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traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:33 pm
by OldguyGlen
Still getting comfortable on the GL1100. Heavier than previous bikes.
I can flat foot with both feet. Do you put only 1 foot down, or both on a routine stop. Clutch in, or neutral with clutch engaged? Hold the bike still with front or rear brake while waiting?
Any other technique suggestions? Thanks.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:47 am
by agedbikeman
Like you I'm new to the goldwing, I can't flatfoot, only 5ft 4in 28in inseam, acording to what I've seen on youtube, you're suposed to come to a final halt with the foot brake only, as they claim it makes the bike stop straighter, but I can't always get that right and a last second wobble I put both feet down, also take into account the camber always foot down on the high side as the low side will usually cause a drop.
I'm no expert on this I'm only expressing my opinion, I always stop in first gear and hold it there as a traffic light change, lifting legs up and down on the quick would cause me to drop the bike, I have to plan every leg movement, but I've only had the wing 1 week and been riding a trike for 3 years so I'm back to learning again, also not had a manual clutch bike since 30 years.

Have a look on youtube there's some really usful training videos about heavy bikes.

Regards and happy riding
Alex (aged bike man)

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:49 am
by AZgl1800
at traffic lights, if I am NOT in front, I make it a point to stay back about one car length, and pointed towards the Best Escape Route, so as to keep the traffic behind me in view, and don't allow them to crash into you.

If in front, I stay back from the White Line about 10-12 feet, to allow the cross traffic to make those left turns and not run over me.

as for my feet? if I am stopped for a long while, I put my right foot down, and use the hand brake. I want my left foot on the peg, tranny in 1st gear, ready to go if a fast exit is needed.

Most of the time, i will try to do a very slow crawl up to the light, or car in front, weaving from lane edge to lane edge.... that causes your bike to travel Left-Right cross ways to the driver's eyes behind you.... that will catch their eyes, put down the cellphone, and try to figure out what you are doing. I have practiced this so much, I rarely ever, need to do a Full Stop.

this works, and works very well. I have been doing this for many years, a couple of decades at least.

I also have a Pool Noodle tied to the trunk rack with a bungee cord, it sticks out to the left, and waves in the wind.... again, this catches the eyes of the traffic behind you....

I don't give a rat's behind what other people think about this, it works for me, every time.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:23 am
by Andy Cote
AZgl1800 wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:49 am
at traffic lights, if I am NOT in front, I make it a point to stay back about one car length, and pointed towards the Best Escape Route, so as to keep the traffic behind me in view, and don't allow them to crash into you.

If in front, I stay back from the White Line about 10-12 feet, to allow the cross traffic to make those left turns and not run over me.

as for my feet? if I am stopped for a long while, I put my right foot down, and use the hand brake. I want my left foot on the peg, tranny in 1st gear, ready to go if a fast exit is needed.

Most of the time, i will try to do a very slow crawl up to the light, or car in front, weaving from lane edge to lane edge.... that causes your bike to travel Left-Right cross ways to the driver's eyes behind you.... that will catch their eyes, put down the cellphone, and try to figure out what you are doing. I have practiced this so much, I rarely ever, need to do a Full Stop.

this works, and works very well. I have been doing this for many years, a couple of decades at least.

I also have a Pool Noodle tied to the trunk rack with a bungee cord, it sticks out to the left, and waves in the wind.... again, this catches the eyes of the traffic behind you....

I don't give a rat's behind what other people think about this, it works for me, every time.
All Great Things!

The stopping with only the foot brakes idea directly applies to bikes without linked brakes. Still the best plan with wings as too much front brake can cause issues. Just don't grab that front brake at the last moment. Ideally as AZgl1800 said stop short then roll up to final position slowly. In that case the hand brake is fine as you feel your way forward.

We all know, never look down. You go where you look. But when coming to a stop sign or traffic light you need to know the condition of the pavement. The travel roadway has a crown so left side is a little higher. Intersections though are another story. The primary tire tracks can be lower than the center; they can be washboard from truck braking; the center can have trash, oil or A/C condensation water. I often see potholes or tar snakes right where you want to stop or place your feet! All make an impact to where in the lane you stop and which foot to hold the bike upright. Use both if you feel safer. DON'T STARE AT THE GROUND, EVER.

Once stopped, we all know to have an escape route planned for both frontal and rear crashes. Eyes open and searching for threats all the time. An escape plan means you must have the bike in gear and clutch in. If no one was close behind when you stopped, watch for the next guy up and flash the brake lights early enough to wake them up.

Keep the brakes on while stopped. If the bike starts to roll a little you can easily end up on your side based on road conditions and footing.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:28 am
by AZgl1800
just remember:


NEVER, EVER, leave the tranny in Neutral !!!
to do so, can cause death if the idiot behind you does not stop.

