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Spitballing an idea..

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by screwball, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Since I got my license many years ago now (12 I think) I've always been an "assertive" (read: aggressive) driver. If someone cuts me off, they get the horn and finger treatment. If someone does something completely stupid, they will know my stance very shortly thereafter.

    Having said that, I don't drive like a maniac, I just make my voice heard when I feel it necessary.

    On to my point.. My attitude to driving the car is much the same as riding the bike. I hold my lane position aggressively. I make eye contact and stare drivers down when they pull up to a T section. I try and stay at or near the speed limit and I *always* try to be out in front of the pack.

    I've been an avid NR reader for a number of years now and I enjoy coming here to read about people's experiences. I don't enjoy hearing about riders coming unstuck, just about the experiences people come across.

    Now, only the other day it occurred to me.. I've been riding non stop for about 4 years now, on a variety of bikes (CBR250RR, VTR250, Triumph Speedmaster, Triumph Rocket III, Daytona 675, even a postie bike for a short time!) and I've done the commute, the "fun" ride.. I've been out and about on the south Queensland roads regularly yet I never really have anything to post here. This, to me, didn't make a lot of sense... given that I ride the way I do.

    So I thought about it for a bit. When I went to get the rubber replaced on the 675 today I observed myself and have come to some conclusions that I would like to share.. The underlying theme of what I'm about to say is:

    Does riding aggressively keep you out of trouble?

    To explain further.. Today I had two different people pull out on me. One pulled up, looked straight at me, then pulled out in front of me. The other approached the T section and just went without looking. In both instances I was close enough that evasive action was required and in both instances my heart didn't even skip a beat.. and I'll explain why.

    My tactic has always been simple. Watch the driver, know your space, use low gears. Because I'm always in front (I split, then I gun it off the line to the speed limit to get a couple of hundred metres on the traffic and 70% of the time I'm on my own on the road as a result), I generally have some spare space around me should someone pull into my lane. Today when it happened, I saw the driver approach, I assessed (without even really thinking about it) what lane space I had free adjacent to the situation, and when he DID pull out into my lane with me doing 80kph behind him and him doing less than 20kph, I'd dropped the right handlebar, zigged around him and was gone before I could even consider being worried about it. I gave the stupid asshole the finger, but outside of that, I was fine.

    I've had closer calls.. Even a couple where someone abruptly turned in front of me. This one time, the situation was mitigated using a similar strategy to my efforts today. When I realised they were coming over, I was in 2nd gear doing about 70kph (about to upshift) and I saw their wheels come over the white line (no indicator). I instantly assessed their speed (about 30kph), the space I had left, and the amount of time it was going to take to get through that gap. I went, at full noise in 2nd, and comfortably got through. Ok, comfortably may not be the right word, but I was not in immediate danger, I knew I was going to come out the other side without hassle. If I'd jumped on the brakes, I can't say I'd be as confident about the result.

    All of my "near misses" are almost always mitigated using speed and very fast judgement. If I were going much slower, not splitting, not GP'ing it off the line etc, I feel that I would be in a far more vulnerable position and prone to far more incidents than I am when I'm out in front.

    So what do you think NR? Does my riding style negate a lot of what other riders have happen to them or am I just really lucky in this respect?

    PS: I ride to work any day that there's not copious amounts of rain forecasted, and most weekends for shits n giggles, so I'm on the road fairly often.
  2. I haven't given this the thought it deserves, but, I don't think riding aggressively makes you safer, but I don't think it necessarily makes you any less safe, either.

    When I'm switched on and on the ball, I do tend to ride in a spirited way that some would see as aggressive. I'd certainly call it arrogant, if not aggressive. Whether I'm actually safer or not I don't know, but I feel safer. I trust myself, and my head's in the game.

    I've seen a lot of people who ride beyond their limits and abilities, who make tools of themselves on the streets and in the hills, who actively try to intimidate and unsettle the poor innocent 4-wheelers, and who do themselves and the rest of the motorcycling world no favours at all. I don't think they're safer, and I don't think they make the place any safer for the rest of us either.

