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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a new rider and I want to know how long did it take you to muster up the nerve to get on the freeway? Let me be completely honest, it makes me want to drop a deuce in my pants even thinking about taking the freeway or even highway. My reason is stupid drivers who show no concern or respect for anyone on two wheels. I was going down a 45mph street today and had to squeeze my brakes and felt like I was about to lose control just from the brakes stopping power. So I can only imagine how terrifying it would be going freeway and highway speeds if I had to suddenly brake fast. What are some of you more experienced riders ways of getting over this feeling?
 

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Maybe riding is not for you.
It is natural to have a healthy respect for the very real risks of riding a powered two wheeler on any road system. However if that knowledge and respect translate to anxiety then you really have to be honest with yourself and ask if you should be doing this.

However, if you do persevere and maybe ride with an experienced rider who can conduct 'observed rides' and give you guidance on how to improve your road sense then this will give you the confidence to progress onto what is a great (but not without risk) means of transport, leisure pursuit and for some a lifestyle (at least at the weekend :lol: )
 

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My wife and daughter are the same, as a passenger, it's the whole "totally exposed" feeling that freaks them a bit, the way I look at the freeway is, at least every body is going in the same direction, no left ( right in the uk) turns across the road in front of you.

The whole stopping in an emergency, is about, scanning ahead, never keep looking just in front. It won't protect you from the unexpected right isherwood you are, but nothing will, so you either decide to worry about all that could go wrong , or just try to manage what you can control , i think that's true in a car too. But you have a false sense of security in a car, imho
 

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I've found that riding on the Interstate to be less stressful than on a typical urban street since all traffic is going in the same direction, there is no cross traffic, and there far fewer places where vehicles are leaving/entering the roadway. But even so, relax and wait until you feel confident in your abilities before attempting the freeway. Ride safe and enjoy!
 

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Gbjbany said:
?......snipped.... i think that's true in a car too. But you have a false sense of security in a car, imho
That is so true, the isolation from the elements, comfort, allied to the legion of safety equipment (seat belts, airbags and the like) does create a detachment from the reality of the consequences of collision. That is why they drive too close, too fast in poor conditions, eat breakfast, drink coffee, apply their makeup, watch DVDs, read newspapers and make telephone calls AND then claim they did not see you!
 

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Welcome aboard. I completely agree, find a mentor an experienced rider and develop some road sense. You didn't say where you are located, but each area has its own character. Here in the Midwest it isn't to bad, not much congestion, the town I live in is heavily patrolled by LEO, the way we like it. :thumbup:

Of course cops cant do a thing about the deer, dogs, nails, and other hazards that might come our way. Each rider has to be as prepared as possible for the unexpected. Make sure you, get good gear and helmet.

I would be uncomfortable to say the least to ride in Chicago, or the toll roads. Maybe you live in such an area.

Consider a rider course for advanced riding, you should know how to do a panic stop in good conditions. Riding requires a calm and defensive attitude, in public. Ride the speed limit if possible, speed kills.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great advice so far ppl. Riding is for me, so quitting is not an option :thumbup: . It just really shook me up when some jerk pulled right in front of me and it was the first time I realized my front brakes stopping power.
 

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When I got my Burgman in '05, I was moving up
from a 50cc Honda Ruckus. At that time, I lived
in a semi-rural area, a ways out of town. I spent
about 6 weeks riding around out in the country,
before even venturing into the edge of town to
the grocery store. After another couple of weeks,
I had enough confidence to ride through town the
20 miles to work. It was really about 3 months
before I had enough 'nerve' to get on the freeway.
Went just from one exit about a half mile to the
next exit....but I did it. From there, I just added
a little more distance each trip, until I got to the
point that I wasn't 'scared' each time.
Careful..yes...scared...no. It just takes time. :thumbup:
 

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Remember how you felt when you first started driving a car, well the scooter is just like that. It will take time to build your confidence in your ability to ride. It takes a bit of time but I am sure you will get there. Get to know what your scooter is capable of and what you feel safe doing. Be safe and enjoy your new ride.

Bill
 

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jskzes said:
I was going down a 45mph street today and had to squeeze my brakes and felt like I was about to lose control just from the brakes stopping power. So I can only imagine how terrifying it would be going freeway and highway speeds if I had to suddenly brake fast. What are some of you more experienced riders ways of getting over this feeling?
First off if you are paying attention to everything up to 200' ahead of you while you are on the freeway you'll seldom need to brake hard. Leave enough space between you and the car ahead just in case the bonehead stomps the brakes suddenly. It happens! I've seen this more than a few times. I've been riding since I was 17 - I'm 65 now and still ride. I may not have seen it all but I've seen most of it - including watching a friend get killed by his own stupidity.

I suggest you find a quiet street where you can run up to 35-40mph and practice emergency braking to get a feel for what hard stops are like. You'll soon get used to it. If your scooter has anti-lock brakes thats all the better since you won't have to deal with lock-ups. Those can be downright scary. Riding the freeway takes different skill sets than riding a main drag or a two way highway. You'll have cars in front beside and behind you. Never ride the middle lane on a 3-4 lane freeway - only the fast or slow lanes. The reason is you have an 'escape' route should things get dicey with a bunch of cagers braking hard.
 

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I like Suzukis because of the flash to pass switch. Get a headlight modulator installed, then mash the button when someone looks like they may turn in front of you. I use anytime someone is in the left turn lane on in a driveway.
 

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Well!
1st of all you should not be scared! being sacred is main cause of accident.
2ndly start from the smaller roads and little by little get to the larger roads and highways.
3rdly: EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE...
Actually driving in the highway is much easier than small roads. always make sure that you stay in the low speed lane and always far away from the big rigs . Make sure you are not staying in so called DEAD ANGLE of drivers mirrors by creating a good distance with the cars in your side. DONT FORGET YOUR ROAD CHARM ....THE BELL UNDER THE BIKE IT IS.... GOOD LUCK and be safe but not scared....
 

