Making eye contact is important.
Went this afternoon to the nearest DMV location and took the motorcycle written test (actually on a video thing) - I think I aced it. I read the manual that they provide which was developed in Cali and the test was right out of the manual. Piece of cake. Nothing on the permit saying how long it's valid.... no problem as I'm going next week and take the riding test. Have to bring the bike on a trailer... seems silly but I guess they don't want anybody leaving on their bike if they fail the test!
Was BSing with the State Troopers at the center - a First Sergeant and a Master Sergeant. Nice folks.
Thought it was weird that I had to do the vision test - already did that for my regular DL.... whatever.
I'm pretty comfortable on the TW but after reading the manual through, I think I need to work on proper/safe braking - using both brakes as I tend to just downshift and use the front. Bad habits... Other than that, there were some good safety pointers in the manual I think. Like making eye contact is worth diddly, proper lane positions depending on situation and some pointers on riding in a group.
Making eye contact is important.
Only a fool would attempt it, and God help me, I am that fool!
Any training for safety is a good thing.....Making eye contact is very important, If I think the driver didn't notice me I'll flick my high beam then back to my low beam. I know for a fact this saved my life once............... The driver started out then I did my flick and she freaked out and slammed her brakes while I jogged just far enough to miss her......OMM.
True, they won't see you if they never make eye contact or look in your direction.
However, the problem occurs when you assume they see you when they appear to be making eye contact. Even if you can clearly see the driver looking directly at you, it is no assurance that the driver is actually is seeing you. There are many stories of motorcyclists being hit, or almost hit, after they thought they made eye contact with the cager and yet the cager pulled right out in front of them.
I am not trying to preach, but even if you think you made eye contact, proceed as though you didn't. We don't want to lose anyone.
Eye contact is USUALLY important, but it can't be relied upon! It does make me feel better if the stopped cager is looking my direction rather than away from me while talking on a cell phone, but I never take it for granted that they actually register in their brain that a motorcycle is coming at them. I watch their front wheels very carefully and if they begin to move I slam on the brakes and then go wide.
So maximum braking practice is VERY important! The TW will lock up it's rear wheel very easily, but not the front. Braking THEN swerving is an absolutely critical survival skill. With ABS on the Beemer I can brake moderately and swerve at the same time, but not on the TW. Besides, if the cager actually does come all the way out or does a left turn in front of you the swerve may not work out. Better to practice straight line maximum effort stops until you can do them in your sleep.
Learn to hit both brakes quickly but progressively then back off the rear as the weight transfers to the front.....which takes about 0.3 seconds! Forget about downshifting, that's for normal braking, not maximum effort....you won't have time. just pull in the clutch and keep it pulled in. You WILL lock up the rear but with practice you can keep it to only a momentary screech. The front brake can be used MUCH harder than you think, in fact on pavement it's very difficult to skid it in a straight line. Better front tires like the Kenda or Shinko will make a BIG difference.
Y'all be careful out there!
2014 BMW R1200GS LC
I definitely recommend an MSF Safety Course. Took my first one 25 years ago, and again a few months ago - figured it was easier to pass the course than to pass the actual DMV drive test, and the refresher on safety tactics is always great.
2018 CB500XA - Rally Raid: Level 2 Suspension/Wheels, Engine guard / bash plate, Pannier racks, Wide pegs, Rear brake reservoir guard, ABS switch, Radiator screen, kickstand shoe. Barkbuster/Storm. Palmer windshield adjuster w/ accessory bar. Savage steering damper, levers, and rear rack. Givi Trekker Outback 42L Top Case and Wolfman Rocky Mountain Saddlebags. 50W 3" spot/flood pods. Scorpion Serket Taper slip-on.
I repeat !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you make eye contact and you don't think they did hit those high beams,,, Even a blind dumb @$$ can see a light flash............. Saved my butt.. OMM.
Eye contact is great,but you can't read their mind. If the tire's begin to move,you KNOW they are in motion!.
I actually exaggerate and kinda lift my chin a bit and swing my face towards them to get a reaction... if they do, that makes me feel better if nothing else... lol
Also - riding in town where there's the inside tweener turning lane - people like to whip out into that lane in preparation to merge into the inside lane. It's freaky when they do that right in front of you - do they see you? I assume NO. And I'm learning to just stay in the outside lane and deal with the right hand turners...