Motorcyclists: A reminder

Last month I posted this thread about a “left-seat passenger” who, through his inattention, nearly caused a multi-car collision that caused me a couple of anxious seconds on my motorcycle.

Here’s what happened today:
[ul][li]Morning commute on the 405, southbound. I am well-established in the number 2 lane. A woman in an SUV changes from the number 1 lane into the number two lane – right where I happen to be riding. The kicker is that she is looking out of her left window.[/li][li]Leaving the parking lot at work this afternoon. I get to the stop sign first, but I see girl in an SUV coming from the left who is obviously not going to stop. She bounds over the speed hump and made a left into another parking lot without stopping for the stop sign. I followed her in. When she got out of her vehicle (after spending some time to put on make-up) I said, “You know there’s a stop sign there, don’t you?” She said, “No there isn’t.” I pointed it out to her. I told her that if I had been one second quicker that she would have hit me.[/li][li]Northbound on the 405 I was well-established in the number one lane, just to the left of the carpool lane. A man in a Japanese coupe was about three-quarters of the way into my lane, right beside me. I never saw him coming, and he obviously didn’t see me. But since A) I was established in the lane, and B) he was overtaking me, he should have been paying attention to where he was going. I scan the mirrors and swivel my head around with some frequency, but he just swooped up and almost hit me.[/ul][/li]So, motorcyclists, a reminder: Cage-drivers will try to kill you. Be careful out there.

Beware the “left-seat passenger”.

Do you ever wonder if your luck is going to run out?
Are you going to start carrying a ball bat to give some of those idiots a thumping?

Jeesh! I know exactly what you mean.

Ya know when I bought my bike I asked the dude if they could UNINSTALL the device that makes me appear to be invisible; but he said he couldn’t.

I am so terrified of motorcyclists! The vast majority of y’all follow the laws, but about once a week a rogue cyclist flies by me at 100mph, no helmet. I stay way back once they pass. I’m sure my terror stems from a near-accident I experienced about 20 years ago - almost cut off/anniliated a motorcyclist at night on a highway, I swear I just couldn’t see him(her). It probably wasn’t as close a call as I remember, but I still avoid cyclists and let them get way ahead of me. And, it really freaks me out when they drive between the lanes at intersection lights, to get to the front of the line.

Harley riders rock! Lots of them in my neck of the woods. Beautiful machines.

Fellow I knew worked in the ER. They called them “murdercycles”.

That said, I wish I had my licence.

A timely reminder, Johnny. Thanks. :slight_smile:

My tax return cheque should arrive within a month, then I go bike shopping, do a course and then I’m off to learn about the wonders of motorbikes.

I can see from your OP that even though I knew car drivers wouldn’t see me, that’s not enough. I have to pretend I’m invisible at all times, and completely forget about road rage.

That’s legal here. :smiley:

I can’t get into Harleys. I want speed, power, and maneuverability. :wink:

Yeah, my daily commute is pretty much peppered with the strange, the idiotic, the inane and the just plain downright dangerous.

Case in point - just this afternoon coming home. I pull up to the stoplight at the exit from our office park in the RIGHT TURN ONLY lane behind a fellow in his $50,000 cage, yacking it up on his cell phone. Traffic on the cross street was waiting for the dedicated lefts to finish turning, so we had a clear shot to turn right onto the cross street. Mr. Phone just sat there yacking it up - after all, it WAS a red light and all that. Well, he remembers that you can turn right on red at just about the same instant that the dedicated lefts stopped and cross traffic got its green. The guy nearly got clobbered on that one and HE started gesturing out the window at the crossing traffic. I gave him a nice wide berth and got into my freeway entry lane. Well, who do you think decided that he also want to be on the freeway just after I entered that lane? Mr. Phone-in-the-Beemer had turned right but goen across four lanes of traffic to the left only to discover at the last possible gasp that he wanted on the freeway - Oh, there’s a motorcycle there? No biggie - my Beemer can beat that bike … :SMACK:

The local law is finally taking to enforcement of the 25 MPH limit inside our office park too - man, does THAT piss the cagers off. I’ve never seen so many tickets being handed out in one day. That’s OK though, maybe it’ll get some of them to back out of my tailpipes a little bit on the way in to the office in the morning.

They haven’t legalized vehicluar manslaughter, have they? I just gotta wonder some days, I just gotta wonder.

… you haven’t ridden MY Harley :smiley:

Give me a slow ride on that Harley!

Embarrassing story: dressed up as bikers for Halloween, rented a Harley – I stepped off the wrong side and burned a major hole in my fake black leather pants. Not to mention my freaking leg. Husband was extremely worried about the black mark left on the side of the bike. He would give his left one for a Harley, but I’ve prohibited it – don’t tell him I have a secret love for that bike.
Harley riders drive slow and easy. I love to see the convoys, was in one for a Stevie Ray tribute concert a couple of years ago. What a beautiful sound, thousands of bikes.

I was on only a bike for ten months. So, not a ton of experience, but I saw a bit.

I can’t believe what some riders do.

Don’t split lanes even when the cars have room to change lanes. Even if the driver did check normally, he won’t have seen you. It will be YOUR fault you get hit.

Don’t swoop around people, just missing their bumper. Again, they may have just checked for a lane change, and you weren’t there when they looked.

