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Right Turners

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Treadly, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Hey all,

    Been riding for just a few weeks now and curious how other people deal with traffic that is turning right in front of them.

    I do the buffer, reduce speed, cover brakes part but I'm still uncomfortable heading towards a 4WD with it's blinker on. I wish there was some sort of indication that they have in fact seen you, and are waiting for you to go past.

    I thought of putting my high beams on but that's pretty poor road etiquette.

    Any experienced riders have alternate systems?

    My only thoughts are that if the driver starts to turn you have to either pin it in the buffer zone and hope you make it past or hit the anchors and wait for them to go through.
  2. Don't put your high beams on. That can be taken as a signal to go ahead and cut you off.
  3. I flick off the saftey catch on the missile launch switch :demon:.

    Seriously, you seem to have the right general approach in maintaining a heightened sense of alertness. Making eye contact with the driver doesn't hurt (though I've never been 100% convinced that it helps either) and moving to the left wheel track to give yourself a bit more buffer is worth doing if you can do so safely.

    I know, I know. If they do pull across, being in the right wheel track might let you get round the back of them, but in my experience, what generally happens is that they see you, panic and stand on the brakes, leaving that particular escape route firmly blocked. You're better off with the extra split second that being a couple of metres further left gives you to use your own brake, especially as a novice.

    And don't use your high beams. It's selfish, annoying and counterproductive. If you're trying to make people see you and judge your speed and position correctly, dazzling them isn't a good way to go.
  4. I have very little experience with this, but so far my technique has been to leave a more than adequate buffer between me and, well, everything.
  5. +1 to what Pat said; you seem to have most of it under control.

    If there aren't any vehicles in front of me (heading in my direction) I'm not too concerned. Touch wood, nobody's tried to take on the Tiger 1050 when they've had line of sight to it.

    If I'm following behind a car - or worse still, a bus or truck - I'll go to the right hand wheeltrack and maybe increase the distance between me and the car in front, to make sure the right-turner has line of sight to my motorcycle.

    Another risk is when you're in the left lane, a car is slightly ahead of you in the right lane. Same situation - Their car will block line of sight to your bike. In that case I'll usually speed up a little to ride parallel with the car in the right lane. Once again, it brings me into line-of-sight and out of the danger-zone behind the car.

    (Incidentally, I do the same thing, but mirrored left/right, when there are cars on the left trying to enter the traffic. Always ensure line-of-sight.)

    Looking like a motorcycle in a queue of cars = good. Looking like a gap in traffic = bad.

    (Added awesome MS Paint diagram - It's not to scale; it's just to illustrate the blindspot danger-zone. Simple test: "If I can see them without looking over/through a car, they should have line of sight to me.")

    Attached Files:

  6. Always be aware and stick to your basics of expecting the unexpected, wish I had been an extra 10% aware three weeks ago when the truck turned right and t-boned me.
  7. Good advice in this thread, and that pic is actually quite informative. I've never thought about the whole, "looking like a gap in traffic" thing before. Beautifully illustrated :p

    I'll do my best to look like a car and stick to the basics.
  8. well covered by the learned Pat & Spots.

    it's also good to try and keep a running mental image of what's comming up behind you, how close behind you, to the left behind you or to the right behind you, how fast are they're travelling etc ...just with mirror checks for updates...(as many as you can safely manage as a novice rider).
    because that will help your evasive action should you need to take it...and you should have that planned as you approach the right turner ahead...wheres you safest out should you have to gun for it...admitably sometimes there just is'nt one...
    ...sometimes as i approach and the car looks a bit dodgey, like a Pajero or something, i'll do a little weave, like to mimic initiating the evasive move i was about to make if Mr Magoo did pull out...it's partly to train myself to react...and partly to draw attention to myself.

    a lot of the time though the right turner car is overly courteous, as in he's seen me and he'll wait patiently for me to go by, whereas if i was just another blumbering car he may have just pulled out and cut in...i always give those guys a nod of thanks for being bike aware, just to acknowledge his courtesy.
  9. Nice and +1 on the illustration, i am careful in those spots!
    Funny its mentioned i nearly had it today myself. Lady 4WD driver, looked right once while i was about 100m away, kept looking left for a break in the opposite lane traffic, never looked right again. I rolled off the throttle, set up the brakes because i could see a little gap in the oncoming, and figured she would go for it. Sure enough, and i stopped comfortably just shy of her passenger door.

    I still dont think she realised what hit her rear right quarterpanel - my UK 14 steel capped work boot :).
  10. Kudos to Pat and Spots
  11. Good advice and a great diagram!
    IMO going front wheel to front wheel with a car and using it as a physical safety barrier cant be done enough.
  12. Absobluddylutely.

    Didn't mention this myself 'cos it's not right turner specific, but now Monkeyman's raised it, what's going on behind you is only marginally less important than what's in front.

    As you gain experience, your non-riding friends will be amazed at the amount of visual information you can assimilate with a split second glance.
  13. All good advice about creating a buffer and watching other people, but when you're at the point where it's too late, you just have to hit the brakes as hard as you can, aim towards empty space and not be scared. Once you know you're going to crash, just focus on staying alive.
    I was quite lucky - I had a big bike which took most of the impact. I hit the left side of the car on a slight angle and tore the rear bumper off, so when I went over the bars I bounced off the car, spun and hit the road, which in this case was preferable to the alternative. Hopped away with a badly bruised leg, but it could have been so much worse.
  14. It's time again for me to ask a question. What does the term 'buffer' mean?
  15. any intermediate or intervening shield or device or space reducing the danger of interaction between two machines
  16. I saw the thread on this. Out of interest, where exactly did it happen? I'm Perth Hills based, so I know the area quite well (and had a lovely stack on Greenmount last year).
  17. The way it is normally used (leave a buffer between you and traffic) simply means leaving space between you and traffic. Don't get too close.

    The way it was used here meant using the car next to you as a shield between you and the turning vehicle. The turning vehicle is more likely not to come out because he sees the vehicle next to you, but if he does come out he has to go through that vehicle before he hits you.
  18. I've thought about clarifying something that's been nibbling at my brain for the last day or two;

    It might seem like PatB's advice and my advice conflight slightly. Pat says left wheeltrack, I say right.

    The difference is, though, that Pat's advice relates to when you're the only vehicle or the first vehicle in the queue - You're already as visible as you're gonna get, really.

    My advice relates to when you're hidden behind stuff. Trading a little bit of that safety buffer for visibility, which will hopefully prevent the incident from occuring at all.
  19. Pretty much. Under other circumstances, the whole line of sight thing is a consideration.

    Trouble with having now been riding over 20 years is that there's a lot of stuff that I do unconsciously and manage to miss out a lot of it when trying to describe appropriate road behaviour.

    The good thing about threads like this, however, is that it makes me do a bit of an evaluation and review of my riding techniques.
  20. Fantastic advice there. I'd just add the general too .. always be aware of your escape routes (the situation all around you)! Left, right, stop, go .. you need to know what all your options are whenever there is a "situation".