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Old 04-28-2003, 09:50 PM   #1
bigsnowdog OP
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Presence of mind and use of mirrors

Sunday I was riding along a two lane highway through some hilly terrain, the weather was nice and I was doing about 60. I suddenlly noticed that some cars were greatly slowed ahead of me by a piece of farm equipment. I noticed this later than I would have wished for. That was my first error; not watching ahead with sufficient attention to detail. I was lost in the experience of the ride.

I was about vehicle number ten in the line behind the tractor, and it seemed that many had not paid attention, as each succeeding vehicle was braking more abruptly, indicating, it seemed, a higher degree of surprise on the part of each arriving vehicle.

I looked in my mirror and saw a truck approaching me at a high rate of speed, and I was worried that the driver did not know we were nearly stopped. This entire event took about three seconds, it seemed, and I finally decided that the driver did not see me so I took the shoulder. That is when the skidding noise began and it continued until the truck slid into the space I would have been occupying had I still been in that lane. It was way more excitement than I needed.

I realize this was not a crash, so sorry if this is not good enough for this forum, but it was very thought provoking for me, as it revealed how little I use my mirrors. I look in the mirrors very frequently as i drive my truck, so I am not sure why I don't on the motorcycle, other than, perhaps, because they are so small as to be less convenient.

I even think I am good at anticipating what can go wrong, but I was not doing so well yesterday. My suggestion is that you should do lots of research via your mirrors....
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Old 04-28-2003, 10:18 PM   #2
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Maybe it was your motion to the side that caught the driver's attention. I often weave back and forth in a lane to get people to SEE me when I'm worried they don't/can't see me.

Good recovery riding on your part.
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Old 04-28-2003, 10:42 PM   #3
bigsnowdog OP
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I like your idea about weaving.
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Old 04-28-2003, 11:21 PM   #4
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Congratulations for staying alive, BSD. And thanks for the reminder that we are invisible.
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Old 04-28-2003, 11:27 PM   #5
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The rule is simple;


Ya never slow or apply yur brakes in traffic without check'n yur mirriors first.

Basic ride'n 101

Thanks for take'n the time to post a little reminder of that.
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Said Rad:
Ya never slow or apply yur brakes in traffic without check'n yur mirriors first.
When I see I have enough space in front of me to brake, I try to take the time to flash my brake lights several times before actually starting to slow down. This helps the other still-asleep-yet-on-the-phone commuters to wake up!
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Old 04-29-2003, 05:35 AM   #7
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In situations like that I always pass the last couple cars on shoulder, between lanes, or what have you.... I always feel soooo naked hanging out at the end of one of those. I figure I have a pretty good reason if I get pulled over for it.

Glad you're ok... and way to keep an eye on your 6
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Old 04-29-2003, 06:40 AM   #8
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Re: Presence of mind and use of mirrors

[QUOTE]Said bigsnowdog:

I realize this was not a crash, so sorry if this is not good enough for this forum, but it was very thought provoking for me, as it revealed how little I use my mirrors.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What better reason to post your experience than it did not ended being a crash (and it sounds that it would have been a nasty one), this forum is trying to help prevent accidents by sharing fortunate and unfortunate experiences of it's participants, and learning from the mistakes we or others make.

The best thing now is that you learned to use your mirrors more and be on guard.

Riding a MC is a high risk activity and accidents are going to happen, knowing how we can try and prevent them is a must.

"There are two kinds of motorcycle rider; the one that has falled, and the one that is going to fall"
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Old 04-29-2003, 09:49 AM   #9
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When I was a teenager and riding with a friend who already had a car, we were in thick city traffic when he had to stop abruptly. I was struck at the time at how his eyes flew up to the rear view mirror when he jammed on the brakes.

That image has always stayed with me, and I try to do the same whenever I hit the brakes. Like others, I too feel naked when at the end of a long line of stopped traffic.

But I must confess that I'm not very good about watching my 6 when stopped at a traffic light - in fact, I'm downright bad about it, even though I've read of many accidents happening to MCs in this position.
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Old 04-29-2003, 09:57 AM   #10
Grover
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I can't see squat directly behind me without some Yoga gymnastics, but when I do find myself in a situation like that, I flash my brake light repeadtedly to try to wake up whoever's behind me.
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Old 04-29-2003, 10:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Said Grover:
I can't see squat directly behind me without some Yoga gymnastics, but when I do find myself in a situation like that, I flash my brake light repeadtedly to try to wake up whoever's behind me.
Flash’n the brakes is cool but it ain’t gonna save yur life. Does not matter how good or bad yur mirrors are you have to know what is behind you and what people behind are do’n. On my Norton, with Clubman bars and only one vibrate’n bar end mirror, it means a full head turn each and every time!

You must also always have a planned “escape” route. That route is generally best set up by be’n off to one side or another of the car in front of you with enough room to jump into the safe space you have determined to be yur “escape” route if ya need to.

Just count’n on yur brake light means yur really bet’n yur life that they see it.
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Old 04-29-2003, 10:55 AM   #12
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Thanks, something to think about.
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Old 04-29-2003, 11:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Said Rad:
You must also always have a planned “escape” route.
MSFRad has it nailed. And that's exactly what bigsnowdog did right:

I finally decided that the driver did not see me so I took the shoulder.

Know what's around you, what's coming at you, and have alternative plans. This is what makes riding in traffic so much more fatiguing (to me at least) that taking a fast cruise through the twisties. It's all about awareness and contingencies.
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:23 PM   #14
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i kinda' do all the above,...

yo, Big Snowy;
congrats for the succesful avoidance and sharing the lesson(s) learned! sharing the wisdom is what i think this forum is for.


- watch the mirrors when slowing,
- do a little swerving to get the attention of following traffic, (amazing how people will back off when they don't understand what's happening in front of them!)
- use a TailBlazer that automatically flashes the brake light to try to help wake up those asleep at the wheel, and
- (most important) try to always have at least 2 ways out.


gotta' do whatever you can to try to stack the odds more to your favor...


cheers!
e
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Old 04-29-2003, 05:12 PM   #15
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Congrats on doing the right thing ......The ass you saved was your own.
Many years ago, I had the experience of freeway traffic stopping abruptly in front of me, and me being on a CB750. When I looked back, I saw a driver reacting late, with smoke rolling off all four tires. I pulled between the guy in front of me and the center divider, and up beside the car in front of him. Smokey hit the guy I was behind hard enough to put the rear bumper under the back window. I was very impressed. Actually, what impresses my now is that I shrugged it off, and rode away. But the look in the mirror habit got pounded in that day, and I have passed it along every chance I have gotten.
Along with that lesson is the one about panicking later, do something (Anything) to save your ass now! You can wake up in the panic of what could have been at 2 am.
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