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Newbie Safety Question


Crazy_Canuck

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Crazy_Canuck

I am relatively new to street riding (road dirt bikes) and I consider my self to be a cautious rider and I am always looking for any potential hazards.

 

The one thing that scares me the most...is sitting at a red light and someone plows into you from behind. Is there any defense (defensive driving) against something like that? confused.gif

 

Any comments would be appreciated.

 

Thanks Rob

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Keep it in first gear, clutch-in, and keep an eye on your mirrors until you get a couple of cars stopped behind you.

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If legal, (it is in California) lane split to the front of stopped traffic. No worry of rear-enders when the stopped cars are behind you.

If you are unable to split, then position your motorcycle to the left or right of your traffic lane and "watch your six" by checking your mirrors for threats approaching from behind that is not stopping. Keep your bike in first gear and be ready to split between cars when you think you are about to be tagged from behind.

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Francois_Dumas

I also switch my brake light on and off until I am sure the car approaching behind me is slowing down. And keep watching them to be sure....

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"Behind us" is one of those places that requires constant checking. When coming to a red light, you can't devote 100% of your attention to what's in front of you. You should be checking those mirrors frequently and, in fact, should have been doing so all along so that you're always as aware as possible of what's going on behind you. Your approach to any stop must include 360 degrees of awareness because stopping and stopped are when you are most vulnerable.

 

When you make your stop, don't leave yourself pinned in. Leave space and position yourself such that you can get around whatever is in front of you. If you can (as in CA) filter to the front so that there is no one directly behind you. That way you can avoid being the balogna in the sandwich that's about to be made!

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- Keep your bike in gear;

- Keep watching your mirrors;

- Keep a getaway distance between you and the next one in line in front of you;

- Only stop in the left or right wheel track instead of in the middle;

- If it’s a busy traffic light, place yourself between the rows of cars;

- Wear ATGATT;

 

I guess most importantly, just be aware this could happen, have some presence. The ones that get hit this way generally never saw it coming.

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Very good suggestions above.

 

I'm a proponent of conspicuity -- using color (hi-viz jacket, white helmet), lights (flashing LED brake light, topcase brake light, big-ass driving lights) and reflective material (on jacket, pants and side cases) to try to be more visible to others in traffic. But there's a VERY important caveat to all that: You must assume that NONE of it will help you. They're no substitute for awareness of what's going on around you. As a reminder, I have a sticker in the middle of my speedometer that reads "YOU'RE INVISIBLE."

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That situation is a worry. I saw a video recently that was taken from a cop car parked at the side of a road near the traffic lights. It showed a bike pulled up at the line, no other cars around, then a truck smashed right into him. Killed the rider. It made me think a lot but if the truck driver wasn't looking there was probably nothing the rider could have done to avoid it. frown.gif

 

Paul

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Crazy_Canuck

Thanks for the replies. I already do most of the things mentioned but here is the scenario...You have your bike in first gear ready to take off forward and you are the first person stopped at light. For the most part your only option would be to drive straight (at least forward and then off to a side)and that puts you into the cross traffic and then "splat" dopeslap.gif Keep in mind you only have a split second to react (not being able to judge cross traffic because you are looking behind you).

 

again thanks for your thoughts.

 

 

 

I hope that makes sense.

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When I come to a stop light that worries my I usually come to a stop near the right shoulder of the road. I have the option of scooting up beside the car in front of me or just diving into the weeds if I need to.

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Thanks for the replies. I already do most of the things mentioned but here is the scenario...You have your bike in first gear ready to take off forward and you are the first person stopped at light. For the most part your only option would be to drive straight (at least forward and then off to a side)and that puts you into the cross traffic and then "splat" dopeslap.gif Keep in mind you only have a split second to react (not being able to judge cross traffic because you are looking behind you).

 

again thanks for your thoughts.

 

 

 

I hope that makes sense.

