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Thread: "Ride Like You're Invisible" - My first accident

  1. #1

    "Ride Like You're Invisible" - My first accident

    I had to run an errand and decided to ride my RT today. I was in a high traffic area and I am 100% focused on riding safely. I always wear protective gear, my helmet is full-face, solid white, I wear ear-plugs, my jacket is light gray, it was 3:00 in the afternoon, sunny, 77 degrees. I get out of the most heavy congested area, and things open up on a divided four lane boulevard, two lanes in each direction. I am in the right lane, behind a vehicle as we approach a stop light, the light turns red, the vehicle in front of me stops gradually, and I stop gradually, about 2 seconds later, I get hit from the back by an 80 year-old lady driving a Toyota (she did not have a sticking accelerator). It was a low speed impact, pushed me forward, off balance and I was not able to hold the RT up-right - it drops on the left side. One side case was cracked, and I have several scratches on the left side in various places. I was not damaged, other than some soreness in my leg from trying to hold the RT up-right.

    The irony is that the March 2010 ON magazine has an article titled "Ride Like You're Invisible" that I had recently read, and earlier in the day I was talking to a friend who does not ride about motorcycle safety , I told him that one of the most important factors in riding safely was to assume other vehicles do not see you. What a reminder for me! I was focused on what was in front and on the sides. As I approached the stop light I failed to check what was coming from behind at a time when my greatest exposure was from the rear. Most of the time, I check, but I know it is not a 100% of the time check. I had a gap, an escape route, I was in 1st gear, the clutch engaged, and ready, a simple glance in the mirror and I could have avoided getting hit.

    I was lucky, and learned a valuable lesson. "Ride" like you're invisible and even assume you are invisible when stopped. That "Most of the time" approach has to become a "100% of the time" approach.

  2. #2
    Dale Rudolph
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    Glad you came out of it ok. I have never been in an accident, If I am, I hope I'm
    able to go home and write about it. While a grey jacket is better than Black, it
    is still a color that blends in with the background. I wear a high-visability yellow
    jacket, if you don't see it, you really have a sight problem. It's hard to say whether
    it would have made any difference to an 80 year old.

  3. #3
    ride like they can see you and are trying to kill you

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Reno, NV


    Quote Originally Posted by wuli959 View Post
    ride like they can see you and are trying to kill you
    Yes, I have encountered this as well more than once or twice...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DRUDOLPH148006 View Post
    Glad you came out of it ok. I have never been in an accident, If I am, I hope I'm
    able to go home and write about it. While a grey jacket is better than Black, it
    is still a color that blends in with the background. I wear a high-visability yellow
    jacket, if you don't see it, you really have a sight problem. It's hard to say whether
    it would have made any difference to an 80 year old.
    Either a high-visibility vest or jacket will be my next purchase.

  6. #6
    I was at the beltway (toll road) in Houston and I was waiting to go thru the toll booth... in my rear mirro I noticed a car coming up really fast.. it kept coming and coming.... at the last second- at least thats how i put it.. while looking in the mirror, I could actually tell that the gal-(yes a gal-) was on the phone totally oblivious to the traffic..

    I moved into the next lane and proceeded to move as quickly with out peeling out.. As I passed the car which was just in front of me, I saw that SUV lurch skyward about a foot and heard the noise of thousands of dollars of formed metal and plastic quickly becoming formed into another piece of art....

    I saw they were allright and the policeman sitting right there ... a little peeved to having to get out and survey the damage...

    We are invisible out there.. so was the SUV......

    Glad your OK, but ya gotta watch out for grammie!

    Oh and for whats its worth... I had a brother in law in ABQ .. he had 3! accidents from the same WOMAN.. she had a death wish on him is all I can say.. Last time she hit him, he got off the bike and realizing it was HER! he then went cyko ( i liked that spelling) with his helmet on her windshields..

    unfortunately he went to jail for that one...... excessive something..
    HE actually had a reason to be paranoid if you ask me!

  7. #7
    On the road again! R80RTJohnny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Years ago when I took driver's education there was a section on exactly this type of accident avoidance. When slowing down and sitting at light always keep some of your attention to what is coming up from behind and give yourself and plan an escape route. This has saved my skin on more then one occasion.

    Glad to read that you and the bike are OK.
    2008 R12RT (Blue)
    1986 R80RT (Silver)

    Member of the Loonie-Tics. MOA 292.

