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For those who don't want to click, here is the meat of the story. Couldn't agree more with Keith Code on riding on the street.

Code basically suggested that driving defensively was sound advice for anyone in a vehicle with crumple zones and air bags, but motorcyclists should consider the merits of riding offensively. Riding offensively was a mindset that incorporates all the precautionary steps defensive riding entails but goes a step further to proactively shape the operating environment. In short; observe, evaluate, and act decisively to dictate the traffic situation around you. Your tools are your judgment, your throttle, and your lane placement to maximize your opportunities for success.

Suddenly the studio was awake, the switchboard lit up, and the examples of riding offensively tumbled forth around the table. I was watching Code’s version of Dicta Boelcke be constructed in real time.

Seek any advantageous position on the asphalt. On multilane highways, use the left lane, moving slightly faster than traffic flow limits the avenues of approach of trouble to your right, and to your rear, your odds just improved. Merge, move out, and get in that left lane. Get away from the herd, find the dead zones in traffic, car zombies tend to bunch up all staring at each other’s bumper – you shouldn’t. You want clear sightlines, so leave the herd and find the holes in traffic. You want to see – find a vantage point – and be seen. Endeavor to always dictate the situation; do not have it dictated to you. Play to your strengths; small size, maneuverability, acceleration, be aware of and minimize your weaknesses, consider weather conditions.

Don’t be deceived by other drivers. Prioritize your biggest threats: the oncoming car turning left across traffic; the driver in the right lane texting; the driver broadcasting a lane change for the last quarter mile by glancing continuously in his rear view mirror; the car approaching an intersection that should stop. Position yourself to minimize or eliminate the risk. Don’t be deceived by the road. Late-apex blind corners for better sight lines and the additional potential braking area that provides – when in doubt, square off corners. Also, don’t be deceived by yourself: bikes are far more capable than many of their riders, so get off the brakes, look through the corner, turn the bike in, and roll the throttle on. Never give up the asphalt; grass is for lawn parties and voter referendums.

Always have an out. In the left lane you have the shoulder or “breakdown” lane, so in a dire situation with a fast-approaching car from the rear, use cars as cover; lane split. Shield yourself from approaching vehicles on side streets by flanking moving vehicles traveling in your same direction.

Situational awareness. Know what is going on around you, glance at the mirrors, scan far down the road, and have a plan ready for any variable you haven’t eliminated or left behind. And practice, practice, practice, muscle memory develops with seat time. Become proficient on your bike, make it dance.

Both Boelcke and Code invest their students with agency, requiring them to think, and to act decisively, to change the environments they operate in to their advantage.

Code was preaching the doctrine of another flying circus, one we all are loosely affiliated with, Dicta Code, the doctrine of two wheels. Boelcke taught a doctrine that promoted situational awareness, taking advantages of your machine’s strong points, and positioning yourself such that you would come out on the winning side. So too was Code, and until I gave it any thought, it hadn’t occurred to me that much like Boelcke, I had been learning these tricks all along through experience. Boelcke gave voice to his experience with his Dicta Boelcke and imparted those lessons to his squadron mates, and Code gave voice to mine: Be the hunter, not the hunted.

Ride hard, look where you want to go, and have a safe and rewarding new year.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G928A using Tapatalk
 

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I Would swap the word Offensively for Assertively.
But yes, moving forward through traffic means the decisions are more in your hands, keeping proactively alert for changes in the flow of traffic, and always looking for escape routes with everything keeps your options open and in your hands.
Slow in fast out going deeper into corners clipping late means if it tightens up you have options, as well as you being able to see further through the corner.
All of this is what keeps you alive out there.
 

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An R1 kinda day!
2015 Yamaha YZF R1 Raven Edition
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Naturally to a select few. The rest of us mortals have to learn. And even then, some people won't.
 
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I miss my R1
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IMO most of what Mr. Code mentioned in that article isn't offensive riding, it's textbook defensive riding, but what do I know, I haven't written any books or articles about it ;)
 

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Horsepower whisperer
2022 Yamaha YZF-R1 60th WGP Anniversary Edition
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I ride on the streets with the mentality of the cages are trying to find a way to ruin my day.
 

