Watch for motorcycles

Only a motorcyclist can really appreciate being aware enough to SEE a motorcycle. Sometimes people just don’t turn their heads enough to look in their blind spot, and sometimes they look while changing lanes, or they don’t process what they are seeing. I have done this while riding my bike, where I would put on my blinker, check mirror, and turn my head as I was turning to say whoops and stop changing lanes cause there was a car there, now I am a whole lot better, I will still check my mirror, and turn my head but I’m processing everything faster.

The I didn’t see you argument

Yes a motorcycle is smaller than a car, but when your over 6′ tall on a white/grey bike with a headlight that is always on, the “I didn’t see you” argument goes downhill quickly…. I have only heard this once, in a situation that would have killed a little girl texting. Wal-Mart is doing some construction and then entrance to the parking lot is on the left side instead of the middle of the store. So basically the left most aisle is pretty much the main artery into the store, for people walking, driving, or riding a bi-cycle.

I have some weird habits when it comes to riding, and this one saved my bike this day, I look at the driver whenever the car lights are on, because “EVERYONE IS OUT TO KILL ME”, I noticed this driver although backing out of his spot into the “Main artery”, never turned his head to look behind or around him, his eyes were forward sort of cocked to the left, when im backing out of a spot, my eyes and head are rearward looking around both sides behind my vehicle not in front. At this point I stopped my bike shaking my head, he continued to back out when his rear bumper was straight with me, I honked my horn, and waved, yelling “IM RIGHT HERE”. He waved back and moved, I went past the spot he pulled out of went up the next aisle, and parked. Walking towards the left most side (the “Gardening area” ) of Wal-Mart, there he is walking towards me and states “You probably hear this a lot but, I didn’t see you” , I continued to walk not even saying anything to him, being I really didn’t want to go to jail that day.

My wife asked why I was so angry, and I explained, “it doesn’t matter that I was on a bike, the fact is, if we were walking and talking to each-other he probably would have hit us, if we were little teenagers walking to Wal-Mart texting and not paying attention he would have hit them, or a child who escaped the grasp of their parent would have been killed. Again I’m over 6’3” tall 250 lbs., If he couldn’t see me sitting on a bike where I am taller than his SUV, would he have seen someone much smaller?

I can understand, there are sometimes where you look, and nothing is there, then boom there they are… Most likely they were speeding at an enormous rate. You can’t always see that coming I understand. The rest of the time it’s a poor excuse. On the flip-side motorcyclists should ride safely, I will not stay next to a car, I will be one bike length behind in the other lane or pass it. Also I am looking at the traffic situation, if there are no vehicles in front of the one I am behind, there should be no reason for it to change lanes, unless they are purposely trying to hit me. If there are vehicles in front of the vehicle I’m behind, I will be watching as I pass making sure when I do pass there will be enough room in front of the vehicle I’m passing and the one in front of it just in case that vehicle wants to change lanes. If its a two lane road I will be about 2-3 bike lengths behind, so I can see what is coming from under a vehicle, like a squirrel that pops out from under a tire…

I stick with some basic rules, I try to be unique while riding…..  While riding on a highway.

  • Wearing my gear, boots, jacket, helmet…. sometimes gloves sometimes not depends on how my hand is feeling.
  • Checking mirrors and blind spot every few minutes, never know when some huge SUV is going to run up on your rear tire.
  • Not doing the same speed as traffic(1-4 mph faster or slower, Speeding is not required and can be dangerous)
  • Pass vehicle quickly, don’t dilly dally looking in their vehicle while their trying to solve a cross-word puzzle, or send a text.
  • When passing a truck make sure you have room to actually pass the truck, don’t get stuck next to the tires…. I will actually trail the tractor till all vehicles have completely passed and left me room to pass completely as well.
  • Always look up and far ahead, the further you can SEE the safer you can be, miss pot holes, dead animals, tire chunks, etc..
  • Drop your ego at the door, before you get on your bike.
  • Don’t ride angry or sad, your “skills” can be compromised.
  • Don’t ride while on drugs(prescription or street), or alcohol, your “skills” will be compromised.
  • Ride like everyone is out to get you, or you are invisible…. It will save your life.

Riding in a neighborhood

  • Mostly the same as above, but quite a bit more aware.
  • Speed limit max, slower can be better.
  • look at the drivers see what they are going to do, open a door, pull out without blinker, or back out of a driveway in front of you.
  • Watch for dumb ass bi-cyclists who don’t see you either as they go through stop signs without stopping(this happen to anyone else? happens to me weekly, kids and adults)….
  • Before stopping figure out “Escape routes” just in case.
  • At stop signs, make sure the other vehicles are actually stopping and arent just rolling through by watching their wheels.
  • At stop lights, stay in gear, just in case the vehicle behind you “doesn’t see you” and you may need to run the light or make a turn quickly.
  • At green lights, some people including police run red lights trying to get passed the yellow, dont take off to quickly, you might end up the T in the T-Bone.

 

Just ride safely, the motorcycle is as dangerous as the rider, if you are a safe rider, chances are your motorcycle is safe. Otherwise good luck and pray frequently. To the people driving vehicles with cages around them, give a look a good look, most states have laws that have motorcycle headlights on constantly, I really hate those strobing lights but hey if they get most of the drivers attention then good.

P.S. I dont mind riding in the rain, but when im behind a car, and it isnt raining, washing your windows while im behind you doesnt taste good. Please be mindful while there is a motorcyclist behind you, it can get all over our goggles/face masks and some coatings will come off with some windshield washing fluid.

Nick R.