Conflict avoidance

As you read this, I’ll be getting on a motorcycle to drive it for the first time (I’ve scheduled this post ahead of time). I’ve been a passenger for years and decided it’s time I learned to drive one. I’m nervous - like I was right before I shot a handgun for the first time.

One thing we’ve talked about a LOT in my motorcycle drivers ed class is having an escape route. It wasn’t until I messaged with @_Robert on Friday that I realized why I was better than average at seeing my escape routes on the bike. I’m used to being in condition yellow and looking for ways to avoid bad situations!

What strategies do you use to avoid bad situations?

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When a conversation escalates, tell them: “Sorry, you are right, I was mistaken”!


Even if you are right!!!


There are so many tactics to use when confronted with a situation that makes you uncomfortable. Of course, the end goal is to go home in the same condition that you left.
What are some suggestions that you may have to enable your safe exit?

I have found that when confronted by aggressive panhandlers the best response is to show the palms of both hands and politely decline and do not hesitate to put distance between you and them.

I am a firm believer that our verbal skills are the very best defense that we have.

I am interested to hear what you’ve tried.

Also, how does condition yellow look and feel to you?

To me condition yellow means head up at all times. Limiting mobile phone use and when I do need to check something either do it in my workspace by bringing it to my eye level and not lowering my eyes to see it (still working on this one) or doing where my back is covered by a wall or when the person that I am with is facing me, recognizing strategic advantages or disadvantages (exits, choke points, cover or concealment choices, etc.) of the places we go. Most of all being polite and subdued so as to not attract attention.

Kudos to @Dawn for stepping out of the comfort zone and learning a new skill! Be sure and let us know how it goes!

Back in the olden days of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, they had the acronym S.I.P.D.E. now it is S.E.E. Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute, and Search, Evaluate, Execute respectively if memory serves. I embraced SIPDE whole heartedly and used it not just for staying safe on a bike, but also as a means of staying in condition yellow or higher.

I believe it sets you up to constantly see your surroundings as you scan, helps you identify situations (moving to orange), predict how something can go south or how someone may react, decide on several courses of action, and then execute (high orange/red). I truly think that acronym has made me safe on a motorcycle and during my time on the department. I now teach it to my church’s safety team, hoping it keeps them constantly mentally aware and predicting how things might play out and planning a safe action to get through what they encounter, part of which is to use verbal de-escalation skills with stressed individuals.


Start by watching your(my) words and actions. In this day and age, people get the wrong impression over simple hand gestures. Body language can exude the “I’m a target” or “just keep moving buddy” sense. Predators and/or people looking to start trouble seek out the “I’m a target” types. I want to blend in, as much as the sheepdog blends in with the sheep. Meaning, I want to be noticed that I am aware of what’s going on, all while not being noticed. My head is alway on a swivel anyway. I have a very inquisitive 9.5 year old in tow most of the time. He’s very independent, so I have to make sure he’s not lagging behind. That seems to keep me aware of every little nuance going on around me. That, and I’m intrigued by watching people’s behavior in public, or lack of behavior.


The only time I’ve ever tried to drive a bike before was when I was 19 and laid it down. Needless to say, 19 was a long time ago. I did great this weekend! I learned a LOT and was able to drive the bike by the end of two very loooongg days.

However, I was two points off from passing my driving test. So I’ll get my temps and practice a bunch before I try to get my license again later this summer. My son passed with flying colors!

You are correct, sir! I have done that for so long with carrying that it was second nature on the bike. I just need to turn my head further when I do my turns (think Exercist). :laughing:


@Dawn Learning a lot, overcoming a past failure and arriving home in the same condition you left in is a winning weekend in my book! Great job!


On the road I was taught to always be looking both ahead and behind for a distance of five cars.

That way you can see potential wrecks before they ever happen and that gives you time to always have a plan to avoid/escape rather than relying on quick reactions when things blow up in front of or around you.

Learning that skill has kept me alive several times and able to avoid serious injury quite a few other times.

Spend some time on Youtube looking at “road rage” incidents, and “motorcycle wrecks”.

It’s amazing how many people are the instigators of incidents yet honestly seem to believe they were the victims.

Avoid stupid people.

Avoid stupid situations.

Avoid doing stupid things like escalating an incident on the road/highway and don’t overreact to others doing stupid things and you can avoid most of the dangers of the road.


I ride a bike :+1:t2: a cruiser/bagger. That has taught me much about situational awareness and always looking for an escape route. Good luck with yours!

In a worse case scenario I’d put out my left hand and arm extended motioning stop, with other hand on my weapon while saying something to diffuse, like ‘let’s not let this end badly’.

Objective would to be ready but in a retreating non threatening posture.

You’re especially vulnerable straddling a bike too since you really have no way to move so that has to be a big consideration I’d think.

There is really not much you can do to defend yourself while actually on a bike. My comments were actually regarding my off bike attitude.

I do carry though while on the bike and if not moving could draw and abandon the bike. Not sure how to practice that though :slight_smile:

I actually had to shoot a rattlesnake from the riding mower tonight mowing around the kennel and thought about you bikers.

