A 25-year-old motorcyclist was hurt Saturday when a vehicle pulled out in front of
him on Stadium Drive west of Kalamazoo, authorities said.
The crash occurred when a vehicle driven by an 84-year-old man pulled out of the manÔÇÖs driveway and into the path of LosinskiÔÇÖs westbound motorcycle.
Tragic. Wish that every rider had the full range of awareness we all need to hopefully avoid these crashes (there are no accidents in my opinion).
But whenever I read of these crashes, we can learn more with a bit of internet searching to get the full report. There are so many factors that are critical to understand rather than just "car pulled into the path of the motorcycle."
Seemingly simple factors like, time of day, direction of travel, environmental area (trees, shadows, visual blockage, line of sight issues, etc). There are far too many aspects of the entire crash scene that we don't know of or are aware of, to be able to fully understand how most crashes can be avoided. The comment about the bike being westbound makes me wonder what time of day? If the bike is westbound, the rider is lookng into the sun, reducing the rider's ability to see clearly if it is a low afternoon sun. Same for the car driver. If he was pulling out of a south facing driveway, and looked right first, then left, his vision may have been momentarily reduced due to looking into the sun. Especially since he was 84.
I am a bit familiar with that area. Looked up the crash info on the news report. It occurred at 6:30pm, so the sun would be low in the west sky. The area of the crash has a good number of trees (shadows) and buildings fairly close to the road (visual blockages). Its also a multi-lane road with no center median, indicating a road to handle a lot of traffic, an likely higher speed (like 35 to 45 mph). I make these comments because rather than simply lament the pain a fellow rider suffers in a crash, if we dig a bit deeper we can gain more perspective on some of the crash influence factors. And knowing this can help us all to be more aware when riding and hopefully avoid a crash in the future.
Had another one here yesterday. 64 year old motorcyclist riding westbound on main road through town...truck driven by 28 year old going eastbound. Truck turns left to go into gas station, hits motorcyclist...motorcyclist dies.
My immediate questions are: What could have been done to avoid this? Did motorcyclist anticipate the potential left-turning truck? Why didn't truck driver see motorcyclist?
Agree on full report needed. These things really bother me, because just based on the raw story, this could have been me (or you).
To these questions, "My immediate questions are: What could have been done to avoid this? Did motorcyclist anticipate the potential left-turning truck? Why didn't truck driver see motorcyclist?"
Granted, this is from an office with no knowledge of the scene/conditions. Most always everyone quickly/solely blames the non-motorcycle operator. And not to diminish the car/truck driver's fault, there are a LOT of factors to consider:
1. Cycle rider awareness of ALL the conditions in the riding environment
2. Cycle rider awareness of ANY potential left turning vehicle
3. Cycle rider awareness of any area conditions to cause a left turning vehicle, and using that awareness to be ready for anything
4. Truck driver awareness of hard to see vehicles in his path of travel
5. Truck driver awareness to judge how fast a cycle is approaching, some vehicle drivers have real issues with determining the approach speed of other vehicles
6. Truck driver visual limitations and impact on the crash cause
7. Visual acuity problems for both crash involved operators; blinding sun, shadows, visual obstructions, a cycle can "blend into" the background, etc, etc.
8. Emotional problems for both operators.
9. Distraction problems for both operators.
When a car/truck driver says "I never saw the bike" I'd say they are rarely lying. Note I put the cycle rider awareness first, as I feel our safety and risk reductions is OUR burden FIRST as riders. I never expect anything from any road user, other than perhaps they'll do something wrong/stupid/distracted/uninvolved in the task at hand. Never take anything for granted.
Agree with your points. I just threw out my first questions.
Now...when I ride, my attitude is this: I'm on a motorcycle. The motorcycle has a bullseye on it. Four-wheeled vehicles are all attempting to hit that bullseye. Ergo...I trust no one.
In the case of this accident, a possible factor was the motorcycle coming FROM the east (direction of rising sun...accident occurred at 7:30 AM).
My '04 RT-P has the PIAAs on all the time and no one has turned left in front of me in the 4 months that I've ridden it. On other bikes it used to seem that every single day someone either turned in front of me or started to then suddenly stopped when they noticed me late.
