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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.

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! :eek:
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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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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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! 😊

WEG
 

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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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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!

WEG
 

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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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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.

Scott
 

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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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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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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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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.
Be careful with those statistics though. Without getting into the lane splitting debate, I'm confident you are right that it "reduces rear end collisions", but what about collisions due to drivers changing lanes, opening car doors, etc? Do the increased risks there outweigh the risks of a rear-end collision? They might! And I'm not saying they don't. But the point you made was that it reduces rear-end collisions. A more complete statistic I'd be much more interested in is what it does to the overall injury/accident rate. Both rates matter. I'll take ten fender benders over a serious injury causing accident any day.

When sitting in traffic not moving; one ought to shut the motor down! Stop and go and slow moving traffic can be an issue. But there are oil coolers available as well. In theory, overheating shouldn't be an issue on H-D air cooled motors. They were built with that kind of riding in mind. But I know in practice, guys who spend a lot of time in parades have had all sorts of issues. Some of the newer ones shut a single cylinder off to manage heat, which seems to work well.

The 1700 Vulcan platform is water/air hybrid cooled. Only the heads are cooled (just like the new H-D touring bikes). It gets pretty toasty in stop and go traffic too. But never overheats.
 

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At stoplights, I keep a bit of turning distance (like 5 feet) between me and the car in front. One - to maneuver around if needed, and two - to not suck in their exhaust fumes. And I keep pretty fixed on the left rear view mirror until i see another car coming to a stop. Usually I flash the brake light. Blip the throttle if they are coming in too hot for my taste. Then, I can put it in neutral if its gonna be a minute at the light.

If at all possible I find myself in places w/o stoplights and cagers!

It is a dangerous business; stepping out your front door. Be safe all.
 

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most/ a lot of times I am slowly rolling to the light, hoping not to have to put a foot down. I rarely come up and completely stop. so my slow roll to a red light, the car behind has plenty of time of slowly rolling to the stop as well( probably pissed at me , cause I reduce his time of texting while he's stopped)
 

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Simple strategy would be the basics of defencive driving. Converted defencive riding.

These are the 12 rules I ride by:
1) Have a way out. Always have a sure way out, left lane, right lane, shoulder, between cars etc. Where will you swerve in case something goes utterly wrong?

2) At traffic lights, if you are not lane-splitting to get to the front of the queue. Can you get away from a car that is about to rear-end you? Leave some space in front of you so you can get away to the left or to the right of the car in case an ace is about to get you from behind.

3) When light turns green, do not rush out to cross the intersection. There might be an embittered printer toner distribution advertising executive in his BMW with a cell phone glued to his ear talking about marketing paradigms and solutions running his red light. Check for aces before you pull out.

4) Assume they are all out to get you. Do not give them an excuse to get you.

5) Everyone on the road is an idiot (myself included) until proven otherwise.

6) Do not ride faster than your guardian angel can fly.

7) Just because you see his rear view mirror does NOT mean he can see you.

8) Soccer mom in a van full of kids does not pay attention to her driving, she is paying attention to her kids. Prius driver does not like driving. Geto-mobile driver is on drugs and his drum-and bass is louder inside his car than your straight pipes outside of his car. Merc/BMW/Audi driver is an ace. Make adjustments accordingly.

9) An ace driver is a good Bearbate. Let him go. He will clear Bears from your path for you.

10) Do not feed the Bears.

11) Use "vanishing point" method on curves and hills. Look at the bend of the road where you no longer see pavement. If it closes in - slow down, if it opens up - throttle up. Make sure you can stop before that "vanishing point"

12) Always look through the turn, pointing your chin to where you want your bike go.

There are more rules. But these are my personal top 12. :)
 

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The OP posted a request for defense at a stop light... here are my current and future defenses:
-lane split and get to the front. I live in CA but if I didn't I'd still do it. I would rather pay the ticket (and have!) than get mowed down. Once at the front and the light goes green and you're sure it's clear jump out in front of traffic and enjoy 'cage free' riding... ...until the next light.
-blinking brake light. Love this thing. People see movement and the flashing light mimics movement. Cagers see the flashing light and slow sooner.
- Loading up on LED's as well. They help at night.
-I've just today ordered hard bags and a trunk, guess where more LED's are going?
-I've seen a few touring bikes with chrome or polished stainless baubles hanging off the back on eyelets that allow them to rock/swing/twist around reflecting light all over the place mimicking more movement. Getting those as well, one shaped like a Cross and the other a Star of David cos that's how I roll.
-Not a huge fan of obnoxiously loud pipes but I opened up my stockers a bit and noticed fewer close calls. Everything in moderation.
-Finally, even at the front I still watch what's going on behind me. I was at a light once with a car behind me at a full stop and a woman plowed into the guy behind me so hard she drove his car into the back of mine. :mad:

Keep the rubber side down and enjoy the ride!

