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Rider Onus, "It's up to you to reduce the risk."

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by robsalvv, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Recently it was said that active risk management is the responsibility of all riders. This is classic rider onus thinking.

    It correctly recognises that our safety is in our hands and that this is a key survival strategy on the road... a classic example is riding around like we're invisible... but it's a double edged sword.

    Can anyone say why?
  2. #2 Ljiljan, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
    It demands constant vigilance on behalf of the rider. It ensures continually revising and amending the rider's roadcraft skills and imo it is the fastest and in some respects easiest way through traffic.

    However it demands riders acquiesce to any and all hazards placed on them. Rather than being a symbiotic relationship between road users it's parasitic. There is no scope for improvement, only deterioration. If we ride like we expect to be invisible we will always continue to be invisible to other road users.
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  3. I am totally invisible to all vehicles on the road, Its kept me alive for a lot of years,

    A car driver can look straight at me out of the window beside him, and cant see me,

    Motor cycles are not a threat to a car, So they look around you, It just does not register with them that you are there within three feet of them,
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  4. *shakes head*

    because it's enforcing the view that drivers all too often have regarding a rider having to look out for his/her own safety and that it is not the drivers responsibility to do so.
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  5. You're all right.

    Rider's don't have much of a practical option other than looking after our own safety. But it has created a policy framework where the driver is only ever held accountable when our rider onus has failed us and we've been collected by the driver's error... In fact, sometimes drivers get away with it, e.g. The cupcake killer.

    Drivers and road safety agencies put the onus on us, and collectively, we have let them because WE put the onus on us. "Ride around like you are invisible."

    It's practically the only strategy we have though, but it comes with some critical flaws which makes it unsustainable in the long term particularly for city and metro riders - congestion keeps going in one direction.

    What do we do about it?
  6. You've probably seen that UK video about how to make yourself more visible to drivers (hint - it had nothing to do with hi vis!).
    Assuming you're invisible is one thing, accepting it is quite another.
    You can rightly prepare for being unnoticed, but you'd be better off having some clue how to get noticed as well.
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  7. Ride like you're invisible, but don't try to be invisible.

    When I'm riding along the freeway (for example), and I find myself in what I know is probably a driver's blind spot because I know drivers generally don't head check, I'll speed up or slow down to put myself in a highly visible position or just get the hell out of the way. If I don't do that, and the driver changes lanes without looking and collects me, then... well, yeah, I reckon that's my fault because I should've known better. Of course, it's not really my fault, but could the driver argue that it was because I was riding in his or her blind spot? Probably.

    Does that about sum it up?
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  8. No, he shouldn't HAVE a blind spot if he head checks properly. I admit there are SOME vehicles where this isn't possible, but overall, drivers don't check properly. Heck, I can see it coming...even when I'm not in danger I'm watching. Are you going to turn your head? Nope, how did I know that <insert sarcasm>? One kid turned his head, but he was wearing a hoodie and the hood didn't move, so he got a close view of his fleecy.

    I've always hated that slogan Rob, it gives drivers an out. It's up to everyone to reduce the risk. It's up to me to protect myself.
  9. It's an interesting question. It seem to be a required modus operandi as motorist seem to assume and probably correctly that we can slow down abruptly, we can swerve and find room and above all we won't smash our bodies against their cars to make a point in the way a bull barred 4x4 may.

  10. We have two faces.

    When talking on forums and amongst riders it is the same tired voice, it is up to you to keep your self alive. When we are talking where drivers can interact ( with friends and family, commenting on newspaper articles etc etc) we talk about how drivers need to watch out for us.

    Don't ever say the onus is on us to avoid accidents when a driver may be listening, its always the drivers need to watch out. But when talking to riders you tell them you better expect everyone to be a drunk homicidal maniac out to kill you so watch the frig out.
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  11. You're right of course. There is no "blind spot" really. It's a "lazy spot".
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  12. It's for exactly this reason that I love my SMIDSY t-shirt. I wear mine just about everywhere that I know I'll be talking to drivers and almost without fail, someone will ask me what it means and I get to start the discussion. Fun times :)

    I just wish I'd ordered another one, because it's going to be stuffed soon. @Maurice Blackburn, do you have any left???
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  13. I
    I agree and disagree.

    You CAN talk in front of drivers about the necessity to see oneself as invisible because of all the useless, incompetent drivers out there. You can give the present drivers a choice between belonging to the group of useless, incompetent drivers that force us to ride like we are invisible, or belong to the group of skilled, courteous and alert drivers who share with us the responsibility to keep all road users safe. I think this can be an effective attitude-changing strategy.
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  14. I ordered two more a couple of weeks ago, and they had all sizes then. I'd suggest putting an order form in - sure they'll contact you if they don't have your size.
  15. #15 smileedude, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013

    Very good point. You can use one side to get to the other. But still if talking to drivers make sure your point is there are a lot of morons out there who need to improve.

    edit: There is also the problem that you don't want to appear useless to your own safety when talking with friends and family so you do have to make it clear that you can easily avoid almost every idiot.
  16. So, how do you go about talking to your partner when their driving is life-threatening to motorcyclists? My own dearly beloved is, of course, a perfect driver in every way but I've heard that some tailgate, have no idea how to adjust their mirrors properly, don't head-check, and get defensive if you criticise them, all the while agreeing that there are terrible drivers on the roads. Not mine, she's ace ;)
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  17. LOLOLOLOL I really wish I knew the answer to this. Of course not because the dudette is any of these things but you know in case someone else here needs to know.
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  18. I've been telling her for years - not much has changed.

    Though, she is now learning to ride my bike and we have had a very honest conversation about the fact that some of her practices need to change or I simply couldn't put her on my bike in traffic with a clear conscience. Behaviours that are dangerous to you and others in a car become lethal to YOU when you are on a bike. She has been much more receptive lately.
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  19. It's not an easy conversion to have.

    "Honey, I don't want to criticise you, but you're actually pretty bad at driving. You get on the road and leave half a car length between you and the car in front at 80kmh and sure, you think you can slam on the brake if you need to, and so far you've been right, but you've never really been tested. Oh, and actually, I have half a dozen minor insurance claims that suggest that you're not QUITE as good as you think you are. Nothing over 2 grand, sure, and nobody's been hurt to date, but it's far too many. One day, it won't be a fender bender, and you'll kill someone doing that shit. And it might be me."

    Something like that?
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