As far as rider awareness is concerned, it certainly helps but don't fool yourself into thinking it will keep you totally safe. Sometimes the turning vehicle is unavoidable.
I preach about rider awareness because I see SO much of a lack of it when riding, or driving my car. I see a lot of riders: following WAY too close, cruising through intersections one hand on the grips/feet out on the highway pegs, zipping through intersections, weaving through traffic, etc, etc, etc.
I may be 54 years old and riding for over 40 years, but I aint no slouch on the road. Aside from that, I'm not lazy about my riding, my awareness, the situations I ride on, in and through. I treat every ride as a learning experience. My goal for my riding is, "no surprises" my attitude about my riding is, "its always MY fault first."
Because I am the ONLY one who can really do anything about it.
So while there are some instances where plain ol' dumb luck bites your front tire hard. I really do feel that most instances are more avoidable than most riders are willing to admit or accept. Once you accept it though, your attitude about riding and the risks of riding changes a lot.
[QUOTE=flyrider;814194] Why didn't truck driver see motorcyclist?
He wasn't looking for motorcycles.
The motorcyclist was wearing black from head to toe, including black helmet, and was easily missed.
(No, I wasn't there, I didn't see how he was dressed, but guess what? The above description fits 80 percent or more of motorcyclists.)
The motorcyclist had low beam headlight on, which was not noticeable.
If the problem is that other motorists have a problem noticing motorcyclists in traffic, what are you going to do about it? (I say that to all motorcyclists, not you personally).
All the safety studies conclude that making yourself more visible to other motorists improves your odds on a bike.
I've always thought that a major contributor is the fact that most folks on motorcycles ride only a few miles a year and aren't really well adapted to the better defensive skills one needs compared to a cager.
I have vivid memories of all those homicidal little old ladies when I first learned to ride in the 1960s Finally dawned on me, probably just before my luck could run out, that the problem was me and not them. Gotten so used to anticipating dumb stuff from cagers it doesn't even raise my blood pressure these days. No doubt the Photon Blasters and D2s always running on the front end help as do the pair of extra brake lights out back but it starts with developing ones bike habits and keeping them sharp.
My primary riding concerns are space and visibility- do what I need to do to get both. You can't get hit by distant objects and being clearly visible to others with unobstructed sight lines for yourself is fundamental= you can't plan for or avoid what you don't see. I also don't ride distracted- no music, no gps fiddling if its on, etc...
Racer7 you hit much of the issues dead on! What you describe as methods to address the issues for the rider personally are very real and very effective. Plus, like you said, many riders simply don't get enough seat time/miles to become proficient at street/traffic skills. So when the event happens, its invariably the cage driver's sole fault, when actually the rider contributes largely to the event.
I ride about 10,000 miles per year on average. National average for cycle riders I read somewhere is about 2,000 to 2,500 miles per year. So I ride about four times the average. Yet, I rarely have issues of cars pulling out on me, turning left close in front of me, taking my lane, etc. I'd like to think cage drivers around Green Bay and east central Wisconsin are better than the average Joe-cager, but I really doubt it.
Well over 15 years ago, I took it upon myself as the rider to do everything I could do to make my riding better, and my street skills better. When I took on this attitude, my riding situations ALL got much better. A huge part of that is visibility, space cushion and timing, all things that the MSF pushes. And it works, IF you do it all the time.
Excellant stuff there on the SMIDSY video. It does an excellent review of why cage drivers don't see us. I learned long ago that the vertical visual element of a motorcycle against the background is a major influence in why cage drivers look right through and past us. It is very true that the visual cues to cagers as we approach almost require us to be very close to an intersection before the natural human response to a "threat" related to size and motion is registered.
When sitting at an intersection, look at approaching traffic and judge how soon your brain registers an approaching threat. That Ford Focus registers much later/closer than does a city bus. Likewise, an approaching motorcycle registers much later than a Ford Focus. Now, mix that motorcycle image with other vehicles, with all sorts of shadows, billboards, buildings, light poles, sign posts, fences, sun glare, etc, etc, and its NO surprise to me that many cagers never see us until its too late. I have actually stood at busy intersections, off the bike and studied the visual cues of the area and of traffic to determine how I blend in and what would cause me to "disappear". I feel anytime we are driving our cars it is an excellant learning tool/time to visualize how we motorcycles are hidden in the scene.
