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Avoiding a motorcycle crash

Learning to ride a motorcycle is exciting and very rewarding. Riders have different reasons to learn to ride such as bucket list item, cheap transportation, recreational purposes, midlife crisis, ego, etc. The list can go on and on. However, learning to ride does not make you an expert at crash avoidance. As a matter of fact, understanding what needs to be done to avoid a crash is easy, mastering the art of obstacle/crash avoidance is a lifetime learning process and as the old saying goes, “practice makes perfection”, does apply to these lifesaving skills.

In the following video, two riders demonstrate many of the maneuvers many of you have already learned with Tim and Marianne if you have taken the Ride Like A Pro class with them. The difference is that the exercises get much tighter. Cones are closer (for the cone weave,) and spaces are smaller (u-turns,) requiring much more discipline and alertness. This is what makes the difference between a good rider and an experienced rider. This is the Ride Like A Pro Advanced class.

Check out Jerry’s latest video titled “2 riders that know how to avoid a motorcycle crash” – enjoy!

Training America’s finest!
Military service mark of the United States Army.svg

The United States Army is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. (Source: Wikipedia)

On October 4, 2019, the United States Southern Command, located in Doral, Florida, held a “Safety Stand Down” event and invited Ride Like A Pro – Miami to train ten (10) of America’s finest in the 3 basic techniques used by motorcycle police officers to maneuver motorcycles at slow speeds.

To kickoff the event, we had two (2) outstanding motormen from The City of Doral Police Department address the students and demonstrate some of the techniques they were about to learn.

City of Doral Police Motormen addressing the students.

Right after the demonstration, our uniformed students were eager and ready to hit the range. As in most classes, the slow cone weave exercise gave the students a good flavor of slow maneuvering and dipping their motorcycles back and forth. As part of building up to more complex maneuvers, a u-turn was added to the exercise to build more confidence for the remaining exercises.

Right after gaining some confidence in this exercise, the group was ready for the offset cone weave. The picture speaks for itself. The group was quickly learning the three techniques.

Next, riders were ready for the intersection exercise. Here is where everything they learned earlier came to play. Our Instagram page has videos of all the students performing the maneuver (see below).

Throughout the class there were many great comments from the riders expressing how much they appreciated learning these techniques to make them better and safer riders considering that many of them use their motorcycles as primary vehicles and exposes them to Miami’s infamous traffic!

We would like to thank the United States Southern Command and the event sponsors, US Army Executive Officer Oscar Ortiz, US Army Colonel José E. Solís and The Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, Chapter 95.

From left to right: Executive Officer Oscar Ortiz, Colonel José E. Solís
and Tim Hamilton from Ride Like a Pro Miami

Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, Chapter 95


Why lowering the motorcycle is a mistake

Motorcycle manufacturers’ (Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Indian, etc.) engineers spent countless hours getting the ride height/maneuverability compromise for your motorcycle to perform optimally. Why would you want to change that?

Riders gravitate towards the idea of lowering a motorcycle for many reasons, the main one being the ability to support the motorcycle at a stop with your feet completely flat on the ground. Others lower the motorcycle for looks.

In this video, Ride Like A Pro’s Jerry “Motorman” Palladino and Donna Palladino will focus on how you can actually accomplish getting your feet closer to the ground without lowering the motorcycle. Enjoy!

Click here if you cannot see video
Motorcycle weight: NOT A FACTOR!

(cover picture: Jacquie Lopez, July 21st, 2019 class)

So you decide you are ready to buy a new motorcycle, want to return to riding or want to upgrade your current ride. You build up courage and head over to your local motorcycle dealer. Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards an eternal life of fun and weekend riding. But wait! you have to try out your new future motorcycle before you buy, right?

