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DataDan
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   Posted 10/26/2011 5:24 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

NOTE: I'm posting this thing as a new thread because for some reason, the forum software aborts on SUBMIT when I post it as a reply to the thread Why are/aren't you safer?

 

 

While I recognize the benefit of conspicuity measures such as bright colors and extra lighting, I don't regard them as a significant addition to the daytime headlight. When I see a motorcycle coming toward me, the headlight is the feature that stands out most. I can see running lights or a bright-colored helmet or jacket, but the headlight is more prominent and is visible at a greater distance.

 

In addition, I have found from studying descriptions of crashes where the driver didn't see the motorcycle that the situation isn't always as simple as it might seem. Hearing about a crash between a motorcycle and a left-turner, most riders imagine--as I did for many years--a motorcycle in full view of a driver who simply doesn't see it. Driver distraction and "inattentional blindness" are popular explanations. But there's sometimes more to it than a failure to see what's in plain sight. Speed, terrain, and intervening vehicles often explain why the driver didn't see the motorcycle. That may not absolve him of legal responsibility, but knowledge of those situations is required for a rider to devise effective countermeasures. Making yourself seen when the sightline is obstructed takes different tactics than when it is unobstructed.

 

One strategy I recommend is what I call active visibility--adjusting speed and position to ensure that you have a clear view to vehicles that could threaten you, and giving the other driver a good opportunity to see you. I realize this doesn't contribute to your project, but it could add to your riding strategy repertoire and help keep you safe. Here are some links to MC-USA posts describing problems that a strategy of active visibility can address:

 

  • Deadly Gap: The left lane is at a dead stop as traffic waits to turn left up ahead, but you're moving at normal speed in the right lane. However, a driver in the left lane has opened a gap to allow an oncoming vehicle to turn into the gas station on your right. As it does, it crosses your lane giving you no time stop.

  • The Rolling Blind Spot: The van ahead of you and one lane to the right slows to turn into a parking lot. At the same time, a vehicle pulls out of the parking lot to turn left, crossing your lane.

  • Sorry mate, I didn't see you: A motorcycle moving directly toward a driver waiting to turn left is merely a small, stationary dot in his visual field, displaying no cues to motion or speed. Failing to predict interference with his maneuver, he pulls into the rider's path. See also a recent video featuring the riding instructor mentioned in my post, Crash Course - The SMIDSY.

  • Vanishing Act: Speed can make a motorcycle practically disappear. Here's how.

Here's a short essay I wrote a few years ago on the subject, which I don't think I've posted here before.

 

 

Active vs. Passive Visibility

 

Bright lights and bright colors can help other motorists see you, but only if your line of sight is unobstructed.

 

The advantages of a motorcycle and apparel that can be easily seen by other motorists are well known. Hurt found a significant crash-reduction benefit in both daytime headlights and brightly colored clothing. A 1990s New Zealand study found lower risk of crashing with fluorescent or reflective clothing and a white helmet. And anecdotal evidence from net forums recommends all of that plus a headlight modulator that produces a pulsating beam of light.

 

None of which does a bit of good if the line of sight between the motorcycle and potentially interfering traffic is blocked.

In a small Washington city, a rider negotiates the odd S-shaped bend on a main street through town and finds a bus making a left turn from the oncoming lane. Though he brakes hard, he's unable to stop and hits the right rear quarter of the bus before it can finish its turn. Because foliage obstructed the sightline between the motorcycle and bus through most of the bend, the bus driver began to turn before the motorcycle was even in sight. Moreover, the shape of the bend took the rider's focus away from the intersection. By the time he had passed the obstructions and looked toward the intersection, the bus was less than 100 feet away. The rider's speed wasn't reported, but it was too fast for him to stop in the available distance.

 

In Pennsylvania, a motorcycle traveling behind a van approaches an intersection where a car stopped at a cross street on the right waits to turn left. The van ahead of the motorcycle slows to turn right at the intersection, and the driver on the cross street seizes the opportunity to make his turn. The motorcycle passes the slowing van and collides with the left-turning car. Neither the driver nor the rider saw each other because the van obstructed the sightline.

