very funny for some of the spectators, not so much for the passenger.
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LJW
Female Junior Member
74 Posts


Prescott, Ontario
Canada

Yamaha

TTR 125

Posted - 12/05/2010 :  3:59 PM
"heck I can even practice this one in the garage while there is snow on the ground! Might even help my aging hip flexibility."

As an older shorter rider, I can sympathize with this. At the three-hour introductory class I did this summer, in the initial stages before any turns under power were allowed, they insisted we shut down the engine, and dismount the bike for a three-point turn at each end of the range. They referred to "power walking" as "paddling" and forbade us to do it. As a result of repeatedly getting on and off a bike that was too tall for me, I ended up with a right groin strain. Once I got my TTR 125, I was careful to mount it from the left rear, lifting my right leg with my knee bent and semi-sliding on from the back. By not straightening my right leg, I somewhat limited the strain and pain on mounting and dismounting. (The TTR has a banana-like seat which allows getting on this way). I am now doing physio to, I hope, correct the strain and also increase my hip flexibility so that I will be able to get on a CBR250 which has an elevated pillion (seat height 30.7", highest point at back 37").

I tried getting on my TTR by stepping over the seat as James has to, but I couldn't keep my balance and raise my foot high enough at the same time to do this. My bike is quite light and I was afraid I would pull it over if I tried to hold on to it mounting this way.

Oh, to be taller and younger. Jane

Edited by - LJW on 12/05/2010 4:02 PM
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wbrownell9
Male Junior Member
58 Posts


New Castle, DE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 12/05/2010 :  4:50 PM
I mount from the right and dismount to the left. CaptCrash's thoughts on the saddlebags apply to me too when mounting. I don't pull the bike towards me so I feel the risk of pulling it on top of me are way less than one in a thousand; I wait until I have a leg down on each side before I straighten the handlebars and pull the bike up. I find having the handlebars out of the way when mounting is an advantage.

Dismounting to the left works well for two reasons. One is that I put my side stand down first and then lean the bike onto it, then just lift my leg over and keep moving to the left. The other is the same reason I mount from the right - I like to get the high lift over early. Once I get my leg up and over, gravity works for me instead of having to go up up up up until I can finally lower it.

As to whacking a seated pillion, that doesn't happen because I always get on first so I can stablilize the bike in the upright position before she gets on. It's easier for me because I don't have to lift both the bike and pillion off the side stand, plus I'm not convinced it's a good idea to trust the sidestand with that much weight anyway. Not every bike/rider combination will allow this but mine does.
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staticattic
Male Senior Member
410 Posts


Tampa, FL
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750

Posted - 12/06/2010 :  7:38 AM
All good arguments and all can be "scientifically" proven as to the why's and the why not's. But, sometimes I wonder if how we mount a bike has anything to do with how we are wired mentally. As a kid riding horses, I always put my left foot in the stirrup, pulled myself up, and slung my right leg over. No one ever "told" me to do it that way, that was just the way that seemed "right." With my bicycle, I always mounted from the left, again, no one "told" me to do it that way, that was what felt "right." On my skateboard, I ride "goofy footed," which means my right foot is forward. No one ever "told" me to ride that way, that's just what felt "right." I always carry my car keys in my left pocket and coins in my right pocket. If I reverse them, my pockets feel awkward. Yeah I know, all that sounds crazy and you guys are probably thinking this is something that I need to discuss while lying on a couch beside a doctor taking notes.

My Shadow is low enough where I can sling a leg over it from either side and not even touch the bike at all. Even though I have hopped on it from the right once or twice, it felt awkward doing it that way. Sure, there are bags, sissy bars, height restrictions, movement restrictions, environment, etc that play a part in deciding to mount/dismount from one side or the other, but I also wonder how much our mental wiring comes into play as well.
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aa6vh
Male Standard Member
165 Posts


Oxnard, CA
USA

Suzuki

Burgman 650

Posted - 12/06/2010 :  9:04 AM
I remember years ago when I was taking bowling lessons, the concept of people being left foot or right foot was discussed. In other words, when standing at attention, then starting to walk, which foot is naturally brought forward first? In bowling, it would indicate whether you should take five steps (left foot) or four steps (right foot) when launching the bowling ball. I wonder if a persons foot tendency has any effect on how easy it is for them to mount on the right?

I have to mount my bike from the right when it is parked in the garage. The rest of the time I mount from the left. It does seem to be easier from the left.

But then again I do not have to swing my leg over. One more advantage having a scooter with a step through design!
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asheppard
Male Junior Member
83 Posts


Bedford, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

'07 Dyna Super Glide

Posted - 12/06/2010 :  12:38 PM

I am short, 5'6" with 30 inseam.

I feel more comfortable and natural mounting from the left.

Lifting my leg high and mounting from the right seems like I am falling over it and not in control!

Alan
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Redbeard
Male Standard Member
107 Posts


South Ogden, UT
USA

Triumph

Sprint ST 955i

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  11:12 AM
This looks like a fun topic to poll:

http://www.msgroup.org/forums/mtt/t...PIC_ID=12543
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asheppard
Male Junior Member
83 Posts


Bedford, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

'07 Dyna Super Glide

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  11:17 AM
Great,

Alan


quote:
Originally posted by Redbeard

This looks like a fun topic to poll:

http://www.msgroup.org/forums/mtt/t...PIC_ID=12543

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Alan_Hepburn
Male Standard Member
200 Posts


San Jose, Ca
USA

Honda

1994 GL1500SE

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  3:39 PM
I think the results for being right-footed or left-footed will be skewed by whether or not the responder has spent any time in the military - we ALWAYS start out on the left foot when marching!
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louturks
Male Junior Member
75 Posts


Richmond, VA
USA

Yamaha

Virago 250

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  3:54 PM
If you dismount to the right, your right leg has a good chance of getting burned on a hot exhaust pipe if you happen to rub against it. Is that correct?
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6950 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  4:09 PM
quote:
Originally posted by louturks

If you dismount to the right, your right leg has a good chance of getting burned on a hot exhaust pipe if you happen to rub against it. Is that correct?

Only if you ride the type of motorcycle with exhaust pipes on one side. I can't even find where my exhaust pipe is other than the tips at the back by the license plate - so no chance of getting burned on them.
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Daddio
Male Advanced Member
775 Posts
[Mentor]


Calera, AL
USA

Suzuki

Bandit 1250

Posted - 12/14/2010 :  5:13 PM
The military footedness has been brought up.

When I bowl, I start with my left foot with a 5 step approach. I use the entire approach. At my best I had a 185 average.

Are there any bikes that have a single exhaust that is routed on the left? Buried exhaust does not count Scott.

When we are taught to ride a horse, we are taught to put our left foot in the left stirrup and swing our right leg over. When we dismount we are taught to go left. Why is that? It seems that is why our bikes are canted to the left when on their sidestands. We have been mounting our steeds from that direction forever.

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