Stay Visible & Be Aware in Stop & Go Traffic

On a motorcycle or scooter, you’re smaller and less visible. However, you’re quicker and more maneuverable (and probably don’t have a cell phone in one hand and a latte in the other), so you have the ability to respond quickly in a dangerous situation. Take a look at the scene below:

Generated via
You’ve probably been in this situation before: a stop-and-go backlog at an exit ramp (like the Brooklyn Bridge exit off the FDR Drive) where you wait patiently in line. The driver in the green sedan is a line-cutter, or an out-of-towner, or an inconsiderate jerk, and he’s going to jump in line right before the exit ramp. Especially if a large vehicle is nuzzled right up to your rear, you might be completely invisible until the last second.
Think about your lane position when you’re in this situation. If you stay to the left of your lane, you’ll be more visible in the line of traffic. If you stay to the right, you’re less visible,
but further from impact, and possibly closer to an emergency exit if your right-of-way is violated. Always have an exit route planned to ditch out into another (clear) lane, shoulder, or ramp. Be aware of those behind you (even in other lanes) while you’re “just” waiting.
If you follow the vehicle ahead of you too closely, you might get pinned in. If the driver behind you is tailgating, try to get him to back off by using a hand signal:


Even if traffic is moving well, it’s always a good idea to do a head-check over your left shoulder for those who might try to jump in front of you at an exit ramp.

As a two-wheeler you’re entitled to the full use of your lane. It’s to your advantage to think about lane position as a strategy to staying safe.

Have other urban riding tips? Let us know.

Have You Been Hibernating?

Temperature in the Northeast is hovering around freezing. Is it a perfect time to go riding?
Most riders pack it up as soon as the weather starts getting cold. It’s understandable – for many, motorcycling is primarily a social activity, and who wants to hang out outside with friends in the freezing cold?
On the other hand, some riders keep going all year. If you’ve never done this, consider the following:
1. The roads are all yours. Few other riders out, means that your favorite roads will be empty of traffic.
2. Fewer Entanglements. Few other riders also means you will not be subject to the summer tradition of harassing roadside checkpoints conducted by the police.
3. Keep your skills sharpened! Riding through the winter means that when spring comes, you are at the top of your game. In fact, because your skills are so sharp, you will even more keenly be aware how dulled every other rider has become, once spring does bloom.
If you are riding this winter:
1. Today’s rain can become tomorrow’s black ice. If temperatures overnight dip below 32F, any water on the ground will be ice in the morning. This includes splashed-out puddles, drips from overpasses, and road defects. Expect iceĀ  anywhere and everywhere.
2. Cold tires can be slippery. Not only MotoGP racers are subject to lower traction from cold tires. In cold temperatures, you should be a bit easier on the gas and brakes for the first 20-30 minutes of your ride.
3. Clean that salt off! If your bike gets covered in salt from the road, try to wash it off before too much time has passed. Apply chain lube more frequently in winter to keep grit away.
4. Heated gear is a marvel. Buy yourself a heated jacket liner and heated gloves. There is no reason you can’t be warm as toast, even in February. You’ll wonder why you didn’t sooner.

The local government of Devon, UK produced a hilarious Attenborough-style documentary on the deleterious effects of hibernation on motorcyclists. Check it out:

Secret Life of Bikers
Secret Life of Bikers