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Golden Rules I

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These rules are translated from article by my good friend and mentor Burak Ercan, you may find the original article here:

  • Assume that you are invisible and act accordingly: Even if you come eye to eye with an automobile driver do not ride assuming he/she sees you.
  • You should scan your environment constantly: Traffic is in constant movement, thus constantly scan for potential dangers. Do not lock on a single object for long periods of time.
  • Instant braking does not mean panic braking: Have a close understanding of your front breaks. Find yourself a secure and wide area and slowly start breaking until the point of locking. Try to realize the maximum breaking level of your front breaks before locking. Try this numerous of times. A motorcycle with ABS allows you to do harder breaking.
  • Hope for the best, prepare for the worst: A car at an intersection may suddenly make an unexpected turn that may cut your lane or line.
  • Your side mirrors only show a portion of what is going on: Never change lanes without looking over your shoulder. Be patient. Before passing, exiting a curve, on and off a ramp, think twice. Things you do not see on your mirror may be a potential danger. A second look may save your life.
  • Leave your ego at home: In order to enjoy motorcycling for a long time, you need to slow yourself and know your limits.
  • Be careful using emergency lanes: These lanes usually have broken glass, pieces of metals that will alter your riding and put you in danger. Any other vehicles may need to use the emergency lane and suddenly pull to the emergency lane. A vehicle parked on this lane may also open a door. If you have to ride in emergency lane, keep your speed slow with maximum attention.
  • Beware of vehicles doing a turn: It is foolish to think all vehicles will see nor give you priority at an intersection. Do not forget, everybody is trying to avoid that red light.
  • Be extra careful chasing amber (yellow light): When a green light expires and turns to amber, a lot of drivers keep on driving as long as it is not red.
  • Keep your distance: No matter how fast you are, leave at least 2 seconds of a distance between the vehicle in front of you. At the same time try to scan 12 seconds of a distance in front of you at all times.
  • Constant control: A number of basic controls before riding you bike with give you up-to-date information of the status of your bike. This way you may lower any related risks when you are riding. Some of these are: Check for wear state of tires and their pressure. Confirm that riding, indicator and brake lights are working. Check your engine oil, breaking hydraulic and coolant liquid levels. Check for chain lube and its tension. Check for breaks as soon as you start riding. Check for springs of side and central stands and your level of your battery.
  • Beware of modified vehicles and their drivers: They tend to drive aggressively and fast. Do not think they will just disappear when you pass one on red light pull off or on road. Always check your mirrors before you resume your lane.
  • Check your curve entry speed: The main reason for crashes on curvy roads and tracks is your entry speed. Enter your curves at a controlled speed and accelerate only when leaving the curve.
  • Learn to use both brakes simultaneously: Your front breaks may do the job to stop or slow down quickly, but entering a curve with an unstable bike, use of rear brake may be your best practice. Exercise braking front and rear simultaneously and independently.
  • Keep your fingers at your front brake levers: This way, you will reduce the reaction time in case of urgent need for braking.
  • Be cool: Do not chase or cut in front of a wrong doing vehicle. Such actions tend to start wrong and may end in wrong. Try to think of the wrongdoer an elder member of your family and keep on riding.
  • Look at where you want to go: Your motorcycle goes where you focus your sight. Unwanted objects pulls you right at them if your focus is stuck on them. Focus on the correct references.
  • Think before you act: Think twice before going fast and passing in a parking area where vehicle speeds are 10 km/h.  A vehicle may pull in to left parking spot when you are passing. Adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Look forward: You are very limited when you focus right in front of you. Try to scan the road further and try to identify problems before they are too close for you to react.
  • Be ready before you start your engine: Most of the motorcycle accidents occur in the first 15 minutes and at speeds below 50 km/h at locations such as intersections and parking areas. Thus, be ready both mentally and physically before you start up your motorcycle.

Continued here.

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