 

On a West Virginia thoroughfare with three lanes in each direction, traffic in the eastbound #1 and #2 lanes is at a crawl. To accommodate a westbound motorist attempting to turn left into a gas station on the south side of the street, drivers in those two lanes open a gap to let him through. But he collides with a motorcycle in the eastbound #3 lane moving at normal speed. Again, neither the rider nor the driver saw each other because the sightline was blocked.

Advice to riders often emphasizes passive visibility--conspicuity measures such as bright lights and bright colors--but ignores active visibility--adjusting position and speed to improve the chances of being seen by other motorists. In fact, a rider in a high-viz yellow Aerostich Roadcrafter with a searing, pulsating headlight beam may be lulled into complacency. Unless he is also taking positive action to ensure a clear line of sight between himself and vehicles that could cross his path, he could find himself in one of these situations in spite of his conspicuity.

 


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

Post Edited (DataDan) : 10/27/2011 1:56:14 AM GMT

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louemc
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   Posted 10/27/2011 11:26 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
^^^ Exactly...What a rider needs is a working brain....then everything else works.


 Focus the forces, Be The Force

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jon
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   Posted 10/27/2011 11:39 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
yep, agree.
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Andy VH
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   Posted 10/27/2011 12:48 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yup, great info! Visibility is GREATLY impacted by distance, meaning the following distance of the bike behind other traffic. The further back the bike from other traffic the better, for the rider's line of sight, and for others to see the motorcycle.

Just yesterday, in 45 degree weather here in Green Bay, WI, I was behind a rider on his GL1500 Gold Wing, at 65 mph on HWY 41. He was NO more than two car lengths behind the vehicle in front of him, centered on the car, in fact two car lengths would have been a stretch. He was cruising along, one had tucked in his jacket pocket, of course, because he wasn't wearing gloves. No brains I'm guessing, because aside from no gloves and no helmet, he was wearing shorts and running shoes (though he was in NO shape for running). Following too close, at 65 mph one handed, no helmet, in shorts, in freakin 45 degrees on a cloudy day no less. Amazing.


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Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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Richard47
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   Posted 10/27/2011 12:49 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

My feelings exactly. If a driver fails to see my headlight they are either not paying attention or they are unable to do so. Any additional aids to visibility are not going to do very much.

As I said in the original thread, I never overtake at intersections (unless lane splitting and then only at walking speed), it's asking for trouble. I was wondering, is that ever taught in training courses over there?


Toilet Brush Dog Owner

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AtvMinibike
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   Posted 10/27/2011 8:45 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Operating a motorcycle takes different skills than driving a car; however, the laws of the road apply to every driver just the same. A combination of consistent education, regard for traffic laws and basic common sense can go a long way in helping reduce the amount of fatalities involved in motorcycle accidents
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Easy Rider 2
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   Posted 10/28/2011 7:39 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
DataDan said...

NOTE: I'm posting this thing as a new thread because for some reason, the forum software aborts on SUBMIT when I post it as a reply to the thread Why are/aren't you safer?

And the "poll reply bug" bites another user in the ass.  skull
 
Can't we just disable the "poll" feature until the new software is ready.
It causes more trouble than it is worth......IMHO.
 
 


 
 

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el SID
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   Posted 10/28/2011 8:12 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Agreed Easy. Can the poll questions! lol This one bit me 2 days ago....

Data Dan,as always a fantastic post which puts the rider in question and in charge of ones safety. Theres alot more to do with safety than just donning some bright equipment. As stated so many times before,and by Lou, safety starts between the ears. You could be lit up like a c mas tree,but it does no good unless you actively pursue being seen by other motorists.

 I would say the most common mistake I see by other riders is; following to closely, bad distance, poor lane discipline. Everything else is just an added advantage to being safe; bright colors, etc. If you arent on your game,you are more than likely going to get hurt. And thats the riders fault. Sure the idiot driver may pull out in front of you,but its up to you to notice intent. Its up to you as a rider to develop and hone those critical techniques for survival,panic braking, proper sightlines,etc. Do bright colors help,sure. But they are useless when you are following to close in traffic, where those colors cannot be seen. Great points fellas.

 


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DataDan
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   Posted 10/28/2011 8:39 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Andy VH wrote:

Visibility is GREATLY impacted by distance, meaning the following distance of the bike behind other traffic. The further back the bike from other traffic the better, for the rider's line of sight, and for others to see the motorcycle.

el SID wrote:

I would say the most common mistake I see by other riders is; following to closely, bad distance, poor lane discipline.