Besides watching behind you, you should also be aware of what cross traffic is doing in the event you need to pull into the intersection to avoid being rear-ended. You usually have about 10' of distance after crossing the limit line before you enter a lane of cross traffic.

I know this sounds difficult, but you should always ride as if anticipating "what if's" by potential threats around you. Have a plan of action in the event a "what if" occurs.

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For the most part your only option would be to drive straight (at least forward and then off to a side)and that puts you into the cross traffic and then "splat"
Well maybe, maybe not. If it is a multiple lane (in your direction) stopping point, there's always the option of squirting between the lanes, vehicles, stopped in front of you. Even if you're not able to fully pull it off and worst case tip or something, it beats getting arz ended. Or the other direction - over the curb, into the sidewalk, down the ditch, whatever. Again, just get out of the way to anywhere and clean up the consequences latter.
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I have a pair of these mounted on my bike, one facing front and one rear. If I get even a whiff of someone getting too close I blast 'em!

 

60126758-M.jpg

 

I put the Para model facing backward in a fixed position since it has a bipod, and the SPW model on a swivel facing forward so I can sweep the lanes with it. I haven't had any issues with traffic since putting them on. Ammo's kinda pricey these days since demand is up, but the roads around home are safer for motorcycles now.

 

tongue.gif

 

Seriously, +1 to all the above. Your best defense is ALWAYS situational awareness. That extra little edge may just give you a the split-second chance to move out of the way (and you don't have to move far, even a foot or two can make all the difference in the world).

 

I don't envy you people that have to ride in heavy traffic. This is usually what I see out here:

 

85582936-M.jpg

 

Doug

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Funny you should ask this one. Just last week I got caught on the feeway in a traffic jam. I hate these for the same reason you are concerned about getting rear ended at a stop light. Anyway, I leave some extra room in front of me allow for an escape scoot forward if need be.

 

The hard part is to get your brain wired so when you hear the screach of death comeing from belhind you, you avoid the natural response to tense up and essentially freeze into a stationary landing pad for the idiot coming to squish you. It is similar to the way a sprinter reacts to a starting pistol going off.

 

I was amazed that after about three of these kinds of encounters, I didn't freeze but immediately was doing a controlled holl shot into my buffer and between the cars. At a stop light this is tougher as you have to launch fast but at some point stop before going into cross traffic.

 

I don't know of any way to practice gettig over the tendancy to freeze when you hear screeching tires, but it is key in the strategy to move away quickly. At best you have only a second or three to clear out of the danger spot.

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Blue Beemer Dude
I have a pair of these mounted on my bike, one facing front and one rear. If I get even a whiff of someone getting too close I blast 'em!

 

I put the Para model facing backward in a fixed position since it has a bipod, and the SPW model on a swivel facing forward so I can sweep the lanes with it.

 

 

Doug,

 

Do you have problems with the torque of the guns making the bike lean or pull (the dreaded PTTR)? Also, I'm concerned with the ejected shells getting under the tires and affecting my traction. Is this a problem too? wink.gif I hope you wear ear protection too, those suckers are loud! dopeslap.gif

 

To the original poster: you bring up an excellent point, and it's good to consider these situations. Unfortunately, motorcycle riding is very dangerous, largely due to the &^%#*@$ morons out there who are too important to pay attention to what's going on around them, or have to talk on the phone or drive drunk or whatever...

 

Be careful, be alert, but also please don't obsess so much over all of this stuff so much that you don't enjoy the ride.

 

Michael

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Doug,

 

Do you have problems with the torque of the guns making the bike lean or pull (the dreaded PTTR)? Also, I'm concerned with the ejected shells getting under the tires and affecting my traction. Is this a problem too? I hope you wear ear protection too, those suckers are loud!

 

 

Naw, the recoil is actually pretty manageable and the Beemers are so stable anyway it isn't an issue. I've got casing catchers on the ejectors since I reload my own rounds. Every 20th round is a tracer for night use.

