returning riders

Discussion in 'Bay Area Bikers' started by ken ward, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. ken ward

    ken ward Guest

    In reading the "DMV Skill Test" thread, I thought about riders who got
    licensed when young, dropped out of riding for 30 years or so, and then
    buy a new bike expecting to pick up where they left off.

    couple of years ago I was at a BMW shop counter in SJ, buying small
    parts. a 60+ guy was there to pick up his new R something Standard, and
    was picking out a helmet and jacket. in the back parking lot sticking
    my parts in the tank bag, I saw him trying to get it started. took him
    a while to remember that if the sidestand is down, it won't start (I
    wasn't going to tell him - if he can't figure that out, he shouldn't be
    riding). finally got it going, and with WAY too much rpm started
    slipping the clutch to get it underway veeery sloooowly with both feet
    down and sliding. there's a big dip between the back lot and the
    street, so his low speed made it easy for him to get it stopped with the
    front tire in the street, the back tire in the lot, and his feet 6" off
    the ground. he toppled over semi gracefully, executing a nice shoulder
    roll. I ran over and hit the kill switch, helped him up, then called
    the techs out the back door to wheel the newly scratched/dented bike
    back inside for some TLC. he was pleading with them to not tell his
    wife, as she opposed the purchase to begin with. I left them to figure
    out how to conceal the jacket and helmet rash.

    fast forward to recently, shopping for nice gloves at Helimot. really
    hot day and a guy staggers through the door in full Stich, sweating
    profusely. walks right up to us and announces he's dropped his BMW in
    the parking lot. same guy! we went out and righted it, got him
    unzipped and hydrated. has had the bike for several years, too scared
    of it/traffic to ride much, didn't know if he could make it home. I
    agreed to lead for him, to see if he had it together enough to even
    follow. he was marginal but safe and waved me off at my exit, one
    before his.

    maybe repeat testing is in order for some situations...

    ken ward, Aug 22, 2003
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  2. ken ward

    barbz Guest

    Now, now! I got a loaner when my 79 R65 was in the shop, one of those
    slick new chain driven 650s. Rode it home fine, if a wee bit too fast ;)
    Next morning, I was on my way somewhere, couldn't get the bike to start.
    I hadda call the shop, and the first thing they asked was, "Is the
    kickstand down?"

    Well, no, it wasn't. Part of my routine involves starting the bike and
    letting it idle while I don gloves and helmet. I kind of figure, if
    you're not smart enough to remember the kickstand before heading out,
    you prolly shouldn't be riding.

    finally got it going, and with WAY too much rpm started
    barbz, Aug 22, 2003
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  3. ken ward

    ken ward Guest

    you say "feature" I say "bug"; it's still a single failure point. some
    Jap bikes don't even come with a centerstand anymore.
    Oooh!! I've been zinged unmercifully! In any case, where was the
    salesman when the new customer rode off for the first time on his new

    I like to think of myself as a helpful guy, including still trying the
    find the guy in my neighborhood who is wearing his open face helmet
    backwards, to give him a clue. that chin strap across his mouth *can't*
    be comfortable...

    ken ward, Aug 22, 2003
  4. the F650 will do that also, but the R11xx bikes (aka oilheads) won't run
    at all with the sidestand down. Frankly, I usually don't put my R in
    neutral when I start it, just get on the bike, clutch in, side stand up,
    flip on the cold start booster (if its cold), key on, thumb starter,
    vrooom, it starts, back out of my parking space if needed, roll out, soon
    as on road, turn off the idle boost. I don't use neutral much at all
    except for when I'm playing with the back wheel on the centerstand, or if
    I'm at a long light and want to give my left hand a break.
    John R Pierce, Aug 22, 2003
  5. ken ward

    John Beck Guest

    Wow. This is kind of scary. If he is that unsure of riding, he is a
    statistic waiting to happen (please don't flame me for judging a fellow
    rider ;) At first I felt that the sales people at BMW should have done
    something ... but I am not sure what they could do (deny him a sale?
    make him cart the bike home in a truck?). We can hope he takes a couple
    of classes before experience teaches him an expensive lesson.

