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Accident avoidance - how safe are we really?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by hugh50935, May 8, 2010.

  1. Dear all,

    After a few years of deliberation, I finally did the L's course and computer test, and am now sitting here with my newly-updated license. I've just bought a helmet and will be working my way through the newbie shopping list over the next few weeks.

    However, commuting to & from work (North Shore to Kensington) every day in peak hours has left me with an appreciation of how idiotic, aggressive & careless the occasional (or common) driver is. I understand that generating buffer zones between rider & traffic and being vigilent of other drivers can prevent many dangerous situations, but what can a rider do to avoid those really unforeseeable scenarios? By this I mean cars/bikes on the wrong side of the road, running intersections, or cutting in & braking hard in front of you? Are these avoidable, or just an inherent risk of motocycling?

    All help & advice is appreciated.

  2. Pay attention to cars entering from side streets, watch drivers head on freeways, watch cars approaching traffic lights before committing to crossing the intersection. Practice emergency braking at ALL speeds and wear all your gear.
  3. * Leave plenty of space beteen you and the car in front to deal with sudden braking or sudden lane changes in front of you.
    * Ignore tailgaters.
    * Never ride beside other vehicles in the next lane.
    * Always wait a sec or two before taking off at the lights and look for red light runners before you go.
    * Watch for vehicles at side sreets or on the side of the road that may pull out.
    * Position yourself in the lane to maximise space and make you visible.
    * Know where your escape routes are at all times.
    *Use your brain and be aware of the idiots around you (they're all idiots). :)
  4. unavoidable > there is going to be an impact.

    inherent risk of motocycling?...no, inherent risk of being on the road whatever your vehicle.

    personally i'd rather be knocked of the bike and take my chances mid air, than squashed in a metal box, not even wearing a helmet... and trapped in there.

    i guess that's how i rationalize it anyway... i spent about 6 months in re-hab after one of the scenarios you mentioned... and theres like 50 bikers for every cager in there... but another thing i noticed was the cagers, though far newer in number, had by far the most horrific injuries...
    you see, being in a "safe" modern car they'd survived, but only just... i would'nt trade places with them.
  5. welcome mate :D
  6. Really?
  7. I avoid accidents, Car or bike, it hurts,
  8. #8 lowercase, May 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    definitely! i've been in one serious car accident, and i've come off a bike once too (that could have gone VERY badly).

    i would DEFINITELY prefer to come off a bike than be in a car again. in the car i said my final goodbyes and "PLEASE do not let this be it" - on the bike "this might be it... but if i come off properly i have a chance".

    also, car crashes generally look worse than bike ones:


    BIKES - i think the worst though it at 2:20 - death wobble!

  9. I'm going to have to sort of disagree with you and monkeyman, I've been in a few decent car accidents, one decent stack on the bike (much like you - could have gone really badly) and a few incidents on the bike.
    Yeah in a big accident you might be lucky and miss hitting the tree/ bike/pole /car when you come off your bike, but all the small incidents that happen all the time you are at a higher risk (one netrider has quite a bit of metal in his foot after coming off on a suburban st at a low speed)
    I have been more worried for my wellbeing in the bike accident & incidents than all the car ones put together.
  10. oh hell yeah,
    you don't want to be squashed inside a car...i've seen some horrific road accidents.
    people trying to talk with their heads sticking out of the windsrceen of mangled wrecks, but only blood comming out when they try to talk.

    ...and i've shared a ward with people who've survived car wrecks.
    the head injuries are the worst of all injuries and people don't wear helmets in cars, stupid but true...i think it's as from next year that side curtain airbags will be mandatory in all new cars.

    >not an un-typical scenario for head injury> strapped down in the rubber room for the first few months, so you don't further damage the limbs they are trying to heal (yes, it's true, they really do have rubber rooms)...then you get to wear the soft helmet with the flap, because they need to leave an opening in your skull for about another year so as pressure can't build up in your head... it takes a very very long time for a brain to heal...and you're not a pretty sight to anyone, and pain management is limited in brain injury cases...not good, your brain is reacting to more primal functions and trying to permantly curl your body and limbs into a foetal position, whilst the psysio staff are trying to force your body to return to functioning normal, relentless pain and suffering... i could go on but sadly it only gets worse.

    .even if i do have to travel in a car i won't wear a seat belt...i'd rather be thrown out.
  11. i'm not disagreeing with you, or agreeing even...it's just how i feel and why i do what i do...it's the conclusions i've formed for myself based on my own personal experiences...as you know, one does dwell on reflecting about what happenned and try to work out a way for oneself to never have to go through that again.
    but i'm not tryng to say do as i do.
    truth/reality yes> bike higher risk.
    me> feel safer on the bike
  12. Yes motorcycling is an inherently risky pastime, there can't be any denying that. That's one of the reasons I ride. But, as someone else said, just being on the road is risky. But most accidents (incidents) can be avoided by being aware of what is going on around you.

