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5 Questions Motorcycle Riders Should be Prepared to Answer
February 17, 2015
Great info for great riding
5 Questions Motorcycle Riders Should be Prepared to AnswerWhether you're an experienced motorcycle rider or are new to the sport, you can expect certain questions from other riders and non-riders -- and, maybe, from a police officer or two.
Most questions are easy to answer.
However, at any time you could get a question that catches you off guard.
A question's significance may not be in its content. The significance could be in a person's motive for asking the question in the first place.
For example, "Do you know how fast you were going?" is a pretty simple question. But who's doing the asking…a fellow "track day" participant or a police officer who caught you on radar?
Some questions may not be threatening. But it's comforting to have your answer ready when asked.
Here are questions I believe motorcycle riders should be prepared to answer, and -- for your consideration -- responses I've used…
Disclaimer! Do not consider any of my answers as legal advice -- particularly if you're stopped for a potential traffic violation…
Q) Do you know why I pulled you over? Do you know how fast you were going?
A) No, officer, I don’t.
I was keeping my eyes on the road and attempting to blend in safely with the vehicles around me -- except those that sped past me.
I always tell the truth when speaking to the police, but I don't use answers that indicate I'm guilty of an offense.
On occasion, when asked leading questions during traffic stops, I've simply handed the officer my license, registration and proof of insurance, then smiled and shut up.
On the other hand, there was one instance when I committed an extremely stupid traffic violation because I wasn't paying attention. I told the police officer I couldn't believe how stupid I'd been to foul up so completely.
And I was telling the truth.
The officer had mercy on me and let me go with a warning.
Q) How about letting me drive (borrow) your motorcycle?
A) No, because my vehicle insurance only has me as the driver.
My insurance policy is invalid if my motorcycle is involved in an accident and someone other than me is driving.
This can be a touchy question if asked by a good friend who -- for whatever reason -- you don't want to ride your motorcycle.
These days, there's only one person I'd trust riding my motorcycle, and he's never asked.
In more than 40 years of riding, there have only been two other riders I'd trust on my motorcycle.
Some time ago a guy asked me if he could take my motorcycle for a ride. I turned down his request with my usual line and that was that, no problem.
However, as we continued to talk, he casually asked me, "Is this the brake? Is this the gas? Is this the clutch?"
He had no idea how to operate a motorcycle.
I'd never ask another rider if they'd let me drive their motorcycle.
And I'd think twice before accepting anyone's offer to take their motorcycle for even a short cruise. I'd hate to get it totaled -- or even scratch the paint.
Q) How fast does your motorcycle go? What is the fastest you've ever gone on your motorcycle?
A) The posted speed limit.
While my motorcycle's potential top speed is no big deal or a secret to other riders, it's not worth going into with non-riders.
Motorcycle riders have plenty of incorrect image and reputation problems to deal with.
The riding community doesn't need me prattling on about my machine's "Mach 1" speed capabilities or how I've "pushed the envelope" when street speeding.
Of course if I'd taken my motorcycle to the track and rode swiftly under safe, controlled conditions, I wouldn’t hesitate to discuss it with anyone.
Q) What do you do if it rains?
A) I put on my rain gear to stay dry then continue riding.
This is a question riders frequently hear from non-riders who may be considering getting a motorcycle, and from others who have trouble understanding why people ride motorcycles.
I try to make the point that riding in the rain is sometimes necessary, and that while it's important to be extra careful when the roads are wet, many riders travel comfortably all day long in the rain.
Q) Motorcycles are dangerous, aren't you concerned about getting into an accident?
A) Yes, potential accidents do concern me.
That's why I ride as safely as possible and wear a helmet and other riding gear that will protect me as much as possible if I do have an accident.
I don't sugarcoat the fact that motorcycle riding is dangerous. Even if a rider is as cautious as possible, accidents can happen.
I don't try to convince anyone to take up the sport.
But it always irks me when a non-rider thinks it's important to tell me that someone they know or heard of had a serious motorcycle accident.
Q) What (size, brand or type) motorcycle do you suggest I buy?
A) If this is your first motorcycle and you are a new rider, I suggest you buy a used 500 cc -- or smaller -- motorcycle.
Get a motorcycle that's comfortable and easy to control.
Buy a brand or model you can get parts for and repaired easily.
I believe it is important for a new rider to get a first motorcycle that he/she can control easily and isn't excessively powerful.
But it should have enough speed and power to merge easily onto highways and keep up with surrounding vehicles.
A first motorcycle should be easy to trade in if the rider wants something different in a few months after they've gained experience.
A first motorcycle shouldn't be too expensive because a new rider might drop it a few times while learning.
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