Always, in 1st gear, hand on clutch ready to jump out of the way.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:29 am
by hondapotamus
We always taught new riders to stop in the "Ready Position" - Bike in 1st gear, right foot on the rear brake, left foot on the ground, both hands on the handle bars (not just the clutch), scanning your environment (ahead, side to side, both mirrors).

This is the position and awareness that allows you detect and get out of Dodge quickly if necessary.

A side benefit (if you are first in line) is that when the light turns green, along with knowing that someone is not running a red (scanning), you can get through the intersection quickly (usually before most cars have barely gotten started) - you clear the danger zone as quickly as possible.

I too leave enough space behind the car in front of me to allow a quick escape either left or right. It has, occasionally, allowed me to get out from behind someone who has stalled their vehicle or had some other issue that they are stuck.

One last thing - the second your bike is moving your left foot is back on the foot peg. This is your best balance position. I constantly see people move off from a stop with one leg hanging out, presumably for balance - sometimes all the way through the intersection. That much weight off to the side actually works against balance and you also have the risk of your foot getting caught on something and throwing you off line or worse, off the bike. "GET YOUR FEET UP!" (I've been known to yell that at students :P ) and say it to myself when I see others doing it.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:51 pm
by WingAdmin
hondapotamus wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:29 am
One last thing - the second your bike is moving your left foot is back on the foot peg. This is your best balance position. I constantly see people move off from a stop with one leg hanging out, presumably for balance - sometimes all the way through the intersection. That much weight off to the side actually works against balance and you also have the risk of your foot getting caught on something and throwing you off line or worse, off the bike. "GET YOUR FEET UP!" (I've been known to yell that at students :P ) and say it to myself when I see others doing it.
Yup. A clear sign of an inexperienced rider (and pretty much universal amongst the Harley riders around here) - feet come down and dangle for the last 20-30 feet before coming to a stop, and then dangle for another 20-30 feet when they start off again.

My feet are on the pegs pretty much anytime the wheels are moving.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:46 am
by OldguyGlen
Thanks for all the responses. Good info. I need to practice these techniques until they become automatic.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:52 am
by dingdong
All good advice. However I find that, for me, there is one exception to the left foot down rule. That is, when I am riding two up on my 1500. Always both feet down for me. There is a very fine line between balancing and dumping the beast when at full stop.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:25 am
by agedbikeman
I am the same , both feet down, I'm always wary of dropping the beast, all is against me, old git, short legs, not got the muscles I used to have. Saving hard to buy "Landin Gear", must be the way to go for us short pensioners with ideas bigger than us.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:27 pm
by Alan_Hepburn
agedbikeman wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:25 am
I am the same , both feet down, I'm always wary of dropping the beast, all is against me, old git, short legs, not got the muscles I used to have. Saving hard to buy "Landin Gear", must be the way to go for us short pensioners with ideas bigger than us.
Another option: install a sidecar! No worries about falling over, and your passenger has a great view of the scenery instead of the back of your helmet!

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:19 pm
by Corkster52
A guy in my GWRRA chapter was helping me with some parking lot practice stuff and he said, basically, that only inexperienced riders put both feet down. While I don't agree with that 100 percent, as I continue to practice on maneuvers that will make me a safer rider, if having my having my right foot on the peg and more prepared for whatever occurs behind me I am all for it...and I continue to practice doing so at every intersection I stop at. It can be kind of a tough habit to break.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:29 pm
by dwlarson
Stopping with your eyes looking forward will eliminate that last-second "wobble" which can happen if you look down. And while "left foot only down" may be "ideal practice", with a short inseam, 5'5", and 135# I need both feet on the ground (tip-toe) to be secure... but if the pavement is sloping one direction or another, then only one foot. Two feet with a passenger (who might inadvertently shift their weight while looking around). The front brake will suffice to hold the bike still. In 1st gear, clutch in, ready to roll, good space in front. YMMV

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:34 pm
by WingAdmin
I have my "intersection stop" routine pretty much down to an exact science.

As I slow down, I start looking behind me to make sure that whoever is behind me is clearly aware that I am slowing down.

Once I come close to a stop, I will turn the bike slightly to angle it between lanes of traffic or to one side of any vehicle in front of me, whichever has the best escape route. I will have the bike shifted into first gear at this point.

When the bike comes to a stop, it is pointed exactly where I will be going should I need to make an emergency exit. JUST as the bike comes to a stop, I put my left foot down (right foot and right hand are still on the brake), holding the clutch in (as the bike is still in first gear). I stay on the foot brake, and check my mirrors again. If there are less than 3-4 cars behind me, I sit and watch my mirrors to make sure nobody is going to hit me. ESPECIALLY at the end of highway off-ramps! If someone is coming at me uncomfortably fast, I will flash my brake lights to get their attention, and prepare for a quick exit should it be needed.

