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Riding to work theis morning, I was thinking about the dangers of motorcycling - a Paramedic from my county in NC was killed the other day when a driver "fell asleep" and went over the yellow line. Then I thought about my trips to Latin America in the last year and the environment that the motorcyclists ride in down there, which made me wonder about what the rest of the motorcycling world worries about when they ride...

A report done in the US several years ago says 75% of cycle accidents involve a car or truck, and in 2/3 of those the motorist is at fault. So, ~half of our accidents are someone else's fault - but the motorcyclist was often deemed to have contributed in some way, most often by not driving defensibly or stopping when it should have been possible.

So, in my corner of the world, the main hazards are (imo):

  • Distracted drivers: cell phones, kids, pets, food, etc.
  • Deer / wildlife: We have a lot of deer in NC, it's common to see them often, especially dusk and dawn.
  • Road Rage: Several incidents in NC and nearby states in the last year where motorists lost their temper and caused an accident
Of course, there's always distracted / aggressive / idiotic riding by motorcyclists as well, but that's another topic....

The roads are mostly good, you can get almost anywhere on pavement.

What about your country? I know we have members from all over the world, interested to learn what is different there...
 

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good paved roads here, no road rage. biggest hazard i see are the drivers themselves. they are not accostumed with scooters/motorbikes since it's not common to have one. during the day you may see 5 to 10 motorbikes in zurich. they have no problem with bicycles but they dont expect anything 2wheeled to be over 25kmph. generally you gotta drive as if you were invisible to them

now, speaking about brazil.... i even got my dad's car's mirror ripped off in bumper-to-bumper traffic because of the passanger of a motorcycle that was passing at higher speeds. of course it was my fault... because i didnt give them enough space between lanes. so yeah, as a biker you might drive into some side mirrors while hearing the honking of skilled bikers behind you indicating that "they are in a rush"
 

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I have buddy that goes to school in Charlotte, he got rid of his bikes because of other drivers. Really sucks but apparently it's bad there.

Around me it's def deer and potholes. I get the occasional dumbass in a car but for the most part those are avoidable if you give yourself room between you and the other vehicles on the road.

Funny story, I was riding to get lunch earlier this week and there was a car pulling up to the road behind some tall bushes, so I instinctivly slow down and give space just in case they can't see me. The chick in the car yells at me and is like "WHAT!??" Like she was offended that I was driving carefully to avoid her.
 

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makaTony: Switzerland? There's a Zurich, KS, USA, but I assume that's not the one you're talking about (too many Harleys in Kansas).

You guys identify your countries so we'll know......
 

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada

It has been a real learning experience here. I grew up riding off road and this is my first street bike. I was actually impressed that there are more drivers paying attention than I thought. However, the thoughtless ones are truly scary. I generally just do what is necessary to get them away from me; pull over, go around the block, whatever. Acceleration doesn't really work as it just encourages some of them to race.

Luckily, the scary drivers are pretty obvious. They don't stop at stop signs or lights, they tailgate and they speed. I always amazes me to watch a Mercedes tailgating an Audi as if riding their $ss will get them somewhere faster. On the highways, you will see one car less than a car length behind another at 130kmph.

I have learned to not be confrontational. I have also learned not to be passive as a driver; if I see trouble I change the circumstances. I don't wait for things to possibly go bad. I don't drive beside anyone and I don't let them drive beside me.

Then there is the texting and cellphones. It is truly amazing the way people do everything but drive with care and attention. I try to be a good driver and work at it each time out. It feels like I am in a video game sometimes...

My basic take on the bad drivers of Calgary is that they tend to treat others on the road as irritating objects that exist in their path and must be passed regardless of the laws. My impression is that they actually make the calculation that, if they hit 'something', they will survive because they are driving a big SUV. The trick is to never be the 'object' in their path. :)
 

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Here in my city its just plain disregard or ignorance towards motorcyclist that I have seen. Just now on my way back from target, I just turned onto a road and was in the right hand lane, when this lady in a blue SUV just starts pulling out of a driveway from some lot, obvious she can see me(well I hope she did) and sees me comming down the road and she still continues to pull out covering almost the whole right lane. I had to swerve into the other lane to avoid T-boning her right there. I couldn't have braked or else the car behind me would have just smashed into me.

drivers just dont see us, or just don't care.
 

