Proceeding through an Intersection...Question

by Bonnie
(Gander, NL, Canada)

Hi everyone...when I took my course, one of the instructors said that when you have stopped at an intersection and you then proceed to go through the intersection or you had to slow down into first gear and then proceed was to just keep it in first and get through the intersection and then proceed to shift gears as needed. His reasoning was that anything can happen and you want to be in first should you need to immediately stop and move again, etc. It is something I have been doing, but my bike is screaming to be put in second. Of course if I am cruising in 3rd gear and it is a green light, I am just alert of all the potential scenarios, but I don't gear down.

Do you follow this way in intersections? Just curious and would love to hear from others.



Comments for Proceeding through an Intersection...Question

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Jul 10, 2011
Intersection Shifting
by: Cindy

I agree that if I come to a red light & stop, I always kick it down to first and keep it in first waiting for the green. However, if I am traveling through a green (never having to stop for a red), I use the lowest gear necessary to prevent the engine scream, yet assure me of instant power in case I need it to get out of danger. If I try to downshift to first, I would be an accident waiting to happen, since I would now be interfering with the speed and flow of traffic through the light. First will not allow me sufficient speed to get through the intersection without ticking-off every motorist behind me. And if I am in first, and suddenly need to get out of the way of another motorist, first will not give me any more speed/power if I'm already at max.

Jun 28, 2011
Re: Leaving bike in 1st.
by: Anonymous

I have to agree with Ev's adaption of what the instructor is trying to convey. My husband is an LE Motorman and he has taught me to always keep the bike in first gear @ stops for the same reason Ev stated. You may not have those few extra seconds to put it in to 1st if you're in neutral. I always keep my bike in first, always leave plenty of room between me and the vehicle in front of me (if there is one) and always observe what's going on around me. As for proceeding through intersections after the stop - I proceed from 1st onward as necessary. There have been times where I've been stopped and "feel" like putting it in neutral-maybe I know the light is a long light or whatever-but, I just can't bring myself to put my safety in question should something happen.

Jun 28, 2011
Leaving bike in first at lights etc...
by: Ev

I think what the instructor is referring to is this. Some people put their bike in Neutral when sitting at stop lights. Where as if you put your bike in first and hold in the clutch, then you are prepared to take off quickly if need be. (ie) you notice someone screaming up behind you while stationery and you think they'll hit you. I've seen a few people put the bike in Neutral and sit there with their arms folded. In the above situation they will lose a few seconds to put the bike in gear and take off quickly.

Jun 27, 2011
Stay in first gear?
by: jp

I think I'd want to just use some common sense depending up on the size of the intersection and your bike.

I see what he's saying but the gear ratio is different on different size bikes and slowly proceeding through an intersection in first may seem like the best safety wise. But, going much slower than traffic that is on your tail while ramping the rpm's way up and slowly screaming through the intersection doesn't sound so good or safe either.

I often shift at least into second. If I need to stop suddenly I'm going to pull up the clutch and hit my brake. If I need to speed up I can gun it in second or quickly gear down.

It's hard to make 'one size fits all' decisions when riding. Experience and common sense should reign.

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