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Near Miss - got really lucky


Michaelr11

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Michaelr11

I am having a hard time shaking this one off.

 

Yesterday afternoon, nearly finished with a 100 mile ride I was on a two lane road headed towards home.

 

I approached an intersection where another road ends at this intersection. Two cars ahead of me stopped due to oncoming traffic and they were signaling a left; I was going to proceed straight.

 

Most probably have guessed already what happened next. As I stopped I looked in my mirror and saw a mini-van approaching too fast. You can sense closing speed, especially if you are expecting the vehicle has to stop. This all happened in about a second - the vehicles wheels locked up, I could see smoke or dirt fly up from the tires and the front of the van dive forward a bit. At this point I was sure I was going to be crushed by the mini-van. Then the van started a clockwise skid and I thought I might get lucky and it would crash on my right into the car in front of me. Thw twist/skid continued and the front of the van caught the grass on the shoulder and rolled down the embankment on the right shoulder then it rolled over onto its roof. All four occupants of the mini-van were pulled out without injury. Two adult women, two children - thankfully all were strapped in.

 

I was positioned about 4 or 5 feet behind the car that was turning, near the center line. The shoulder was very narrow with a grass embankment right after the shoulder. I don't think I could have been positioned differently. There would not have been room on the right to go around the left turning cars which is why I wouldn't have positioned myself to the right. In hindsight if I had tried to go around right I probably would have been struck by the van as it went by.

 

I pulled over to assist and give a witness report to the trooper once he arrived. I'm not really looking for an analysis of this, but the potential catastrophic damage that I missed here - I can't seem to clear my mind of it. I'm hoping that by sharing it I can put it behind. I might use my hazard lights the next time I'm stopped there. It is a popular left turn.

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Michaelr11

Thanks Lee - already have them. Hyperlights on the rear, around the license plate and below the tail light. This was just a driver not paying attention to the road in front.

 

I drove past the location in my car yesterday. The skid marks only began a scary close distance to the intersection.

 

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Medic Mike

That is a close call Michael...glad your are in one piece, though still processing. You just gave me another reason to get hyperlights on my RT.

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That is a close call Michael...glad your are in one piece, though still processing. You just gave me another reason to get hyperlights on my RT.

 

So glad that situation resolved itself without injury. Very sobering. Lot's of inattention going on behind the wheel.

 

I wanted to give a little feedback on hyper-lights. A buddy had a set on a rented bike on our Colorado trip. I must say, particularly during the daytime, I felt the hyperlights were not as effective as I would have hoped. They just aren't large enough, IMO for really grabbing the attention from behind.

 

There are a lot of alternatives available now that might be worth looking into, including 'dynamic' brake lights to blink when decelerating and blink faster when using the brakes. I know Grand Rapids BMW had some kind of dynamic brake light when I was there this Spring. The BMW supplemental light is also an alternative.

 

 

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If the driver was texting, I am not sure any lights would have helped much. It is pretty scary out there these days. I'm glad you survived this one.

Edited by Green RT
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Close calls are not fun "shake up/wake up" calls, but they beat the alternative. Glad you came out of it ok.

 

I have a red RT with many reflective "things" on it and I wear reflective gear. I keep one eye on the mirrors at stops and stay in gear for quick getaways from distracted drivers. I was still getting too many close calls. A year ago I added amber running lights on either side of the license plate and Hyperlights just below the rear light assembly, more or less at cage eye level. I have noticed a BIG reduction in close calls and that the cages now tend to stop further back than before. Still at the mercy of head down drivers though.

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That's spooky. I've seen accidents like that, albeit involving cars, where the offending driver either never braked or did it much too late.

 

It sounds like you've evaluated whether you could have done anything differently. The only thing I'd suggest that might help in a situation like that is decelerating much sooner and rolling slowly at a fairly great distance from the stopped/turning traffic, rather than being more or less immobilized. Still, this might be one of those situations where there just is no good alternative. And, frankly, sometimes I've found myself boxed in because I failed to anticipate what was happening ahead of me.

 

I installed a Clearwater Billie tail/brake light on my RT a few weeks ago. The light is very bright, even dimmed to 20%, and it's pretty darned smart in its flashing behavior. I was considering dimming it to 10%, but you've convinced me that it's probably slightly better to keep it at the more conspicuous/obnoxious level of brightness.

