I ALMOST put a motorcyclist down today

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Carlo Muro, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Carlo Muro

    Carlo Muro Supercàzzola

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,233
    Location:
    Mediocristan
    I'm doing a job now in Catania, Sicily. Today I was trying to find my way back to my hotel and I needed to make a U-Turn. I pulled off, carefully looked both ways, and proceeded to pull out. Just then, as my car entered the roadway, I saw a young man on a scooter, brakes locked, both feet down on the pavement, headed right for my door. I punched the accelerator and fortunately I had a car with something under the hood (big Volvo S60 turbo diesel) and was able to literally JUMP out of his way. I'll never understand how I got enough traction to pull away that fast.

    It was 100% my fault and I've been kicking myself all day long for it. The motorcyclist was, however, doing 3 things that I think he should consider changing to improve his chances of survival.
    1) He had no headlight
    2) He was riding really fast
    3) The color of his bike blended in almost perfectly with his surroundings.

    I am always VERY careful and respectful with regards to those on 2 wheels and I don't have to tell you why. I simply didn't see this guy. I may as well have been trying to dodge a bullet given his speed and lack of visibility. If this can happen to me, what happens when cagers are busy texting, eating, talking on their phone, or simply don't give a $h_t? This is food for thought and even though I cringe at intersections now when I ride, my pucker factor just went up another notch.

    Cheers
    #1
  2. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,120
    Location:
    Steamboat Springs, COLORADO
    Hi Carlo,

    Glad you didn't get tangled up with the guy on the scooter.

    I just try my best to NOT do U-Turns anymore. :D If I miss a turn or exit, I just go to the next one. Usually won't cost me more than a few seconds or minutes at the most.

    I've seen too many "near misses" as a result of U-turns.

    As drivers get older they get stiffer, and lazier when it comes to "getting a good look" at what's really going on. It's nice to be perpendicular to the road when you pull out. Easy to see both ways!

    Listening to my voices in the back of my head more as I age. It's served me well and is definitely a form of situational awareness.
    #2
  3. sperz1

    sperz1 UnStudly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,055
    Location:
    Pensacola, Fl
    I lived in Sigonella just outside of Catania for 6 months in the Navy. I absolutely refused to drive in the city. The locals have a different mentality to how the flow of traffic works compared to any other country I've been. That sucks you gave that rider a close call. But I can understand how those situations pop up.
    #3
  4. Homey

    Homey Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    California Central Coast
    Two other things he shouldn't have been doing:
    4) a Flintstone stop.
    5) riding a scooter.
    #4
  5. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,687
    Location:
    Gen. Oglethorpe's 1733 folly
    Making a U-turn from the the road shoulder is seldom a good idea. It's much better to make a left turn (watching for vulnerable road users) into a lot, turn around and make a right turn in your new direction.

    Of course you already knew that but you did the most dangerous of the two.

    I can't make excuses for the scooter rider, I'm glad to hear that it shook you up. I think your claim of responsibility should stand without qualification (of the actions of the scooter rider).
    #5
  6. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,700
    Location:
    backwoods Alabama
    I'm thinking that you made the U-turn with all due caution and used good judgement. The Scooterista, OTOH, didn't stack the deck in his favor by being in Stealth Mode. Two wrongs don't make a right, but he was wronger. Keep on driving carefully and don't obsess about this incident.

    --Bill
    #6
  7. Trail bandit

    Trail bandit Random adventurer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Oddometer:
    206
    Location:
    Flatistan Nebraska and Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah, shakes you up. I always look an extra time each direction for u turns and pulling out into traffic etc. Don't kick yourself too much. Did your best and everyone survived.

    Stealth mode.... I succumbed a little to the American cruiser all things black look. Black Schuberth helmet and compromise grey black Olympia jacket and pants. Black is going to cook you of course so some gray to reduce this and increase visibility.

    Anyway I'm on the what I think is very bright orange bike waiting to turn right in my neighborhood and a lady in SUV completely cuts the corner toward me then swerves to miss. Bugger all you can do. Sitting duck job. I ordered the Schubert C3 Pro in the flouro green next day. Wore my flouro mesh jacket with it yesterday and had rubber neck lookers everywhere at traffic lights. Not something you'd choose to have going on but VERY visible.
    #7
  8. Islesfan91

    Islesfan91 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    81

    Don't think it's just a matter of being visible (although it helps) Had to play leapfrog with a minivan yesterday who cut me off and then stood on her brakes at a light. Had to dodge around here while braking and ended up alongside her on the right and she had her windows down. I calmly (surprisingly) asked her "was it really necessary for you to cut me off like that?"

    her response?

