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Motorcycle Training Academy
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Don’t just plop yourself onto your bike; always be mindful of how and where you’re sitting. Plant yourself toward the front of the seat, relax your arms, hold your knees against the gas tank, and make sure you have a good grip on the handlebars.
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Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. Using both brakes for even "normal" stops will permit you to develop the proper habit or skill of using both brakes properly in an emergency. Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock, resulting in control problems.
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Motorcycle tires by design are efficient at displacing water, but are not exempt from hydroplaning. Remember water will pool in the normal vehicle’s tracks on the road and most roadways are crowned causing water to be deeper on the right side of the road.
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If you know the technique, using both brakes in a turn is possible, although it should be done very carefully. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering. Less traction is available for stopping. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. Also, using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever, never grab.
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"Following too closely" is a major factor in crashes involving motorcyclists. In traffic, motorcycles need as much distance to stop as cars. Normally, a minimum of two seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead.
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Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you. When someone is following too closely, change lanes and let them pass. If you cannot do this, slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. This will also encourage them to pass. If they do not pass, you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop ahead.
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Do not ride next to cars or trucks in other lanes if you do not have to. You might be in the blind spot of a car in the next lane, which could switch into your lane without warning. Cars in the next lane also block your escape if you come upon danger in your own lane. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides.
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When passing parked cars, stay toward the left of your lane. You can avoid problems caused by doors opening, drivers getting out of cars, or people stepping from between cars. If oncoming traffic is present, it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion.
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The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to keep the headlight on - at all times (motorcycles sold in the U.S. since 1978 have the headlights on automatically when running.) Studies show that, during the day, a motorcycle with its light on is twice as likely to be noticed. Use of the high beam during the day increases the likelihood that oncoming drivers will see you. Use the low beam at night and in cloudy weather.
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The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections. An intersection can be in the middle of an urban area or at a driveway on a residential street — anywhere traffic may cross your path of travel. Over one half of motorcycle/car crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider's right-of-way. Cars that turn left in front of you, including cars turning left from the lane to your right, and cars on side streets that pull into your lane, are the biggest dangers. Your use of SEE at intersections is critical.
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