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More Close Calls with my Valkyrie

1447 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  KUGO
For years people have been asking me how I manage staying safe commuting year round in the SF Bay Area. Since owning a VTX in 2001 I have only had three close calls and knock on wood no accidents.
I purchased my 14 Valk this past November and in the past two months I've had five close calls. Four have been cars changing lanes without looking. I ride with high beams and sometimes use the flashers.

The brakes grab very efficiently but in split second reactions its hard not to go into a skid without anti-skid. A few times I would have continued skidding into the car but I was able let off the brakes and maneuver around a collision. Not sure if it is the tires or higher center of gravity but the Valk wants to skid further than the VTX.

The other explanation I ponder for the higher near miss rate is the increased amount of traffic with the economy flourishing here. My second theory is my exhaust. The VTX produced a louder tone. I have Torque Loops with short pipes which sounds awesome like a muscle car. It gets loud with higher RPMs and can blip to get attention but low cruise RPM may be too quiet to be recognized.

I have a police siren that I could install. That would certainly get some attention:D
Has anyone investigated the option of modifying the brakes system to anti-skid?
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I was fortunate to buy one with ABS. It has saved my bacon a couple of times.

The other explanation I ponder for the higher near miss rate is the increased amount of traffic with the economy flourishing here.
If I told you about ALL my near misses, you'd tell me to sell it. I could go on and on about this subject but suffice it to say that an increase in near misses has nothing to do with this bike. Yep! Loud pipes help some and there are other ways to be more noticeable but the best advice I WILL give you is to think like the idgits driving around you. They don't care about you. Not looking for you. Not listening for you.

There is NO secret to thinking like an idgit just so you don't have to suffer near misses every day. You are RIDING in their world. Their machine will always trump yours. They always win.

Try it! I promise you, you will start seeing that advance knowledge of stupidity and carelessness will give you better chances of not having to skid or dodge a killing machine.
Attention. that is what is lacking and desired. other than something extremely loud enough to only maybe perhaps penetrate a heavily insulated couch cabin with its own 16 speaker sound system and video entertainment system distracting would be pilot operators but are really just passengers behind the wheel,
I have seen a motorcycle set up with brite White AUX lights that ALTERNATEd rather than flashed in unison. Because of the alternating pattern they very quickly got my attention as if they might be Gov Issued. not police blue, not fire red, not ambulance yellow, but White.. enough to give me pause.. FBI? CIA? IRS? maybe ATF or even ICE? I guess it wouldn't matter because at this point they have my attention enough to give right of way and are a half mile down the road by now. Seeing this I just thought how wonderful it was, I need to get me some. poncho
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I have so many ignoring me now I'm resigned to keep my brights on during the daylight hours and I hate doing that but it is working.
I just go into it assuming everyone wants to kill me. Ride as though you're invisible, because you are to most. Doesn't matter how many do-dads you stick on your bike.
Reality Bites.. people do not see with their eyes. they see with their brains (or lack of them). we see only what we are programmed to see. what is normal / expected. So any image of something unfamiliar doesn't get processed as "special - give it some room".. People navigate (motion thru space) much the way kids do in high school when the bell rings and you have 5 minutes to get from where you are to your locker and then to your next class. It is called Threat Avoidance. you move as quickly as you can in the shortest route Avoiding anything equal or larger than you that poses a Threat. anything, object or person that is smaller than you poses little threat, so basically you just run around, over or thru them. Why? because you can.
Ok, so now you understand how people do traffic. Now put yourself in this mix of mayhem. You are about the size of a pedestrian, so you pose NO real threat to anybody in traffic. Except that you have super power and can move at speeds equal or greater than the rest of this malee of metal boxes. As a prey species running the gauntlet among a horde of carnivorous predators, it is our job to be acutely aware of every potential set of teeth just waiting to chew you up and spit you out.. Yeah its something just like that riding in traffic..
or do what I do. don't. ride in traffic. good luck with that. poncho
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That reminded me of the old African parable:
Every morning, a gazelle wakes up to the morning sun. He knows that to survive, he must run faster than the fastest lion.
Every morning, a lion wakes up to the morning sun. He knows that to survive, he must run faster than the slowest gazelle.
So, it makes no difference whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When you wake with the sun tomorrow morning, you'd best be running.
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