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Discussion Starter #1
I drive part-time for a company that transports the disabled and elderly to medical appointments. The other day I was having a typical morning trying to negotiate traffic in one of the larger cities I drive in. I had just picked up a passenger and was proceeding through a stop sign onto one of the larger boulevards in the city. Seeing no oncoming traffic I proceeded through the stop sign. As my van straightened out from the turn, I heard a faint "beep" and the sound of chattering tires and I knew instantly that I had screwed up big time.
I had completely cut off an oncoming Harley rider that I absolutely did not see before making the turn. From the sound of squealing tires he did an admirable job of avoiding colliding with my vehicle.
I rolled down my window and apologized profusely, but it was obvious that the Harley rider needed and deserved to vent at me after my making such a dumb-ass move, so I just let him do so, knowing full well that I deserved any abuse he wanted to direct my way. After he angrily roared off, my passenger (who apparently HAD seen him coming) stated that he was traveling at an excessive rate of speed for the city road. So what? More important was the fact that I had not seen him coming at all, even with a large fairing and headlight on his bike.
I never once considered telling this rider that I also rode, or dared to mention the adage many of us ride with that we should "ride like you're invisible". This was completely on me and I could have caused serious injury or death to another motorcyclist regardless of the fact that I know the dangers and always do my best to treat other riders as I'd want to be treated myself on the road. The fact that the dreaded words "I didn't see him" were coming out of my own mouth was disturbing to me in the extreme and continues to be days later.
This was a major wake-up call to me that will effect how I ride and drive going forward. If it was that easy for me, someone who rides, to not register the sight of an oncoming motorcycle no matter how fast it was approaching, how easy must it be for non-rider's brains to disregard the vital visual clues that other people's lives depend on?
 

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We are all human.
'Sometimes you meets another you.'
Thanks for sharing,


none of us are perfect, I'm hopeless in a car in the city.
even worse on a bike.
 

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This was completely on me
No it wasn't!
Motorcyclists should finally realize that cagers only look down the road as far as a vehicle doing the speed limit would take to reach their location before completing their own move. Hence speeding does make a rider invisible period! So it was at least as much on that idiot as it was on you. Speed limits are there for a reason, obey them or face the consequences.
 

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Both at fault. More so the rider though for speeding. Just be more observant though and take note how invisible you are when speeding,
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
No it wasn't!
Motorcyclists should finally realize that cagers only look down the road as far as a vehicle doing the speed limit would take to reach their location before completing their own move. Hence speeding does make a rider invisible period! So it was at least as much on that idiot as it was on you. Speed limits are there for a reason, obey them or face the consequences.
Nice of you to say Schroeder, but I really feel that I bear more of the responsibility here. The Harley rider may have been speeding, but I was the one who entered his right-of-way without double and triple checking to be absolutely sure no vehicle of any kind was approaching. I ride, so I know how quickly a motorcycle can close a gap. I am truly disappointed in myself for not taking the time to assure that my path was 100% clear. I can only assume that since I was in a city traffic situation, where speeds should not exceed 30-35mph, I failed to look farther up the road than I should have. "Look Twice - Save A Life" campaigns are prevalent in my area at this time of year and there is no excuse for complacency on my part. Or anyone's part for that matter. If the Harley rider had not been as skilled in stopping his bike, I would be feeling much more upset about this situation than I already am and whether he was speeding or not in that scenario matters not a whit. Perhaps a legal case in my defense could have been made that his excessive speed was a factor if he had actually hit me, but had that actually happened, knowing I had injured or killed another rider through my own neglect or impatience is not something I even want to imagine.
I just thank the powers that be that the consequences of my actions weren't more dire and I was able to learn from the experience, both as a car driver AND a motorcyclist. I was very lucky the other day and it's not a lesson I will squander or soon forget.
 

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This just goes to show that motorcycles are hard to spot. That's why I ride as if everyone surrounding me do not see me at all.

Having said this, it is always a dread when I see a car ahead of me on the opposing traffic, waiting to make a left turn. Each and every time is nerve wrecking encounter for me.
 

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This just goes to show that motorcycles are hard to spot. That's why I ride as if everyone surrounding me do not see me at all.

Having said this, it is always a dread when I see a car ahead of me on the opposing traffic, waiting to make a left turn. Each and every time is nerve wrecking encounter for me.
When I see a car ahead, like that, I weave back & forth in my lane to try and get their attention.
 

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This very thing is (one of) my worst nightmare(s).
Proud of you for posting.

We have to look, look, look.

This is the bumper sticker I see in my town:

I see that sticker all the time. On the bumpers of trucks. Right after they cut me off. :mad:
 

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I see that sticker all the time. On the bumpers of trucks. Right after they cut me off. :mad:
This. It's almost as clear a sign of a horrible driver as a handicap sticker. I've never understood this. *shrug*

edit: and it is 100% of the time on some oversized truck/SUV with (apparently) no operable turn indicators.
 