    Anyone who says that it is inevitable that you will have a collision/impact is just plain wrong. It is highly probably, but not inevitable. I know many motorcyclists that have, by a mix of good management and good luck, have NEVER had an impact with another vehicle. I even know a handful who have NEVER dropped or damaged a road bike.

    If you maintain good space (always have an 'escape plan'), always be aware of what is happening around you, ride to the conditions and ride defensively, your chances of having an accident are greatly reduced.

    I sort of know what Monkeyman is getting at. I feel safer on the bike than in a car, in that there are less distractions, I have better vision of what is going on around me. The bike can manoever better than a car (can't necessarly brake better though).

    However, if I was to have the choice of being in a modern car or on a bike when I hit a tree at 100kmh, I'll take the car thanks.
  13. Don't get all fraddie-cat just coz you'll be on a motorcycle..
    There are a myriad of things that you can do PROACTIVELY to keep yourself out of halms way. And if you take it seriously...learn to ride well and develope your techniques and skills, you'll do better than you think.

    You can get run over crossing the road, your parachute can fail to open when you jump out of a plane, and you can choke to death on peanuts. It stands to reason that you can get injured on a bike, right?...do enough of any of these activities and the law of avereges is bound to catch up with you eventually I guess, but you take all the precautions and steps that you need to, and it's a wonderfully envigorating past time or means of transport.

    Remember one main thing...YOU are responsible for YOU...don't count on others looking out for you. Some will be considerate of you, some drivers won't...you have to live with that. (and helmet-butt the nitwits that don't if you can ever catch them at the right time) :))

  14. Interesting thing about the car v bike in an accident debate.

    Maybe I'm going mad, but in an accident I'd take side skirt airbags, crumple zones, seat belts and 5 star safety ratings any and every day of the week. I just can't see your angle on thinking otherwise.
  15. my angle is i'm poor... i could maybe afford to spend 5-10 grand on a vehicle...that dose'nt buy me a car with side skirt airbags, crumple zones, seat belts and 5 star safety ratings.
    that buys me a car with a steering column that dose'nt collapse on impact *ouch* ,while the missus gets decapitated by the old glove box that falls open on impact *yuck*
    5-10 grand buys me a bloody nice bike though haha.

    and my other angle is i'm fully alert and intensely aware of what i'm doing on a bike, because it's me...it's my own body...all i've done is exchanged my legs for wheels.

    if i lock myself in a nice quiet, comfortable room with climate control and a lounge (read car) i disconnect with what's happenning in the outside world and fall asleep...
  16. There is less chance of serious injury in your average 5-10 grand car than there is on a bike.

    As for locking youself in a nice quiet comfortable room etc etc when driving, there in lies the problem with a lot of car drivers.
  17. If push comes to crunch give me the car any day...

    ***runs down stairs and hugs 5 star safety car***

    Motorbikes are fun, but like everything they have their risks.

    We're all big boys (and girls) now and should know the risks...
  18. I'll take the car, thank you. :)

    Yes, you can be lucky and pass right over it and go bouncing down the road - with the right gear, you could be injured but not too badly.

    However...once upon a time at about 90kph when I flew for the first time, I did'nt make it over the car. The sudden stop nearly killed me, but I got lucky by just a few inches.

    Yeah....car for me. (which sounds retarded coming from a bloke that rides a bike vigorously most of the time.) 8-[

  19. Dear OP, have a read of my beating the odds link in my sig.

    Motorcyclists tend to make fewer errors than drivers, however the consequences are larger. The only way to minimise the risk of "unavoidable" collisions (is there really such a thing) is to practice good roadcraft and defensive riding techniques. The way to help mitigate the consequences of a collision (should it occur) is to have the right gear and do whatever you can to reduce to impact speed. There is another extreme technique, which is to never ride in traffic...

    Now, as for the point Mick brought up, it's indeed true, a rider can ride all their career without a collision or a crash/fall - however, this is typically a rider riding wellllll within their envelope, rarely stretching their performance horizons. Sometimes, they have an unblemished record due to their inherent skill... but they are out at either end of the bell curve - not a bad place to be all told, but that's a rare individual.

    I did a count tonight at coffee - we had about a dozen riders totalling something like 140-160years of riding experience and only two riders hadn't had some kind of fall - one was a rider of 8 days experience though. That tells me about the reality of our past time... or possibly about our little demographic... lol
  20. Rob, read my post again. I said that having a collision or impact wasn't inevitable, but was highly probable.

    I went on to say that you can take steps to reduce the risk of being in an accident.

    Surely your not suggesting, as the OP did, that regardless of what you do, you're going to have an accident.