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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.