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Motorcycles are hard to see. Even to an avid and careful motorcyclist driver. All of the modern cars are going to some sort of ultra bright white front running lights which really work wonders. Change your headlight to an HID and add some LED's to the front of your bike. Ultra bright white lighting above 4,500K color temp is much more conspicuous than the yellowish 2,700K of a single 55 Watt halogen. Which is really not quite bright enough to see at night anyway.
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After he angrily roared off, my passenger (who apparently HAD seen him coming) stated that he was traveling at an excessive rate of speed for the city road. So what? More important was the fact that I had not seen him coming at all, even with a large fairing and headlight on his bike.

I never once considered telling this rider that I also rode, or dared to mention the adage many of us ride with that we should "ride like you're invisible".
It might've worked in your favor this time not to have actually shared your riding experience with him: he might've well just dragged you out of your car and beated you for actually knowing better :)

On a more serious note, from a learning standpoint, did you finally see the rider at some point (i.e. after the fact) prior to stopping [and getting chewed out]? Whether you did or not, do you think you would've seen him if he was wearing a high visibility jacket?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It might've worked in your favor this time not to have actually shared your riding experience with him: he might've well just dragged you out of your car and beated you for actually knowing better :)

On a more serious note, from a learning standpoint, did you finally see the rider at some point (i.e. after the fact) prior to stopping [and getting chewed out]? Whether you did or not, do you think you would've seen him if he was wearing a high visibility jacket?
At no point did I see him.
My first inkling that I had cut him off at all was the sound of the (typically weak) stock bike horn and his tires chirping behind me as he grabbed his brakes after I had already made the turn.
This was a wide boulevard which provided a good, long line of sight. He must have been really booking it and I simply did not look far enough up the road to notice his approach.
Once I knew I had cut him off and he was behind me, I made a conscious effort NOT to brake at all (as some people will do when reacting to a situation like that) so as not to compound the problems I had already caused him. I waited until he came up beside me to slow and roll down the window.
I doubt very much that a high-viz jacket or vest would have made any difference at all. I wouldn't have been able to see much of it behind his large full stock Harley fairing anyway. His bike was bright metallic purple with a working headlight and if that didn't register from a distance I doubt a little high-viz material would have been noticed either.
I've always been skeptical about reports that say that a car driver's brain often does not register something as small as a bike when they're expecting to see cars, coupled with the tendency to scan approaching traffic too quickly before committing to a turn, that results in accidents. Not anymore.
I now know that when you're in a city traffic situation like that, your own mind and your own assumptions are your own worst enemy.
I EXPECTED to see cars coming and I EXPECTED to see them traveling at 30-35mph at that intersection because I was in a congested city traffic situation. When I saw neither of those inputs my brain and reflexes processed that into thinking that it was safe for me to proceed. Once your mind has convinced you the way is "clear", it may even subsequently interfere with your ability to spot a small moving object approaching at a high rate of speed or anything that doesn't closely fit the parameters of what you are EXPECTING to be there.
This is probably the most disturbing take-away from this situation for me. That I could make such a mistake when as a rider I have been exposed to and am aware that such things are possible, much more than your average automobile driver would be, yet I still reacted in an almost textbook fashion that could have easily caused injury or death to a fellow rider.
 

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The fact that you were already completely straight in your lane before he slammed on his brakes tells me that he was going way too fast and did absolutely nothing preventative on his own part as he aproached the intersection even though I'm sure you were clearly visible to him. As a rider, one must learn to drive defensively. Just because you have the right of way doesn't automatically absolve you from your own responsibilities for safety.
 

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The fact that you were already completely straight in your lane before he slammed on his brakes tells me that he was going way too fast and did absolutely nothing preventative on his own part as he aproached the intersection even though I'm sure you were clearly visible to him. As a rider, one must learn to drive defensively. Just because you have the right of way doesn't automatically absolve you from your own responsibilities for safety.
This ^

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I think the common ideas of "the motorcycle brotherhood" (and that many "cagers" are just psychopaths who are out to kill M/C riders), is so much BS we like to tell ourselves... we've all seen plenty of clowns on bikes doing all manner of stupid and reckless jack ass things out on the road, enough to know better than to consider any and everyone on a motorcycle "our brothers". By their own actions, plenty of motorcycle riders wind up with Darwin Awards, and in body bags at the morgue every year. IMO this tendency among motorcycle riders to always lay blame with the drivers of cars & trucks smacks of denial, that there couldn't possibly be bad M/C riders out there on the roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well as I said before it WAS a wide boulevard-type road with ample room on either side and no other traffic.
It had occurred to me that his best course of action would have been to simply avoid my vehicle by riding around it on either side and continuing on his way at speed.
Of course that in no way absolves me from cutting him off in the first place and if he preferred to make a show of it and chew me out a little I'll take that over the alternative any day. : )
 
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