Once the light turns green, I will look left for anyone trying to run the red light. Then look right for the same thing. Then left, again. Then right, again. Only then will I start off, by letting out the clutch and adding some power, while picking up my left foot and immediately going to the footpeg. As I start to move into the intersection, I look left & right one more time. I'm paranoid about being taken out by an idiot running a red light. I have saved myself from being hit on MANY occasions by doing this extra check!

This sounds like a lot of complicated steps, but honestly, I've done this for so many years, that I do it automatically without even thinking about it anymore. It's worked for me so far.

I recall one early morning around 6 am, I was outside of Detroit, tired and not paying due attention. I came up to a red light at a multi-lane intersection devoid of traffic, and came to a stop. A few seconds later, another car came to a stop next to me. Zoning out from the early start and sleepiness, I was brought back to sudden reality with a loud BANG right next to me: Another inattentive driver had not been paying attention to the stopped traffic and rear-ended the car stopped next to me at full speed, pushing it into the intersection. Literally six feet away from me.

THAT got my attention.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:12 am
by bigsteveswing
Alan_Hepburn wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:27 pm

Another option: install a sidecar! No worries about falling over, and your passenger has a great view of the scenery instead of the back of your helmet!
X2!

Kinda makes the emergency escape route plan a little more tricky though.
I also watch my mirrors more than anything when stopped. Somebody pulls up behind me I am off and back on the brakes to activate my brake strobe so they see me.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:44 am
by Stew
Corkster52 wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:19 pm
A guy in my GWRRA chapter was helping me with some parking lot practice stuff and he said, basically, that only inexperienced riders put both feet down. While I don't agree with that 100 percent, as I continue to practice on maneuvers that will make me a safer rider, if having my having my right foot on the peg and more prepared for whatever occurs behind me I am all for it...and I continue to practice doing so at every intersection I stop at. It can be kind of a tough habit to break.
Interesting. At times I not only have both feet down but am 'standing' rather than sitting, I'm not that tall so someone looking from behind me probably couldn't tell. I've thought about why I do this and I think it's just to get my butt off the seat, even if for only a minute. Both feet do always come immediately off the ground and back on the pegs as soon as I'm rolling however.

Or maybe it's some weird habit from my dirt riding days, I also have to fight the urge to stand on the pegs every time I go over things like railroad tracks.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:18 pm
by Alan_Hepburn
bigsteveswing wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:12 am
Kinda makes the emergency escape route plan a little more tricky though.
Yeah, I haven't been able to master the art of flying the chair - and don't think I could ever fly it high enough to split lanes!
I also watch my mirrors more than anything when stopped. Somebody pulls up behind me I am off and back on the brakes to activate my brake strobe so they see me.
I do the same - ANYTHING to make us more visible is a good thing! Although a Goldwing with a sidecar is a lot bigger - in fact mine takes up the exact same floor space in my garage as our smart car!

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:14 am
by GramKate
I have to agree with Hondapotamus. What he described is exactly what I was taught to do when stopped in traffic - whether it's a traffic light, stop sign or road work. Always, always always leave yourself an escape route because you never know when another driver isn't paying attention. It's something that I even do when driving my car.
When I'm in the lead at a stop light, I make it a point to take off quickly while still making sure that someone else isn't trying to beat the light and making a turn in front of me.
I too am watching traffic from all directions as well as other things that are going on around me. You can't be too careful out there whether you are on your motorcycle or in your car.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:44 am
by Terry D
I've been riding Goldwings for 38 years. It wasn't until 1992 and again in 1994 when I attended the Experience Riders Courses that I learned the proper technique on coming to a stop be it at a stop sign, traffic light or anywhere else. 1. Slow down down shifting as you do. 2. Use both foot and hand brakes until the last 20 feet or so. 3. Release front brake and make that final rolling stop with just the foot brake and be ready to put your left foot down. 4. Only after stopping, it should be an option to put your right foot down. 5. Keep motorcycle in gear.

I taught this as a GWRRA Chapter Educator and was told by many the procedure was the best. It helps eliminate the RIDER WOBBLE you see with inexperienced riders. Which I see with a lot of Riders young and old. This Technique works for all bikes, not just Goldwings.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:01 am
by BadMonk
At stops for me, it's generally one foot down with transmission in gear and leave space for quick exit in case it looks like I'll be getting rear ended. Having driven trucks and school buses, I don't go over the white line. Nobody should. It's there for a reason. In this state, if you cross the line when taking your driving license exam then you fail (well, I don't know for sure but you should).

