Cars pulling in front of motorcyclists

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by InsuredDisaster, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. InsuredDisaster

    InsuredDisaster Sam's Summer Camp

    Jan 22, 2006
    Denver, Colorado
    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:
    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?
  2. Ceej

    Ceej Been here awhile

    Aug 2, 2006
    Brockton, MA
    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.
  3. Sparkdaddy

    Sparkdaddy aventurero

    Apr 27, 2006
    Salida, Colorado
    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.:D

    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. :huh

    Ride safe and keep your distance.
  4. Laoch

    Laoch Buying more ammo

    Nov 16, 2006
    Check your six
    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.
  5. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer

    Aug 25, 2005
    Spring Mountain Range
    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!
  6. H2oskier

    H2oskier Been here awhile

    Oct 18, 2006
    Ottawa, Kansas
    :eek1 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
  7. kconville

    kconville Avant Guard Dog

    Apr 14, 2007
    State of Denial
    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.
  8. wunlung

    wunlung Been here awhile

    Nov 24, 2005
    New Joisey
    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.
  9. VegasKLRider

    VegasKLRider Long timer

    Feb 9, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    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.
  10. wiltony

    wiltony Will Tony What?

    Jun 22, 2007
    Boise, ID
    :yikes Holy cow! Did you get their plate and call it in!?? That's over the frickin line.
  11. kconville

    kconville Avant Guard Dog

    Apr 14, 2007
    State of Denial
    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.
  12. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Aug 4, 2001
    San Francisco
    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!
  13. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

    Oct 10, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    My $0.02 is at the bottom of this page... CLICKY
  14. crevans

    crevans Plays in Traffic

    Sep 24, 2006
    The ATL
    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...
  15. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now

    Aug 18, 2003
    Richmond, Va


    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.
  16. SocalRob

    SocalRob Long timer

    May 23, 2006
    Los Angeles @ base of Angeles Crest Hwy
    In alot of ways where you ride depends on how often the left turners are going to get you. In LA, we have very few 2 lane highways with lots of driveways & side streets. Here it seems to be mostly freeway, turners not a problem, or 35/45mph commercial streets & 25mph residential streets. The commercial streets are normally designed for limited driveways. Whenever I see a potential turner (driveway or lefty) I try if at all possible to slow to 10 under the limit. I figure if I'm going 30 or less when someone pulls in front of me I've got a pretty good chance of stoping or avoiding. Of course there is always the person that turns RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. And then you are screwed. I still would like to be travelling slower if that happens.

    I guess riders in more rural areas have alot of 55mph or faster roads with side streets & driveways. I suspect those types of roads are often where the fatal "turn in front" accidents happen.

    Regarding being seen. I think its hopeless. I'm not even sure MC's are harder to see than cars, remember a turn if front accident in a car is just a fender bender, on a bike may be a fatal. Read recently of a car plowing into a emergency worker at an accident with police cars & a fire truck with all their emergency lights going. I think humans sometimes zone out & lose a second or two of reality. Just hope they are not in the same space as you when it happens.
  17. blemkan

    blemkan Adventurer

    Apr 30, 2006
    Burbs o' the D
    Shell Gasoline used to have these car care and safety tip commercials on TV and corresponding pamphlets in their gas stations. In the one I remember the most, the guy says "look left, then right, then left again."

    Now, these ads were probably running when I was still in my single digit years, but that message stuck with me for some reason.
  18. RayAlazzurra

    RayAlazzurra Stuck in the Eighties

    Sep 6, 2006
    St. Louis, Mo, USA
    I've been riding for years and I've noticed that cars pull left turns in front of me when I'm on my bike. They do the same when I drive my truck with the headlights on. They turn left in front of my paramedic friend when he is driving with the flashing lights. I've crashed a bike a few times, but never because of the left turners. Are the left turners really that dangerous? I think not. A trained rider using lane positioning, correct use of the front brake, and generous following distance has no more risk from left turners than a car driver does. (yes... that is still a serious level of risk)

    We would be better served to focus on braking skills, leave more space in front so people can see us, and worry more about what is behind us. I thought I was the only rider with this opinion. Not anymore-- see below:

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard that most motorcycle accidents are the result of someone turning left into them from oncoming traffic. That apparently wide-spread belief has never felt right to me based on my own half a million miles on the road, and it clearly smacks of an attempt to rationalize responsibility away from the motorcyclist.