So is it the cagers fault? Is it the cagers responsibility alone to do something about it? I say no. It's FIRST and ALWAYS up to the rider to do something about it, because only the rider can really do anything about it.
On my bike I use a bright white/violet blue headlight bulb, it helps to make my bike stand out a bit more. I wear a bright white full face helmet. I also have driving lights I can turn on any time, independent of low or high beam to produce a TRIANGLE LIGHT PATTERN on my bike. I also move about in my lane if I feel cross traffic may not see me right away. This is nothing new, its a proven technique that is decades old. Slow down, downshift to a lower gear, fingers over the brake/clutch ready to move, scan/search before you get there, look for alternate paths if needed, have VERY good braking skills, flash your lights perhaps (be aware of local customs), all up to you first. If you just cruise along through traffic, thinking its up to them to watch for you, not ready with skills/options, then you are destined to become bumper meat. Plain and simple, its up to us first.
[QUOTE=ANDYVH;814595]So is it the cagers fault? Is it the cagers responsibility alone to do something about it? I say no. It's FIRST and ALWAYS up to the rider to do something about it, because only the rider can really do anything about it.
On my bike I use a bright white/violet blue headlight bulb, it helps to make my bike stand out a bit more. I wear a bright white full face helmet. I also have driving lights I can turn on any time, independent of low or high beam to produce a TRIANGLE LIGHT PATTERN on my bike. I also move about in my lane if I feel cross traffic may not see me right away. This is nothing new, its a proven technique that is decades old. Slow down, downshift to a lower gear, fingers over the brake/clutch ready to move, scan/search before you get there, look for alternate paths if needed, have VERY good braking skills, flash your lights perhaps (be aware of local customs), all up to you first. If you just cruise along through traffic, thinking its up to them to watch for you, not ready with skills/options, then you are destined to become bumper meat. Plain and simple, its up to us first.[/QUOTE]
All good points. I am right there with the white full-face helmet. Only later did I come across the Wells Report from NZ that quantifies it: a 24 percent reduction in accident rates just by switching from a black helmet to a white one.
I also chose a silver RT over a darker color because silver is a bit easier to see in traffic.
I do have an assortment of vests that I ought to wear more often. On any kind of serious road trip I will usually have a hi-viz vest on. My mesh jackets are bright yellow and hi-viz yellow. I've also got reflective material on the 'Stich and on the back and sides of my helmet.
Instead of cursing the darkness, I try to light a candle.
I agree that making yourself more visible is just the first step you should take. Becoming a skilled rider with excellent defensive driving skills are two more requirements.
Harry, i would like to see data that says silver is a more visible bike color than is a dark blue or other similar. i know from my own observations that silver helmets are nearly invisible- they just blend into the sky and pretty much disappear. i suspect that the same might be true of a silver bike, but i don't see enough of them around to be able to make a valid assessment.
[QUOTE=bikerfish1100;814617]Harry, i would like to see data that says silver is a more visible bike color than is a dark blue or other similar. i know from my own observations that silver helmets are nearly invisible- they just blend into the sky and pretty much disappear. i suspect that the same might be true of a silver bike, but i don't see enough of them around to be able to make a valid assessment.[/QUOTE]
I believe at the time I bought the RT, I had seen an article somewhere that said that silver was one of the better colors for a car.
Here's an article that references a study to that effect:
[I]...a study at the University of Auckland in New Zealand linked car color to rates of injury causing accidents. The study showed that those who drove brown cars were at the highest risk of sustaining an injury in a car crash. Colors such as black and green also showed a higher risk of involvement in injury-causing accidents. While darker colored cars were linked to the highest risk for drivers, those who drove silver cars were shown to have the lowest risk. It was found that those who drive silver cars are half as likely to be involved in accidents leading to injury than those who drove dark colors such as brown, black, or green.[/I]