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Kangaroos.. so many close shaves.
I can't even comprehend that problem haha. I can't imagine seeing a kangaroo dead on the side of the road like we see deer here but I guess it must be the normal road kill there.
 

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Forgot to mention what appear to be unspoken rules in this city:

1 - If you are going to do something REALLY stupid do not, I repeat, DO NOT, give anyone around you the slightest clue of your intentions. Let it be a surprise...

2 - Never consider a slight change of route to avoid doing something illegal or dangerous.

3 - If you drive a truck or SUV, signalling is optional.

Other than that, it's a great city to ride in... :)
 

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other bikers and taxi drivers

Here in Japan I worry most about other bikers. Inexperienced riders split lanes much too quickly and generally ignore laws. They are very unpredictable. My greatest risk is getting hit or clipped from behind, or having one dive in front of me (realize there's no space) and grab the brakes.
The second largest risk are the old senile and oblivious taxi drivers. If they see a fare standing on the sidewalk they will dive from the farthest lane, across all lanes of traffic with no signal and no warning. Also, if they see a fare on the opposite side of the street, they will weave to the left, then do a taxi-uturn across ALL lanes of the road to the right, in a fish-hook sort of pattern. Either way I could be door-jam if I'm not alert.
Unlike the states, there is not much danger from soccer-moms, cuz there aren't any.
 

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I can't even comprehend that problem haha. I can't imagine seeing a kangaroo dead on the side of the road like we see deer here but I guess it must be the normal road kill there.
They are everywhere here in plague proportions... its a cue to slow down and be alert when you see all the deadies on the road, they destroy cars and do a kamikazi towards you. they travel at 30mph and weigh up to 100kg
 

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I live in West Virginia, USA. We have tons of deer. Yesterday on the way to work a large one (may have been as large as my CBR...) decided to jump out in front of me, Thank god for the awesome brakes.(ABS version). On top of deer we also have a lot of "Good Ol' Country Boys" that like to drive big lifted trucks which in turn cannot see me or other motorcycles on the road... Trust No One! Way too many close calls.
 

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living in the city (columbus, ohio) people driving cars are the most dangerous thing on the road bar none.. there are certain levels of these people, such as texters, soccer moms distracted by sugared up hyper kids driving huge SUVS, i live near a distrubution center where semis are also very plentiful and ive had to take evasive action to avoid one of those the other day.. its just one of those things..motorcycling is a great mode of transport, its a rush, and also inherintly dangerous due to the all the dangers mentioned in this thread, but were all evidence that its well worth the risk!!Ride safe!!
 

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This list may be unusual for the rest of the world, but in India (in no specific order):
1. The road itself (sometimes untarred, potholes, gravel, numerous speed bumps, no traffic lanes)
1. People using mobile phones while riding / driving
2. Other bikers (most give no signals before turning & switching lanes)
3. People using motorcycles just as you would a family car (2 adults + 2 kids on a bike is a common sight)
4. Cows and dogs crossing the roads (not kidding)
5. Jaywalkers

Overall, riding in India is like riding an obstacle course. :)
The only place I can truly enjoy my ride is on the intercity highways, although the roads there are not much better either.
 

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I live in the U.S. in Southern Illinois. I find drivers reasonable and polite in rural areas where there are wide open spaces and no congestion but unruly to the point of offensive closer to and in busier cities. We must face the facts, a lot of people that drive heavy trucks and SUV’s see small sport type bikes as nuisances on the road. I often wonder if it is more the fact that when they pull out in front of you if it is not that they don’t really see you but feel non-threatened and assume the biker will get out of their way.

I am reminded of a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks where I spent a weekend with family on a giant air-conditioned boat with kitchen and bedrooms below. They asked me to drive for a while as we headed to the other side of the lake. My only instructions were “stay in the center channel and hold a steady speed.” After a while I saw other boats heading straight towards me in the distance and yelled down “what should I do?” (I was unaware of the rules of the water, still am.) The only response they gave me was “head straight for them!” Ok …why not?, I’m the biggest boat out here. :D Sure enough as they got closer everyone got the **** out of my way and slowed to avoid the battering of the wake behind.

I wish everyone on the roads would drive respectfully and safely but that just isn’t the world we live in today. Every time you get on a motorcycle you have to assume “they’re all out to get you!” :(
 
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