Great point. Following distance is an essential consideration for being seen. Suppose you're following an 8.5ft wide FedEx van at a distance of 30 feet--less than a 1 second following interval at 25mph. You're view is blocked over 15 degrees of your field of vision, so you can't see crossing or oncoming vehicles even 200ft ahead and they can't see you either. An oncoming driver trying to turn left after the van passes could easily take you out simply because he didn't see you tucked in behind it. By dropping back to 90ft (2.5 seconds) you gain hundreds of feet of forward vision, so you can see vehicles threatening you and their drivers can see you.


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

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Andy VH
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   Posted 10/29/2011 2:44 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yup, and I'd bet the rider 30 feet behind the Fedex van, taken out by an anxious car/driver turning left just as the van passes, would claim the car "suddenly turned into MY path of travel and failed to yield to MY right of way!"

When actually, I would say the cycle rider was AS MUCH at fault as the car driver. Yet, most cycle riders only respond by saying the car driver is at fault.

I KNOW proper following distance works to my advantage. I RARELY if ever have issues with cars turning in front of me, or taking my lane, etc. If a car is making an "anxious" move like described above I see it happen before I get there. Plus, I ride an average of 10,000 miles per year, about four times the national average. That means I'm in traffic a lot more than riders who ride 2,000 miles or less per year. But yet, I have next to no issues dealing with traffic. I feel visibility and following distance have a LOT to do with that.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

Post Edited (Andy VH) : 10/29/2011 9:50:29 PM GMT

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AtvMinibike
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   Posted 10/30/2011 6:18 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Operating a motorcycle takes different skills than driving a car; however, the laws of the road apply to every driver just the same. A combination of consistent education, regard for traffic laws and basic common sense can go a long way in helping reduce the amount of fatalities involved in motorcycle accidents .
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DataDan
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   Posted 10/31/2011 7:12 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
One vision-related danger with inadequate following distance is that the driver of an oncoming or crossing vehicle will fail to see the motorcycle. Another is that the rider can't see hazards ahead. In fact, that's the first half of the strategy identified by Hurt and promoted by MSF: See and be seen. I know of two serious crashes that occurred because the rider's sightline was blocked by a vehicle he was following.
 
In one, the motorcyclist had just entered freeway traffic and merged in behind a box truck. He hurriedly merged left one more lane, only to find that traffic was slowing dramatically, and he was unable to slow in time to avoid rear-ending a stopped vehicle.
 
In the other, on a four-lane undivided highway, the motorcycle was in the #2 lane behind a truck that was slowing going up hill. The rider moved into the #1 to pass but found a pickup stopped just beyond the crest of the hill waiting to turn left at a cross street and rear-ended it.


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

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Smitty
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   Posted 11/2/2011 11:47 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thank you DD for that was a good Thread that so many, sort of new to riding, to even some that feel they have enough experience ONLY this thread is good for others to read & put the thinking into effect.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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Andy VH
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   Posted 11/11/2011 7:56 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
This past season here in Green Bay, I recall seeing a rider on a large touring bike, in the center lane of three lanes at 70 mph, lined up dead center on a UPS truck barely two car lengths behind the truck! And he stayed there for quite some time.

There is NO way any rider can react to anything happening ahead of that truck, under that truck, moving around that truck, in that short of a space. I don't care how good your reaction time is. If the UPS truck drove over a large chunk of shredded semi truck tire, the rider would certainly have nailed it! Eventually he did move around the truck, only then to center himself two car lengths behind the next vehicle ahead. Even the action of safely moving around the truck is severely compromised by starting from such a close following position.  

This rider is a crash/road meat waiting to happen. Oh, and no helmet either. Guess it proves he had no brains between his ears.

But I have seen this done by riders on all makes of bikes, all styles of bikes. Even the 60 year old+ mom/pop pair on their shiny Gold Wing, dressed in their best polos, shorts and bright white walking shoes heading out on a Friday night to the local restaurant fish fry. You'd think people that have at least reached that age in their life would have some sensibility about their place in traffic. Nope, "nuthin will ever happen to me!" That's the attitude of many riders, followed with, "it was the car driver's fault!"


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

Post Edited (Andy VH) : 11/11/2011 3:03:33 PM GMT

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