 

wink.gif

 

As stated above and I'll reiterate, situational awareness (being prepared) is your best protection. And remember, you don't have to move far, just out of the way! We don't have the traffic you do in big cities, but there are plenty of other hazards on our roads (mostly critters) that are totally random and require constant attention.

 

The demands of riding safely are one of the things I enjoy about riding. You feel so much more alive and part of the process on a bike than you do in a cage.

 

90572933-M.jpg

 

Take care and ride safely!

 

Doug

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Crazy_Canuck

Doug thanks for the laugh I enjoyed your email regarding the "upgrades". I think if we really had that kind of equipment on our bikes people would think twice when driving near us...then again maybe not.

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While staying alert is always appropriate, I think it would be the rare exception that you could determine that someone is going to hit you from behind and and have the time & space to do something about it.

 

Trying to pull forward might make them think it's ok to continue (just as we sometimes pull forward, even though the light is red, simply because the car in front of us started forward). Pulling forward to "escape" may cause you to get hit by cross traffic, only to have the guy who caused it just drive away unscathed. Staying over on the right makes you less visible and be seen as someone who is trying to turn right.

 

So, trying to avoid it in the first place may be the best you can do. Staying visible seems to be fundamentally the best defense.

 

Consider:

- bright/reflective clothing

- extra reflective tape on the rear of the bike

- flashing your brake light as someone approaches

- staying in the left portion of the lane, so you are directly in front of the approaching driver....so you are blocking their view. You want to be seen as an obstacle.

- if at night and one portion of the intersection seems to be better lit by a street light, stay in the better lighted area.

 

You do feel exposed in this situation, but it seems that you are more likely to have a car turn left in front of you than hit you from behind at a red light.

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ShovelStrokeEd

I have had two friends killed over the years in rear end collisions. One in a car and one on a bike. Both were single vehicles stopped at a traffic light, late at night, and were hit from behind by drunk drivers. The guy in the car was driving a white Corvette with a number of tail and brake lights. Conspiquity did nothing for him. The guy on the bike was on a Harley with roughly 150 lights on the back of his dresser. Same story, in neither case did the police find so much as a skid mark on the road during their investigation, the drunks never even attempted to slow.

 

The only safe way to avoid a rear end collision is to not be there. Filter to the front, legal or not. Run the light if need be. Just don't be there. I seldom will bother to look in my mirrors anymore, I just find a way to get gone.

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I also switch my brake light on and off until I am sure the car approaching behind me is slowing down. And keep watching them to be sure....

 

Good suggestion Francois, I use that one too.

Installling a pair of Hyperlites can also help get drivers attention.

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Good question, I was rear ended while on a bike 20+ years ago in slow traffic on a freeway on-ramp.

 

In addition to the suggestions already made, I also try to leave room for the car to slide past me. For example if I am in the left/fast lane, I try to hug the left most portion of the lane. This allows the car behind to swerve to my right if they need a few extra feet to stop.

 

That said, not being there is my first preference. I have little confidence in others to keep me safe.

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You might consider using a brake light modulator
+1

I have one that "strobes" for a second before it pulses then goes steady. In situations where I'm nervous, I'll "tickle" the brake lever for a few seconds until a couple of cars are stacked behind me.

 

Not a panacea (I get tired of saying this re headlight modulators, and now tail light modulators) for all the above mentioned passive things to do to be prepared to protect yourself, but certainly helps in terms of conspicuity.

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bigwilliejoe
Very good suggestions above.

 

As a reminder, I have a sticker in the middle of my speedometer that reads "YOU'RE INVISIBLE."

 

Great point, sometimes we are...

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I like JamesB ideas with one further idea. To follow your scenario that you are aprroaching an intersection with no one in front of you, change tire tracks before you stop. You'll be remidning those behind you that the whole width of the lane is yours and perhaps get them to wonder why you are moving sideways. I'm convinced that a little side to side movement increases our conspictuity.

 

No guarantees, of course, but may help with the marginally aware.

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