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Save a life, grope your wife!
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Excellent post! Agreed. So one question, do you think situational awareness is just something that comes naturally or can it be trained?
I would say both. Some have it naturally, some learn it. But in both situations, it develops and hones over years of experience and practice. 32 years of street riding has sharpened my situational awareness, a lot. It is far more now than what it was then. Never stop learning and improving is a good mantra for any rider to live by.
 

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Horsepower whisperer
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I would say both. Some have it naturally, some learn it. But in both situations, it develops and hones over years of experience and practice. 32 years of street riding has sharpened my situational awareness, a lot. It is far more now than what it was then. Never stop learning and improving is a good mantra for any rider to live by.
Yup. Agreed. After nearly 40 years and 300,000 miles on bikes I've learned a thing or 2 about situational awareness.
 

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it's not a car; it's a bike with only two wheels. braking on turns you can lose the front wheel. eyes on road surface constantly looking for slippery materials. no trail braking until...

I see bikers tail gating; but when you do that you can't see ahead a slippery condition. on the highway if you tail gate you won't see an animal carcass in time to avoid it; you won't see a debris field (re treaded tractor tires) when tail gating (deep potholes)

speeding on country roads risk a head on collision; farm tractors leave thick mud, grass clippings on the road. too many obstacles to hit including deer. some posts, signs can slice you in half if you lose the front wheel.

best road is two way four lanes; they have the fewest obstacles to hit. the interstate has a concrete median/wall to keep you out of the on coming lane

don't terrorize other drivers; keep as much distance from them as possible; use turn signal when changing lanes; that warns drivers (especially if you too close) and then they not so terrorized from your speed.

I prefer expensive street legal track tire for its grip; I gladly buy and change tire more often for safety
 
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Naturally to a select few. The rest of us mortals have to learn. And even then, some people won't.
Some people won't because they can't seem to get the hang of it or won't because they refuse to put attention on learning new things?

I would say both. Some have it naturally, some learn it. But in both situations, it develops and hones over years of experience and practice. 32 years of street riding has sharpened my situational awareness, a lot. It is far more now than what it was then. Never stop learning and improving is a good mantra for any rider to live by.
How do you think people learn situational awareness? Is it simply experience, so the more ride time/experience you have, the better you will be at managing overall situational awareness? Or is it something you have to put attention and focus on improving?
 

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Save a life, grope your wife!
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How do you think people learn situational awareness? Is it simply experience, so the more ride time/experience you have, the better you will be at managing overall situational awareness? Or is it something you have to put attention and focus on improving?
I believe experience is the biggest part of it. But you don't get that without focus, attention and a determination to improve. They go hand in hand. On my rides, even my daily rides to work, after I get to my destination I will get off the bike and take a minute to reflect back on my ride. I will think about events that happened and how I reacted. Did I react properly? Could I have reacted better? What would I do different if confronted with that situation again? I believe it has all culminated to help me be a better, more focused rider.
 

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I believe experience is the biggest part of it. But you don't get that without focus, attention and a determination to improve. They go hand in hand. On my rides, even my daily rides to work, after I get to my destination I will get off the bike and take a minute to reflect back on my ride. I will think about events that happened and how I reacted. Did I react properly? Could I have reacted better? What would I do different if confronted with that situation again? I believe it has all culminated to help me be a better, more focused rider.
Excellent explanation. I think you nailed it by saying that there has to be some attention, focus and determination to improve. You can have plenty of riding experience but if you don't learn the proper skills then you are just running around making the same mistakes over and over again.

I love the questions you are asking yourself in terms of, did you react properly, could you have reacted better. Those are excellent things to ask yourself. Now, do you have a plan of action for how you can improve IF you realize that you didn't react properly to a riding scenario or situation? How do you take the steps towards improving your riding if you realize you made a fundamental mistake during your ride, like running wide and crossing the centre line, target fixation, over or under braking etc?
 

