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Discussion Starter #1
....what I did today was slow down exponentially.....basically began to stop right in the middle of the road. I did not swerve either way. He, thankfully, stopped updating his Facebook status long enough to notice my Hi Viz jacket that he was about to run over and got back in his lane. I don't know what I would have done if he wouldn't have corrected himself. I guess tried to power out of it, but I admit to being pretty paralyzed. I guess God decided it wasn't my day to die.
 

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A few taps on the horn while slowing down and surveying the surroundings for my options. All the while keeping an eye on our wayward friend. If his attention was not on me/road pretty quickly, I would execute the option I felt was most appropriate for the situation.

It is very important to realize that there is no single option that fits all situations. Depending on traffic, road conditions, location, visibility, other obstacles... Just too many variables for a direct "answer".

I am very happy all went well. I am starting to think cell phones should auto shut over 25mph... maybe over 10!
 

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Saw a car doing this a couple of days ago, luckily I was behind it. When she looked up from the phone and realised where she was, she nearly lost control as she swerved back.
Here you can't use a phone while driving (or stopped at lights) unless it is hands free and in a cradle, penalty $319 and 4 points (out of 13).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N1iw5Vdim8
 

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....what I did today was slow down exponentially.....basically began to stop right in the middle of the road. I did not swerve either way. He, thankfully, stopped updating his Facebook status long enough to notice my Hi Viz jacket that he was about to run over and got back in his lane. I don't know what I would have done if he wouldn't have corrected himself. I guess tried to power out of it, but I admit to being pretty paralyzed. I guess God decided it wasn't my day to die.

Head off the road if you have to. Anything to avoid a head on collision.

WTH were you thinking stopping in the middle of the road? Seriously is that the spot you choose to die? You should do some serious contemplation about riding.

Sorry to be harsh but that was a terrible decision.

Forget honking your horn, flashing your lights, etc. You're relying on the other guy to notice his mistake. First course of action always is to save your bacon. Being paralyzed with indecision will get your killed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Head off the road if you have to. Anything to avoid a head on collision.

WTH were you thinking stopping in the middle of the road? Seriously is that the spot you choose to die? You should do some serious contemplation about riding.

Sorry to be harsh but that was a terrible decision.

Forget honking your horn, flashing your lights, etc. You're relying on the other guy to notice his mistake. First course of action always is to save your bacon. Being paralyzed with indecision will get your killed.

I was waiting to see what he was going to do. I had no shoulder to go to. I honestly had no idea what choice I was going to make, but I didn't know what choice he was going to make either. The odds say he was going to correct back into his lane. My only choice was to pick where he wasn't. Oh and there were other people behind him in his lane. I honestly had very little choice besides off road and I mean off the road off of a deep shoulder. It wasn't to that point yet.
 

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Head off the road if you have to. Anything to avoid a head on collision.

WTH were you thinking stopping in the middle of the road? Seriously is that the spot you choose to die? You should do some serious contemplation about riding.

Sorry to be harsh but that was a terrible decision.

Forget honking your horn, flashing your lights, etc. You're relying on the other guy to notice his mistake. First course of action always is to save your bacon. Being paralyzed with indecision will get your killed.
Judging his reaction as terrible is pretty presumptuous... None of us were there except for cavenger, so we don't know all the other conditions, like what was the side of the road (though he said it was a steep shoulder), how far the guy was from him, etc...

I probably would have done the same thing, slow down to a near stop, and start flashing my brights or honking (more likely honking), while I prepare to jump off the bike and out of the way if necessary (maybe jumping up and letting him take out your bike if it's not a truck). I have done this many times for cars in the city that do basically the same thing (on skinny 2 lane roads with cars parked along both sides, people drift across the double yellows ALL THE TIME...), and the vast majority of the time the driver sees/hears me and veers back into their lane. Keep in mind I have a Denali sound blaster, so in a neighborhood, it's hard to not hear my horn... very attention grabbing.

I have also noticed that if I occupy the right side of my lane, oncoming drivers will often drift across the double yellows. If I ride the left side of my lane, close to the double yellows, cars tend to stay in their lane better.

I have watched hundreds of motorcycle crash videos (very educational IMO!), and there are tons of this same situation and most of the time the car swerves back into his lane, or the biker goes to his outside just barely missing the car in his lane. But sometimes the car continues across the oncoming lane and goes to the outside of the motorcycle, sometimes crashes off the road, sometimes not. Lots of times, especially for cars turning in front of bikes, the biker veers to the right, natural reaction to try to go around the car (car coming from the left, so they try to go right of the car), but all they end up doing is matching the turning car's rate of turn, and hits right into the middle of the turning car.

