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Escape Routes

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by s-twig, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Hi

    How do most people plan escape routes? It occurred to me when waiting at the front of the lights with no one behind me, and watching for a car coming from behind, that Iwasnt really certain of what I was going to do if said car didn't stop.

    Apologies this is a basic question, but I was hoping for tips, and other than keeping a safe following distance.

  2. Don't stop immediately behind the car in front, give yourself room to be able to slip up either side if you see the approaching car in your mirror is not going to stop. Stay in gear ready to go. Even up on to pedestrian ramps and footpaths is a valid escape path if necessary. Common sense things.
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  3. Look for the gap.
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  4. If I am at the head of the lights I try not to be too close to the stop line to give myself room to move forward to the dividing line between the lanes if I see a car behind not stopping. I have also started to tap at the brakes as I see a car approaching from behind when I am at the lights, only if I am first in line though.
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  5. If you do find your self too close to something with no where to go, be aware that the difference in injury between two people receiving the same impact when one is aware and one is not can be staggering. Always keep an eye out even if you don't give your self an escape route.
  6. Anticipation is nearly everything when it comes to survival! Wherever you are on the road, always have an escape route; play out the possible scenarios in your mind and programme for survival..
  7. I always pull up close to either the left or right rear corner of the car in front (ie in one of the wheel tracks), with the bike aimed at the gap between the car in front of me and the car(s) in the next lane - and I stay in first gear. Then if I see someone in my mirrors coming up a little too quickly, I know that I can just roll on the throttle and ease off the clutch and I'll be instantly out of the way.

    At the risk of opening up the filtering can of worms, I'll also do that if safe to do so and if I see the light turn red (ie it's a "fresh" red light) - if only for the sake of not being in that danger zone at the back of the queue.
  8. always be in gear when you stop, and always be in a spot that you an accelerate away from,
    Going between the cars in front of you, will stop you from getting hit from behind, they hit the cars instead, which will leap forward and miss you sitting beside them,

    A speeding fine or through a red light camera, is better than a trip to hospital,

    Legality means jack shit, if your necks on the line, hit the go button, any where the car that may hit you is not going to be,
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  9. By asking the question, "where is the best escape route?" you're already well on your way to being prepared to respond. Depending on the situation, your options normally include one of:
    • Footpath
    • Median strip
    • Between two rows of cars (very good protection, but no help if you're already at the front)
    • Another lane
    In any case, keep an eye on your rear view mirror and don't sit in neutral unless you know you are protected. Consider whether you'll be squished if the stationary car behind you is rear ended.
  10. Thanks for the replies. It's like I figured, but I was hoping I wasn't missing vital information as no one told me explicitly what to do. I have found that as I ride I'm able to contemplate the possibilities better the more comfortable I become.

    Quick question, how to do react/position yourself when you see someone start to edge out from a T intersection to turn right whilst you're travelling along a main road, do you move in to the right hand lane? I've got three of this situations on my daily commute.
  11. i there is someone in a side street, wanting to go the same direction as me, on a multi lane road, i will move out of the left lane out of courtesy and if im on my bike, i will move to the right hand side of that lane to allow for the front of the car to swing
  12. Cover the brakes, move away from the danger, look for an escape route.

    There comes a time in the process that you go from covering your brakes to being ready to accelerate. (make sure you are in the right gear).
  13. #13 robsalvv, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    Learning to recognise the risks and potential risks, prioritising them and having a plan for the ones most likely to cause you grief is crucial for safe urban riding. Having an "escape route" is a tactic that's useful.

    Just regarding your opening post, when coming to a stop at an intersection / red light and you are the first, there's some good advice in this thread. Stop short of the line, remain in gear, tap the brakes, keep scanning the intersection and include your mirrors in that scan.

    If you have a car behind you and you're both on approach to the red light, what could you do to make sure that the car stops where you want them too?

    Any time a vehicle could enter your path from a side street, you should proactively cover your brake/s and buffer away (move to the right wheel track if you can) or flash the headlight or move the bike in some way or all of the above. Covering the brakes saves you valuable braking time normally lost in reacting and gathering up the brakes. The buffer increases your time and space from the potential conflict, and flashing/movement hopefully catches the driver's eye so that they see you and factor you into their decision making.

    There's another thing you should do too - watch the vehicle's wheels. You will register rotation well before car movement. This could give you valuable reaction moments of an impending conflict.

    There's something else you need to do, google "time of arrival illusion". Even if a driver sees you, they can still underestimate your speed and over estimate the distance - which leads them to falsely believe they can safely enter the road, so literally enter your path with a high chance of a conflict... so even if you've done all the things listed above, you'll still need a plan to deal with the entering vehicle. This effectively puts you back to square one... what options do you have at your disposal to help you avoid a prang?
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  14. I don't like headlight flashes. They can be misinterpreted as letting the other vehicle out (into your path) as opposed to alerting them to your presence. If I need to use headlights, I use continuous high beam, which while not legal or particularly polite, it is never misinterpreted.

    I also favour bikes with twin headlights which are both on for low beam. I'm sure I get noticed more now with my twin headlamp bike than my previous single headlamp bike.
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  15. just a note,

    if you feel you need to escape, DO IT NOW!!!

    if you wait to see if that car will stop, it is already too late and it has hit you.

    i say this from experience.

    better off looking like an idiot than getting sandwiched between two cars!
  16. In my experience most people don't plan their escape routes, they know them. Newbies plan but experienced riders will always know where they're going whenever a danger appears. An experienced rider will have 3-6 potential options held in the back of their mind that range from swerving around a car to mounting the footpath. Sometimes the escape route can include a crash but I'd rather take my chances with a shrub or picket fence than with a truck.

    The options available are changing every second and it's not something that can be taught, only learned through time on the road and constantly practicing identifying the possible routes. All we can really say is if you don't know what your escape routes are at any given moment then that is the time to identify them. Always Know your escape routes. What routes you identify are up to you and based on your current situation but you do need to know what they are. You've asked the question which tells me you're thinking about it and if you're doing that on the bike then you're already on the right track. Only experience can improve your decision making and your ability to recognise danger.

    Rob's advice regarding traffic lights (as usual) is spot on. I would emphasise that you need to watch your mirrors and be aware of your environment. Your spidey senses will tell you a lot more than you think. Follow your instincts and remain distrustul of others. "Don't be alarmed but you should be very fcuking alert." :)
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  17. Awesome advice all. Thanks very much.
  18. stand on the pegs and prepare to clear the handlebars.
    because they really hurt.
    don't worry about where the bike goes. just think of yourself.
  19. You have certainly been given some good information here. If you had just recently got your licence under the Q-Ride system in Qld then this should have all been covered. I am perplexed as to why you were so much in the dark. Perhaps you would like to share your experience on learning to ride a motorcycle in Qld. Ride safely... It's a jungle out there.
  20. I saw this thread the other day and thought "good someone is talking about this" as I have mentioned it to others before and a few net riders have been rear ended in these situations even recently.

    This morning on the ring road, I got to practice it myself again.

    Freeway pace picked up and everyone was cruising along (peak hour) then, as happens , all of a sudden traffic comes to a complete halt.

    I'm got a gap large enough to stop comfortably, however the guy behind me didn't seem to realise we were slowing down.

    I brake, and , slid past the car in front (lane splitting for safety) car behind me squeals to a stop behind the car in front.

    Without my evasive action, I would have been sandwiched.

    I saw similar stuff , cars screeching to a stop behind others multiple times on a short commute.

    I haven't commuted on the bike for a while now, seems phones have had a much worse impact on traffic than I realised.

    Be careful out there !
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