Motorcycle Safety: How safe do you want to be?

Cheesy mirror on the Yamaha FZR 600

Like most motorcycle owners, I like my ride to look good.  It is a reflection of my personality, and I want it to reflect who I am, and what I’m about.  The problem is, there are times when decisions about the look of the bike, stand opposed to the best choices for motorcycle safety…  

When I first thrust myself back into motorcycle riding, after years away, it was directly onto the streets of Brooklyn.  This brought some challenges that I had not dealt with in my previous life as a rider.  Gone were the quiet streets and open roads, bring on the potholes and the traffic!

While motorcyclists everywhere should be concerned with safety, there is a unique set of parameters which exist in the city, that do not effect most rural riders.  Cabs and Car Service drivers come to mind, as well as bicyclists who choose to sidestep road rules.  In getting back into riding, I accepted that I would need to make some choices that stand opposed to the “cool” factor, and address some of the perils of riding a two-wheeler in this city.

Mirror Extensions

The first change I made to both the Yamaha FZR 600 and the Honda CB 550, was to add extensions to the stock mirrors.  In particular, the ones that came on the FZR seemed to fit the fashion of the bike, but were functionally irrelevant.  I fabbed up a brace that put the mirrors further out from the fairing, allowing me to [god forbid] see past my shoulders.

The next step was to add small, convex mirrors to my larger mirrors.  These can be purchased for $5 at any auto store, and give you an even wider view.  I find them to be very helpful in seeing the bicyclists coming up behind me at stops, and especially catching the last minute cab passing me on the right, on a single lane road!  Several times these have aided me in preventing an accident, and despite being cheesy, I choose to keep them for safety’s sake.

These choices, while not fashionably astute, may help in avoiding some nasty pitfalls while riding in the city.

Have any suggestions for safer city riding?  Let us know.

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