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I'm a bit reckless, but my 1st ride on the highway was on the test drive before I bought my 400. I'd been riding a 50cc in the city for a year and felt well ready for higher speeds and open roads. As all have said: Experience. Don't ride afraid, ride alert.
 

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I think the weakness in US......the lousy MSF, parking lot training, low or no testing standards----who ever signed off on your lic.....should have verified you are capable of rinding in most coniditions,....MSF industry sponsored, designed to sell motorcyles/scooters.

So solution for individual----make sure your low speed skills, traffic skills, braking skills are in perfect working order. Ride everyday in all weathers. Ride.

US freeways, speeds are moving up-----lots of bad driving habits out there. After over 1.5 million 2 wheel miles, slow, right lane still best for scooter....and me. Don't be afraid to use throttle to get out of idiots' way.

In addition to miles, I have BSc Safety degree, in another time, ran a motorcycle school in Japan with freeway training included. ...full time for 8 years.
And as DOD Safety Manager spent 40 years dealing with the MC Safety on daily basis-------DOD was so stupid as to use MSF parking lot stuff in Germany-----where most of us rode 120-130mph on daily ride to work. My MSF instructor card is '73 or 74 date.
 

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A few things you need to keep in mind when riding on a freeway. You want to follow traffic far enough back that you can avoid objects in the road the vehicle in front of you may have straddled an object or road defect you couldn't see. The wake of big trucks and vans will have a noticeable impact on the air and you will feel it and it can be unnerving. The air will be disturbed for a good distance behind the vehicle. As has been said, try to always have an escape route in case another vehicle near you does something stupid. Ride paranoid and assume everyone is out to get you.
 

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Two weeks ago I bought my first freeway legal scooter. It was 1.5 hours away, at night, cold. From Irvine (just south of Los Angeles) to San Diego took me 4.75 hours. Frequent stops, Walmart for a shinny safety vest, boots, etc. In&Out for dinner. Had to keep pilling over because my hand were cramping up from White-knuckling the whole way! The deal was too good and Uhaul was closed. All while ridin dirty! Just got my permit this week. Before that it was around town in a Chinese 150cc. Goonies Never Die! But I was sure scared!! Lol been fine since then. No problem going on the freeway now.
 

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Goonie said:
Two weeks ago I bought my first freeway legal scooter. It was 1.5 hours away, at night, cold. From Irvine (just south of Los Angeles) to San Diego took me 4.75 hours. Frequent stops, Walmart for a shinny safety vest, boots, etc. In&Out for dinner. Had to keep pilling over because my hand were cramping up from White-knuckling the whole way! The deal was too good and Uhaul was closed. All while ridin dirty! Just got my permit this week. Before that it was around town in a Chinese 150cc. Goonies Never Die! But I was sure scared!! Lol been fine since then. No problem going on the freeway now.
Boy that story sounds familiar. I didn't have that long of a ride but I didn't have a choice. 1.5 hours home at highway speeds, then heavy city traffic.

But to answer the original poster...you have to proceed at your pace. Ride around the neighborhood. Practice, practice, practice wherever you feel safe. Then when ready just take 1 exit. Then two Personally I try to avoid the highways as well..but sometimes you just got to take them.
 

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Yogurt49 said:
I like Suzukis because of the flash to pass switch. Get a headlight modulator installed, then mash the button when someone looks like they may turn in front of you. I use anytime someone is in the left turn lane on in a driveway.

Ive found hi vis yellow jacket and helmet make a big difference too, at least with the ones that genuinely didn't see you, not so much with the douche bags that only care about them selves on the road.
 

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Sometimes a close call is enough to put someone off from ever riding again. It happened to an associate of mine.
Glad to see you you've got the bug and are persistent.
I realized that after three months of riding that I would have to get used to freeway riding if I ever intended to go great distances. Well, after almost two years of riding I still have not gone any great distance but I am ready for it. I went a few exits on a sparsely populated two lane hwy where speeds exceeded 70 mph. The wind and the speed kinda scared me a bit but I forced myself to ease up on my grip. I tried to relax. That went off ok. Next I hit a 3 lane hwy for about 20 exits. Again I forced myself to lighten up on the grips and relax. Then it started to pour. For some reason I started laughing to myself and thought if I make it out of this one then I've got this licked. Well, then the wind kicked up but I remembered Buffalo's technique of putting the knee out into the wind. That helped a lot. My face shield began to fog up so I opened the visor enough to see where I was going. I was laughing hard now and thinking what else is going to happen. The Burgman grin happened. I realized that the rubber was sticking to the road. That the other cars around me seemed to be stopped and negotiable when going the same speed as they were. I had confidence in the Burgie as it kept me mostly dry and was purring along at 70 mph with power to spare. I was relatively comfortable in full atgatt. It's important to be comfortable so you can concentrate on other things. Near the end of the run the sun peeped through a cloud and that grin came right back. I thought if I could do that relaxed and comfortable then what couldn't I do. I was never anxious again. As stated above, start off with short runs and build your confidence. Don't wait for ideal weather. A cloudy day is perfectly fine. Soon you'll find yourself enjoying the ride in almost any weather. Good luck...but you won't need it. Sorry I wrote so much. :D
 

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Freeways moving steadily are almost the easiest riding there is especially if you get vehicle you can shadow a bit going at your speed in the middle lane.

CIty traffic and local streets are white knuckle.

Freeway traffic with trucks at night in construction and the rain with lanes moving at a variety of speeds......wait a while.
 
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