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Old 07-18-2007, 01:26 PM   #1
InsuredDisaster OP
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Cars pulling in front of motorcyclists

I have a question I'd like to ask you all.


Left turning cars and cars pulling out in front of motorcyclists in general are widely held to be the biggest threat to a motorcyclists's good health, if we are just looking at multi-vehicle incidents.

From the Hurt Report:
Quote:
The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.

10. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
I'm curious to why this is such a common accident then. Obviously, the Hurt Report is quite old, but today there is still a lot of accidents with people either turning left or just pulling out in front of motorcyclists.


I have NEVER had this happen to me yet when on an actual motorcycle. I pay attention to where I am in my lane. I avoid travelling much faster than the prevailing traffic speed when going through intersections. And I watch any car that is planning on entering the road where I am. I also cover the brakes when going through threatening interesections or areas. My jacket is a bright yellow, Olympia AST. This jacket is seen and further more, people take a double look at it when they do see it.


Today I saw some lady start to pull a left infront of me but she ended up seeing me and I think she was scared half to death. I actually felt bad for her as her face was white when I passed. In contrast, due to my speed and attention, I was neither surprised nor scared, and to be honest, I was far enough a way that whatever the lady did, I would have been able to stop, slow, or adjust heading to avoid an accident.




So, do you guys think that it is simple "luck" that is keeping me safe? Perhaps I'm living in a safer place than others? My jacket can be seen and thus saves me? Or am I just that good.


But it seems that accidents stemming from cars pulling out should be very rare because:

If you wear bright colors, you will likely be seen.
If you drive as fast as other cars or even slower, when you are seen, the other driver will not underestimate you speed.
Left turning cars are widely held to be a huge threat, thus, you are more likely to be looking for them, compared to say, someone rear ending you, which has less "air time" on forums and motorcycle safety discussions.
Related: you are looking forward (hopefully) and thus, threats will already be in your area of vision.

Or are these accidents actually pretty rare, but my info from the Hurt Report is just too out of date?
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:37 PM   #2
Ceej
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Well they aren't all that rare, because it just happened to a friend of mine. Car turned left in front of him and he barely had time to even be on the brakes. Broke both wrists and fractured his hip.

As for how often this stuff happens, I have no idea. But this did happen at night, which I'm sure factored in to him not being seen.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:41 PM   #3
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Last week I was on a two lane and the car to my right decides to come into my lane without signaling or looking. I slammed on the brakes and just missed her. When I laid on my horn she finally looks in her rearview mirror to see me flipping her off. I really wanted to kick in her doors a little, but I remained calm.

Ride like you are invisible, cause you are.

What I consider the Top 3 threats:

1.) Jackasses who drive SUV's the size of a f*%$ing school bus.
2.) People yakking on cell phones
3.) Pick up's or cars loaded with s%$t that isn't secured. ( A friend of mine hit a couch doing 65mph after it blew out of a pick up.

Ride safe and keep your distance.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
If you wear bright colors, you will likely be seen.
If you drive as fast as other cars or even slower, when you are seen, the other driver will not underestimate you speed.
Left turning cars are widely held to be a huge threat, thus, you are more likely to be looking for them, compared to say, someone rear ending you, which has less "air time" on forums and motorcycle safety discussions.
Related: you are looking forward (hopefully) and thus, threats will already be in your area of vision.
I think you got it right.
IMHO, It depends on the rider, translates to rider error, or lack of preventative measures.
I follow the ride like you're invisible credo. I think you do also. Works for me so far.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:47 PM   #5
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It's the classic motorcyclists not being seen. People seeing us think we are a car that is far away instead of a bike that is right in front of them.....that's if they see us at all. I do as you do in that I always am waiting to get hit by someone. That's the only way to keep ahead of everyone else on the road and amongst things like maintaining visibility, I also try and stay next to cars going through intersections or passing adjacent streets because at the very least, if they can't see me, maybe they'll see that Ford Excursion right next to me and try to avoid it. Use cars as a shield!
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:15 PM   #6
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Yes they still pull out or turn in front of M/C in 2007

