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 Motorcycle Safety
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 Neutral or First Gear at Stop Light?
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 09/07/2005 :  9:40 PM   DetailDetail                        Like
Poll Question:
Do you generally leave your bike in first gear or go to neutral when stopped at a stop light?

Results:
1st gear   [91%] 42 votes 
Neutral   [9%] 4 votes 


Poll Status: Closed  »»   Total Votes: 46 counted  »»   Last Vote: 10/05/2005 12:42 PM 

Edited by - kiddal on 10/05/2005 7:54 PM

subvetSSN606
Senior Member
418 Posts
[Mentor]


Ellettsville, IN
USA

Suzuki

800 Intruder

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  4:05 AM
I leave it in first, with an escape in mind, with an exception...

A really long light, I've already got several vehicles stopped behind me, AND I feel like I need to rest my clutch hand.

Tom
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Gs82Seca650
Male Advanced Member
1990 Posts
[Mentor]


Southern, PA
USA

Yamaha

1982 XJ 650 R Seca

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  7:32 AM
Ditto Subvet.
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Thom Thumb
Advanced Member
1595 Posts
[Mentor]


Jordan, MN
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster XL883

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  8:36 AM
So, you're about to become a hood ornament on an Excursion - just out of curiosity, where the heck would you go?

Straight ahead into the intersection? Left? Right?

It's my impression that when a driver is driving HUA, and suddenly realizes a BAD THING is about to happen, he/she slams on the brakes, and tries to swerve. If the HUA driver swerves right, and you dodge right . . . uh oh. . .
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6954 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  9:04 AM
It's interesting that the latest issue of Cycle World has an editorial by David Edwards on the subject of getting rear ended while on a motorcycle. His motorcycle was in gear at the time he was rear ended.

He pointed out that rear end collisions account for 4.5 percent of automobile traffic deaths but only 3.4 percent of motorcycle traffic deaths.

His final conclusion was that lane splitting is the best defense against being rear ended. "The queue of cars becomes in effect my 'crumple zone' and I never have to become the meat in a bumper sandwich."

I've already stated multiple times that I will continue to leave it in neutral at traffic lights, but monitor my mirrors until one or more cars are behind me, in case I need to shift back into gear and move out of the way.
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jollyroger
Advanced Member
2157 Posts
[Mentor]


St. Charles, MO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Springer Classic

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  10:20 AM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson


His final conclusion was that lane splitting is the best defense against being rear ended. "The queue of cars becomes in effect my 'crumple zone' and I never have to become the meat in a bumper sandwich."



But, he doesn't really answer the original question of "When at a stoplight...", his answer reads like it pertains to getting hit while moving...
Personally, I think that with convex mirrors it's so tough to judge speed (and of course impossible to judge awareness), that if he's gonna go up your tailpipe, you'd have a tough time avoiding it anyway...
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  10:40 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Thom Thumb

So, you're about to become a hood ornament on an Excursion - just out of curiosity, where the heck would you go?

Are you suggesting we should just sit there and "take it like a man"?
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Thom Thumb
Advanced Member
1595 Posts
[Mentor]


Jordan, MN
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster XL883

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  11:19 AM
Not at all, especially if you're Empressa, Dawn, or Cash.

I'm just asking, where should I go? Seems like going forward would put me in cross traffic, assuming that there's no stopped vehicle in front of me. Going left might put me in the path of oncoming traffic. And as I said, the HUA driver on my six might just slam on the brakes and start skidding - maybe right, maybe left, maybe straight on.

I THINK my reaction would be to drop the bike and run, but as Jolly says, I'm not sure I'd have time to parse the situation and do the right thing. I guess that puts me behind
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jollyroger
Advanced Member
2157 Posts
[Mentor]


St. Charles, MO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Springer Classic

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  11:49 AM
quote:
Originally posted by kiddal

quote:
Originally posted by Thom Thumb

So, you're about to become a hood ornament on an Excursion - just out of curiosity, where the heck would you go?

Are you suggesting we should just sit there and "take it like a man"?