    So the simple answer is 'I don't think there is a simple answer.' I don't think going (a little) slower or faster makes a lot of difference, and I don't think being a bit aggressive makes a lot of difference. I think being focussed and switched on does, and I think being highly aware of the environment, and what the limits are does. I think if being 'aggressive' means you stop trying to put yourself in the heads of the car drivers, because they're just traffic slaves and filth, then being aggressive makes you a lot less safe. You've got to watch them and try and understand what they're up to, to best predict what they will do and what they might do. If you don't care, then you're dangerous.
  3. I sometimes think that when you ride "aggressively", you unwittingly ride more with your brain, scan further ahead and are more alert to surrounding traffic. To this point, if I'm simply going form point A to point B, I'm more likely to be surprised by traffic behaviour than at times when I'm "in the zone". Unlike the OP, if somebody does something silly when I'm on the ball, I avoid it and ignore it as I have better things to concern myself about.
  4. took the words right out of my mouth, Blaise.
  5. Seriously, i have the same issue.

    I rarely seem to get into a "near miss" situation and i attribute it to my best p-plate hooning skills. It seems counter intuitive but it's true.
  6. shock and awe
    throw an angry chihuahua amongst a wild pack of wolves.
    they will be stunned and all like wtf ???
    only briefly though. so don't stick around.
    your reactions also need to be well honed to secede instantly when you encounter a wolf that will eat you. because they are out there and they will do it.
  7. I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at..
  8. ^^ He's on a roll. Everyone's funny today.
  9. I think riding agressively seems to depend on the 'driver' staying the course & not reacting any other way from that which you just observed. Get it!?!

    Example: dipstick pulls out in front of you & you flick around him. Well thats ok if the dipstick doesn't panic at seeing you at the last half second & turn into you to avoid you somehow.

    I just don't like 'trusting' other drivers. If I keep it slow/calm/whatever, then I am in full control of my actions & reactions...not theirs!
  10. Think Blaise has hit on it........... when you've got your 'race face' on, you heads' in the zone and you're more alert.......if you need to ride more aggressively to get to that point so be it, but...........
    the trick is to become 'unconsciously competent' and have your head in the zone the minute you throw a leg over the saddle, regardless of whether you are paddling up to the papershop or blitzkrieging the 'Spur

  11. Focused aggresion as opposed to "hitting out at the world".

    Focused aggression wins MotoGP titles.

    Hitting out at the world wins a punch in the mouth.
  12. This sounds like the classic, "I've got sharp reflexes and I'm gonna use them" tactic.

    Interestingly, novice riders feature in stats - partly because relying on reflexes isn't as effective as thoughtful roadcraft.

    Screwball, if you ride in the zone, in a proactive manner (aggressively as you say) and everything is just input that may or may not need a response, it would take a life threatening susprise to ruffle your feathers. This is a great space to be in since SR's are minimised too... only problem is that it can elevate you subconsciously to a super road user and flouting the road laws that hinder your progress and safety... one day the laws that protect the bone head road users will exact a toll.
  13. Not sure about 'aggressive".
    I think I'd break it down to "assertive" is generally good, "angry" not so much.

    Then again, if you're riding assertively, and you meet Mr Angry and his 2 tonnes of self-esteem, it could end ugly.
  14. Sounds more assertive/protective to me, particularly considering your intent is to protect yourself - not harm others. Unlike the twat who undertook me on a left-hand turn yesterday forcing me to straighten my corner.
  15. But on a more enlightening note, when I read this post headline, I thought you meant shooting a spitball from a peashooter at subversive drivers. I was going to promote that as an excellent idea.
  16. Yes, thats fine. You may well be in the zone and able to avoid a 20cent coin dropped in front of you, but other road users AREN'T in any zone, therefore you're relying on them staying put in order to pull off your magnificent 'zone' manouvres...and that's what I don't like.

    Or, have I got this all wrong??
  17. Was thinking the same thing...or even one of those pistol paint ball guns you can get at Toys'R'us for shits and giggles...and hopefully not get mowed down by the bull bar equipped 4x4.

    In regards to the OP...I ride defensively, if I feel I need to be ahead of the pack (especially coming out of the tunnels in Melbourne) I will go above the posted limit so as to avoid the congestion of trucks and aggravated drivers. In metro driving...I keep my eye out for every Tom, Dick and Harry that could possibly be charged for manslaughter by being defensive and sometimes aggressive to put me in the safe zone.
  18. link to toys'rus paint ball gun pls ?

    i had a slingshot mounted on my tankbag once, but these items are restricted in Vic.
    so had to remove it.
  19. There are no words for such awesomeness
  20. Supasplat Multiblaster. Rebel Sport link here