11 Defensive Riding Tips to keep you safe on the road

There are a lot of idiots driving cages everyday. At all times of the day and night. While they do so, they apply make up, change clothes, eat, drink, text, make phone calls, and all kind of distracting bullshit. I have lost brothers over it. These brothers are no longer riding by my side, they can no longer father their children, be a brother, a son or a respective member of society. All because that text, that phone call, that ice cream or drink couldn’t wait 15 minutes for them to arrive to their destination. These people don’t realize what kind of life changing consequences these distractions can cause. There isn’t much we can do about it. I have started online campaigns, I have stood out in public holding a sign, and I made a decal for my cage to try to help educate these people. But they don’t seem to get it. I have been run off the expressway, off to the shoulder only to rush up to the driver to see what their problem is, to find a lady using both her hands to type in a text message. She probably didn’t even realize she was in my lane. So, there is not much we can do to stop this. But we can help prevent each other from suffering these peoples ignorance. So, today I share Eleven Defensive Riding Tips:

1) Motorcycle Maintenance

Make sure your motorcycle is up to par. Make sure your riding with proper tires, the right tire inflation, lighting and good brakes. There is enough to look out for on the road with fools behind wheels and their road debris, make sure you keep up with the proper motorcycle maintenance. If you don’t know how, keep track of our Tech Tip Section, and if it is something you are not comfortable with doing yourself, then have an experienced person take care of it for you. We are working on a list of dependable motorcycle mechanics in South Texas. So, keep your eyes open for that.

2) Safety Gear

Wear the proper safety gear. Jeans, boots and a full face helmet. And of course your leathers. I have had a leather jacket save the skin off my arms, jeans save the skin off my legs and boots keep my feet from tearing to shreds. We can do everything in our power to prevent going down, but as hard as we try, it is not if we go down its when. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. But sooner or later it will happen. It is just something that comes with the territory. So, do your part to save your ass when it happens. I have brothers that have been through all kinds of bad accidents but are still here to speak about it because they were wearing a full face helmet. Hell I have heard stories about guys picking up a small dog between their front wheel and fender, forcing them to go over their bars, face first tearing their jaw off their face. All because they wanted to look cool when riding and feel the wind in their hair and beard. Don’t be that guy. And definitely don’t be the guy leaving their brothers and family behind simply because you want look cool. We know you can ride with out a lid and probably make it safe, but there are to many hazards on the road to take that risk. Also, make sure you are completely comfortable with what you are wearing. Especially when it comes to cold gear. Those hard unbroken in leather jackets and big thick scarves prevent you from moving with ease which is absolutely necessary when it comes to riding safely.

3) Be Aware of your Surroundings

Always be aware of your surroundings. Look ahead and visualize what can go wrong and an escape path for it. I can’t tell you how many times that intuition has saved my ass. To be able to foresee an accident before it happens. It has become a second nature to me when I ride. I can see these caged fools cutting me off or slamming on their brakes before they do it, simply by watching them and noticing their driving behavior. Also make sure you can see the vehicles up front. If their brake lights flash, more then likely the vehicle in-front of you is going to hit their brakes too. Keep a safety cushion of space around you every chance you get to give you time to stop or find an escape path when you need to. Remember when something happens, it happens quick. You don’t always get a chance to react your way out of an accident, so be prepared by staying aware of the road ahead and around you. Do not assume anything other then every single cage driver is going to run into you or get in your way. Trust no one. Do not assume they will stop at a traffic light or stop sign. Always be sure they start slowing down before you ride on. Don’t hit that throttle as soon as that light turns green with out making sure everyone stops for the red light. I have had close calls where trucks drive right through a light seconds from hitting me, so take a second to double check.

4) DO NOT TAILGATE!!!!

There are many of us that love to tailgate and feel the rush of always being in a hurry and split the traffic like Moses did the red sea. I’ve seen it. I have done it. And I also experienced the consequences, first hand. Maintaining proper following distance. You don’t know when the vehicle in-front of you is going to slam on the breaks. They may need to avoid road debris or hitting the car ahead of them. I have tasted the tailgate off a F-250, and it was not sweet. I was lucky to only suffer lacerations, bleeding like hell, and permanently scarring my face. I and many know, I was very lucky to survive that. So, learn from my mistake instead of having to learn it for yourself. You may not be as lucky as I was.

