Every time I seen another "bike down" thread I wonder what the rider could have done to avoid going down / getting hit.
I'm sure alot of people will be quite upset with me phrasing it that way, but my #1 rule for staying alive on the road is "Cars don't see me". I always try to assume that it will be 100% up to me to stay in one piece out there on the road. In the last 2 weeks alone, this has helped me avoid 2 collisions where people have pulled out of side streets without seeing me. I was already aware and prepared to hit the brakes hard / lay on the horn. Of course it may not always work, but it will always help to be prepared.
This made me think about some of the tips that the more experienced riders think new riders should know to try and keep them a bit safer out there on the roads. I figure if a post like this can help even a single rider avoid one accident it will be completly worth it. I realize that these are probably all things that get taught in the Action etc courses, but maybe something here will help some new riders anyways. For people just starting out: Take a good course!
If you have something that hasn't been mentioned, that you believe will help a new rider, please post it!
I'll start with a few things that I do:
#1: Cars don't see you. Any car you see in traffic, assume the driver has NOT seen you and will not see you. Ride accordingly.
#2: Wear all your gear. If you do go down, that could be the difference between you being able to get back on a bike eventually and not. (I've gone down on the street before, gear helps. On that subject, watch for dogs & kids, they are unpredictable.)
#3: If you are a new rider and are going on a group ride, let people know you are new. Post before that you are coming out. Someone will ride with you 9 times out of 10, and try to help you stay a bit safer. If you ask them after the ride, they will more than likely have some tips to help your riding improve.
#4: When riding with a group, ride your own ride. What that means is: Ride at a speed you are comfortable at. Don't push harder to
a) impress people (I'll be impressed by a new rider who is concerned with their own and my safety, not someone who 'rides like hell' to keep up) or
b) not get left behind.
It's ok to ask where the next meeting point is. Guys I ride with would never leave that point until _everyone_ in the group has made it there. Also, make sure you know what some of the hand signals are that riders will use, and if you've never done it, ask about riding staggered.
#5: Leave room. Don't crowd other riders / cars by riding too close. You'll be able to see the road better and it will give you more time to react to obstacles / potholes / sand & gravel etc.
#6: Always look where you _want_ to go. Don't look where you don't want to go. Why? Because you and your bike end up where you are looking.
#7: Did I mention that cars won't see you?
I hope this post won't come off as "too preachy". Maybe the fact that I saw a bad motorcycle / car crash on the Duffy yesterday has to do with this, but I just thought that a post on basic safe riding tips like this will save someones hide one day.