Let's talk about safety for a few minutes - Can-Am Spyder Forums: The Y-factor Community
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Let's talk about safety for a few minutes

I have not seen much info geared towards safety on this forum so I will start.

First off, I'm a commercial driver. I have not ridden a motorcycle since 1982. I drive Motorcoaches all over the country, I see alot of motorcycles on the highway. I see who the safe operaters are and who the potential organ donors are. My local newspaper today has a story citing the raw statistics of the increasing# of deaths and increasing #s in ridership in my state (PA) and district. It stands to reason that this is normal, based upon the increase of riders.

I'll go on record right away as I think motorcyles are dangerous simply because of the speed, weight and balance factor. Mix in a rider that does not respect this and you see where this is going. So who do I see out on the road that is unsafe? Bullet bikes riding in groups. That "I gotta show off in front of the boys" group mentality. Harley heads riding double file(why do they do that?). The occassional middle aged Harley rider(and that is who seems to own those) operating like an azzhat, flailing the bike around in and out of traffic with his fat SO in tow. Helmetless riders. Fully agree it is up to the individual to operate safely within the safety envelope.

Now comes the Spyder. The balance thing is reduced. Brakes are centralized to one pedal. On board computer to limit potential tip overs which I think in the Spyder would be catastrophic for the rider. This is what has me interested in the vehicle.

So those who have alot of riding experience on the Spyder, what are the safety concerns that I am missing?

And helmets. I have seen prices all over the place from $100 to whatever you can afford. I see the same thing in bicycle helmets ($40-$250, all meet the minimum safety requirements) What are some features I should look for, venting? padding? I want full face shield, are some made better than others? Scratching, etc?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 11:43 AM
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I'll give you my take on helmets.

Some people mistake the modular helmets as full face helmets. They really aren't. When they are down they give the same protection from flying road hazards (rocks, bugs, etc.) and wind, but if you ever have an accident and land on your face, the modular helmets do not protect your lower face. They break off. They even have this warning on the helmets themselves. I was tempted to get one since I live in Vegas and it would help at lights with the heat - but I decided I valued my face too much to have it added to the pavement if I was unfortunate enough to crash.

I have a Shoei RF-1000 helmet. I like it because it has good ventilation, it is light, and both DOT and snell approved. Easy to change the visor (from clear to smoke) and mid-price ranged. The things to balance out are weight (heavy=fatigue), vs ventilation (more ventilation = more noise, less noise=less ventilation) and price. For me it was a good choice because the ventilation is important given where I live.

As for the safety of the spyder, I think road conditions (oil, sand on the road, grooves in the road, etc.) are less of a problem, and because you can't lane split, you can't be tempted to lane split (I don't do that on the virago and think people are dumb to do it a lot of the time). One bad thing is because of the perceived safety of the spyder, I think a lot will be tempted to not wear the gear they should be wearing all of the time. The thing I try to remind people of is the gear you put on to get on the bike is the same gear you will have on when you fall off/thrown off the bike. A little discomfort (when hot, etc.) is worth the protection if the worst happens.


"Worry is the price you pay for troubles that may never come."
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 02:35 PM
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Location: Arkadelphia, AR
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Three tires!

Do not underestimate the safety that having three tires gives.

I had a flat on my "old fashioned two-wheeled cycle" yesterday. God was kind to me, I was just leaving a parking lot (not at speed in a turn) when I lost all pressure on the rear tire. I had run over something that tore hole in the flat of the tread.

A flat on the Spyder would be more like a flat on a car..... a BIG safety plus.

A quick air loss on a front motorcycle tire at speed can be deadly... with two fronts it would be much, much better on the Spyder. I have been meaning to ask BRP if the electronics jumps in during a front flat or not...
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 03:04 AM
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Location: Kissimmee, Fl..usa
Posts: 51
look at me..

I find that the spyder has alot more visability than other bikes.
I see the lookie-loos in both directions and I think that is great.
the more we see as ryders the more I think others see us.
Everyday, I see many riders that are looking to donate their organs, and for some reason they are of the hot headed crotch rocket mental peeps.
Please don't misunderstand me, I would say most all cycle riders practice safe driving habits, but those few make it tough for the rest of us.
Yes I wear a helmet, but some helmets prevent the other vehicle noise that is important to me as a rider, I think eyes, ears are equally important.