    I have included the complete text of a July 1994 report issued from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety at the end of this Tip because I could not find a URL to let you link to it yourself. [I found a URL to it after I created this tip: here.] In summary, however, it makes the following points:
    <!--msthemelist--><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><!--msthemelist--><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=baseline width=42>[​IMG]</TD><TD vAlign=top width="100%"><!--mstheme-->[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Running off the road, usually in a curve, often involving alcohol, and almost always a 'single vehicle' accident accounted for a stunning 41 percent of the total motorcycle fatalities. This is more than twice the percentage of any other cause. <!--mstheme-->[/FONT]<!--msthemelist-->
    </TD></TR><!--msthemelist--><TR><TD vAlign=baseline width=42>[​IMG]</TD><TD vAlign=top width="100%"><!--mstheme-->[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]The running of a traffic signal in an intersection, most often a stop sign and most often by the other vehicle, accounted for 18 percent of the total accidents. <!--mstheme-->[/FONT]<!--msthemelist-->
    </TD></TR><!--msthemelist--><TR><TD vAlign=baseline width=42>[​IMG]</TD><TD vAlign=top width="100%"><!--mstheme-->[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Oncoming, head-on crashes accounted for 11 percent of the total. Very few of these were in intersections and a few were on divided roads. About half were on straight roads and the other half on curves. 58 percent of all these crashes were attributed to the motorcycle rider's failure to stay in lane or using excessive speed. <!--mstheme-->[/FONT]<!--msthemelist-->
    </TD></TR><!--msthemelist--><TR><TD vAlign=baseline width=42>[​IMG]</TD><TD vAlign=top width="100%"><!--mstheme-->[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Left-turn oncoming crashes, as with the oncoming crash type described above, involve vehicles traveling in opposite directions. However, for this crash type, one of the vehicles is in the process of making a left-turn in front of oncoming traffic. This was the fourth most common crash type accounting for only 8 percent of the total. The left-turn was almost always being made by the other vehicle and not the motorcycle. That is, the motorcycle almost always had the superior right of way. This crash often occurred at intersections (69 percent) or at driveways and alleys (7 percent). <!--mstheme-->[/FONT]<!--msthemelist-->
    </TD></TR><!--msthemelist--><TR><TD vAlign=baseline width=42>[​IMG]</TD><TD vAlign=top width="100%"><!--mstheme-->[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]"Motorcycle down", meaning the motorcyclist loses control of the bike (including deliberately 'dumping' it) and it goes down on the roadway, accounted for another 7 percent of the total. These usually occurred on dry, level, and straight roads.<!--mstheme-->[/FONT]<!--msthemelist--></TD></TR><!--msthemelist--></TBODY></TABLE><!--mstheme-->[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]
    These five categories account for about 86 percent of all the fatalities looked at. "He didn't see me" excuses could only be used in about half the 'running traffic signal' and 'oncoming' situations as well as most of those categorized as 'left-turns'. In other words, no more than about 20 percent of all these fatalities involved a second vehicle that could have claimed not to see the motorcyclist. That's a long way from 'most'.
    Further, while the report goes on to make some suggestions about how to reduce these accidents, it does not read like the writings of a motorcycle rider. To suggest that an important possible countermeasure is to 'avoid excessive speed when entering an intersection' pales in comparison to simply insuring that another vehicle is on your right side as you enter intersections, for example.
    Following is the full text of the cited article:

