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How do you avoid blind spots in busy traffic ?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Truggs, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. I am getting back into riding after a serious bingle 3 years ago ( rear ended at traffic lights by a car doing 60kmh - they did not see me or any of the other cars that had stopped - my fault I suppose as I took my eyes off my mirrors as I had been stopped for over a minute !:nopity:) and after reading lots of the safety tips in the forum one of the most commonly mentioned is quite obvious - dont ride in a car's blind spot.

    How do you avoid this when you are in three lanes of heavy traffic - I always seem to be in someone's blind spot especially if I am in the middle lane ?


  2. Slow down so you are behind them (then they can cut you off and you wont get killed) or speed up and sit next to them so you are in their peripheral vision. If you speed up, make sure you have enough room to hit the anchors if the car in front locks it up. I try to ride so I am at least visible in the side mirrors.
  3. TRA has it about right, I reckon. Remember your lane position as some make you more easily seen than others in different areas around traffic. And wiggle a little. Stuff that stays stationary in your peripheral tends to get filtered out. if there is something moving it really can draw attention to it.
  4. This is an excellent question Truggs, and one that doesn't come with an easy answer, so settle yourself in.

    This is a case of where the principle gets mixed up with the application, hence the confusion. The principle is 'Road Position' and one of the applications is 'don't ride in a blind spot'. a bit hard to do if you're road position puts you in multiple blind spots.

    'Road Position' determines 'Visibility', which is broken down into two parts, there's how visible you are to surrounding traffic, and how much you can see in surrounding traffic.

    The less traffic can see you the more unpredictable you can expect them to be in regards to your space. The less traffic you can see the less chance you have to predict what it will do.

    So 'Road Position' on a multi lane road becomes a trade off between seeing and being seen.

    Personally on a freeway I choose to ride in the far right lane wherever possible because it means I only have to protect myself on the left. It cuts down the work load which means I can give it more attention. On a freeway it also means I have a big fat emergency lane to my right which becomes my primary escape route if I need it.

    I don't rely solely on being seen, I rely more heavily on being 'felt'. IMO road 'Presence' is even more vital than road 'Position'. We know that the majority of road users are in a metal cocoon so it's important to penetrate that wherever possible or they will look at you without seeing you.

    The principle for this one is, they haven't seen you if you haven't gotten their attention. So it could be as simple as shining your headlight into their rear view mirror to draw attention, or for drivers beside me I find if I drift towards their car they'll eventually look to see what's going on.

    And then there's this one which is a good argument starter but trust me, there are a lot more for it than against it, it's called 'Loud Pipes Saves Lives'. When I'm surrounded with traffic that can't possibly see me then I drop it down a couple of gears and use the exhaust to give them a chance to hear me instead. I've stopped counting long ago how many drivers will look around in their cars trying to locate the source. I don't particularly care if they find me either, it gets their attention and that's nearly as good as being seen. So for me the argument with other riders over the subject ended long ago, now we need to have the argument with the Government.

    Once I see awareness of me enter a driver's conscience I feel more confident they will factor me into their driving.

    I never sit in the middle of a lane on a multi lane road. The reason is two fold, debris is more likely to be sitting in the middle of a lane and it's hard to pick it up in time if you have a car in front of you. And the other reason is I want to move to one side (it changes depending on circumstances) so I'm closer to an escape route, which could mean splitting the cars.

    So for me, 'Road Position' is about 'Visibility' + 'Escape Route'.

    The principle remains the same, but the applications are endless.

    Hope this helps,

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your prang mate, it's hard to know without more detail but it's sounds to me like you didn't stand a chance.

    By the sounds of what you've written there you were first in line at the lights and a car behind you was approaching the intersection at 60kmh???

    I doubt there's too many people who could seriously argue you could of gotten out of that one.

    It's an indictment against riders when we lay guilt trips on each other for the things that are outside of our control.

    Without wanting to sound insensitive would you be prepared to share your story in this thread...


    ...so it's on record. It may come in handy down the track.