Well, that's not my quote, but, having never been rear-ended, I'd say that you might not have much choice but to do just that...
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don_hud
Advanced Member
1077 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Yamaha

1997 Virago XV1100

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  12:37 PM
It is taught in the MSF basic course that you should always be in first gear when you are stopped in a moving lane, either at a light or when coming to an emergency or non emergency stop. The reason given was so that if another vehicle is coming up behind you, you can go and get out of the way. The issue that was brought up and what they don’t tell you in the class is, where are you going to go to get out of the way of that vehicle about to rear-end you.

In the Tips and Techniques section, #107 A Motorcycling Crisis, it states;

According to recent research by the Heidleburg University Hospital in Germany, riders who pre-plan their crashes are less likely to be seriously injured in a crash. It's the same in any safety field. If you are prepared for a crisis, you're more likely to survive that crisis than those who aren't.

So, for it to do you any good to be in first gear to avoid a rear-end crash, you better have your escape route planned before you see that HUA driver in your rear view mirror. But where is your escape route, it will depend on where you are when you stop, at a light or not, first in line or not, and where the other cars are around you. Think about all of the situations you could find yourself in where you could be stopped in traffic and where you might have an escape route and do it now so that you don’t have to take time to decide when it happens. You need all the time you can get and you want to make the right choice. Maintain your buffer zone and if you are behind another car, don’t pull up so close that you can’t go around it if you see danger behind you.

In almost every crash, if you look back at what happened, you may have been right in everything you did legally, but most of the time you will realize that there are things you could have done that would have prevented your crash. Not being injured is a lot more important than not being liable.
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marsam
Male Advanced Member
510 Posts
[Mentor]


Birkirkara
Malta

Yamaha

Dragstar & Vmax

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  1:19 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I have always wished to raise the benefit issue of leaving the bike in gear at a stoplight. First of all I do leave it in gear unless the situation is as subvetSSN606 mentioned.... a very long light and a cushion of cars behind me.

O.k but if I'm the first bike and see that the approaching speeding car is likely to be unaware of me and the red light..... I'm in gear, I'm aware of him/her and prepare to move out of harm's way. Or am I

Am I not going to escape a rear end shunt by riding in another junction, motorway, street or whatever that is currently at a green light. Wouldn't it be a situation of "from the frying pan into the fire"

Now that it's been raised can I have some opinions apart from a useless (and umpteenth) debate of whether to be in gear or in neutral.
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  2:23 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Thom Thumb

I'm just asking, where should I go?

You gotta make the call on the fly depending on your setting. There are a lot of possibilities. This is the #1 reason to leave a cushion in front of you at a stop. The bigger the cushion, the more potential options you have. Even if you only move 5 feet, that may be the difference between getting hit or not. Obviously, if someone comes barelling in and doesn't even stop, there's not much you can do, but my guess is most of these are where someone almost gets stopped, but not quite.

quote:
Originally posted by Thom Thumb

...the HUA driver on my six might just slam on the brakes and start skidding - maybe right, maybe left, maybe straight on.

If the brakes are locked, there is no steering control. It will go straight as long as the brakes remain locked.
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Thom Thumb
Advanced Member
1595 Posts
[Mentor]


Jordan, MN
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster XL883

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  3:47 PM
Don Hud, laugh with me on this . . .

Germans may be organized enough to pre-plan their crashes. Unfortunately, I'm mostly French and Belgian. We tend to be a bit more spontaneous - crashing more on a spur-of-the-moment basis.

That said, I do agree that even a little forethought goes a long way toward resolving sticky situations.
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don_hud
Advanced Member
1077 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Yamaha

1997 Virago XV1100

Posted - 09/08/2005 :  4:04 PM
Thom

Those were not my words, I just took that from the Tips and Techniques section of this website. But I thought it unusual to say that anyone would 'pre-plan' a crash, unless they were a crash-test-dummy. Maybe a better way to put it would be to say that you should recognize potential dangers and have some plan to avoid or escape them.

I have always had an issue with the statement that there are two types of bikers, those that have crashed and those that are going to crash. I have had a couple of minor get offs that the worst results was just a few scrapes, but my plan is to never have any crashes in the future.
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spoupard
Junior Member
38 Posts


Macon, GA
USA

Honda

CB700SC Nighthawk S

Posted - 09/09/2005 :  11:48 AM
Just because you have the bike in gear, it does not mean that you have to go anywhere. It just gives you the option to move quickly, if necessary.
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