    Analysis of Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: Crash Typing from FARS Data by David Preusser, et al (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 N Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201; ph 703-247-1500) (July 1994) [HE 5616.5 .P7]
    Motorcycles, which are a small subset of all motor vehicles, are greatly overrepresented in fatal crashes in the United States. The death rate per registered motorcycle (59 per 100,000) is more than three times the death rate per registered passenger car (17 per 100,000). Death rates calculated per vehicle, however, do not take into account the substantially lower mileage traveled by motorcycles. Per mile traveled, the death rate for motorcycles is estimated to be 22 times higher than the comparable death rate for passenger cars.
    In 1992 there were 2,074 motorcycle crashes. These were grouped into 11 crash type categories: 10 defined crash types plus one category for other and unknown. The most frequently occurring crash type was ran off-road, followed by ran traffic control, oncoming (i.e., head-on), left-turn oncoming, and motorcyclist down. Taken together, these five most frequent types accounted for 86 percent of the 2,074 crashes.
    Ran off-road crashes involve situations where the motorcyclist leaves the roadway and overturns or strikes some off-road object. This is the most frequently occurring motorcycle crash type accounting for 41 percent of the total. These are often late night, weekend crashes involving a motorcyclist who had been drinking. Off-road objects struck include: culvert, curb, or ditch (24 percent of the 857 crashes); posts and poles (11 percent); trees (10 percent); and guardrails (10 percent). This crash type, unlike the other crash types, most often occurs on a curve in the road (71 percent at curves versus 21 percent for all other crashes). Most are single-vehicle crashes though occasionally the motorcycle, the driver, or debris returns to the roadway and some other vehicle becomes involved.
    Ran traffic control crashes occur when one vehicle with an obligation to stop, remain stopped, or yield, fails to do so and thus collides with some other vehicle. This was the second most frequently occurring motorcycle crash type accounting for 18 percent (375) of the total. Most occurred at intersections (72 percent), driveways and alleys (7 percent), or interchanges (4 percent). The traffic control device was most often a stop sign (39 percent) or traffic control signal (18 percent). Nearly all (97 percent) were "angle" collisions. Of the 375 events, 341 involved just one motorcycle plus one other vehicle. Within the FARS coding system, variables are defined and coded for driver and occupant factors as well as for the crash and vehicle. Analysis of these 341 crashes indicated that it was the driver of the other vehicle, not the motorcyclist, who was most often assigned the FARS driver factor "failed to yield" (146 versus 63). That is, in many cases, the motorcycle had the superior right of way. The driver factor most often assigned to the motorcycle was "excessive speed" (80 versus 4) indicating, at least in some of these cases, that the motorcycle was approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed making it difficult for the other motorist to detect the motorcycle in time.
    Oncoming, or head-on crashes involve a collision between two vehicles traveling in opposite directions. This was the third most common motorcycle crash type accounting for 11 percent (225) of the total. Few of these crashes occurred at intersections (5 percent versus 25 percent for all other cash types) and few occurred on divided highways (7 percent versus 25 percent). About half occurred on straight roadways and half occurred on curves. Driver factors, typically failure to remain in established lane and/or excessive speed, were most often assigned to the motorcycle (158 versus 58).
    Left-turn oncoming crashes, as with the oncoming crash type described above, involve vehicles traveling in opposite directions. However, for this crash type, one of the vehicles is in the process of making a left-turn in front of oncoming traffic. This was the fourth most common crash type accounting for 8 percent (176) of the total. The left-turn was almost always being made by the other vehicle and not the motorcycle (175 of 176 events). That is, the motorcycle almost always had the superior right of way. This crash often occurred at intersections (69 percent) or at driveways and alleys (7 percent).
    Motorcyclist down crashes cover situations where the motorcyclist loses control of the vehicle and goes down in the roadway. The motorcycles could have struck something in the roadway or have been struck by some other vehicle after going down. This was the fifth most common crash type accounting for 7 percent (152) of the total. Generally, it could not be determined why the motorcycle went down. The "loss of control" could have been a deliberate action on the part of the motorcyclist (i.e., putting the bike down) to avoid some perceived threat ahead. The crashes occurred on dry (93 percent) level (73 percent) roadways that were straight (56 percent) or curved (43 percent).
    The most important finding in the present study was that five defined crash types accounted for 86 percent of all of the motorcycle crash events studied. Two of these types, ran off-road and oncoming, are predominantly the result of one or more errors (i.e., FARS driver factors) on the part of the motorcyclist. Both typically involve a motorcyclist who leaves the appropriate travel lane(s) either running off the road or colliding with a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Both tend to occur more frequently in rural areas, on higher speed roadways and at curves. Ran off-road crashes are very often alcohol related. Countermeasures designed to promote helmet use and reduce drinking and driving, and excessive speed, would be appropriate.
    Ran traffic control and left turn oncoming involve an interaction between the motorcyclist and one or more other drivers. Unlike ran off-road and oncoming crashes, they occur more often at intersections, on lower speed roadways, in urban areas, during times of the day when more traffic would be expected, and less often are alcohol related. Typically, the motorcyclist has the superior right of way just prior to the crash, and some other vehicle fails to grant this right of way moving into the path of the motorcycle. Possible countermeasures include improved signal timing, enforcement of stop and yield obligations, and improved sight distances at intersections particularly in cases where the smaller motorcycle may remain blocked from view long after larger vehicles have become visible. Motorcycle drivers can reduce their chances of becoming involved in these two crash types by maintaining lane discipline (not popping out from some unexpected location). wearing conspicuous clothing, and by avoiding excessive speed when entering an intersection.

