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Old 12-13-2012, 12:13 PM   #31
pvn.23
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I'm not being a judge nor even trying to state what new riders should or should not do. What I'm stating is that information such as this has passed down from rider to rider as well as taking your MSF safety course and reading information throughout the forums.

If you feel that YOU are confident with your skills within the first month of riding, heck go for it. I'm not stopping you. If it were my friends, I'd ride with them more in the parking lot and around the city before I see that they're comfortable with their bikes before they will actually hit up the freeway.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:59 PM   #32
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I'm not being a judge nor even trying to state what new riders should or should not do.
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However, how far of the freeway commute are we all talking about? If it's 2-3 exits away from your house, go for it (such as from Tully to Yerba Buena Rd). But anything longer, I think new riders definitely are not ready to ride the freeway.

I wouldn't disagree with anyone here trying to state that newer riders should stay off the freeway. They have to understand the limitations of their bike and know how to handle it properly first. But for someone who might be riding twice a week during this time of the year and barely getting used to riding their first bike, the freeway shouldn't be a priority until they've put more miles into their ride.
Looks to me that you've made a judgement call on new riders.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:23 PM   #33
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I am a new rider and have to take the freeway everyday to work. It was a conscious choice I made to save time, money and gas. Plus I am only in Cali part time and a bike is cheaper than a car. I had no other easy options for a ride to work. I was scared crapless of the freeway and it took me about a month before I got on it. I have been riding it now for awhile and it has gotten better but I am still scared for lack of a better word.
Seeing as I commute 90% of the time I have made the smart decision and have planned my route so that it is the safest I can make it. I avoid all bad intersections and merges even though it may take me 10 extra minutes to get where I am going. It is a scary proposition but it can be mitigated with proper planning and execution. There have been a few Ohh shit moments while riding on the freeway but again if you plan ahead they will be minimal. I took the MSF course and it helped to reinforce good riding habits and it has saved my bacon a few times and when I do have Oh shit moments I look back on them and realize that they were my fault and then I go about correcting the behavior that got me there in the first place.
What makes me nervous is all the other riders I see that throw caution to the wind and do things that remind me why I am always super cautious when riding. I still can't believe that I see people splitting lanes at 60mph I have no idea of their skill level but I am not sure how much skill helps when a car changes lanes right in front of you and you know you are going to hit with no chance to brake.
Anyways take this rambling statement for what it worth from a newb rider's perspective.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:04 PM   #34
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... I still can't believe that I see people splitting lanes at 60mph I have no idea of their skill level but I am not sure how much skill helps when a car changes lanes right in front of you and you know you are going to hit with no chance to brake.
Anyways take this rambling statement for what it worth from a newb rider's perspective.
Assume cars never see you and deduce your course of action.
Most cars see other cars far better. Sometimes splitting between cars is safer than riding between their bumpers.
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:21 AM   #35
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Always worth it to check the numbers. We have lots of opinions. The numbers help evaluate the strength of the opinion.

Where do a majority of multi-vehicle accidents happen? That's right, at intersections (or any place where there is a major choice in path of travel). What's the most common multi-vehicle accident? Right again, a car turning left violating the motorcyclist's path of travel and colliding with them.

So, do we have oncoming vehicles turning left in front of us on the highway? No. Do we have intersections? No Do we have places with major choices in path of travel? Yes (merges - on and off ramps).

Realistically, I believe that we are at much higher danger for multi-vehicle collisions riding on surface streets than we are riding on the limited access highways. If we're advocating not riding on the freeways because of the inherent dangers (which are real), then should we not be advocating more strongly to not ride on surface streets because of the greater danger?

Its only numbers. Ultimately we all make choices and accept the consequences of our choices (sometimes accepting the consequences whether we want to or not... like getting hurt or worse). And remember, don't forget to enjoy the ride.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:20 PM   #36
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To my mind the issue is also linked to the most dangerous problem we actually have control over: single vehicle accidents. To my mind a mature and practiced skill set is vital to our success. A rider, especially an new one, is not only at risk of other users on the freeway but they can be a grave danger to themselves. My original pinpoint was actually nicely buttressed by Mr. Slate who immediately started lane splitting inside a month without "problem".

Now I know you're not going to endorse lane splitting in the first month because of your background. Myself? The issue is how well honed the knife is. I would argue that all the problems (braking mistakes, swerve errors, sight line & anticipation errors) which are the cause of single vehicle crashes are amplified on the freeway. Is it a big deal? I think so because a get off on the freeway at speed is bad news. Likewise a new rider who "beats" the freeway and feels they have somehow passed their big test? That's an issue too.