Because you don't know if they guy is going to self correct or continue drifting, you don't know if you should commit to one direction or the other. To me the most predictable thing is to stay in your lane (perhaps venture to the outside of your lane just in case...), and just honk and flash as much as you can. I would not continue at your same speed though as that reduces the time for them to see you and react. That said, don't slam on the brakes if there's drivers behind you... you don't want to set them up to rear end you either...

All this requires you to be ready to do something last ditch to get your body out of the way. I figure for a short car, I can jump of the pegs enough to not get completely impacted by the car (assuming I've prepared in the second or 2 that I'm watching the guy come at me). For a truck, there's not much you can do to get out of the way unless you can safely get WAY off the road.


Aww crap... That got long winded and it makes me look like I'm on a soap box... I think about this stuff alot because I do 80mi/per day minimum, and new england drivers are some of the least attentive/most self-centered I have ever seen. I dont' mean to be on a soap box or anything; I'd love to hear counter arguments if people have some sounds points. My goal is to not die (among others...), so I'm open to better ways to achieve that goal
 

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Not being there it's hard to say exactly what he should or shouldn't have done.

My experience is that the steering stops working when you stop and you lose any ability to maneuver out of harm's way. In general with bikes our safety isn't in ATGAT, loud horns (or pipes) or hi-viz but rather in getting out of the way of trouble.

Still, if he had no where to go then there simply may not have been a choice but I suspect in most cases there is somewhere we could go.

..Tom
 

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Judging his reaction as terrible is pretty presumptuous... None of us were there except for cavenger, so we don't know all the other conditions, like what was the side of the road (though he said it was a steep shoulder), how far the guy was from him, etc...
Yea it was harsh on my part but it was to make a point. Not reacting defensively will get you hurt or killed.

Expecting the other person to be predictable is not a good long term riding strategy. You know the expression "everyone is out to kill you when you are on a bike"?

He said he was almost stopping in the middle of the lane waiting to see what the oncoming car was going to do. Sound like a good defensive position? At the least he should have been pulling to the side of the road.

Near accident type situations should be reflected back on and evaluated. What did you as the rider do that was wrong or right. Run through possible scenarios maybe it will help in future situations.

I stand by my original statements though. Not making a decision is in fact making a decision. Coming to a near stop in the middle of a traffic lane with an oncoming car headed for you is a terrible decision.

React, do something. You're vulnerable on a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok... Well i misspoke when I said stopped but I did slow down quite a bit maybe to 30 mph. I had cars behind me as did he. It was basically a game of chicken at that point. I am thinking it was about 80% he would go back into his lane. In my opinion slowing down gave me more distance for him to correct or for me to make a choice.

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Yea it was harsh on my part but it was to make a point. Not reacting defensively will get you hurt or killed.

Expecting the other person to be predictable is not a good long term riding strategy. You know the expression "everyone is out to kill you when you are on a bike"?

He said he was almost stopping in the middle of the lane waiting to see what the oncoming car was going to do. Sound like a good defensive position? At the least he should have been pulling to the side of the road.

Near accident type situations should be reflected back on and evaluated. What did you as the rider do that was wrong or right. Run through possible scenarios maybe it will help in future situations.

I stand by my original statements though. Not making a decision is in fact making a decision. Coming to a near stop in the middle of a traffic lane with an oncoming car headed for you is a terrible decision.

React, do something. You're vulnerable on a bike.
I totally agree, and I ride everyday assuming everyone wants to kill me. I really honestly am not convinced that darting to the outside of my lane, or off the road in that kind of situation is the safest thing for me to do; at least in the similar situations that I run into regularly. And I definitely review in my head every situation I end up in to see if there was a better way I could have avoided it. That practice has changed my riding habits significantly, and I think I ride safer now than in the past.

What I see as a good defensive position in slowing down but staying in your lane is that you are increasing reaction time for both the other guy and me, and I am preparing my self to jump up off the pegs to hopefully go over the car if he hits me. If it's a truck or other large vehicle that I can't get over to any reasonable extent, then I do just get as far out of the way as possible.

I know the "jumping over the car" thing sounds ridiculous, and i don't expect to superman over then or anything, but I think I can end up with a much more minor impact to by body than getting plowed into down low. And again, I don't feel in those moments of watching a guy cross the double yellows at me, that I have any idea which side of my they are headed, or if I'll be able to actually get myself out of his line in time. And again, this happens mostly on tight roads with cars parked on both sides, so for me there is no "get off the road" option.

