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Why we don't see bikes??

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by raven, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. I caged it the last few days, up and down the Monash.
    While doing that, I tested myself. I set out to keep a solid vigile for bikes - more than I normally would, even being a biker!

    Every 10-15 secs I would look back down the lines of traffic behind me, searching for that ellusive headlight(s), coming up from behind.
    Nothing - nothing - nothing - vroom!...a bike cruises past. Not racing or doing anything stupid...just a gixxer thou, splitting through the evely spaced cars and going just a little faster than the cars, as we all do.
    WHAAA!...Why did'nt I see him!?...I was really looking out for bikes!...He was doing the same thing "i" do every day heading to work and back....

    Obviously, his extra bit of speed coming up through the traffic put him upon me in that 10-15 sec I was using as a reasonable scan period. I flat out had no idea he was coming!

    So...maybe even theose cars that ARE looking out for us, simply don't see us either, all of the time. It points to the speed differential. If you are behind a car long enough, chances are they might see you back there...but if your speed is 10-15k's more than the traffic speed at the time, there is a good chance that you will be missed by most drivers.

    In the rear-view mirror, cars remain pretty static. See a white ford back there, and chances are it will still be there in the same position 10-15secs later. as will all the other cars - NOT SO with bikes, if you are making your way through the traffic.

    Just bear all that in mind when you are commuting...you may 'think' they should have seen you, but in fact, they easily might not have.
    Safest is to assume they have'nt - you'll live longer.
  2. Very true, moving in and out of cars can put in the position of not being seen. You may be behind one car in one lane and 2 seconds later behind the next car in the other lane, the bloke 3 cars up wont even see you until your right behind him or going past him.
    It can pay to take your time and make yourself noticed, or get a louder exhaust :grin:
  3. dont think its much of an issue.
    loud exhust would help.
    The prblem is when they try to lane change even in heavy traffic without scannin the back
  4. Rule #1 ride like you are invisible!!
    Rule #2 pass wide
    Rule#3 pass FAST

    justs shows how hard we are to see![​IMG]
  5. i am an invisible man
  6. I haven't been keen to lanesplit, the traffic around where I ride isn't busy enough to warrent it.
    I always try to stay in view hanging back a couple of car lengths and if I need to overtake I make sure I am noticed.
  7. There was something in Bike Magazine a couple of years back about 'motion camouflage', sometimes known as the 'dragonfly effect'. Predators use it to fool their prey into thinking they're far away when they're actually approaching at top speed.

    Similarly for bikes (and dragonflys), if you approach a car (prey!) in a straight line, at a certain point in the driver's line of sight, it seems like you're stationery, or are travelling at a fixed point, at fixed speed.

    So if the driver takes his eyes off you for a second, and looks back again, all off a sudden you're a lot closer than he thought.

    So to make sure you're noticed, do a little wiggle once in a while to take you out of that line of sight. Helps drivers to reorientate their eye-brain connections and realise you're still there, and coming towards them.
  8. I like your post, Nous. Thanks!
  9. yeh, thanks nous never would thought about doin that
  10. Problem with loud exhausts is that they're very directional. Even the very loudest of Harleys can barely be heard until you're behind them. :/
  11. are you joking? sorry i think you need you hearing checked or to pull the ear phone out of your ears or turn the stereo down if caging.

    ask anyone who has followed my gs500f and they will tell you they could hear me coming or even if they were behind me, and it was no where near as loud as the loudest of harleys
  12. What you really need is exhaust pipes that point forwards. :)
  13. With big flames to blow the cagers out the way and to barbacue some breakfast on the run :)
  14. hey ask 2ndclasscitizen he was over 100 meters in front of me at times and could hear my bike over his own
  15. In relatively constant-speed riding where the engine's barely working at all, or wide-open-throttle, though?

    Everyone can be heard when they're thrashing it, but I hope to god a litre sportsbike isn't lanesplitting freeway traffic at wide-open-throttle.
  16. VG post Raven.

    Just goes to show that you gotta ride with the view that no one knows
    youre on the road.

    I doubt it.

    Exhausts points backwards, so how are those up front going to hear you?
    Motorists dont sit with dog-like ear primed & waiting to hear that distant rumble of
    some bike engine?

    They'll hear you when you are right up their arse or next to em, & by the time the
    sound is registered, you are already well past them.

    Exhaust will help if you are travelling same speed as traffic. The faster you are going
    compared to the general flow/speed of traffic, the more useless exhaust/engine sound
    becomes to ya.

    This is magnified again if we're talking about freeways as in this thread where there
    more general noise compared to 60km/h suburban streets.

    Relying on your exhaust will one day cost you dearly.

    Once you get some experience as both a rider & driver, you will see, hear & realise this
    for yourself. :wink:
  17. Sorry qbn, but you're romancing yourself if you think that people in a car, with the windows up and the stereo or the news going, can hear you when you are coming up behind them. They CAN hear you if you are travelling right behind them for a period of time, like you can with a doof-doof fooly-sik rice-boy car, but they CAN'T in the scenario that raven poses, and that's the dominant one.

    Raven is absolutely correct about speed differential, and that's why, as unpalatable as it may be to say, even just a couple of kays over the limit that everyone else is doing can be dangerous or fatal. People EXPECT everyone's speed to be the same; the same burst of acceleration that makes riding such an enjoyable experience, can also put you in a place where a motorist, WHO IS WATCHING around him, can take you out. And when he says, "Sorry, mate, I didn't see you", he means it; just a split-second ago you weren't there, and he had no reason to expect you to be.

    Raven, one of the most observant and helpful posts on Netrider for a long, long time, thanks :wink:.
  18. oh alright paul i guess you have a valid point there will keep that in mind
  19. Raven, you unlike some of the other cagers, have in the back of your mind that bikes will be sharing your lane at regular intervals, and so are fully prepared even if sometimes surprised.
    What i don't understand is, the cagers that use the same road everyday, and have bikes splitting past them everyday, and yet they still appear to respond as if it's the first time.
    i think the difference is, your attitude is you share the road with bikes.
    as apposed to, bikes share the road with them.

  20. I did this just yesterday on the way home. A car was about to pull on from a side street driver looking in both directions quite often, saw the car next to me had signalled to turn off and cars coming in the opposite direction were already going past. as the driver looked back towards me... I changed my path slightly. and the driver put the brakes on before turning out. obviously she had not seen me until I changed my path.

    I had no idea about this 'dragonyfly effect' sounds a lot better than 'practicing good roadcraft'. Imagine going to an instructed ride and being introduced to the 'dragonfly effect'.