Vulkid
 

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Two thoughts:

1: Never put your bike in neutral or shut it off waiting for a light - If the car coming up behind you cant stop, are you going to have enough time to do the shifting dance to get back into first and pull away? Not likely.

2: Lane splitting - Not for me, but if it is legal in your area and (importantly) the cagers are used to someone doing it, then fine. Keep in mind that if it isn't legal, then it isn't common - cagers aren't going to be looking for bikes doing it, and will likely get mad at "the crazy biker" - that can quickly lead to a road rage incident.

Joel
 

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Two thoughts:

1: Never put your bike in neutral or shut it off waiting for a light - If the car coming up behind you cant stop, are you going to have enough time to do the shifting dance to get back into first and pull away? Not likely.

2: Lane splitting - Not for me, but if it is legal in your area and (importantly) the cagers are used to someone doing it, then fine. Keep in mind that if it isn't legal, then it isn't common - cagers aren't going to be looking for bikes doing it, and will likely get mad at "the crazy biker" - that can quickly lead to a road rage incident.

Joel
Lane-splitting is called filtering in the UK and is not only completely legal (under specified circumstances), but is expected on our congested motorways and in London (probably most other city centres too).

Until very recently I had about 15 miles of my daily commute in heavy traffic. About 5 miles driving between the outside 2 lanes of a motorway and the remainder through the gridlocked rush-hour London streets.

Whenever stationery at a set of lights, or at a junction waiting for a gap, I'm in 1st gear clutch-in, right foot planted, and ready to go. I'm looking behind me, to my left, to my right, and in front of me trying to anticipate what new thing the other idiots on the road will throw at me (that's cagers, pedestrians, cyclists, scooter riders, and even other bikers). I've even had a guy reversing towards me at a set of traffic lights because he had changed his mind about the direction he wanted to turn in.
 

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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).
+1 on this comment....leaving room in front of me is a big one for me...10 ft at least...Getting into low gear. angling handlebars one way or the other so that a quick bolt gets me out of the "center" of action....If I sideswipe another vehicle in such an eventuality, it would beat having my back crushed.

My personal biggest problem at stops, despite being a seasoned rider, is that I do not use my rear view mirrors enough. I forget that I am not in a car, and thus am MUCH more vulnerable if rear ended.

Can't be too safe.

Free additional comment: about half of all motorcycle accidents involve only the bike. Thus, I practice really safe and defensive riding in all phases of the ride..Also, turning left on a busy country road? If there is traffic approaching as well as behind me, I just keep going and soon enough I find a place to safely pull off and when traffic is clear I go back to where I wanted to turn left and make a right turn..Rarely "wastes" more than two or three minutes. Another practice is to go into curves and twisties a little slower than I would like...Still another is to wear a full face helmet.
(40% of head injuries are to the jaw and lower cheek areas)
 

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LED's seem to work well, maybe it was time of day?

out for a ride yesterday evening on some my favorite backroad twisties.. coming around the bend a ways up I gott a good look at a fella on a, I dunno mebbe st1300 Honda or something like that.. he had a light under his headlamp that behaved like a modulator or with a bit of side to side illumination. it wasn't his headlamp as that was on full steady, but some other white (2x led?) that was pretty hard to miss, as in you mite think it was official side-side alternating but it was brite white, so you shouldn't get a ticket for it.

then as he passed I noticed in my mirrors he had 3 very small but extremely brite Yellow LEDs, strategically mounted on his sled so they formed a Triangle and they lit up alternating in a random fashion to get yor attention..

I was quite impressed with the effect of Attention gathering while still be subtle enuff not to be annoying .. so that LEO would take offense.
 
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