Defense strategy at a stop light - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Defense strategy at a stop light

This is sort of a continuation from another thread on "distracted teenage drivers". I copied this quote from there but since my question is on a more specific topic I started this new thread.

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Originally Posted by MN-Rider View Post
I hear ya! I had a new teen driver rear end me in my truck while sitting at a red light. I saw her coming in the rear view mirror, head down looking in her lap. She jumped out and said, "I'm so sorry, I totally wasn't paying attention." Kept thinking about if I had been on the bike! Distracted drivers are a huge problem. last year I saw two guys in a larger delivery truck, not a semi and the driver at the light was eating Chinese food from one of those white little bucket containers with.........................chop sticks!
I've been thinking about this and realized this is really a nasty problem. I have read the advice about what to do at a stop including, leaving yourself room to move out of the way, watching behind you, leaving the bike in gear so you are ready to bolt, and I even have the custom dynamics triple play unit that continues to flash the brake lights at a stop. But, with all this, say a young person looking down at their phone is approaching and is going to hit you. Knowing exactly when to bolt is the problem. This isn't something you can practice, like quick stops for example. You can practice watching drivers approach, but how do you practice knowing exactly when you have to bolt because it becomes obvious the driver will likely hit you? There's no room for error here and until it actually happens, you don't really know what to expect or how fast you will react. I suppose if the driver is not slowing at all it would be obvious in time to bolt but I'm thinking more about the story in the quote above. If the driver is slowing but probably won't stop in time it will all happen so fast it doesn't seem like you'd have time to react.

All that said, I don't really expect any magic answers here. If one existed I probably would have come across it in one of the several books I've read on motorcycling. But, there's a lot of years of riding experience out there so if anyone has any advise, please don't hesitate to comment.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 10:27 AM
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I'd rather look stupid then dead, hmm, odd, i don't wear a helmet..

What i mean, in that situation I'd rather bolt or get out of the way then be hit, even if the driver does eventually stop, your concern was and should be for your life, who cares if you pull forward and that person does stop, maybe they will learn to slow a bit sooner.

Do what you feel is right, I'm sure mathematically speaking we could determine just what time you would need to bolt based on speed of the car,weight of car,road conditions etc, however if you feel it's to close, move!

Stay safe.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 10:52 AM
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Hi Dave

I agree, makes me nervous as well.

One of the benefits of "Lane Splitting" as allowed in California... You can position yourself between cars at a stop.

Too bad I ride in Florida and Massachusetts/New England...

If you tried this in Boston they never would let you back in the lane when the traffic started to move! 😊

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 11:07 AM
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I cringe when I see video or hear stories about lane splitting. To me it just seems extremely dangerous. If I'm not mistaken California is the only state where it's legal, I can understand why it's not anywhere else.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 11:19 AM
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Hi Blockhead

Yes, I agree with you lane splitting seems dangerous in moving traffic. Something I don't think I would try. But at a stop? Maybe to move up next to the car in front of you... Hmmm..... I guess it would only work out if it was allowed and seen as something bikers did and folks in cages expected it. That won't happen over night!

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 11:29 AM
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Gut reaction ... Just like how you know when to duck when somethings (insert object here) is flying at you and you need to move. I've bolted twice when I felt the car behind me wasn't slowing fast enough. I've made it a point (politely) both time to make sure the offending driver knew why I moved, 1st time I got the smart remark "I saw you I had plenty of room" but I pointed out his bumper was where my rear tire would have been if I had stayed and the 2nd the driver didn't even see me move let alone see I was stopped between her and the car that was infront of me
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 12:10 PM
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I'm not really one for the "loud pipes save lives" argument.

But, when I'm sitting at the back of the line at a red light. I give it a blip and a few brake light flashes as cars come up from behind.
I've noticed a couple of people get startled and hit the brakes pretty firmly.

Don't know if they would have seen me without the blip. But, it makes me feel better.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 01:34 PM
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I don't want to get too deep into the lane splitting argument but I've seen a handful of rear end collisions and things are pretty hectic. What's to say the car to your left or right isn't hit and slides into you slamming you between the two cars? The point is, nothing is perfect.

Prevention is important, bright taillight and a visible rider help I think but there are going to be distracted drivers. I, personally, generally keep my bike far to one side of the lane or the other at a stop. At some stops, it enables me to escape. And it offers a driver who looks up at the last second a place to swerve. I'd like to think most humans would instinctively take the back of the pickup over the motorcycle. Maybe not, but you never know. Eventually you do have to come to the conclusion that riding a motorcycle can be risky and it just is what it is.

I've actually read the advice that you should stop your motorcycle nearly on the bumper of the car in front of you to reduce the amount of forward rolling if you were hit. I have a few problems with that though. For starters, I doubt it would work. Second, though we are a rare and dying breed, there are those of us with THREE pedals in our cars. I don't personally roll back at a stop (I'm quick enough with the clutch I guess), some do. So that seems like a disaster. I dunno, just seems like a bad idea.

Really, it seems like most ideas for avoiding damage/injury in a rear end collision are interesting but probably not all that effective. Just stay on top of things, plan ahead, and if possible, plan an escape route! For example, when coming up to a car with a turn signal on, or sitting at a driveway, I immediately make an 'escape plan'. It's just a subconscious thing anymore. Is there traffic oncoming? Do I have a clear shoulder? In other words, if they turn/pull out, aside from braking, what am I going to do? That's saved my bacon a couple of times.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blockhead View Post
I cringe when I see video or hear stories about lane splitting. To me it just seems extremely dangerous. If I'm not mistaken California is the only state where it's legal, I can understand why it's not anywhere else.
Studies have shown that lane splitting in stop and go traffic greatly reduces the chances of a motorcycle rider being rear ended. It also eases traffic congestion. And lastly, not all motorcycles are water cooled...sitting in traffic or being in extremely slow moving traffic behind a vehicle in California heat can cause an air cooled bike to overheat.

I do leave room at stop lights. I also move to the left when I'm going through an intersection in case someone decides to "Right Turn on Red" in front of me. But honestly, I've had more issues from someone coming into my lane because they didn't see me or hear me (stock Vulcan 500) than having problems at stop lights. (happened twice yesterday in a 40 mile ride)

My husband rides a Harley FXR with straight pipes, so his bike is loud. When I'm riding with him, I rarely have problems with someone coming into our lane. When I'm alone, they can't hear me and they just come over. I see the "loud pipes save lives" argument proven every time I ride.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 12:21 PM
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I leave room between myself and the guy in front.
I blip and flash my brakelight if I'm the last guy.
I'll stop at a slight angle facing either side of the car in front of me (in case I get knocked then hopefully I'll roll forward instead of getting crushed inbetween...or maybe have the chance to escape regardless whether the threat is from behind or in front).
If I'm wearing my police-looking gloves I'll do a faux-stretch with one or two hands (they have a huge white wrist covering that also gets people's attention).
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