I noticed that cars seem to pull out or turn in front of me early in the
morning when they aren't paying attention. I just recently bought a
headlight modulator and I have noticed that people start to pull out
then jerk to a stop when my light catches their attention. I just got back
from a 4300 mile trip up to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado
and I only had 2 drivers pull out in front of me. It wasn't close or
anything, but still I needed to slow down.
I'm in the insurance business and yes people still pull out in front of
motorcycles. One of my clients, a older gentleman pulled out in front
of a bike and the 52 year old rider died. It happen at night and the
light of the motorcycle blended in with the others vehicles around it
and my client just didn't judge the distance of the bike, and he
just pulled out in front of the rider. Very sad and the insurance
company paid policy limits, $ 250,000 to the family.
The Hurt report is a good read, the numbers may change a little,
but overall I think they are pretty accurate.
Well that's my $ .02
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsuredDisaster
So, do you guys think that it is simple "luck" that is keeping me safe? Perhaps I'm living in a safer place than others? My jacket can be seen and thus saves me? Or am I just that good.
Maybe a bit of all four.

Just last evening I decided to take the KLR out for a spin as it hadn't been ridden in a few weeks. Coming over the local pass there is an intersection where traffic pulls onto the main road where I was coming around a curve. Knowing this I slow down and prepare. A car staged to pull out, driver looking at me, I flash my brights (2 1/2 hours before dark BTW) to solidify their attention. The driver waits until I'm maybe 50 feet away and pulls out anyway, right in front of me.

Having avoided that potential disaster I continue a couple of miles and get on the freeway where I merge into the right lane at 65 which I judge is the flow of traffic. This jackass behind me continues their speed until they're tailgaiting me and I have nowhere to go as there's a car in front of me. They pull abruptly into the next lane and toss a lit firecracker at me which goes off very near my head startling the F%#@ out of me.

These two events happened within maybe 5 minutes of each other. I live in the land of selfish, irresponsible a-holes and I consider everyone in a car my mortal enemy. I of course have MANY more stories, having ridden street bikes for 35 years.

Assume you are a target, you'll live longer.
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kconville screwed with this post 07-18-2007 at 02:54 PM
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:40 PM   #8
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Cry

I think people get conditioned to recognize certain shapes. If your brain does not recognize that shape, it doesn't register anything. We as riders take exceptional notice of the relatively smaller motorcycles. The average cager does not.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:41 PM   #9
VegasKLRider
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It happens all of the time, but it isn't a major problem. I expect everyone to turn left in front of me or to pull out in front of me. When it only happens 5% of the time, I'm pleasantly surprised. Accidents are almost ALWAYS preventable. The key is to be aware, alert and expect bonehead moves. At first it is tiring, but then you start to live in condition yellow and then it is second nature. As motorcyclists, we don't have the luxury of steel surrounding us. Therefore, we shouldn't allow those encased in steel to decide our fate.

Just remember driving or riding is a continual OODA loop.
Observe, orient, decide, act. Those actions need to be done every time that you encounter a car, intersection, road surface change, pothole, turn, water, etc.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:55 PM   #10
wiltony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kconville
They pull abruptly into the next lane and toss a lit firecracker at me which goes off very near my head startling the F%#@ out of me.
Holy cow! Did you get their plate and call it in!?? That's over the frickin line.
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiltony
Holy cow! Did you get their plate and call it in!?? That's over the frickin line.
I didn't put it together immediately. What happened was these meatheads swerved into the next lane and all of a sudden I hear this very loud bang right outside my helmet. Not knowing exactly WTF happened I got off the freeway within a few seconds as there was an offramp. As I was pulled over inspecting the bike, I replayed the event in my head and it became clear what happened.