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Save a life, grope your wife!
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Excellent explanation. I think you nailed it by saying that there has to be some attention, focus and determination to improve. You can have plenty of riding experience but if you don't learn the proper skills then you are just running around making the same mistakes over and over again.

I love the questions you are asking yourself in terms of, did you react properly, could you have reacted better. Those are excellent things to ask yourself. Now, do you have a plan of action for how you can improve IF you realize that you didn't react properly to a riding scenario or situation? How do you take the steps towards improving your riding if you realize you made a fundamental mistake during your ride, like running wide and crossing the centre line, target fixation, over or under braking etc?
Thank you for the comments. And more great questions.

A wise man once told me "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Or maybe I saw it on a poster, but regardless, it still applies. Making mistakes while riding is almost a given, it's going to happen whether you're a rookie one season rider or a rider seasoned in world travel. The real growth happens when you consciously make an effort to change your habits to improve those situations in which mistakes were made thereby reducing the number and even the severity of mistakes. The situation can be anything from navigating that tricky downhill decreasing radius turn that you ran wide on to choosing how to deal with the driver that just cut you off. You have to make conscious effort to change your actions if the original outcome was undesirable. Some times I will talk with my riding buddies and we will discuss things that have happened to us. What happened, what was the outcome, what outcome did you want, what mistakes were made, what corrections could be made? Bench racing, if you will. Some times I will research by reading or by watching training videos. Some times, if I have the time and finances, I will partake in a rider improvement course or a track day session. I take all that information and I decide what it is I will do the next time that situation presents itself. If the outcome is desirable, then I have improved upon my skill set. If it is still not what I had hoped for, then I reformulate a new strategy. But even if the outcome is desirable, I will find myself asking myself "Can I do it better?" And so the cycle repeats. Good riders, smart riders, (should) never stop doing this.

I've typed, deleted and retyped several answers to the questions you presented. I think, and hope, this one answers them the best.
 

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Klaus Von Slowpoke
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You can have plenty of riding experience but if you don't learn the proper skills then you are just running around making the same mistakes over and over again.
This. It cracks me up when "experienced" riders say, "I've been riding for 20/30/40 years." Then you watch them ride and think, when do you think you'll try to improve?
 

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Thank you for the comments. And more great questions.

Some times I will research by reading or by watching training videos. Some times, if I have the time and finances, I will partake in a rider improvement course or a track day session. I take all that information and I decide what it is I will do the next time that situation presents itself. If the outcome is desirable, then I have improved upon my skill set. If it is still not what I had hoped for, then I reformulate a new strategy. But even if the outcome is desirable, I will find myself asking myself "Can I do it better?" And so the cycle repeats. Good riders, smart riders, (should) never stop doing this.
This ^^^^
I love your response and the questions you ask yourself when riding. You'd be surprised at how many times I see people make mistakes or even crash and when I ask them why they crashed they shrug and say "it happens." There is no interest in trying to figure out what went wrong or how to improve it, and it boggles my mind. If you don't ask yourself what went wrong and try and figure out how to get better, then you will simply keep repeating the same mistakes.

I was at a track day and this guy crashed TWICE! It was his first ever track day and he binned it not once, but TWICE and the second time was right in front of me (after I let him by because I could see that he was riding sketchy and out of control). I wasn't coaching that day, just working on my own stuff, but because I saw exactly what he did wrong (adding lean angle and throttle) I asked the guy running the track day if he wanted me to speak to the rider before he went out on track again. The guy was just so opposed to learning from his mistakes, he was like, what's the fuss about, people crash at track days all the time, who cares? Clearly, without some instruction and focus on improving his riding, he was setting himself up for crashing again and again.....

Unless you sort out what you are doing wrong and HOW you can fix it, the same stuff will crop up over and over again....

Anyone have any crashes they are unsure about, or any riding issue that you can't seem to solve? Let me know if you have questions about anything as I love chatting about riding tech (especially when there is snow on the ground and I can't ride myself!)

:)
 
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