So at this point, you honed in on a particular large motorcycle and the dealer hones in on your intentions. The dealer prepares the motorcycle, gets you a shiny fluorescent vest and takes you for a test ride, side by side with him/her riding on another motorcycle. All of the sudden, you realize you need to make a u-turn on a 700-900 lb. motorcycle you have never ridden before, and you are embarrassed to let the dealer know you cannot make that u-turn he or she just did in that amount of space (24 feet – the standard lane width in the United States is 12 feet.)

Jerry Palladino demonstrates the “Foot Dragger” u-turn
Don’t belong to this club!!!!

Here is how most people process the situation (this actually happened to me):

– I am riding an unfamiliar motorcycle
– The motorcycle weighs a ton! (actually, you are riding 2/5 of a ton assuming 800 lb. motorcycle – for the math geeks!)
– I am going to fall if I turn and this will be very embarrassing
– Oh no! The dealer turned and is leaving me behind. What do I do?

…..I was thinking all this while duck walking the motorcycle in the middle of US-1 in Miami, FL (if you live in Miami and ride motorcycles, you have probably figured out who the dealer is…)

So now you decide that the big motorcycle is not for you yet or you are brave enough to go ahead and buy the motorcycle and pray you never have to make a u-turn in a busy street (or empty!) Fear no more. Maneuvering a heavy motorcycle is not about the ability to handle the weight but to understand the proper use of the friction zone (which you learned when you got the endorsement,) posture, head and eye positioning and the rear brake. Remember, you are not carrying the motorcycle so weight is not a factor.

Don’t be a member of the Foot Draggers Club! – Learn to Ride Like A Pro!

Ricci Knighten – July 21st 2019 class

What is wrong with this picture

Group riding or riding in a “Pack” is very cool to see but what do can you see when you analyze the picture of a group riding Tail of the Dragon? From experience, I can tell you that when another vehicle is coming head-on, there is a split second where the decision you make can make you or break you, literally!

Personally, I always expect a big semi or RV coming around a blind corner since we are talking about Deals Gap. By the time you see the vehicle, if you are in the proper lane, position and speed, you will be able to enjoy that memory! If you happen to be either going too fast (above speed limit), too close (as shown in the picture), or crossing the yellow line, you might find yourself in a lot of trouble. Avoid it.

Remember, you can find joy in riding if you follow riding rules, practice safe distance, proper equipment, proper lane positioning and most of all, proper technique!

Picture credit:

Learn the techniques…on a bicycle!

If it has one wheel in the front and one wheel in the back then it has the same dynamics! Some riders might be afraid to drop their motorcycles while learning the techniques so if you have a bicycle, you can get a feel for the technique….

In the original post titled “Afraid to lean your motorcycle? Try this tool” (06/23/2019) by Jerry “The Motorman” Palladino, he states that, “Since a motorcycle turns by leaning, you must get over your fear of leaning. The easiest way to get over that fear, is to practice leaning on a bicycle.


Road construction and the uneven pavement

Always be aware when there is road construction. Here is an example on the Florida Turnpike of uneven pavement. Always use extra caution when going up on the higher side. This is very difficult to see at night. Some real life motorcycle crashes come from uneven surfaces. This is easy to see with the two different pavement colors, many times it is the same color and not noticeable.

Who says you cannot ride a big bike?

Check out Carmen, a new rider and RIDES LIKE A PRO!

Carmen trained with us back in February 2019 for the first time. She showed up with her first motorcycle, a Harley Davidson Street 500. She did awesome but very soon she realized she had outgrown the motorcycle. A few days later, she upgraded to an Iron 1200 and scheduled to take the class to learn the limits of this motorcycle. As you can see on the video, it is not if you can handle the motorcycle, it is about having the right skills to maneuver a 900 lb. motorcycle with the ease of a child’s toy.
Leesburg Bikefest

We performed demonstrations focused on teaching the average rider the three Motor Officer techniques the cops have been trained in for more than 60 years. This exhibition was based on low-speed motorcycle handling techniques, because most motorcycle crashes occur on the street below 20 mph, low-speed handling is of the utmost importance.