I think we probably have basically the same strategy here, we just experience different circumstances around it. I don't see slowing down and honking as "not making a decision" or as "terrible" in all conditions, though I do understand your point. Depending on what the "do something" is, you can easily make it worse for yourself. I've seen that in alot of crash videos.

For the most part, I do expect people to be predictable (that's kind of a tautology...), and the other drivers, I'm sure, don't WANT to kill me or hit me, they are just being criminally careless. If they see me at the last second, their reaction is most likely going to be to veer back into their lane. I get their attention the vast majority of the time, and the few times that I have honked and flashed and they didn't move back, I left enough time for myself to veer to the right and get out of their way when I realized they weren't going back into their lane. I definitely look out for myself the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I honestly think I did the only thing I could do.... Except start going crazy on my little baby horn and maybe the lights. There wasn't really a choice to be made yet....but you never know... The reason I posted it was to get opinions and I appreciate everyone's. Riding is dangerous and I am very aware of it and I'm just trying to get better.

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Since you lived to tell about it, without injury to either you or the bike, it appears you made the right decision for that situation.
 

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I honestly think I did the only thing I could do.... Except start going crazy on my little baby horn and maybe the lights. There wasn't really a choice to be made yet....but you never know... The reason I posted it was to get opinions and I appreciate everyone's. Riding is dangerous and I am very aware of it and I'm just trying to get better.

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To me it's a physics problem mostly. Mass x momentum.

Much better to run into a tree @ 20 then a F150 @ 70. 70 being the combined speed of 2 colliding vehicles.

I think that you have to consider going off the road to avoid a vehicle as a viable option. Not the preferred of course but one that is acceptable. Not just as a last resort either.

I grew up riding dirt bikes and know what to expect (mostly) from a sudden transition.

You guys that think that somehow you can stand on the pegs and at the moment of impact launch yourself off... uh... might as well "lay 'er down" at least the Harley guys would believe that!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would have to ride thay road again to see how deep that drop was. I'm thinking I want to get me a dash or helmet cam. If you guys have any input on that, let me know.

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I honestly think I did the only thing I could do.... Except start going crazy on my little baby horn and maybe the lights. There wasn't really a choice to be made yet....but you never know... The reason I posted it was to get opinions and I appreciate everyone's. Riding is dangerous and I am very aware of it and I'm just trying to get better.
...
In that situation with and oncoming driver distracted by his phone I doubt very much that a loud horn would have actually helped even if he could hear it. If he was totally immersed in the phone it would have taken a moment to register, another moment to figure out why someone's honking, another to figure where and why and then a surprised reaction by the driver. It's probably better than doing nothing and getting run down but I guess there is a little bit of satisfaction in honking before he hits you.


When I used to use the Stebel horn on my 2006 DL650 I came to realize that the only time it did anything was to give an "F U" to a driver. Usually if I needed to use it then it was a situation I likely could have avoided in the first place.

I have a Stebel sitting in my bike box... I might use it some day as its kind of satisfying scaring people with it; but odds are I won't.


..Tom
 

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Well I can't say anything to your experiences, but I get alot of quick heads up when I honk my horn. Most people have a little "Oh $#!%" moment and get back into their lane. It's not 100% effective, but I look out myself in the exception. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water by saying that the most Iphone engrossed DB, or homocidal maniac behind the wheel won't be affected by the horn so we should just never use it.

I don't use it as an FU. I've honked at people, and had them roll down their windows and apologize. People is general aren't horrid, just careless. For the rest of them, I have cameras and my own sense of self preservation. I think it's crazy to leave a tool in the toolbox if it has a chance of helping, which it does in alot of situations.
 

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Well I can't say anything to your experiences, but I get alot of quick heads up when I honk my horn. Most people have a little "Oh $#!%" moment and get back into their lane. It's not 100% effective, but I look out myself in the exception. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water by saying that the most Iphone engrossed DB, or homocidal maniac behind the wheel won't be affected by the horn so we should just never use it.

I don't use it as an FU. I've honked at people, and had them roll down their windows and apologize. People is general aren't horrid, just careless. For the rest of them, I have cameras and my own sense of self preservation. I think it's crazy to leave a tool in the toolbox if it has a chance of helping, which it does in alot of situations.
Most likely someone coming at you isn't going to hear the horn until it doesn't matter. Certainly if they are beside you they can hear the horn... But I realized a while back those were situations I could normally see coming and could just not get into them. And that was after about 120,000 miles of riding with a very loud (Stebel) horn.

Other situations I could see them actually doing something useful that you don't have much else as a choice of action is a car backing into you (say at a gas station) and, well, nothing else comes to mind just this moment but I'm sure there are other situations. I don't think any any involve cars coming at me though.

..Tom
 
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