  6. I can't find it (spent 10 minutes looking dammit) but maybe someone else can - There is a thread on here somewhere with a link to a very heavily diagrammed article on road positioning.

    All sorts of diagrams with coloured areas showing where blind spots are and where to ride to avoid them.

    Fun Ha!
  7. Outstanding response, mate. A " model" for multi-lane riding. Bewdie mate!!
  8. +1 here. That is one of the best explanations of freeway lane positioning I've read. Well done Cheffie.
  9. Thanks guys (y)

    I'm happy to have it critiqued or amended if you want to add more to it.
  10. Well done, Chef. =D>

    Can't think of anything to add/comment on right now. Not without overcomplicating a good "rule of thumb" anyway.
  11. Without wanting to sound insensitive would you be prepared to share your story in this thread...

    No problem at all - happy to let you know what happened. Some people say there was nothing I could do whilst others are of the opinion that if you get rear-ended then you only have yourself to blame....whichever way the only thing I can do if I am going to ride again without crapping myself every time I stop is to learn from it !

    Definitely going to look into tese HART courses though. I actually was booked into one for the week after my original accident....they refunded my money which was nice of them !

  12. Thanks mate :)
  13. ...and some people need a cup of wake the fvck up before they shoot their mouth off.
  14. It is an interesting point…
    So let’s just say for a moment that you saw them coming…
    Where were you going to go? You were at a red light, so presumable you had traffic crossing in front of you.
    Yep try to learn from it, but don’t be too hard on yourself.
  15. I'm usually prepared to play keyboard warrior and hand people a can of HTFU, but it's hard to imagine there being a great escape route in that situation...nothing to filter in front of, if the front is lined up in your lane makes it hard to scoot over into another if you do spot them roaring up...

    Anybody that had a go at ya was being a ****wit Id say...just bad luck.
  16. You mean your bike doesn't have an ejector seat boy.racer? You sail up into the air, pull the cord on your 'chute, and float ever so gently down into the emergency lane or the grass verge between the carriageways.

    Or, at least I'm guessing what those folks must have had in mind.
  17. Sorry Chef - I forgot to thank you for that advice - really appreciate it.

    My new 'old' bike (see avatar pic) which should be with me next week has some custom made pipes that the previous owner described as sounding like a Ducati crossed with an ill Harley...sort of...so hopefully that noise might assist in people hearing me coming...and then going !

    Thanks for the advice from everyone......as my wife said when I told her I intended to get a bike again -

    " Well if they find you with flies in your teeth then it will be because you died grinning !"

    ......a very caring understanding sort of bride isn't she ....
  18. The 2 most scary places I find myself is sitting at lights and making right turns.Just sitting there with a huge target painted on my back,thats why I pump my brakes to activate the brake lights,was weak as that is what else can you do.Re the bind spot thing,I just try a move slightly faster than the traffic.Moving target gets seen just that bit easier,I also do the right lane thing bit hadn't joined the dots as to why.
  19. My pleasure mate, happy riding.

    You lucky sonofagun, happy riding.

  20. Great post Cheffie. (y)

    Fark me, 60km/h... they didn't even see the red!

    Here's a couple of red light pointers for future reference. If you're the first to the lights, NEVER park right on the white intersection line. Leave a car length or two to give you an escape route should the car behind you look like they're not going to pull up. That also means, keep an eye on the mirrors and stay in gear until you're shielded by a stopped car or two. I sometimes flash the brake light too - helps resolve the bike out of the backdrop.

    Another golden rule, if you choose to stop at the back of a queue of cars, leave a car length or two and choose a splitting escape route for the same reasons as outlined above.

    Trugg, traffic roadcraft is a lot to do with maintaining your survival space bubble - the key rule I ride by is ride well behind or ride well in front, but as far as possible never beside. If you must be beside, ride level with the driver and get their attention (Chefie's exhaust noise trick is a good one or wave to the kid in the back seat, they usually giggle and alert the driver to a motorbike). The driver might still hit you whilst looking at you, but that's a deliberate act so much less likely. Oh and if you are in a compromising position, have an escape route.