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Old 08-10-2014, 05:38 PM   #1
theshnizzle OP
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The lost art of shoulder checking.

All summer long, while riding, I have taken particular notice of the vast , and I mean, vast, majority of riders who do not shoulder check. ...at all. Whether it be lane changing or merging onto a roadway or any other instance where shoulder checking is appropriate, it is not being practiced.

I know we all learned this at our motorcycle class, I also know that many of the things we were taught went out the window once we started riding on a regular basis and got more comfortable with our skills.

I ALWAYS shoulder check, doing pretty much any maneuver on the bike, on the roadway, where shoulder checking can make the difference between rubber side up or rubber side down, hell, I shoulder check before I take a crap in the morning.

I am not trying to declare that my skills or habits are superior to others, very far from it, but I like to know where I am putting myself and my bike at all times, what's around, who's there, what's going on and how is it going to affect me, right now. I need to have all the info I can get in that split second before I have to commit.

So, anyway, from my obviously highly scientific research done over the course of this season's riding, why are riders not turning their heads and tossing a quick look over their shoulders?

It only takes a second.......

Let me add, this apply to all riders I see, not just cruiser guys, or sport bike guys, no specific demographic, it's everybody......except........and let me give a shout out here to a cager from the other day....

sir.....you saw me merge, I saw you.....you moved over to the far lane, gave me lots of room to merge onto the highway. Then I saw you do this.....before moving back over to your original lane, you physically turned your upper body around and I knew you were looking to see exactly where I was before you moved over.

thank you. A million times thank you. Such unexpected behavior , I don't think I recall ever seeing that before, but I live in the city of rude, selfish and just plain bad drivers, so I guess that's why this has stuck with me and I feel I need to comment on it.

And isn't THAT a sad state, when a simple act such as that, can be so profound to me as a rider.
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:44 PM   #2
MotorradMike
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Probably a rider.
But maybe we're winning, just with a few, "Watch for motorcycles".
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:46 PM   #3
EricD10563
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I think half the people riding today really just can't do it, they will fly off the road if they turn their head over their shoulder; forget about actually being able to turn their head and look directly behind not sure what the heck would happen then.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:39 PM   #4
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I'd be the one merging with my left hand down so that I can see further over my shoulder.

I always check.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:42 PM   #5
Revvr
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+1 for checking. Always do.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:45 PM   #6
cessnadog
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When I was much, much younger and still bulletproof, and a helmet was very much optional because of that...I used to say the most important skill a guy needed on the bike was the ability to shoulder check without losing your sunglasses.

Important habit in my opinion.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:58 PM   #7
BC61
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Is it necessary? Sometimes maybe, but most of the time no. On most bikes and vehicles, properly set mirrors eliminate adjacent lane blind spots and don't necessitate a "shoulder check" to see the lane to either side. While looking over your shoulder may seem like the right thing to do it also takes your vision away from what is coming at you. Pace also comes into play, if the rider is moving forward through traffic it is less necessary than if traffic is flowing past the rider. If looking to cross multiple lanes quickly then a check is prudent as the mirrors only reveal one lane at a time.

To each is own, do what makes you feel safe.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:11 PM   #8
aftCG
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BC61,
All due respect and not trying to start an argument but no way do "properly adjusted mirrors" substitute for a head check. No way.

In fact I'm teaching my youngest kid to drive a cage and he was getting lax about head checks. He thought mirrors told the story. I got out of the car and stood next to it. Asked if he could see me. Couldn't. I could have been anything from a guy to a 4x4 truck.

Yes, if you're going faster than traffic you should be able to slide on in, assuming everyone else moves predictably. I've been riding 30 years. I've had four occasions where I was sure I was safe to change lanes and it wasn't.

If you're sure then don't look. Me, I'll keep looking. It seriously creeps me out to see guys weaving in and out of traffic with out even looking.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theshnizzle View Post
All summer long, while riding, I have taken particular notice of the vast , and I mean, vast, majority of riders who do not shoulder check. ...at all. Whether it be lane changing or merging onto a roadway or any other instance where shoulder checking is appropriate, it is not being practiced.

I know we all learned this at our motorcycle class, I also know that many of the things we were taught went out the window once we started riding on a regular basis and got more comfortable with our skills.

I ALWAYS shoulder check, doing pretty much any maneuver on the bike, on the roadway, where shoulder checking can make the difference between rubber side up or rubber side down, hell, I shoulder check before I take a crap in the morning.

I am not trying to declare that my skills or habits are superior to others, very far from it, but I like to know where I am putting myself and my bike at all times, what's around, who's there, what's going on and how is it going to affect me, right now. I need to have all the info I can get in that split second before I have to commit.

So, anyway, from my obviously highly scientific research done over the course of this season's riding, why are riders not turning their heads and tossing a quick look over their shoulders?

It only takes a second.......

Let me add, this apply to all riders I see, not just cruiser guys, or sport bike guys, no specific demographic, it's everybody......except........and let me give a shout out here to a cager from the other day....

sir.....you saw me merge, I saw you.....you moved over to the far lane, gave me lots of room to merge onto the highway. Then I saw you do this.....before moving back over to your original lane, you physically turned your upper body around and I knew you were looking to see exactly where I was before you moved over.

thank you. A million times thank you. Such unexpected behavior , I don't think I recall ever seeing that before, but I live in the city of rude, selfish and just plain bad drivers, so I guess that's why this has stuck with me and I feel I need to comment on it.

And isn't THAT a sad state, when a simple act such as that, can be so profound to me as a rider.

When I see that kind of competence from a cager, I always make it a point (if I can) to point at then and give a thumbs up. I want them to know their being "switched on" is really appreciated.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:30 PM   #10
Merckx the Cannibal
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I always shoulder check, and I saved my ass once by doing so. That coulda-been-accident reinforced the habit.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:37 PM   #11
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Darwin will take care of riders or drivers who don't use common sense when changing lanes, turning, merging etc....
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC61 View Post
Is it necessary? Sometimes maybe, but most of the time no. On most bikes and vehicles, properly set mirrors eliminate adjacent lane blind spots and don't necessitate a "shoulder check" to see the lane to either side. While looking over your shoulder may seem like the right thing to do it also takes your vision away from what is coming at you. Pace also comes into play, if the rider is moving forward through traffic it is less necessary than if traffic is flowing past the rider. If looking to cross multiple lanes quickly then a check is prudent as the mirrors only reveal one lane at a time.

To each is own, do what makes you feel safe.
I respectfully disagree. Pace makes it more necessary. A number of times I've had people I've passed attempt to overtake me on the right and a shoulder check gives me a much clearer view than the 1/2 sized image in my mirror.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:49 PM   #13
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Last time I checked my shoulders were still there.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:50 PM   #14
Reduxalicious
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Wasn't there a guy on this board, or well maybe not this board but I think I recalled some rider on another board or this one saying that anyone who "Looks over their shoulder" isn't a "Truly experienced rider" And if that were the case then call me a rookie for life, Shoulder checks have saved my ass more then a few times on I-45 and on back roads.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:13 PM   #15
DAKEZ
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That is what my mirrors are for.
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