>>>> EFF <<<<
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 09:24 AM
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Overall the Spyder is definitely safer than a bike given road surface and visibility. The helmet decision comes down to personal opinion/preference as long as the helmet meets DOT requirements. A true full-face helmet is the safest type out there, but the new modulars with the flip-front are running a close second. I have been wearing a Nolan N-100 for about a year and am overall pleased with it. Open face aka 3/4 helmets don't protect the face and all it takes is one good bee strike to learn that lesson the hard way. Shorties, aka pudding bowls protect only the upper cranium. Sound/hearing is a major point with some people wanting to "hear everything". That sounds pretty good, but I hope to "hear everything" as I get older. That's why I wear at least a modular helmet and then add ear plugs if I'm riding over about 30 minutes.

The single most important thing a rider can do to not become a statistic is to take a rider education course. The main one is taught by the MotorCycle Safety Foundation in just about every state. Here is their web site: http://www.msf-usa.org
They will of course teach you how to ride, but they will also teach you how to minimize the risk. They go over helmets and other riding gear. Before my two sons came along, I was an instructor. One of the main statistics I learned was that 90&#37; of all fatalities have no "official" training.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 08:34 PM
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"Ride like a Pro"

This fellows DVD's have lots of good safety tips:


I don't remember where I learned it, but one of my favorites I use driving cars or bikes is to watch the front wheels of a car at a stop sign or intersection as you come on it... you can see the wheel moving before you would notice the vehicle is moving, and have more time to react.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 07:09 PM
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May I suggest to you the book, Proficient Motorcycling. It's written generally for the two-wheeled motorcyclist, but has lots of information that's applicable to three-wheelers as well. Check out the reviews at amazon.com.

I have a Spyder primarily for the stability of three wheels, but have over a million miles on both two and three-wheelers over 40+ years. Let me offer the opinion that safety (risk management) is found more between your ears. It's imperative to learn typical crash scenarios and how to avoid them.

The big advantage of the Spyder is that the footprint is not very susceptible to surface hazards.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 03:43 AM
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One thing you can do is to make yourself more visible the cagers by adding HID headlights and fog lights. Also good for earlier detection of deer!

Don't sell safety cheap. Buy good gear especially the helmet. They can repair my broken bones but brain damage is another thing entirely. I have seen riders buy inexpensive helmets yet they pour a lot of money into their Spyder with aftermarket mods. WTF? First priority...the fit. If you can wiggle it on your head, it's too big and may come off in a crash. Second is padding. Last is comfort (i.e. ventilation) I have a Givi X01 and I love it. Very well made and excellent tests results using European standards (which test at higher velocities than DOT). It is a TRUE modular helmet...has two different chin bars...winter and summer. Also has two different sets of vents (same a chin bar). It also has a sun shield that can be used with or without the full face shield down. The helmet uses a ratchet type chin strap instead of D rings...much easier to put on and take off

Use your head! I passed a two-wheeler yesterday and the guy was fiddling with what I think was his radio. He had no idea what was ahead of him!! There's a lot written lately on people dialing cell phones or texting while driving. It is even worse to do it on a motorcycle.

In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mrfilovirus View Post
I'll give you my take on helmets.

. . . but if you ever have an accident and land on your face, the modular helmets do not protect your lower face. They break off.
Not necessarily. I was wearing a modular helmet (made by Schuberth for BMW) when an SUV attacked my bike. Down hard, slid across the pavement ON MY FACE. Helmet worked just like it was supposed to. Great souvenier what with the scapes and scratches (and good teaching tool).
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 07:43 PM
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You can read about helmets here Motorcycle Helmet Design, Helmet Standards and Head Protection - Motorcyclist Online

You'll see that more expensive isn't necessarily better.
Better is the helmet that's comfortable and fits well. Try a bunch.

Wear ear protection. The noise goes way up at 70mph! And noise can be tiring so you are not at your most alert.

Wear appropriate clothing like an armored jacket and good gloves and boots.
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