    That some people persist in thinking that most motorcycle accidents occur in intersections still bothers me. I'm all for being extra careful in an intersection, if that is what this thinking leads to, but am most distressed that the evidence suggests that we need to be even more careful in handling curves and that this is being discounted.
    Though the stats I provided were admittedly fatality related, there simply must be a correlation between fatal accidents and total accidents. Still there are other available sources than those that I have provided.
    Consider this from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 1994 report entitled: TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS, on all traffic fatalities in the US during that year:
    MOTORCYCLES The 2,304 motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 6 percent of total fatalities in 1994. The motorcycle fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is about 20 times that of passenger cars. Motorcycle operator error was identified as a contributing factor in 76 percent of fatal crashes involving motorcycles in 1994. Excessive speed was the contributing factor most often noted. 43 percent of fatally injured operators and 48 percent of fatally injured passengers were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. Approximately one out of every five motorcycle operators involved in a fatal crash in 1994 was driving with an invalid license at the time of the collision. Motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes in 1994 had a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level (28.9 percent) than any other type of motor vehicle driver. NHTSA estimates that 518 lives were saved by the use of motorcycle helmets in 1994.
    Operator error - 76% of fatal crashes involving motorcycles - and excessive speed. This is simply NOT descriptive of intersection accidents.
    This is NOT an argument that most two-vehicle accidents occur in curves - rather it is an argument that most fatal motorcycle accidents do, thus it is probable that most of all motorcycle accidents resulting in injury do as well. There is no doubt in my mind that multi-vehicle accidents tend to occur in intersections.

  19. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

    Jan 26, 2004
    Western Mass
    I'm glad somebody went right to the source and cleared that up. So it is a danger, but not the biggest one which is ourselves (single vehicle failing to negotiate a curve).

    Inattentive drivers run reds, run stops, turn in fiont of others all the time. But the consequences of doing it to another car are less likely to result in the death of the other driver (though that is still possible, just less likely).

    And from my personal anecdotal experience from both sides, I think there is some incremental increased risk to motorcyclists from cars misjudging their distance or composition. For example, I was in our tow vehicle, waiting to pull out of a roadhoue frequented by motorcyclists. There was a lot of traffic coming down the two-lane doing around 60 mph. It was dusk and everyone had their lights on. So finally I see what looks like a big enough gap, and the next car is a good distance away, and I start to roll. But something about the headlights looks odd. One is lower than the other. I stop to review this, and realize it is two sport bikes, very fast and now very close, in staggered formation. I initially mis-read the two closely spaced lights as one car further back and nearly pulled out right in front of them. It happens.
  20. InsuredDisaster

    InsuredDisaster Sam's Summer Camp

    Jan 22, 2006
    Denver, Colorado
    First, I mentioned that I was ignoring single vehicle accidents for this. No doubt, motorcyclists could do well to clean the pot before looking at the kettle and blaming cars for there misshaps. But that's un-American. Thats why there are so many lawyers here.

    And as to Viverrid's post: See, how many other cars would look twice when things don't look right. I do, but I know others are barely able to break 2% of their attention from that cell phone call. And at night, it is very difficult to judge distance by headlights. What if a car's headlights are higher or lower than normal? Or dimmer? How many cars have burned out headlights. Ever seen how hard it is to judge their distance? If people have trouble with cars, then motorcyclists should be pretty darn sure they are not moving much faster than other traffic, while at the same time, be covering those brakes and watching for people about to enter the roadway.

    I see that most accidents, car or motorcycles, are what happens when both parties involved (when looking at MVA's) have checked out. If either party notices the situation deteriorating before that last "2 seconds," they probably could have avoided it. I've avoided getting nailed in intersections in both cars and bikes simply by watching for people who don't appearing to be slowing down. But I've been in cars with the passenger saying "Light's green GO!" If the passenger had been driving, we'd be dead.

    I just can't figure out why in the US, motorcyclists are still doing such stupid things. I guess it is because so many bikers see their bikes as toys to one degree or another, or else have that "It can't happen to me" attitude that takes so many people down.