At stops, don't sit there with your front wheel pointed into oncoming traffic. If you get hit from behind or accidentally let out the clutch lever then you'll find yourself going straight into oncoming vehicles. Straighten the front wheel or, at least, point it into a safe zone.

I'll slow approach a light and try to time it going to green so I don't have to drop my feet. Of course, this is within reason. Even as you get close to putting your feet down, give the motor a little throttle while holding the rear brake and the bike will want to stand up longer. The action of the motor alone will keep it upright for a time. With practice, you can sit in one place for a couple seconds without moving and without having to put the feet down.

As with all things, my "rules" are fluid and change with: road conditions, traffic, my physical condition at the time, my mood, weather, attention span, and so on and so forth. (My first rides were in corn fields on Honda 50s when in grade school. I'm now 63. Next year, I will take a Motorcycle Safety course because I've likely learned some bad habits, 'forgotten' some details plus the safety knowledge base continues to grow. Courses are free in my state of PA. My last and only safety course was twenty years ago so...there's that.)

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:24 am
by SlowTyper
If I stop, I have both feet firmly planted on the ground; when not stopped, it is both feet on the pegs (for safety & control). Note that I only stop if the light has unexpectedly turned red. Most of the time, I slow ride up to the intersection (without any wide weaving so as to not confuse other drivers).

At my age, I can have challenges keeping my top heavy bike balanced with only one foot. This scenario is further aggravated by grit and/or oil on the pavement, or a strong gust of wind. Furthermore, when stopped with both feet on the ground, I can rocket off the intersection in a straight line, which takes care of any fishtailing when there is some grit or oil on the pavement.

In all my miles of riding, I can only recall one time that I needed the rear brake to remain stopped. It was on a steep uphill, on a brick road, riding 2-up, with a fully loaded trailer. When the front tire started skidding backward, I quickly let up on the front brake (to steer) and applied the rear brake before the trailer would have started to jackknife. I then told my wife not to lean or suddenly move, since I was perched on one foot.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:03 am
by grahamcp
I've been riding bikes since 1964 starting with a Honda 50 Super Sport and worked my way up to the Honda 1800. I always use two feet on the ground when stopped with enough room in front to bolt if necessary. I use the front brake when stopped to keep my brake light on, in first gear with the clutch engaged. I watch in the mirrors until several cars have stopped behind me or traffic starts moving again. I have had to use an emergency out at stop lights on two occassions and once during traffic suddenly stopping between intersections. For the most part, staying in the right lane of multi lane highways is a safer bet when needing that quick out unless there isn't enough room due to a curb, signage, or telephone/power poles. I always, always make sure the intersection is going to be clear of traffic before starting across if i'm the first one across. Both feet up as soon as I'm rolling.

I live in a semi rural area with the main highway passing many secondary roads that have stop signs only. I worry more about that driver not seeing me and pulling out in front of me than a driver not stopping behind me. I try to make eye contact or wave and get some kind of acknowledgement from that driver as I've had more incidents where they've pulled out in front of me than not stopping behind me. I'll flash my brights, use the horn, and in some cases I just slow down and turn at that intersection if the driver is inattentive. I rather be late than not make my destination.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:50 am
by jerryd15
I was taught to ride with my high beam on in a training course at a community college. If someone complains just say thanks for noticing me. Otherwise I do all the aforementioned and have 2 feet down because we are usually 2 up.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:19 am
by OldguyGlen
Thanks Admin, for mentioning this thread in the Newsletter. It got several more posts.
Thanks to all who contributed. This was a simple topic that many novices are embarrassed to ask because they somehow manage to get around town and think they should have mastered it in the first week. But there is a lot to plan, process, and react to. So there are some different opinions, but there are also different situations to deal with, and some require a little adaptation. I found the discussion very helpful. Thanks all... Great forum.

Re: traffic light stop/wait/go best practice?

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:12 am
by Camer
More of what's already been said really.
In gear, rear brake on, left foot down and ready to go.
The rear brake is important, if you do get bumped from behind. You will be more likely to hit the rear brake harder. With the front brake lever pulled generally people pop the clutch release the brake and grab some throttle. shooting you into the intersection or the car in front of you. As far as worrying about dropping the bike. Put a towel down in the garage/driveway maybe with some magazine or an old phone book, under the crash guards. Lay the bike down. You'll be surprised how easy it is to lift up. Do it a few times. Then if the need arises you wont have the panic, along with the embarrassment and adrenalin. There are a few ways to pick up a fallen bike use what works for you. I prefer pulling the handle bars full forward on the downed side and lift, over the backing yourself into the seat. Don't forget riding is a perishable skill. So get out to and empty lot and practice until you're not thinking about it.