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Thread: RIDER Awareness program with real meat

  1. #16
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Sheboygan, WI

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    Quote Originally Posted by PT9766 View Post
    I will use the horn in a short "peep" mode to make bicyclists who I am overtaking on narrow rural roads aware that I am positioning to pass. I use it locally on the one lane railroad underpass with curves so that you cannot see through to the other side (it says "Sound Horn Before Entering" and on a one lane bridge (again over a railroad cutting) which has no visibility of traffic coming the other way. There are a few blind narrow intersections around here and if I am on the through road and can't see if there is another vehicle on the other road I will slow down but possibly give a horn "toot".

    I may use it to give a short "toot" when overtaking a large truck on a multilane highway, but more often give a headlamp flash to indicate "I'm passing".

    I have used the horn in daytime when on a through road and see a vehicle coming from a side road where they are supposed to stop before coming onto the through road. Again at night I will go onto high beam to make them aware.

    I don't use the horn in a long "blast" to challenge, rebuke or antagonize.

    Before I do use the horn I have always put the bike into a position to take evasive or corrective action if there is another vehicle who makes a mistake.

    I have seen Andy operate a motorcycle on and off the highway, and he rides with an almost Zen-like awareness of his surroundings.

    Consequently, he is able to put his 'horn' on an austere diet, and it is rarely used.

    However, your more frequent use of an audible signal also deserves merit, as you seem to exhibit a very pro-active approach to your riding.

    The examples you give are all laced with logic, so it represents a style of operation worth noting.

    Continue to ride safe and aware for many miles to come!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.)
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer,THE REF Staff)
    Iron Butt Association Member # 34281

  2. #17
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I'm a firm believer that judicious use of the horn to make your presence known to the otherwise oblivious puts you and hopefully other fellow riders in the forefront of the mind of the offending driver.... Like a friendly "HEY! SMARTEN UP!"
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
    '01 525iT (oOO=00=OOo)

    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  3. #18
    Fof Rally Bast'd at Large rocketman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    State of Confusion
    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    Thanks everyone for the positive and supportive responses. I feel the time may be ripe to present a rider-responbility program.

    But, make no mistake that I absolve car drivers and road idiots of their disconnected, distracted actions against us, to include the "I never saw the bike" response of car drivers. Their actions and mistakes against us as riders are still theirs to take on. However, if we are the best riders we can be then the car drivers can honestly be blamed.

    Also, when about 40% of cycle crashes are single bike accidents, then who else but the rider is the one to consider? This to me includes riders with lack of skills, no knowledge of skills, no care about the riding and environment, or just plain ignorance of the many aspects that affect our riding.
    Keep in mind though that often cagers truly Don't see us and that is not always from a lack of attention on their part. Studies have shown that for many cage drivers their mind set is simply not "programmed" to be aware of motorcycles. So with that in mind, it would seem to me that a truly effective campaign would include awareness training for Both sides, cagers AND bikers. And since it is Our lives being put at risk, we should also take on part of the responsibility to ensure they are made more aware of us. Leaving it up them won't do anything as long as they remain ignorant of our presence on the road and so no amount of defensive driving or training is going to change that factor of the overall risk.

    "A man isn't totally drunk if he can lie on the floor without hanging on!" Joe Louis; comedian
    "I'll make a deal with you, I won't bore with my Science if you don't bore me with your Politics!" Lionel Barrymore from the 1929 film "The Mysterious Island"

  4. #19
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Green Bay, WI, west side about 1.5 miles from Lambeau.
    Quoting Rocketman,"And since it is Our lives being put at risk, we should also take on part of the responsibility to ensure they are made more aware of us. Leaving it up them won't do anything as long as they remain ignorant of our presence on the road and so no amount of defensive driving or training is going to change that factor of the overall risk."

    Very true about drivers not seeing us. When they say "I didn't see the motorcycle", they aren't lying for the most part. They don't see us and aren't looking for us, or at least not expecting us. But, then the question is "why aren't they seeing us?" In that, there are many reasons, most have to do with how the human brain processes perceived threats. A big bus or dump truck is an easily referenced threat, and it changes quickly for its size as it approaches. So even older eyes and brains register it as a threat. A bike though, being a slim, vertical profile in their field of vision, present little register of threat. Also, it doesn't change dramatically in size as it approaches, must faster than a bus or dump truck. Again, the brain does not register it as an immediate threat until it is too close.

    So, it is up to us to make sure we do all we can to improve the odds. Because first and foremost, WE are the ones that control the MOST of what conspires in traffic to create a threat to ourselves. If more riders take on the responsibility to: increase their conspicuity, not tear through traffic, use positional tactics to increase visibility, increase their following distance, become more aware of ALL the environmental influences (sunlight, shadows, line of sight, blockages to view), then the chances of more car drivers seeing them is improved. Or at least, the RIDER sees things happening and developing before getting to that "the car was suddenly there" situation.

    Anytime I hear a rider report a close call or crash as "the car was suddenly there" to me means the rider did not have a total view and knowledge of everything the rider was riding into! So who is the most responsible for that?
    Last edited by ANDYVH; 02-27-2011 at 03:29 AM.

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