  8. #8
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    SW Ohio
    Sort of relevant to the thread, I used to have a Toyota PU single cab. If conditions were just right at night, an approaching car's headlights would reflect off the rear window and looking in the rearview mirror I would see a car gaining on me at the combined speed of myself and the oncoming vehicle. A real loss of bodily function control moment!
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  9. #9
    Registered User kentuvman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks for sharing and glad you're okay - the fact YOU"RE okay is more important than what happens to the bike.

    As much as I try to be safe, sometimes I'm just not 100%. But although my kids tease me about my hi vis aerostitch jacket, I don't really care because I want to be seen.

    Two habits - if there's a double left turn lane, I always take the one closest to the center divider - where I live there's a double left turn lane off a fast moving highway. I'm fearful someone talking or texting will swerve to the left and plow into the outside turn lane.

    When driving on undivided highways where there's a lot of cross traffic ie: rural folks trying to get off the farm road onto the main hwy - I do my best to watch what I think they might be doing - I always slow up just to make sure they see me.

    Again, glad you're okay.

  10. #10
    Raspberry waffles Bob!!! kewlmoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Glad to hear you're OK. I've been hit from behind while driving my car twice in the last 1 1/2 years. I've gotten so paranoid sometimes I catch myself focusing so much on the car behind me I start to lose track of what's in front.
    82 R65LS - gone but not forgotten
    02 R1150RT
    "Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw"
    "I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart."

  11. #11
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Calgary AB
    Glad it's you writing about your experience rather than someone else! Great to hear you are okay. I think I am in the same boat as you were - still not absolutely 100% on everything, people coming up from the rear at speed in intersections is always a gut check and a time to pay maximum attention. Take care.
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)

    Excuses are the rocks upon which our dreams are crushed - Tim Fargo

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by wuli959 View Post
    ride like they can see you and are trying to kill you
    In the most recent issue of Readers Digest (my mom gets it), there is an article about US cities with the worst drivers. One of the tips for being a better driver was something along the lines of; 'When you come to a stop at an intersection, look at the other driver(s). If they are looking at you, you are safe to proceed.'

    I was tempted to write the moron, I mean author, a letter..

  13. #13
    It's Happy Hour somewhere spartanbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Spartanburg, SC

    They will really go out of their way to nail you.

    Very glad you are OK. I recently made a 150 mile day trip in rainy weather on the interstate with no issues. I almost got home. The weather had cleared up but I was still wearing my very high vis rainsuit and making the final right turn off of a two lane road into my subdivision. I always use turn signals and I have Hyper Lights and large reflective strips on the luggage of my RT. I notice in my rear view mirror that the car behind me is not even attempting to slow down. I gun the throttle which scuttles the turn and lands me in the flower bed of our subdivision entrance. The nice elderly lady actually pulls over to see if I was OK. She told me that she was so thankfull that she did not hit me. I asked her what happened. She said that she saw me turning and that she must have accidentally pressed the gas instead of the brake. She just got a little confused. At least she was honest enough to admit it. I asked her if she was heading home. She said that she was planning to go to Wal-Mart but after this she had changed her mind and was just going home. I asked her if she wanted me to follow her home to see that she made if there OK but she declined. Moral of the story. The driving population is getting older and they will not give up their driving privilages without a fight. That means we will have to be even more vigilant if we want to stay alive. "They do sometimes see us and they will kill us even if they don't mean to".
    To ride or not to ride; No question about it!
    '85 K100 & '04 R1150RT

  14. #14
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Westchester, N.Y.
    Glad to hear that you are OK. This is one of the "common" motorcycle accidents according to the Hurt report, and is why the M.S.F. courses teach leaving enough room between you and the car in front of you and keeping the bike in first gear after coming to a stop so you can maneuver away from an inattentive driver coming up behind you. I also try to keep flashing my brake light to let them know I'm there. Thank God they didn't really crush you! Stay safe,

    '04 K1200GT

  15. #15
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    You are lucky to have escaped unscathed. I keep my annoying hyper brake lights flashing until the car behind me comes to a full stop. However, I know that is no guaranteed of an accident free stop. Although we try to be vigilant when out on the bikes, there is always the possibility of some unforeseen happening that can dump on motorcyclists.
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

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