Remember: crashing while swerving or crashing while over braking--even if another vehicle or mammal is in your path--is still a single vehicle accident.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:05 PM   #37
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i spent a good month and a half and first 3000 miles off the freeway commuting when I first started riding, until I switched job and had no other choice. however I got on the freeway the first time I rode a mc (excluding msf) since I had to ride my purchased ninja 250 back from Napa to San Jose, YES, I'm guilty as charge. what fascinated me was by reading the post up top by that dude who thinks people are "telling" him what to do when we say stay off the freeway. my impression was "just wait for it". they are just recommending dude, don't get all emo now. I am a fresh noob myself but in all I think this post should be where experience riders point out the different oh sh** moments or things to look for while riding the freeway instead of telling the new riders "you dont have enough skill yet, just stay off the damn thing for a year, 5000 miles, 300 hrs of parking riding etc" I did fine on that first 120 miles back from Napa, was I at higher risk? yes. was I scared sh*tless? you bet but there are choices in life that each of us has to make for ourselves. you remember what it feels like when you folks don't let you do something cause you're probably too young, well, they are mostly right but did you retaliate against that? you bet.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:06 AM   #38
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Agree - faster speeds can magnify mistakes. When looking at single vehicle accidents, what is the most common? In California, I believe it was somewhere around 60% of motorcycle accidents were single vehicle. By far, the most common single vehicle accident was failing to negotiate a turn. There just aren't many turns on the highways. There are no cross streets, no driveways for people to turn into or out of.

Each situation presents different challenges and problems. Its worthwhile to be aware of how the challenges vary with each situation. Riders should definitely wait until they feel ready for the speed. Riders should be aware that the ride to the supermarket (with lots of intersections, driveways, oncoming traffic, etc.) isn't safer than riding on the highways. Canyon carving on their favorite twisty at 40 mph has its large share of dangers as well. In the end, we can argue that every form of riding has risks to be aware of. And its true - every time you throw a leg over that two wheeled contraption you assume an increased risk. Everyone chooses how much risk they're willing to accept. Motorcycling is a commitment... are you committed or should you be committed?
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:10 AM   #39
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I bought my first motorcycle and rode it 170 miles home, over freeways, streets, and through Big Sur. I loved every second of it.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:04 PM   #40
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I bought my first motorcycle and rode it 170 miles home, over freeways, streets, and through Big Sur. I loved every second of it.
Ernie, either you're an exceptional rider or that was so long ago there weren't nearly as many cars on the road back then. I'm pretty sure it is both.

Us "experienced" guys did a lot of things that probably aren't such a great idea these days.

My first three years of street riding were commuting at night in the rain in England. Freeway riding here is way easier, but the big difference is that people in the UK knew how to drive.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:17 PM   #41
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I still can't believe that I see people splitting lanes at 60mph
agreed, at 60mph, cars still have a chance to react and cut in front of you. Much safer at 90.

take it from what it's worth from an ex-nyc bike messenger: cars kinda give you space if you don't ride like a victim.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:03 PM   #42
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Since you are really talking about Bay Area Freeways

then I'd tend to agree, because bay area drivers are terrible. I live near Sacramento, here I would disagree, not because there are fewer idiots, but they tend to be on the streets not so much the freeways and it's a less densely populated area. However, I first started riding on the freeways of Los Angeles, granted it was in the 70s, but I do visit from time to time and the drivers there are better than in the Bay Area, and since the highest risk to a biker comes from someone turning left in front of them, yes, there I'd also disagree, freeway riding for newbies is okay. Biking is NOT for the tentative, nor for those whose situational awareness envelope is very limited. A mature rider (regardless of age) should be able to handle freeways anywhere in the United States (Asia is another matter). There are always scary situations we find ourselves in as bikers, even with the highest skill level we cannot control those around us regardless of whether or not we're on a freeway or a two lane blacktop out in the boonies. BTW I've lived and driven in Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Monica, Los Angeles (echo park area), New Orleans, New Jersey (Scotch Plains area), Cambridge MA (my motorcycling has been limited to California from Redding to San Diego).
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:41 PM   #43
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agreed, at 60mph, cars still have a chance to react and cut in front of you. Much safer at 90.

take it from what it's worth from an ex-nyc bike messenger: cars kinda give you space if you don't ride like a victim.
While you're at it, might as well do 100mph. Oh and make sure you wear full suit, so that when the ER comes, they don't have to deal with scattered parts, just one big junk.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:00 PM   #44
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agreed, at 60mph, cars still have a chance to react and cut in front of you. Much safer at 90.

take it from what it's worth from an ex-nyc bike messenger: cars kinda give you space if you don't ride like a victim.
You are making the assumption that they looked for, and saw you. If they do not, then it is you that does not have the time to react.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:37 PM   #45
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I had NEVER even TOUCHED a motorcycle before MSF.

Week after passing, I drove 110 miles down to Fresno, and rode 110 miles back on the freeway/trial by fire stop and go traffic and city riding...on a dualsport...aaaand, had the choke on for 20 mins and was in 4th thinking it was 5th for 45

About halfway back I had that figured out and it was much nicer doh!

So. It varies by each rider. Yet I would NOT suggest that for most new riders. It is a lot to handle, but I was of the mind that I would do my thing and suceed and that day I did--perhaps with a VERY few changes I would be a statistic.

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