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Discussion Starter #1
The number one by far cause of multi vehicle crashes and fatalities involving a motorcycle is a passenger car turning left across traffic. I was in that car today but fortunately stopped in time and the motorcyclist acted properly. But it got me thinking about what occurred. Here's some general stats:
These accidents happen in daylight. Usually there is not significant speeding and the average speed of these accidents is 30 mph.
Usually with excellent visibility ie not rain or snow or fog. Usually road condition is not a factor ie road is dry and good pavement.
We've probably all heard of the "Looked But Failed to See" (LBFTS) excuse. And its also my excuse. Based on doing a bit more research I am changing my riding habits a bit.

Here's what happened: I was in the left lane of a 2 lane each way avenue, waiting for a gap in traffic that would allow me to turn left onto a side street. Opposing me in the left and right lanes were a few cars travelling at about 30 mph so I was waiting. Then I see a appropriate gap and further back in the left lane a bus and a truck and nothing in the right (curb) lane. I had no way of seeing the motorcycle in the right lane behind the bus. The motorcycle was accelerating, maybe to get away from the bus. So judging the bus approach I started my turn and seeing no vehicle in the right lane I kept going. But the unseen motorcycle was accelerating and my CRV had just barely started from stopped. I don't use my car radio and it was off so i heard the bike and jammed on the brakes. Of course the bus couldn't figure out why I stopped in the middle of the road so honked.

So heres what I am thinking: Imagine the trauma of having a motorcycle ram into the side of your car. That motorcyclist is absolutely substantially injured. Police and ambulance attend. The police ask what happened and you state I looked but did not see. You've just been in a traumatic event and to justify it is likely your brain erases the memory where you may have seen something but guessed wrong. Its also unlikely that anyone says Ya I saw the bike and went anyway. Another factor is the "gap" analysis you are doing. How fast is that bus coming. How long till it gets here. How fast do I turn etc. There is a lot of research on this left turn gap analysis. Interestingly one study showed that motorcyclists tend to leave a larger gap than typical when following cars (I do) and that throws off your analysis of the gap. Also it is more difficult to judge the approaching speed of a small vehicle. So the left turner is judging gap based on typical car steady speed. But even a visible motorcycle can rapidly accelerate so the gap analysis is incorrect.

So here's what I am changing. That left lane is by far more safe since an opposing car at least has a chance to see you. (light coloured helmet and hi vis jacket). Acceleration beyond the traffic speed when approaching an intersection or where there are likely left turn cars is not good. I leave a lot of gap between me and the car in front and I am thinking that's OK on highways etc but may be detrimental in urban areas so I will shorten that distance. ABS helps. Avoid riding beside large trucks or buses.

G.
 

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Sounds like a few issues here. First, the motorcyclist is ultimately responsible for his own safety. Not to say other drivers shouldn’t be looking out for them. Just that, when I ride, I don’t rely on anyone else to do the right thing for me. So, the motorcyclist placed himself in a position of poor visibility by passing on the right side, while approaching an intersection, hidden from view behind a bus. Second, when attempting to enter the intersection, you did so without a clear view of both lanes of oncoming traffic. I appreciate you posting this for others to hopefully be able to take away something from your experience. I agree with the changes you intend to make in your own riding style except for one thing. In urban areas, closing the gap on the vehicle in front of you could actually hide you from an oncoming vehicle preparing to turn left, even when you are in the left hand lane. The best position to ride in that scenario would be in the left side of the left hand lane with a suitable gap between you and the vehicle ahead of you. The will allow you the most visibility to any upcoming vehicle preparing to turn left in front of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Just to clarify: in Vancouver our city is squared off as per the attached map so between every controlled intersection there are between 8 and 12 side streets that are residential so people are making turns on and off them to go to work and home. On the attached map I have pink highlighted the traffic lights. My typical 20 minutes ride I pass about 80 intersections.

I recall a study indicated that drivers are looking for a 4 second gap. to make a left turn.

I agree left side of left lane.


1581270798439.png
 

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I completely concur with most of your assessment. I don't have it handy to quote, but the last insurance reports I saw suggested the vast majority of motorcycle accidents were single vehicle mishaps which I take to mean more often than not, that the rider screwed up one way or the other.
I too feel safer when I am in the left lane of traffic. I believe my throttle will get me out of more danger zones than my brakes. In your situation, the motorcyclist would of been more visible to others as well as he/she would have a better view of surroundings.
Now when I am on a highway, I'm typically in the left lane but normally fairly tight on to the vehicles left bumper that is in front of me. That's my "bailout' direction. Nice thing with bigger and faster bikes is just a flick of the right wrist and I'm past the area where there is danger.
For me, riding a bike has made me a better operator of my four wheeled vehicles. I've caused a few riders sphincters to tighten up due to my inattention or being in too big of a hurry. I'm finding myself taking a second or two longer now at intersections.
I hope if and when my moment comes and I find myself getting nailed by or hitting a four wheeled vehicle when I'm on my bike I'll take the blame on to myself. We're all responsible for what we do once we hit the road. It'll probably be a hottie in tight jeans or summer dress that'll be distracting me anyways... be hard to blame her.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
...suggested the vast majority of motorcycle accidents were single vehicle mishaps which I take to mean more often than not, that the rider screwed up one way or the other....
Yes the majority of motorcycle crashes are single vehicle crashes (which is why I stipulated multi-vehicle crashes) and fatalities were almost all due to hitting a fixed object ie not other vehicles: sign posts, barriers, etc. Some were bad road condition ie gravel/sand/ice but most were speed too high to negotiate a curve and ended up off the road. Multi-vehicle accidents while on a highway are rare but usually due to high speed curve and ending up in the opposing lane. Single vehicle motorcycle crashes the average speed was 60mph while Multi-vehicle crashes average speed was 30mph.
 

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Not arguing with your numbers at all @gdb069 No way at all to know what percentage of multi vehicle mishaps were caused by the motorcyclist slamming into the other vehicle.

Bikes can blend in to their environment, but I don't think any worse than most 4 wheeled vehicles.

People like you who continually look and assess how they ride will have a longer and more enjoyable riding career. Taking responsibility for ones own actions... what a concept.

I think too often we see and hear motorcyclists talking about how the other guy "was out to kill me". That's putting the blame on the other guy. Hopefully more riders will be like you.

My .02 anyways......
 

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I have 3 bikes and i noticed since i installed LED headlights in all of them that instances of someone pulling out in front of me have dropped to almost nothing. It's hard not to see that brilliant white light. I even put a "Daymaker" LED light in the ol ladys Shadow, as a safety measure more than anything.
 

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What catches my eye the best are those modulating head lights. Anything else such as extra shiny, extra bright, day-glo etc doesn't really register with me.
 
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