I will admit that being stuck on the side of the road is huge frowny face. The question I will venture is (and pardon me for being the devil's advocate here and this isn't something I take personal so I hope no one else is...), does the faulty situation with the switch tend continue to occur after the switch has been replaced (most particularly in your case Pvster)? I only ask because Its good to know this stuff, which is why I wanted more data and also (and this is bit of a distant memory because it's been a while) I seem to recall when I went through MSF courses they actually instructed us to use the kill switch first, then to turn off the Ignition switch so it just tends to be counter-intuitive to the uninitiated. Now, admittedly, I had already ridden for a long time before I bothered to get legal (yeah sorry, lol). Sometimes I use both or just the key... I don't really think too much one way or another as long as the bike is off and so is the power when I park it.
No offense taken
I love a good discussion as it provides opportunities if nothing else, for me to learn something new (which is nearly always). I know what you mean by the MSF course teaching to use the kill switch first. Its the only major thing that I disagree with that the MSF teaches. I've had many bad experiences, and met many long time riders with bad experiences regarding the kill-switch. The MSF teaches it from a liability standpoint. Using the kill switch is just bad habit to stand to reason.
As to your question in regards to replacing kill switches, for some models (such as the vlx) the problem persists, for others (early 2000's cbrs) a new switch didn't show the same issues. It appears to be certain years/model specific in terms of a new switch not repeating the same trend.
To the topic at hand. Low batteries will crank most bikes but a half dead battery will often times not give it enough spark to fire off and start so it will crank but really slowly, just like a car. If it gets too low then it probably will just click when you hit the starter button. I suspect that if it is an issue with the kill switch then it will just do nothing. Cycle batteries, in general, are not like car batteries. The may last a year, 2, or 3, but not usually much beyond that so if your battery is original or that old then you should keep that in mind. You can get lucky but $$$ does not necessarily net results on par with quality. The battery on my old Hawk made it the 5 years that I owned it. I charged it once and it came with the bike. The day after I sold the bike to a guy it died. Go figure. If you have a charger throw it on there for about 10 minutes. If it has enough juice to crank then the quick charge should give it the juice it needs to fire up. Once it runs you will want to let it warm up to start with and keep an eye on the brightness of the light. If it is getting dimmer then it may be a charging issue. If you have a volt meter you can check your voltage and if it is charging it should be going up.... If it is not charging then it may still be the battery but it may also be related to a charging issue. If you are confident that it is charging then I would go for a little ride. Maybe a half hour at the bare minimum. My objective is to just let you know make sure it is charging before you go somewhere and the battery completely dies and you are left on the side of the road.
Actually, you'd be surprised. A fair number of members on here have gotten 5+ years out of their OEM batteries (and perhaps aftermarket) easily. Also, Motorcycle batteries are very similar to car battries. The contributing factor is the motorcycle rather than the battery. For example, a lot of bikes won't charge a battery at idle so effectively, you're running off the battery until you get above a certain rpm. This is due to the rotations of the Stator and the rpm varies across make/models/years. That's why it is generally advisable to not fire up a bike and let it only idle during storage, as you're effectively just draining the battery.
Also, some models will actually fire up but not run properly due to low battery voltage. The vlx is case in point again: with low voltage, it'll crank over and fire up, but will only run on 1 cyl. Yes this includes trying to actually ride it on the street which can be done. This leads to many people freaking out and thinking something is seriously wrong. They then post on the vlx forum asking for help on troubleshooting and the first answer is always to check battery voltage. The vlx (all years) are very sensitive to battery voltage for some reason.
If you know the battery is bad, or won't hold a charge, its best to replace it so you don't run the risk of being stranded on the side of the road. Push starting the bike is not fun in any way, shape, or form. More so when in traffic
Don't ask me how I know