    Your attitude about him and his side stand may not be as harsh as it
    appears -- if you let him figure it out on his own, he'll learn better
    from it. You should (and did) step in to prevent injury or damage to
    property - but it is OK to let people get a little embarrased if it will
    teach them. [OTOH: maybe it would have been more humiliating for him if
    you told him to check the side stand]

    FWIW: the DMV has a number you can call anonymously to "turn in" bad
    drivers (who can be summoned to appear at a hearing) -- a purported
    reason for this number is relatives turning in loved ones who have lost
    their driving skills without confronting them directly. Maybe this
    guy's wife needs to know about this number?

    John Beck, Aug 22, 2003
  6. They will in neutral. I often start the bike in neutral with the side stand
    down. Just need to remember to put the side stand up before putting it in

    I ride a 2003 R1150RT. May be it is a discontinued feature??


    Frankly, I usually don't put my R in
    Douglas Dreger, Aug 22, 2003
  7. ken ward

    ken ward Guest

    You mean like the 86 year old guy in SoCal who confused the accellerator
    with the brake and barreled through the Farmer's Market last month? I
    forget, how many people died while he walked away? Wasn't it 10 dead
    and 45 injured? Didn't he also hit a parked vehicle just before that,
    and instead of stopping, was splitting for home?

    ken ward, Aug 22, 2003
  8. Even with a Fatboy or a decked out Wing it would be very difficult for
    someone to take out so many pedestrians. And more over, if one is
    becoming marginal behind the wheel of a sedan, they're long past the
    point where they can ride. More likely one would be dropping it
    before getting to that mall.

    The danger is primarily to yourself - once you break your hip, it's
    all over. But on the opposite side, I'm convinced that we keep our
    facaulties as long as we use them, and motorcycling requires them to
    get about.
    Jason O'Rourke, Aug 23, 2003
  9. It's a refinement, I believe. My 96 850R required the stand up. My 03
    1150R merely requires neutral. I killed the battery on the old one when
    I lived a mile from work, and had a security gate. Too short a distance
    to make up for the starting juice, at least on an old battery.
    Jason O'Rourke, Aug 23, 2003
  10. ken ward

    James Clark Guest

    Will the F650 crank but not start with the stand down?
    James Clark, Aug 23, 2003
  11. ken ward

    Rich Guest

    The 86 year old who harvested the Santa Monica Farmers Market last
    month kind of made that look untrue, though the stats show that older
    drivers get into fewer accidents than younguns.
    R, UB
    Rich, Aug 23, 2003
  12. ken ward

    Rich Guest

    You're right on that one. Unless the Legislature can be persuaded to
    ignore the panic and not force mandatory retesting of auto drivers,
    they will have to require mandatory retesting of motorcyclists. Best
    case is that they will automatically renew the motorcycle endorsement
    if you can pass the retest on your cage.
    R, UB
    Rich, Aug 23, 2003
  13. perhaps for some values of 'older'. its a bathtub curve, however, and
    much above 70 yrs, the curve starts to get steep again.
    John R Pierce, Aug 23, 2003
  14. ken ward

    ken ward Guest

    I agree that aging motorcyclists typically take themselves out of the
    riders pool voluntarily, without taking anyone with them. Probably also
    true for truckers and other vehicles requiring heightened skill sets
    like large boats or any aircraft.

    I object to blanket statements about letting the geriatrics set their
    own limits, as they're among the last to know when they're over the
    line. My 80+ mother-in-law won't drive her own car if I'm inside,
    because she's scared I'll find out how incompetent she really is.

    Seriously, active testing of elderly car drivers may yield greater
    safety for riders than, say, speed limit enforcement on high speed
    roads, objections to greater government involvement aside. Sadly, I
    could imagine a "pilot" program for retesting that started with
    motorcyclists, and having proved they're no threat, halts before any
    cage only drivers get examined.

    ken ward, Aug 23, 2003
  15. ken ward

    Rich Guest

    At least there would be no question as to whether he should continue
    to be licensed to drive.
    R, UB
    Rich, Aug 23, 2003
  16. ken ward

    Brandon High Guest

    Then mine must be busted.

    The R1150 will allow it to run with the side stand down, but it will
    kill the motor as soon as the bike is put in gear.

    Brandon High, Aug 26, 2003
  17. ok, then its just the R1100 bikes that do this. I've only ridden R1150's
    a few times, and never noted this behavior (I hardly ever use neutral
    John R Pierce, Aug 26, 2003
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