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Thread: small rant: vehicular spacing

  1. #16
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    Oct 2005
    Whitefish Bay, WI, 3mi N Milwaukee

    Dave Slash 5

    Steibel needs a relay? right?
    "What is beautiful is simple, and what is simple always works"....Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47.
    Current bike: 2015 Yamaha TW 200, modified for road/street use with tire, sprocket upgrades. "Center yourself in the vertizontal. Ride a motorcycle...namaste' "

  2. #17
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    My biggest gripe I have with MOST cycle riders is they follow other traffic WAY TO CLOSE! It is not brand or style specific either, every brand and style of bike is represented by riders following way, way too close.

    I was the same way, years ago. Always charging up on other vehicles, ready to zip past, to the next piece of road vermin (also known as cagers). Once I became a MSF instructor 17 years ago, I finally started to live and ride what the MSF teaches. What a difference in comfort level, for me, and what a difference in seeing things develop and happen in front of me, with plenty of time to plan and pro-act instead of react. I tell my MSF students that "backing off" when some jerk takes the nice space cushion you just created is not giving in to traffic. Its actually actively controlling your safety zone. And really NO one on the road is more responsible for doing that, then the rider of the cycle.

    A 2-second following distance is the suggested minimum. More is better yet. But! Even the 2-second following distance is only as possible as traffic allows, and as other road jerks allow. Really though, if you are active at trying to maintain or increase your following distance as best you can and as best the traffic allows, you are doing wonders to reduce your risks. It really does work, if you work it. Try for the 2-second minimum, and more if you can achieve it.

    If when riding in traffic you are often finding yoursefl taking evasive actions, or you find cars are "suddenly" taking your lane/space, or if you find yourself in frequent hard braking/slow-down situations, you may really need to evaluate your riding style. Back off. Creat and maintain as much space as you can. Its a very active process that you have to remain aware at, to keep as big a space as traffic allows. I have seen riders in 70 mph traffic, dead center behind the vehicle just ahead of them, and maybe 20' back. NO WAY anyone can consistently react with any measure of risk reduction in that situation.
    Last edited by Andy VH; 04-30-2010 at 04:51 PM.
    Get trained! The best "performance" upgrade you can get is YOU. Visit for training info.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ultracyclist View Post

    You must do an awful lot of hard and late braking in order to stay alive?

    Your style of riding would make me a bit nervous.
    But then again, we all ride our own ride.
    No, not really. I just stay extra alert while in the heavy traffic and remain in control of my ride rather than letting others control it to my detriment. If I worked on trying to leave extra space, I'd be doing a lot more heavy braking because of the drivers who would see it as an invitation to jump in front of me.

    That happens a lot more to me when driving my truck, which takes longer to slow and isn't as responsive at the throttle. I fall back a little, someone cuts in far more often than not.

  4. #19
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Quote Originally Posted by ultracyclist View Post
    Steibel needs a relay? right?
    Yes, in most cases. Totally worth the trouble to install though.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  5. #20
    Little rant here too! Law enforcement officers really like to issue speeding tickets because they have a gadget (technical device) to corroborate their professional opinion that you were going to fast. It is called a radar gun. This avoids almost all the he said, he said, she said, etc. that can occur in court.

    They didn't used to have an equivalent gizmo to corroborate their opinion that you were following to closely, weaving erratically, or any other misdeeds they might observe. So tailgating and aggressive "me first" driving became the urban norm, not the exception.

    Now many patrol cars are equipped with an appropriate gadget to back up the officer's opinion - the dashcam or onboard video camera.

    If the powers that be within police departments wished it to happen bushels of tickets could be written for following too closely, failure to maintain a safe distance, tailgating, reckless endangerment, or whatever that jurisdiction calls such misbehavior any time of the day or night; all backed up by incontrovertible vidographic evidence. But they don't do it. Citizens wouldn't like it. Politicians would hear about it. Police Chief's jobs would be jeopardized. The Patrol Captain would get blamed and earn a new job posting to the records room or worse.

    So drivers will continue to run into each other and us. Lots of folks will get hurt. A few people will die. Until the population demands effective enforcement which it/we will never do.

    So once again, let the games begin. Remember, a recent survey disclosed that more than 90 percent of all drivers surveyed believe that they have above average driving skills. ?????

    Which explains why I will go to rather great lengths to avoid urban freeways when possible; to avoid major cities entirely when possible, and to ride primarily in the non-urban west where folks are polite, cordial, and often not in a huge hurry.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  6. #21
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Jan 2010

  7. #22
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    "Remember, a recent survey disclosed that more than 90 percent of all drivers surveyed believe that they have above average driving skills. ?????"

    Oh my god! There are a LOT delusional drivers out there then! As a rider of 38 years and a MSF instructor of 17 years I am constantly looking for, and finding, I think, every idiot car driver on the road. And, a lot of obviously delusional motorcycle riders too! I am the LEAST of any kind of expert rider, and I treat every ride as a learning experience.

    Would it be a safe bet to assume moreso, that 90 percent of drivers thinking they above average skills, is more like 90 percent of drivers have NO idea in any way what any level of performance driving skills are and how they are done? I'd vernture to guess that a low percentage of everyday drivers have no idea what their cars are capable of, until the panic reaction sets it, and they do it all wrong.
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  8. #23
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    SW, MO
    Paul, I completly agree with your post, but would like to add a thought:

    The revinue generated by writing a ticket for following too close, ect. is not nearly comparable to speeding. I really believe that it the cruxt of the problem. It doesn't pay as well.

    IBA #44567 Pres. Springfield BMW Roadriders
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
    -Albert Eienstein

  9. #24
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    B.C. Canada
    Ever been on one of those two lane hiways with occasional passing lanes in tourist season? (I'm thinking of the Trans-Canada hiway through the Rockies of British Columbia, but am sure there are many others.) You use those passing lanes and actually think you are getting somewhere -which you would be in the Spring or Fall - then the view opens up and there are cars, trucks and motorhomes as far as the eye can see! It dawns on you that if use all that horsepower every time, then brake just as hard to get back in line, you may shave a minute off your trip. What to do?

    I think the solution is to know "where you want to be," pass until you find that comfortable situation, then protect it. "Where you want to be" is behind a car (nothing taller) that is maintaining a safe following distance. You also want a car (certainly not a semi) behind you that also doesn't tailgate you. On the single lane you can drop back 3 seconds or so and even do a little sight-seeing.

    When the next passing lane appears, signal and move into as soon as possible. If you "like" the car that has been following you, try waving them over too as you close the distance to your favored car so nobody can pass you on the right and then swerve left into the passing lane. When the passing lane runs out, ease back to your 3 second following position.

    Please note that this behavior in moderate traffic conditions is truly anti-social. Either use the passing lane briskly or stay to the right. But when the road is clogged, you are not only making your trip less stressful, you are also saving other motorists from some close calls if not worse.

    I learned this lesson several years ago and have never done it again. The moral is to allow enough time, find the back roads, and stay off those hiways in the summer. But if you find yourself in this situation...
    1992 K100RS

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