5) Focus on the Road

This one goes with out saying, keep distractions to a minimum. If we expect these cage drivers to be careful then I sure as hell expect you to do the same. If you are hauling something on your bike, keep bungees in your tool bag to secure whatever you need to carry on your bike. Don’t wreck because whatever you are carrying in your hands or between your legs is falling off. And definitely don’t cause a wreck because you drop what eve the hell you are carrying and hit the brother behind you. STAY OFF YOUR PHONE!!! I promise it can wait. I have seen guys texting on FLIP PHONES while riding. It only takes a second for your eyes to be wondering around on your phone to miss the cage in-front of you hitting the breaks or the piece of tire debris rushing into your bike. You need to stay focused on the road. Even those tiny pieces of tire on the road we see all the time can cause a hell of damage. I learned that the hard way. I was forced to go over a small piece of rubber which sling shot its way to knock my oil pan loose and the spring off my kickstand. It didn’t stop there by the way the spring hit the brother behind me, hurting his ankle for a week. All because I didn’t pay close enough attention to miss it.

6) Hand Signals

It is imperative that you let everyone know what your fixing to do. Especially when you are riding in a pack. Whether it’s to turn, switch lanes, stop, go over a bump or avoiding road debris. It is important that you know how to communicate with the rest of the pack so you can safely ride in sync. You need to be able to tell your pack what is coming up ahead from informing them to ride in single formation to stopping for a stop sign. Remember, just because you can see what is coming up ahead of you when you are riding in-front of the pack does not mean everyone else can. You are not made of glass, they cannot see through you. So be sure to always signal ahead. Your packs lives depend on it.

7) Loud Pipes Save Lives

I am sure you have heard it many of times. As obnoxious and annoying as people think we are with your loud thundering exhaust pipes, they save lives. It is important the people driving around us hear and see us. It is easy to become invisible on the road. Those loud pipes snaps people out of their day dream and force them to notice you and give you your riding space. So, make sure you upgrade that stock exhaust pipes.

8) Blind Spots

When you are riding behind another vehicle, be sure to you stay away from their blind spots. Again, it’s easy to be invisible on the road when your on such a small vehicle. So, make sure you are some where their mirrors can catch you. I trick I like to use is, if you can see their faces on their mirror, they can see you.

9) Blocked In

Again, keep a safety bubble or cushion around you. Avoid getting blocked in, in fast heavy traffic. Stay on the lane that will allow you the best escape paths incase you need it.

10) Know Where You Are Going

Know where you are going. Plan the trip and look at a map ahead of time. You know what I am talking about. I am sure there have been times your riding some where and are about to miss your exit because you weren’t paying attention or you don’t know the area, so you rush across the freeway and barely make it safely. Don’t try your luck with these situations. If you get close to missing your exit, simply go to the next one and make the turn around. Especially if you are leading a pack. Or even better yet, avoid the whole risk of death by simply planning the trip ahead of time and know where you are going. If you are new to the area study the exit signs before your exit so you can make your way to the proper lane safely. Again, especially if your are leading a pack, don’t forget not everyone has the same exit space you have. Keep the entire pack in mind, especially the inexperienced riders in your pack. Their lives are in your hands.

11) LED Accent Lighting

Something else I dispute with brothers is led accent lighting. Some guys especially your old school bikers, argue that LED accent lighting is flashy and pointless. Something meant for new and unexperienced bikers. I disagree, I say whatever will allow you and your motorcycle to be seen by drivers around you the better. Non-flashing amber or white light is Street legal in the state of Texas as of September 1st, 2015. Now a days you can set up LED Lighting Systems on your motorcycle you can control with a phone app or a remote control. You can control what color it radiates and how it is emitted. So you can have whatever color you want and set it to amber or white before you hit the road. I had a red strobing effect on one of my custom bikes, and used it many times when I was on the side of the road to make sure I was seen and not hit or while the bike was parked so a blind fool doesn’t miss it as he rushes into the same spot I’m parked in. These lighting effects aren’t just for motorcycle show bikes and events. So, use them wisely. They can save your life.

NOTE: Here is proof of the law incase a police officer stops you and gives you any hassles.
§ 547.306. Led Ground Effect Lighting Equipment on Motorcycle.
(a) In this section, “LED ground effect lighting equipment” means light emitting diode (LED) technology that is attached to the underbody of a motorcycle for the purpose of illuminating:
(1) the body of the motorcycle; or
(2) the ground below the motorcycle.
(b) A person may operate a motorcycle equipped with LED ground effect lighting that emits a non-flashing amber or white light.
(Enacted by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., (S.B. 1918), § 1, effective September 1, 2015.)





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