Safety Through Visibility - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-16-2014, 07:47 PM Thread Starter Sponsor
richlandrick's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Clover, S.C.
Posts: 4,134
Safety Through Visibility

While eating dinner at a restaurant just before Christmas I glanced up to see a Harley full dresser waiting in one of those turning lanes between opposing traffic. It was dark, it had just drizzled a little, the roads were wet, and there was Christmas traffic.

Glancing down at my plate and then up again after about 15 seconds the Harley had been replaced by an SUV and all the traffic in the area was standing still. As a car maneuvered through the standing traffic I saw the Harley again. This time it was mostly about 30 feet further down the road, but pieces of luggage and fairing were all over the place and the rider was motionless on the pavement. What may be obvious from reading this took me a few minutes to figure out. The driver of the SUV did not see the Harley and she had rear ended him in that turning lane at probably 25 to 35 mph.

Although many people were already standing around, concerned it might be someone I knew, I got up from dinner and went to check on the rider.

Later it occurred to me the that the Harley rider was sitting there with his running lights on, but had probably released his brake. The glare from the wet roads, oncoming headlights, and tail lights of the cars in front of him probably masked the dimmer running lights. The lady who hit him was pacing back and forth totally distraught, but I couldn't help but wonder if someone else in the same situation might have made the same mistake.

As the days went by it became clear to that had the Harley been more visible to the driver of the SUV the accident would not have happened. As a result, you may notice that Adventuretech is going to be carrying several new products designed to make riders more visible and more safe both night and day. I'll be using them too.

Last edited by richlandrick; 02-16-2014 at 07:50 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-16-2014, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Kennesaw, GA
Posts: 34
In the conditions like you describe it is scary how a person can blend in, especially with the reduced visibility. Throw a little 'lack of defrost' ability in some of these cars and the visibility is reduced even further.

If there is not something reflective on you makes me wonder ....

Hope the rider was going to be ok.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-16-2014, 09:45 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Ajax
Posts: 564
Toss in, if he/she was a typical cruiser rider, black leather was the clothing with a black helmet. I don't know how anyone can see them at night rain or not. :frown:
This is why you will see a lot of riders going to high viz helmets and jackets. Reflective tape on the back of the saddlebags/trunk. LED strips everywhere.

You should see my bike now at night. It sticks out like a sore thumb. BUT you can never account for the inattentive driver.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 12:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Bittern Australia
Posts: 32
l wear a Hi Vis vest plus have reflective tape on the rear of all my bikes, because l ride to work in almost identical conditions during winter, l'd had a few to many close calls, again for the same reason (drivers just don't see you, irrespective of how loud the bike is) l did get ribbed by a few mates when l started, but when l explained that l didn't give a rats @rsE about how l looked (to old to worry) and that l'd rather look like a lolly pop lady going down the road than being smeared all over it by someone couldn't see me they backed off.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 01:07 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Washington, the state
Posts: 7,437
The bike and rider need to show lights and reflectors to drivers that look like something familiar to the driver's brain. A dim red tail light and scattered reflective spots doesn't look like anything the driver recognizes and may be dismissed by the driver's brain replaced in the consciousness by something familiar elsewhere. Crash.

Extra tail lights and brake lights are always good, including the flashing ones legal in your state (California only allows four flashes before they go on steady, according to Hyperlites). As Rick says, keep the brakes on for the extra lighting.

The hi-viz traffic vests look dorky, but their reflective stripes are big and highly visible. The Class 3 vests have short sleeves with reflective stripes on the sleeves...even better. A dirty used-to-be-yellow coat maybe with tiny reflective piping isn't a lot of help.

The DOT-C2 reflective red/white tape you see on trucks & trailers is the brightest that reflects back over wide angles. Put on big pieces that really catch a driver's attention.

Watch your mirrors. Always have an escape route planned. Wait in 1st gear for a quick getaway.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

Marcus Tullius Cicero
44 B.C.

Last edited by PTRider; 02-17-2014 at 01:09 AM.
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 08:26 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Very Southern Maryland
Posts: 722
When waiting in a turn lane and being approached from the rear, or at any stop really, I "pump" the brakes slow and fast in turns. I do it any time there might be some question about whether the vehicle behind me has seen me. Which is basically any time someone is behind me and I have to slow.