Don’t ride in the blind spot of the C pillar of the car. You’re invisible.

Stick to the left lane and stay there as long as possible. You only have to check from one direction.

If you can, slide to the opposite side of the lane from the car you’re passing. If it dives for your lane, at least it has to come all the way across to hit you. You have some reaction time.

Wear the helmet (the law in CA, and the most obvious ticketable offense ever. I’ve never seen someone not obey this, as it’s so easy to spot. ) You’ll regret having traded your face for that free, windy feeling.

Stay in the carpool lane whenever possible.

Wear something reflective. I had stickers on my helmet, but I probably should have done something like wear a reflective vest, too. Get your turn signals to be running lights.

It’s true the vast majority of cyclists do drive safely almost all of the time. However from my own experience i can honestly say that after a long time of driving year-round in a most un-cycle friendly state (Oregon) I developed some really nasty habits that tended to freak other drivers out. I think I did this pretty much out of angry reaction to being virtually ignored by most people with four wheels, that and the fact that while being a very cautious driver I was run off the road and into a noise barrier which moved me from a decent Harley to a Honda.

My nasty habits were:

  1. Hogging the divider aka “playing chicken”. When a car sees an oncoming bike they tend to own the center of the road and sometimes drift on to the center line. when angry I will/would often jump on to that center line and force them back over. Not the wisest of tactics, but very emonionally gratifying.

  2. Window tapping. When someone would tailgate me I would often veer left or right and brake rapidly to fall in beside or behind them and then hammer on their doors or windows. Very foolish but if i had a camera on my helmet i could sell the pictures.

  3. And the number one most suicidal thing I have ever done repeatedly (and still do it in my car, but it’s a lot less physically risky in a car) is simply to lay on the brakes. Considering I’m only stopping like 400lb and the tailgater has to stop at least 1500lb in a Metro I have no idea what the hell I was ever thinking.

Still, an agressive driver on a bike is probably more visible than a passive one so maybe that is what saved me from serious injury. Although I once did brake into some gravel on the side of the road which i intended to spin up into the windshield of the person gating me and nearly dropped my bike. I caught it with my arm and ion so doing tore a muscle in my back and chestand for a few weeks agony with each breath or movement.

In retrospect I’d say the safest thing one can do on a bike is avoid the freeway and any large parking lot. Getting backed into in a mall parking lot it almost a daily ordeal.
Loud pipes also help a whole lot. I would suggest a safety vest or bright helmet but while everyone agrees they are great ideas no one wears them.

Dude where do you put your balls at? Tapping windows that’s insane, and of all the bikers I know I have never heard of anyone else doing that.

I’ve had to stop doing this, here in the DC area it just does not work, period. As a matter of fact I think it just pisses them off worse. Instead I stay in the far right part of the lane, and when they get to close I slowly start to move further left, they will usually ride about half of their car on the shoulder. I’ve also taken to back fireing the bike and quick swerving, nothing seems to work any more. :frowning:

Not really because on the freeway you eliminate one of the biggest hazards, left hand turners.

Johnny LA - A little tip for tailgaters. I carry a few ballbearings in a tankbag. When someones too close,just take one out and discreetly drop it on the road.

I had to do it yesterday while riding my bicycle, though I didn’t set myself up to it intentionally. A delivery truck overtook me slowly[1] with about 1 foot of room to spare, and I banged on the side of the truck. I figure if a truck comes close enough that I can bang on it, the driver deserves a warning. I think it’s the 3rd time it happened.

[1] Slowly relative to me, that is - I was doing a steady 20 mph, he overtook me at about 25mph.

I don’t think it was balls on my part, just irrational anger. It’s one of those adrenalin things, just like picking a fight you can’t possibly win because you temporarily lost all ability to think rationally. I’m sure everyone has experienced that sudden burst of rage that leaves you trembling and invoulinatily lowering your head and balling your fists. I just used to have this hasppen a lot more than is healthy. Chalk it up to a person who didn’t really grow into his body until after high school at about the same time he discovered that even the worst beating wasn’t as bad as lying awake at night in anguish thinking about how he let someone get away with pissing on him.

I’m much better now, but for a while I was a person who was unpleasant to be around and whose only “friends” existed to buy me boilermakers and wait for me to ask some stranger “What the @#! are you looking at @#@#$%?”. Three years of anger management have helped a great deal. Now I just use my rapier-like wit when slighted, it really cuts down on bactine expenses.

Anymore I think the worst person to piss off when you are on a bike is the person directly behind you. And damage to someone’s car is likely to make them lose the ability to think just as easily as their tailgating had done to you. If you are that mad just get behind them and follow them to a parking lot and confront them there. Even if they are a royal badass they can’t as much damage to you as that car could.

And a tip for anyone who does this. Leave you lid on, let them break their hand on it. But wait for them to get clear of the car first in case they are carrying a club or a gun or whatnot. Still I am certainly in favor or the judicious beating of those who endanger myself through inattentive driving habits.

Actually, I’m not very good at getting mad. Once a guy decided to change lanes when I was there, and his bumper made contact with my shin. I got a lump, and his bumper was slightly dislodged. I pulled over to the left shoulder, and all I could do was yell at him to watch where he’s going. I’ve talked to some motorcyclists who would become physically violent for less; but I’m just not a violent person.