    "Oh, I saw you"

    wtf? So it was...on purpose?
    #8
  9. Kamala

    Kamala Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,942
    Location:
    Nashoba Valley
    There was a show on the Science Channel the other day about the brain and how it can be distracted/tricked into filtering out certain information. They did a number of real time experiments that the viewers (me for one) participated in. Damn if they didn't trick me into missing both a guy in a giant Rabbit suit and another in a giant Penguin suit mixed in with a genetic dance crew. Just the fact that they had me trying to count how many dancers stepped into a circle on the stage had my brain completely filter out the Rabbit and Penguin (and both were as big if not bigger than the dancers) walking across the stage and mixing in with the dancers. Then to my surprise the host drew the analogy from the experiment and to the fact of so many people saying "I just didn't see the Motorcyclist" after they have an accident in which an outside observer (or the guy on the bike) would say "The driver was either blind or sleeping". Literally if you are looking for cars and have even a slight distraction in play anything but the cars you are looking for can be filtered out by the brain. More than pleased that you and the scooter rider escaped unscathed (his underpants may be the exception).
    #9
  10. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,700
    Location:
    backwoods Alabama
    Yep, the only thing that Conspicuity lighting or HiViz gear does is to stack the deck in your favor. The truly Clue-challenged will be unmoved. You still have to ride-as-if-you-are-invisible, but you get a couple more survival points.

    When I first wore my fluoro-green mesh jacket it was shocking to notice the GREEN reflection/highlight on everything in front of me-- fairing, handlebars, windscreen, mirrors-- in bright sunlight. Which is good, come to think of it. The only downside is that when I leave the jacket on the bike for a minute to pop into a store or gas station the jacket tends to attract bees and other flying insects.

    --Bill
    #10
  11. fredgreen

    fredgreen Proud Canoodian

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    755
    Location:
    Maritime Canoodia
    What kind of moron makes a statement like this. Oh wait, let me guess a head in the sand ignoramus, who has never been to Europe I would think. Keep your stupid comments reserved for the basement!
    #11
  12. WormShanks

    WormShanks b00b

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    350
    Location:
    NW
    Ya, what he said, on all counts.
    #12
  13. Homey

    Homey Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    California Central Coast
    Yeah, I've been to Europe and Asia, doesn't change anything.
    You must ride a scooter, or make Flintstone stops...probably the latter.:norton
    #13
  14. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    9,545
    Location:
    日本
    #14
  15. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,757
    Location:
    Cairns, Australia
    I have to do a u-turn everyday to park in the side street near work (nessesary due to one-way streets, etc). I always make sure to block my entire lane when slowing down or stopping to do begin the u-turn. That way nobody can attempt to pass.

    Requires a good turning circle though, pretty much only works on a bike.
    #15
  16. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,757
    Location:
    Cairns, Australia
    Parking a scooter is easy in areas where you would have to walk 20 minutes to the nearest available park to fit a full sized bike.

    A flindstone stop is perfectly fine if you have adequate footwear. Better than falling over and needs a lot less skill than a quick kick to the ground (I had to do that just yesterday to save a fall in city riding - hurt a bit with only joggers on, but less than gravel rash/broken bones).

    PS: I have never ridden a scooter and cannot remember ever doing a flindstone stop.
    #16
  17. whvaughn

    whvaughn Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    11
    I travel a decent amount for work and am often driving rental cars and using GPS to try to find my way around (though I tend to study a map first, before taking off just to have a better idea of the route).
    I've noticed several times the GPS has instructed me to do a U-turn at the next available/safe opportunity. I have to say, U-turns scare the hell out of me precisely because of situations such as the OP described. I find that two things help:
    1) Having studied a map first I have an idea where I'm going, so I'm not blindly following GPS. This way, I no if I need to backtrack and feel confident finding a more appropriate approach
    2) Instread of doing a u-turn I continue to the next light and "take the long way around" (which usually takes only a few minutes at most OR find a parking lot to safely turn around in.

    While GPS is very helpful, I do think some drivers focus way too much on exactly what the GPS is telling them and fail to scan the environment and other vehicles around them. Not saying this happened with OP, just a general observation/speculation.
    #17
  18. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    9,545
    Location:
    日本
    Has anyone bothered to read this? Extremely informative, might save your life or someone else's...
    #18
  19. Motomedic

    Motomedic Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,512
    Location:
    Spokane
    I watched the same show. I noticed both the rabbit and the penguin, but I couldn't tell you how many times the dances stepped into/out of the circles. The way they introduced the whole show, and the dance routine, made me pay less attention to the "primary" attraction and more to the "background".

    I'm not sure how this relates to driving/riding, but I wonder if the way I think helps to filter out the "noise", and concentrate more on the things that could be an issue. I tend to not see cars as more than large things that can kill me. More than once a friend has told me that I rode right past them without acknowledging them, and my response has always been "I don't recognize individual cars, just that they are cars and trying to kill me".
    #19
  20. dirtrulz

    dirtrulz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    473
    Location:
    denver co
    Kind of funny how everyone is being so nice to you because you ride. Any other time everyone on this forum would be calling you every bad name in the book and wishing for your death. Maybe riders should realize that maybe drivers are not really out to kill them. Sometimes bad things just happen.
    #20