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#96814 - 06/07/07 03:59 AM Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! [Re: Susan]
Stretch Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 707
Loc: Alamogordo, NM
The thing to remember about motorcycles and bikes is that our minds don;t always process their presence. What I mean is, at night, when we're checking for traffic, we're looking for TWO headlights. In the daytime, we're looking for LARGE four-wheeled objects, not the slim profile of a motorcycle.

Like the rest of you, right now I'm thinking "I always check to make sure the "roadway" is clear, not necessarily that a particular type of vehicle is coming, but that NOTHING is coming....before entering traffic". But the fact is, our minds are processing thousands of pieces of information every minute... our urgency to get somewhere ebbs and flows... our patience wavers... the talk-show radio host has us stirred up...the music's too loud (or too offensive)...etc etc.

I've never caused a major accident, but I have pulled out in front of people and felt scared and embarrassed. It's the spit-second mistake that ends up causing the accident with motorcycles. Not more than one month ago, I watched a car pull out in front of a Harley not 30 feet from me. What alerted me was the sound of the big bike's tires locking up on the asphalt. The guy almost had to lay down his bike. He was smoking hot, to say the least, and the other driver drove away in complete bliss. It appeared the lady never knew what almost happened.

You know the old saying: "Watch out for the other guy". Bike riders are on that alert ALL the time, but even they suffer the same mental maladys mentioned above. I know, I too rode a big bike for several years. Being Mr. Alert and Mr. Defensive only lasts so long...before relaxing.

Edited by Stretch (06/07/07 04:05 AM)

#96828 - 06/07/07 01:50 PM Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! [Re: Stretch]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 860
Loc: Colorado
This invisibility factor is very serious.

And then there are the things that riders do to themselves to make it worse- turning the headlight off, wearing all black, reducing the size of the taillight for decorative reasons, etc.

I followed a Harley rider down a mountain canyon road in the dark one time. I kept closing up on him waay too much even though I was very, very attentive and careful. I realized that the reason was that he was showing a single tiny taillight and otherwise he was entirely blacked out. I had insufficient information to work with to not overrun him.

From that I immediately ordered a Conspicuity Inc. See-Me vest. The retro-reflective material used for the stripes is positively astounding. Anybody around me WILL have sufficient visual information to see me. They still might not process it but "I didn't see him" won't stand in court.

The hunter orange vest with super reflecting chicken-yellow stripes has made a huge difference. I wouldn't ride without it.

#96911 - 06/08/07 01:42 AM Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! [Re: unimogbert]
Stretch Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 707
Loc: Alamogordo, NM
Well, I would say anything helps: lights "on" all the time (I've even seen new bikes with always-on flashing headlights), brighter-colored clothing, glow-in-the-dark vests, etc. Still, court is the last thing on my mind. I'm concerned with "right now!", on the road (I know you are too).

The thing is, even with all the enhancements that evidently and obviously do help, a driver's mind still has problems "processing" a bike, be it motorcycle or bicycle. If someone says "I just didn;t see him!", I wouldn;t be too quick to doubt it.

Heck, we even have trouble seeing other cars and trucks..... that's usually how accidents happen. You can call it absentmindedness, daydreaming, inattention, and the list goes on but, in the end, it's still a mental deficiency, however temporary or permanent.

#96914 - 06/08/07 02:10 AM Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! [Re: stealthedc]
stealthedc Offline

Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 72
Loc: Durham NC
NC DMV must be wrong then, because it states in the link and in the Motorcyclist's Handbook, the one I used to get my liscens, "40-45% of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking".

The point is that the risk is acceptable. Drivers are stupid, and I am aware of that. I drive defensively and do the best I can with this not so profound insight.

Interestingly enough, I would not, under any circumstances, drive a moped, scooter, or ride a bicycle on the road with vehicular traffic. I used to ride a bike to work and literally feared for my life everytime I got on that thing.

Edited by stealthedc (06/08/07 02:54 AM)
EDC, Mini PSK, PSK, Fishing PSK, Diaper Bag Kit, Portable Office, Vehicle Kit (X2), 72 Hour Kit, 7 Day Kit, SIP Kit and a Kit-Kat. Oh yeah, and a FAK (X10). Now where did I put the Tums?

#96937 - 06/08/07 05:20 AM Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! [Re: stealthedc]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Oh, North Carolina! Well, that's different. One of my brother's ex-wives was from there. She said all the guys do there is drink and drive, and taunt and try to outrun the cops. Yeah, that's probably a viable statement in that part of the country.

First, let me sneer at "motorcycle defensive driving". I think more of the older ones do, but the younger ones... nope!

And PLEASE don't do what I see everywhere I've traveled: way too often, I will be following a motorcycle on city streets, and the jerk on the bike will slow down and stop for a stop sign or red light, and creep his bike right up to the CENTER of the bumper of the car ahead of him, two feet of space, max.

What does this fool think is going to happen if he gets rammed from behind?

The thinking bikers stay away from the car in front, and stay to the side. If they're hit, they may not take a direct hit this way, and they may survive being turned into a missle. But a Kawasaki sandwich?

By the way, the only time I've ever seen a guy lay his bike down at freeway speeds is the closest to vomiting while driving that I've ever come. I guess the only reason I didn't bring up my lunch was because my teeth were clenched so tight, trying to change lanes and brake to try to protect the rider from being hit by the traffic coming from behind. The little red Miata never gave him a chance. He tried, but there was no way he could brake with the car so very close in front of him. The drag of the metal on the pavement was the only thing that kept him from sliding right under it, and it was a close thing even then.

I was shocked when he pulled himself from under the bike and stood up. He had a long oval hole in his leather pants almost the length of his thigh, and smaller ones down his lower leg and upper arm, and the whole side of his boot was gone, and his helmet was kind of chewed up. He had some road rash, but not as bad as it would have been if he hadn't been wearing leathers. There was a lot less of the Harley on the right side than there used to be.

BTW, that was one of the two times in my entire life that there was a LEO in the right place at the right time: a SP officer two cars behind me, in the inside lane, wide open, clear view of the whole thing.

I think I shook for two hours afterwards. And threw up my lunch. But not while I was driving.

Enjoy your bike. Have a good time. Pay attention. Be careful. And don't ride wearing shorts and sandals.


#96953 - 06/08/07 01:35 PM Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! [Re: Stretch]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 860
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Stretch

Heck, we even have trouble seeing other cars and trucks..... that's usually how accidents happen. You can call it absentmindedness, daydreaming, inattention, and the list goes on but, in the end, it's still a mental deficiency, however temporary or permanent.

Quite true. I find that if I try to use my cellphone in the car, even driving straight and level in cruise control in the right lane of the interstate I really don't "see" what's going on around me. So I rarely if ever actually use it. Contrast with others who.... well, you know.

The objective of the ETS motorcyclist, like that of a fighter pilot, is to get thru the mission unscathed.
So try not to be in a position where you depend on others for the successful outcome. They don't see you, they don't register you, they will hurt you physically rather than just dent your bumper.

Like for fighter pilots, sometimes the best answer is to not go that day. If you aren't at the top of your game the outcome could be horrible.

Maybe that's part of the fun?????

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