I have no idea how I would practice that without dumping the bike - and I’m not prepared to do that ($$$$ in damages). Maybe I could practice on one of my pedal bikes - it would be a lot cheaper to dump repeatedly for training purposes :wink:

I’ll have to think about that one a bit more.

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I carry while riding, just not at all likely to engage anyone or anything while moving. If stopped though a snake would be an easy target for my Bond Arms derringer loaded with 2 .410 shells :smiley:

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Both my time in the military and as an OTR truck driver instilled situational awareness with me. I’ve had my CDL since I was 21. When you are heading down the road in something upwards to 80,000 lbs you pick up really quickly what is around you, possible mishaps, and how to get out of them. Even now that I don’t drive for a living anymore I still constantly rotate and check all my mirrors. I find myself while carrying now scanning all around me constantly and not just when I’m driving. I did it before I started carrying but more so now.


One of the biggest scares of my life was riding at night on an FJ 1100 after a rain when I ran through a series of about a dozen rattlers that had come up out of the ditch to get warm and dry on the pavement. All I could see going into them was one getting caught on the wheel and flipping up on me but there was no way to even slow down much less stop before riding through them!

I am new to this forum am concealed carry. Not sure if I should reply to this thread since it relates to my question, or create a new post.

I had a pretty scary moment in the past few weeks. I work overnights and was parked in a parking lot of a gas station that I’ve never had issues with anyone in or felt unsafe in and was approached by a male who approached my driver side window while I was working on something and watching my surroundings as best I could (I am usually very observative) and asked to “use my cell phone charger to charge his phone”. Feeling uneasy and not sure if he was trying to use this as a distraction tactic for me to focus on giving him my charger or as a tactic for him to move closer, I calmly and respectfully replied with “I’m sorry, I do not have a charger that you can use.” He then became very verbally aggressive and said “I just saw you playing on your phone and see your charger right there next to you.” and I replied with “I’m sorry, I am working right now and could have to leave at any time.” He then became even more aggressive and started yelling and cursing at me and fearing for my safety, I put my vehicle in drive as he began telling me to “step out and talk to him” and I drove to the other side of the parking lot and called police and told the dispatcher and the officer who arrived what happened (did inform them that I have a License to Carry a Handgun, required to notify an officer in my state if you have a weapon). Thankfully, this situation did not escalate to any level of use of force, however, my head has been filled with lots of “what if” questions i.e “what if he pulled a weapon”, “did I handle this situation properly?”, “could I have worded something differently that could have potentially deescalated the situation?”

Basically, I am curious if I handled the situation properly and what I could do better should I end up in a situation like this again. I would like to use this as an opportunity to grow and learn.

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I’d say you handled it pretty well.

Here’s what I’d suggest in the future though should a similar situation arise or you are faced say with an aggressive panhandler.

First, even if the person approaches you seems just fine, even a lady or child in distress that should raise your alert level.

Never open your door at all, never open your window enough for them to even get a flat hand inside.

Tell them"Sorry I cant’ help you but I’m happy to dial 911" if you like and go ahead and dial it. Have 911 set up so you can speed dial it and then press send if your phone allows.

If they see that and they have ill intent that should modify their behavior instantly.

Next, no matter what happens, leave the premises if you can instead of just moving to the other side of the parking lot.

I’d also suggest calling police and informing them so they can come check it out. If no clear threat has presented, use the local police non emergency number if you have access to it or can get it from directory assistance. Me I have the local non emergency numbers for the departments in the area and can bring them up on a voice search of my contacts.

We don’t want to tie up emergency resources unnecessarily and if you get the wrong person they may cite you for abusing them.

Next here’s your option, if you want to try to help by keeping the person in sight do it from a safe distance preferably off premises, such as across the street. If they head your way in any way then you’d probably be well advised to then dial 9-11 and do what you have to in order to extricate yourself from the situation.

Overall a very good job!

Remember the only fight you’re guranteed to win is the one you avoid. Remember too, we’re not cops or vigilantes and it’s not our job to put ourselves in unnecessary danger to help out and be a good citizen.

Even if the police are not able to find that individual and interview them, you’ve done a good thing and who knows, maybe convinced what would have been a first time offender from trying it again.

As for under what circumstances you’d have been justified in taking it to a higher level. All I can tell you is know your state laws. If you have a permit and are at all unsure when you can lawfully use force much less deadly force in such an encounter I’d say call your instructor and discuss it with them and if you aren’t a hundred percent confident in the answers, perhaps contact an atty in your state and run it by them.

A car offers some protection from an unarmed carjacker or potential robber but if they are armed it can quickly become a death trap so don’t let yourself get boxed in.

When I pull into a place after dark I will not park anywhere that doesn’t give me multiple options to make a rapid exit.

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I’d agree with @WildRose, you handled it pretty well. Personally I’d avoid sitting in a gas station or parking lot if at all possible. Is there anywhere else you can go to work/wait?

Glad to have you here, @Chase!

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