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 11:33 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 374
One of the things they hammered into us over four days of training at the Harley Rider's Edge course I took was to never be in neutral while on the road. Neutral is for starting the bike in the parking lot, an nowhere else. If you're stopped in traffic, right foot is on the brake and the bike is in first gear, ready to get the heck out of Dodge if needed. Constantly scanning the mirrors. Pumping the rear brake is a good idea for approaching cars as well.

I'm convinced that even if you were lit up like the Vegas strip, some people still wouldn't see you. Always be ready to get out of the way.

Livin' the dream
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 11:45 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Not so new Jersey
Posts: 1,161
Adventure-Tourer types love gear of all types.
Gadgets, safety stuff, performance goodies, camp-out stuff, etc... Being prepared for whatever comes our way is part of the sport.
That's not always the case with "other" types of bikers.

The choice to have a beautiful $25,000 motorcycle trimmed-up as little more than a target for an accident is part of the "freedom" of that particular type of biker.

In D. L. Hough's first Proficient Motorcycling book he had opened my eyes to the fact that: (paraphrasing) safety wise don't worry about the 5000 people that die in motorcycle accidents each year. That's for the people that "dont" do all the safety & proficiencies stuff.
And every time one of em' go down, the cold hard mathematics of the equation make it that much less likely they "you" will get picked-off that year.
Take all the emotional baggage out of the conversation and it really is a simple matter of working the odds in your favor.

Fortunately we all have the freedom to decide if we will be totally prepared for the journey...
. . . or simply do what makes us feel Free.

A "Commuter" not an AdvTourer.
Currently Commuting On: 06 Harley XL1200C, DL1000k6, two old mopeds, and a pair of sneakers.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 11:55 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Cajun land, Louisiana
Posts: 142
Yep, all this talk of hi vis gear, reflective tape, etc is good..but ponder this, all who tempt the gods by riding small, 2 wheel machines amongst the huge 4+ wheeled monsters on the road....ever see a car run into the back of a big ass 18 wheeler? I have. Ever seen a big ass truck run smack into another big ass truck? I have. Both of these incidents took place in sunny, clear weather, on good roads. Think anything you can wear or paint or stick would have any effect on the type of driver that can run into a virtual mountain for no apparent reason? Don't be fooled..there is NO SAFETY in traffic when you choose to ride a bike..its all illusion. :beatnik:

2013 Yamaha FJR 1300
2008 Suzuki GSX650F
2004 Suzuki DL-650 & 2007 KLX 250S
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-17-2014, 12:32 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Murder City
Posts: 3,715
Living is dangerous. All we can do is minimize the risk. High viz gear, flashing strobes, proactive situational awareness, it all works to minimize the risk but nothing will eliminate it. There is always that idiot texting, falling asleep or arguing with the wife that no amount of precaution can avoid. I personally try to stay out of urban areas which is sometimes impossible. Even out in the boonies there is the texting deer that will always jump out in front of you. Riding has a certain amount of risk. I say no more than skiing, swimming, scuba, skydiving, football etc. Be safe, increase your survivability.

Years ago a friend of mine, retired Navy Frogman, 4 tours in Nam, rode harleys without a helmet, drank, smoked, jumped out of perfectly good planes. Died fixing a well pump because someone threw the breaker while he was in the hole. Go figure.

Im interested to see what new products you are bringing to the table.


If You're Gonna Be Stupid, You Better Be Hard, because stupid hurts!
I no longer own a V Strom, but I'm still here because its the best bike forum going!

2017 VFR1200X Crosstourer (Chili)
2016 GL1800 Goldwing, sold good riddance.
2013 V Strom DL650 Adventure AKA Max, Fun, different, did I say fun? (traded)
2004 FLHTC Ole Red, all lower 48, several times (sold 180k miles did lower 48 four times)
1999 FXST Stage 4 Evo AKA Bitch Bike and holeshot king
1998 FXDWG Red Grey (sold)
1997 XL (Mom's bike)
1976 XLCH Iron Head (Leaker)
1978 ZIR TC (AKA Smoky) Rated "R" not for kids under 17 (Seized by father)
1976 CB 750 (AKA trouble)
1976 MT 250 Elsinore (My favorite, rode the country on a 2 stroke)
1974 CB 350-F4 (AKA Dog)
1974 Kawi 100E (AKA Sparky the mud bug)
1972 KV 75 kawi
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