Yesterday two near misses...cars merging into me.. - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 15 Old 11-17-2016, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Yesterday two near misses...cars merging into me..

Both scenarios were similar. Both were learning lessons for me. Apparently, they did not see me in the lanes next to them even though I thought I was visible in their mirror. I am very aware of blind spots.

One guy's merged over his lane slowly but never stopped. The other guy punched swerving into my lane. In both cases, I had to hit the brakes and felt the abs kick in.

I know I need to stay away from anywhere near that blind spot but sometimes that is difficult. For example, when merging in heavy traffic and you haven't had time to get away from the cars.

My take away is to do almost anything to stay out of that spot, even if it means going slower than traffic. The one guy who punched it really pissed me off though. I couldn't see his face because of his tinted windows.... Doesn't matter though... Both cases are my fault because I am the one that can end up dead. Gotta do better.

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post #2 of 15 Old 11-17-2016, 02:16 PM
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Happens to me all the time. I have developed a habit now to stay out of peoples blind spots and expect that the car next to me does not see me. When I can, I stay out on either the leftmost or the rightmost lane and try not to ride in the middle lane, as that gets me boxed in. I am always ready to speed up, slow down, or swerve onto the shoulder, if possible, when someone pulls into my lane, as this happens quite often.

The only way to mitigate this is, as you say, go slower than traffic or slightly faster than traffic to get out out of the pocket of cars. I feel like cops are aware that motorcyclists sometimes have to do some defensive riding, and that may mean a little bit of speeding for a short burst. At least around here I haven't had issues with being messed with for "getting away from traffic" but who knows. Knock on wood that i don't suddenly get pulled over.

Basically, to survive you must ride defensively under the assumption that you're invisible to nearly every car on the road, lol. Seems like you've figured this out already.
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-17-2016, 03:13 PM
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my basic presumption is everyone is oblivious to my presence and i will do what it takes to avoid their blind spots .however that isn't always possible. i am always planning my escape and thank god until now it has served me well. the freeways here in so cal are somewhat insane even in a car. i generally ride about 5 mph faster than traffic unless the road is clear in which case i just cruise along comfortably.
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-17-2016, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavenger View Post
Both scenarios were similar. Both were learning lessons for me. Apparently, they did not see me in the lanes next to them even though I thought I was visible in their mirror. I am very aware of blind spots.

One guy's merged over his lane slowly but never stopped. The other guy punched swerving into my lane. In both cases, I had to hit the brakes and felt the abs kick in.
Those sucky situations are pretty ordinary, expectable even. I have to wonder: If the first guy was going slowly into your lane, what happened that made hard braking (where the ABS engaged) necessary? This question may make more sense after reading my recommendations below.

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Originally Posted by cavenger View Post
I know I need to stay away from anywhere near that blind spot but sometimes that is difficult. For example, when merging in heavy traffic and you haven't had time to get away from the cars.

My take away is to do almost anything to stay out of that spot, even if it means going slower than traffic. The one guy who punched it really pissed me off though. I couldn't see his face because of his tinted windows.... Doesn't matter though... Both cases are my fault because I am the one that can end up dead. Gotta do better.
I can sympathize with your difficulty. However, I recommend a different approach to the problem, one which I have carefully thought out in order to enhance my survival prospects as a frequent urban rider/commuter. I'll state the approach as a set of rules, (but you may consider them suggestions rather than me trying to be bossy.)

1. In general, avoid passing somebody in an adjacent (same direction) lane except where an already identified escape route exists. This often means timing such a pass so that you are adjacent to a gap in vehicles in the opposite adjacent lane. It sometimes means deferring a pass where the escape route is the shoulder but a bridge abutment or other obstruction is coming up. It usually precludes such a pass while two vehicles are travelling side-by-side, separated by an empty lane you think looks attractive. It should preclude such a pass where a jersey barrier or other impassible barrier means there is no escape route.

2. When passing somebody in an adjacent lane, keep your speed differential with them down, commensurate with your known (and practised) ability to rapidly swerve at the speed you are traveling. This relation between passing speed differential and swerve capability depends on lane position; the further you are from the beginning of a lane incursion, the less dramatic the swerve will need to be.

3. For each vehicle you are passing without a viable swerve escape, be aware of where your relative position transition will occur between "can slow fast enough to avoid sudden lane incursion" to "can accelerate fast enough to get ahead of sudden lane incursion". If those zones do not overlap, slow down, shift to a lower gear, cover your brakes, all as necessary to ensure those zones do overlap. Understand where the transition is as part of preplanning evasion execution. (You do not want to have to figure this out at the moment of need; waiting until them will use precious time better used for the evasion itself.)

4. Pay little attention to blind spots, except to avoid lingering in one adjacent to the other vehicle. Pretend none of the cagers will see you when it counts.

5. When you find yourself having to evade a lane incursion, check your reaction. If it took you by surprise, without a preplanned evasion, vow to do better going forward. When you are riding safely, evasions amount to no more than executing your preplanned contingency action; it should not produce a surge of adrenaline. (That surge indicates your preplanning was insufficient.)

Some riders see this sort of thinking and preplanning as detracting from the joy of riding. I advise them to avoid urban traffic. For me, it's all part of the fun -- a high stakes game where intelligence and skill make all the difference.
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Last edited by Trepidator; 11-17-2016 at 08:36 PM. Reason: more spell better
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-18-2016, 06:40 PM
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"Doesn't matter though... Both cases are my fault because I am the one that can end up dead. Gotta do better. Just being out of the blind spot is not enough."

That attitude is exactly the correct one to keep you alive.....never ever relinquish it!