 

Glad to hear that you were uninjured and that the moron driver and her passengers were okay.

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  • 1 month later...

Driving here in New York City I have taken up the practice of squeezing the brake lever on a fairly frequent basis when I am stopped. It continues to activate my Hyper Lights and I hope keep cabs, bikes, pedestrians and all other forms of critters alert. So far I have been lucky and not gotten hit.

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The Rocketman

If you cut the green wire loop in the HyperLights harness, it will flash constantly and indefinitely without you having to squeeze and release your brake lever repeatedly to light them up. It ships with the loop in tact, which results in about 5 seconds of flashing, then switching to solid. If you already knew this, I apologize.

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They might not have seen you at all without all the flashing brake lights you were using, so in one sense they did work. If she had not hit the breaks at all it could of really really been bad.

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If you cut the green wire loop in the HyperLights harness, it will flash constantly and indefinitely without you having to squeeze and release your brake lever repeatedly to light them up. It ships with the loop in tact, which results in about 5 seconds of flashing, then switching to solid.

 

Do you mean that they will flash constantly as long as you have the breaks applied?

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They might not have seen you at all without all the flashing brake lights you were using, so in one sense they did work. If she had not hit the breaks at all it could of really really been bad.

 

Yeah. no doubt that the driver did not see the intersection, the stopped cars or me. Who knows - two kids in the car, cell phone, whatever - I didn't feel like asking her after they pulled her out of her rolled over mini van. Fortunately she looked forward in time to hit her brakes and I had good karma that day.

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The Rocketman

Do you mean that they will flash constantly as long as you have the breaks applied?

Yes. I f you cut the green wire loop, they will flash constantly as long as you have the brake applied. Without the green wire cut, they flash for about 5 seconds then go solid. Nothing at all happens (obviously) unless you have the brake applied.

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I am thrilled to hear that you are okay. One really scary time indeed.

I also endorse the Hyperlights. I have mine set to continuous flash and they come in two sizes so I went with the bigger ones. The reason I got them is I purchased my bike (used) about a three hour drive from my house. My wife and I drove, picked up the bike and she followed me back. She needed gas so we pulled into a station off of the highway and she made the statement, "I can't see your break light, is it working?" I knew it was, it just was washed out by bright sun.

Never regretted the purchase since.

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They might not have seen you at all without all the flashing brake lights you were using, so in one sense they did work. If she had not hit the breaks at all it could of really really been bad.

 

Evening Exploreinman

 

That is a good point about being seen, as long as you don't get hit they are a good idea. But if you do get hit in the rear they might not be such a good idea as flashing brake lights are illegal in most states & illegal by federal standardized lighting standards.

 

If the driver that hits you is smart (or gets a smart lawyer) they can claim the flashing rear brake lights confused them & by the time they figured it out it was too late to stop in time. (might hold water & might not but it does give the other driver some wiggle room as the standardized vehicle lighting is standardized for a good reason )

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"But if you do get hit in the rear they might not be such a good idea as flashing brake lights are illegal in most states & illegal by federal standardized lighting standards."

 

FYI for California (can't say for elsewhere):

 

25251.5. (a) Any motor vehicle may also be equipped with a system

in which an amber light is center mounted on the rear of a vehicle to

communicate a component of deceleration of the vehicle, and which

light pulses in a controlled fashion at a rate which varies

exponentially with a component of deceleration.

(b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with two amber lamps on the

rear of the vehicle which operate simultaneously with not more than

four flashes within four seconds after the accelerator pedal is in

the deceleration position and which are not lighted at any other

time. The lamps shall be mounted at the same height, with one lamp

located on each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle, not

higher than the bottom of the rear window, or if the vehicle has no

rear window, not higher than 60 inches. The light output from each of

the lamps shall not exceed 200 candlepower at any angle horizontal

or above. The amber lamps may be used either separately or in

combination with another lamp.

© Any stoplamp or supplemental stoplamp required or permitted by

Section 24603 may be equipped so as to flash not more than four

times within the first four seconds after actuation by application of

the brakes.

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