Had I put it together instantly there most certainly would have been a price to pay. Believe me.
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsuredDisaster
So, do you guys think that it is simple "luck" that is keeping me safe? Perhaps I'm living in a safer place than others? My jacket can be seen and thus saves me? Or am I just that good.
It only takes one time, and your whole view on this issue will change, possibly end.

I think there are two kinds of left turn mishaps. The garter snake and the venomous variety. The normal careless left turn mishap is at slow speed intersections. If either driver wakes up, or pays attention to begin with, an avoidance maneuver takes place. You continue on your way and think nothing of it. Happens almost every day. The poison variety is really f---in' bad. That's one the driver is totally blind to a fast moving motorcycle. They pull out of a driveway, a stop sign side street or turn left from an oncoming lane. In these cases, the M/C is moving too fast (albeit legal speed in many cases), to take successful evasive action. AND, the driver is too blind to see the M/C in time to stop or change course.

In 35 years of speedy, two wheel travel on mostly two-lane roads, there was only once when I was moving along on a curvy, tree lined country road and a car pulled out on me from the right turning left. He looked left (I assume). I wasn't there yet, and he couldn't see through the bend. He looked right. All clear. Pulled out just as I was close up on him. As he began to stop in the middle of my lane, I grabbed a fist full and then turned hard into the driveway he was coming out of. He saw me turning and continued forward just enough that I was able to get around the back of him without going down on the gravel driveway. Who's fault? I'd say I was going too fast for conditions, and he was too lazy to look twice. That moment changed my riding habits forever. 10mph too fast can make a big difference. Had I been spaced out or been slow on the brakes for even a second, I might be dead. Like I said, I takes a certain condition and TWO simultaneous mistakes. You can blame the dumb shit driver, but clearly, he won't be the one dead!

R-dubb screwed with this post 07-18-2007 at 04:58 PM
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:58 PM   #13
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Old 07-18-2007, 06:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasKLRider
It happens all of the time, but it isn't a major problem. I expect everyone to turn left in front of me or to pull out in front of me. When it only happens 5% of the time, I'm pleasantly surprised. Accidents are almost ALWAYS preventable. The key is to be aware, alert and expect bonehead moves. At first it is tiring, but then you start to live in condition yellow and then it is second nature. As motorcyclists, we don't have the luxury of steel surrounding us. Therefore, we shouldn't allow those encased in steel to decide our fate.

Just remember driving or riding is a continual OODA loop.
Observe, orient, decide, act. Those actions need to be done every time that you encounter a car, intersection, road surface change, pothole, turn, water, etc.
Just a slight rant about the term "accident" and especially the way the local newscasters report collisions around here.

IMHO, if it could have been avoided if one or both parties were paying attention and were following the rules of the road (or at least common sense), it's not an accident, it's a collision. Some collisions are from neglect, some are outright malice, but it's not an accident.

Also, am I the only one who gets annoyed when the newscasters say things like "His SUV crashed into a phone pole and rolled three times"? Really, it did? All on its own? He didn't crash it himself? I know the news isn't exactly in the speculation business, but I don't think vehicles just go into ditches on their own...
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Old 07-18-2007, 06:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianwheelies
...I also try and stay next to cars going through intersections or passing adjacent streets because at the very least, if they can't see me, maybe they'll see that Ford Excursion right next to me and try to avoid it. Use cars as a shield!

+1

On my way to work every morning after I get off the highway I've got a stretch of about 4 miles of divided 4 lane with all kinds of little uncontrolled subdivision roads that empty out on to the road. I always try to get in or near a group of cars running down the road and stick with them.

Seems like every person at those intersections, all trying to turn left to get to the highway that I just got off, is like this: Look left, right, sip coffee, turn dial on radio, comb hair, yawn, look right, creep forward while looking right, sip coffee, etc. Scares me a bit when they creep forward while looking to the right. I don't hesitate to honk a bit now and again just to let them know I'm there...

Definitely feels better when running in a group of cars, just got to stay out of their blind spots as well.
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