Every time I ride I say to myself....."gotta do better".....it is a constant vigilance. We all make mistakes when riding. The aware rider acknowledges this, analyze's those mistakes and try's to learn something. The cumulative effect of this over years of riding can be extremely beneficial.

Give enough distance so if someone changes lanes(into yours) it will not have an immediate effect. As others have already said...expect them to do just that, so when it happens, you think..."meh....ok".

You are on the right path to self preservation.....keep it up!
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-18-2016, 07:44 PM
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Sometimes no matter what you do you can't win, I passed a minivan yesterday in traffic and the 'lady' driving it had her Ipad on the steering wheel playing a game.

I always try and stay in in the tyre track closest to the car next to me, sounds contradictory but my headlight is usually filling their mirror. If your too far across in the lane they simply can't see you.
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-19-2016, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Ozrider View Post
I always try and stay in in the tyre track closest to the car next to me, sounds contradictory but my headlight is usually filling their mirror. If your too far across in the lane they simply can't see you.
Ditto, and you still have 3/4'ths of a lane to escape into if needed.

We were headed home from Manitoba after Canadian Thanksgiving. We were in our a 23' Class A motor-home somewhere in Iowa. I had moved left just passed a slower moving truck & I noticed a 18wheeler coming up behind me. I accelerated a bit, then moved back into the right hand lane as soon as I could so he could get around me. The 18wheeler started to pass me, but just as his tractor cleared the front of the motor-home, he started merging into my lane. My first thought was that it was just a momentary drift, but he kept coming over and all I could see was about 40' of a 53' box trailer inches away from my drivers mirror. I had to slam on the brakes and dive onto the shoulder....glad there was a shoulder. I hit the horn, but I doubt he ever heard it since he completed his merge and just kept on trucking.

On a bike, this would not have been a big issue....much more room for escape. That just reminded me that if a driver forgets the motor-home that just moved out of his way, then a motor would be a fly speck on his mirror.
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-19-2016, 03:53 PM
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Responding to Ozrider's comment, "I always try and stay in in the tyre track closest to the car next to me, sounds contradictory but my headlight is usually filling their mirror. If your too far across in the lane they simply can't see you.", Motor7 wrote:
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Ditto, and you still have 3/4'ths of a lane to escape into if needed.
Sorry to have to be blunt here but: That's illogical. Whether there is an escape route which can be swerved into when a cager makes a lane change does not vary with your starting position. All that varies when you are closer to the cager's original lane is how far you have to swerve (more) and how much time you have between detecting the incursion and the potential collision (less). That reaction and maneuvering time can be used to slow, accelerate, or swerve. Having less time necessitates harder (or perhaps impossible) braking, more (or perhaps unavailable) acceleration, or a more (or perhaps impossibly) abrupt swerve.

There is something to be said for being where you are more likely to be seen, but I never choose that when it reduces my margin of safety and options should a cager not see me. I choose to take responsibility for my own safety over relying on drivers paying genuine attention, whenever there is a choice to be made.
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-19-2016, 04:06 PM
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Responding to Ozrider's comment, "I always try and stay in in the tyre track closest to the car next to me, sounds contradictory but my headlight is usually filling their mirror. If your too far across in the lane they simply can't see you.", Motor7 wrote:Sorry to have to be blunt here but: That's illogical. Whether there is an escape route which can be swerved into when a cager makes a lane change does not vary with your starting position. All that varies when you are closer to the cager's original lane is how far you have to swerve (more) and how much time you have between detecting the incursion and the potential collision (less). That reaction and maneuvering time can be used to slow, accelerate, or swerve. Having less time necessitates harder (or perhaps impossible) braking, more (or perhaps unavailable) acceleration, or a more (or perhaps impossibly) abrupt swerve.

There is something to be said for being where you are more likely to be seen, but I never choose that when it reduces my margin of safety and options should a cager not see me. I choose to take responsibility for my own safety over relying on drivers paying genuine attention, whenever there is a choice to be made.
I see both view points. Just depends on the situation. I do notice the double takes in the mirrors, which I like. Probably due to the led lights. Just gotta be Jonny on the spot if they swerve into your space.

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post #10 of 15 Old 11-19-2016, 07:41 PM
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Responding to Ozrider's comment, "I always try and stay in in the tyre track closest to the car next to me, sounds contradictory but my headlight is usually filling their mirror. If your too far across in the lane they simply can't see you.", Motor7 wrote:Sorry to have to be blunt here but: That's illogical. Whether there is an escape route which can be swerved into when a cager makes a lane change does not vary with your starting position. All that varies when you are closer to the cager's original lane is how far you have to swerve (more) and how much time you have between detecting the incursion and the potential collision (less). That reaction and maneuvering time can be used to slow, accelerate, or swerve. Having less time necessitates harder (or perhaps impossible) braking, more (or perhaps unavailable) acceleration, or a more (or perhaps impossibly) abrupt swerve.

There is something to be said for being where you are more likely to be seen, but I never choose that when it reduces my margin of safety and options should a cager not see me. I choose to take responsibility for my own safety over relying on drivers paying genuine attention, whenever there is a choice to be made.

It's not illogical if the rider is paying attention and anticipates a lane change(as we all should). The odds of a lane change occurring when you are in the outside tract(of a driver) goes up quite a bit since you enter the blind spot for a longer period of time, therefore you are reducing your margin of safety by overtaking vehicles in that tract.

There is a good argument for outside tract position when overtaking 18wheelers do the tire blow out risk. That being said, I rarely ever ride in the outside tract since I just plain don't feel safe there. I understand your point, and if you are comfortable & confident riding there then that's ok. No matter what tract we choose, it is always a risk.
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