Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
minner

Safe positioning at red lights


Recommended Posts

minner
I was out the other day and while waiting at a red light the car to my right was rear-ended.  The moving car was only at 5mph or so.  However, this could lead to significant injury if one of us absorbed that impact on a motorcycle. I'm in California and lane split when possible.  However, there are times when the gap is just too small to ride through (I am a beginner).   I tend to place the bike adjacent to the car in front of me, preferably on an outside lane to decrease the chance of taking the brunt of an impact. The more experienced riders in California seem to get around stopped vehicles more reliably.  
 
For those outside of California; where do you place your bike to minimize a rear-end impact?  
 
It may also be informative for people to respond to the poll saying whether or not they have ever been rear-ended at a stop-light.  If the percentage is high enough it may lead some newer riders to behave differently in this situation.
 
 
 
**Please keep in mind that accidents are associated with many variables such as riding style, location (city, rural, high traffic or low), and particularly, years of riding experience.  In order to have a valid study of this topic we would have to correct for such variables.  The poll is by no means scientifically sound and intended to give reader a gross appreciation of the potential for being hit by a car at a red light.  On 11/19, 13% of responders on this forum were hit.  That's a little scary and the advise provided by experienced riders is invaluable.  I know I am listening. Hopefully we get 30 responses or more to obtain a better estimation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
andistyr
Wish we could lane split here at stop lights. Unfortunately it is illegal but more importantly it seems to really piss off other drivers in cars/trucks if they see a motorcycle try it. That is one of the reasons why it fails to pass here is because of the fear of retaliatory from other drivers. Well not so much of a fear but fact that it will happen.
 
Here if a pedestrian dared to walk out infront of a car turning right even if the walk signal is on. The car would run the person over and then get out and cus them out for getting in the way of the car. It also is not uncommon for drivers to go out of thier way to block motorcycles and other faster cars from getting around them.
 
One of the things that shocked me when i was walking around LA, Seattle, and Chicago was that cars actually stop for pedestrians crossing the street at a crosswalk.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minner
That's a disturbing observation.  Driving a car is a choice and people have to recognize advantages of alternatives.  I'm from New England and people had much more angst there.  In LA people are casual and more pleasant on the road but they can also be very inattentive.  There was a study showing that a significant number of drivers in California didn't even know lane splitting was legal (definitely above 20%-Rideapart article on lane splitting) and a portion of these individuals are likely to become upset while under the impression that motorcycles are "skipping the line" illegally. I'm sure I'll meet a few as time goes on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jerryv
I got rear-ended once, enough to cause me to bump the car in front of me. Othwerwise minor damage, but at least I was in a car at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mjh937
I always stop with enough room so I can move forward if someone is coming up fast behind me. I also have the Vizi-tech brake light flasher so I will make that flash if someone is closing quickly.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minner
Thanks mjh!  This seems like a thoughtful product and will be convenient to install while doing the tail tidy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Goschie
I position my bike on the left side of the lane if there is no one in front. If there is i try to be as close and on the left side of the cars left rear tire. It allows the drivers behind me to see the stopped car in front of me and if they dont see braked cars in time I will be less likely to be hit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mjh937
Thanks mjh!  This seems like a thoughtful product and will be convenient to install while doing the tail tidy.
 
 
Install of the Vizi-tech unit was easy. You just take off the back seat, unplug the brake light at its connection (forward and on the left side of the bike) and plug the unit in in line with it. It took two minutes.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jerryv
I have the GMAX helmet with built-in red flashing LED's. It's pretty darn cool .. I can get it to sync with the brake light too if I wanted but I just let it flash. It easy to see even in daylight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minner
I've seen a few helmet setups with lights.  I may look a little crazy but I could see how it could add a substantial level of safety , particularly at night.  Most require battery power though and I'm not sure I'm the type to keep up with battery changes every 30-40 hours of riding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jerryv
I've seen a few helmet setups with lights.  I may look a little crazy but I could see how it could add a substantial level of safety , particularly at night.  Most require battery power though and I'm not sure I'm the type to keep up with battery changes every 30-40 hours of riding.
2 aa's, 1600 miles, have not replaced them yet. 
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minner
I've seen a few helmet setups with lights.  I may look a little crazy but I could see how it could add a substantial level of safety , particularly at night.  Most require battery power though and I'm not sure I'm the type to keep up with battery changes every 30-40 hours of riding.
2 aa's, 1600 miles, have not replaced them yet. 
If I can go 500-1000 miles before a change it's worthwhile for me.  1600 is great.  Although I'm surge you have to ride regularly to get those numbers - which we should all be doing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cruizin
I ride with a Bell RS-1 helmet that is high vis. It helps alot, cars see me and I have reflective stickers on back for at night.
Bell_RS1EmblemYellowP_detail_1-psph.jpg
 
I also stop in a way that would allow me to pull around the car in front of me, if the car behind me comes up too fast. So, I stop five feet behind the car in front of me and then watch my rear view mirror.
 
My Helmet.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Goschie
Looks like my positioning style paid off. The car behind me was rear ended and was pushed to the right of me yesterday. The car pushed was two inches to the right of my bike. Close one!
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
motomeek
What a close call @mgoschie!
 
@andistyr - Here in CA, pedestrians have the right of way, so that's why we stop.
 
And yes, @minner, many don't seem to know that lane splitting is legal. I think I might've gotten honked at last night on my way home from work?
 
It also doesn't help that lane splitting isn't common knowledge. Wish it was part of the driver's DMV education… Especially since CHP has decided to remove it's tips/guidelines for lane splitting.
 
I tend to position myself closest to the side open towards the dotted white line if I don't happen to find space to actually take the DWL up. I try to make space in case I feel the car behind me might not stop in time, staying in gear in case i have to drive up.
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
andistyr
What a close call @goschie!  
@andistyr - Here in CA, pedestrians have the right of way, so that's why we stop.
 
 

 
Here pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks but it doesn't get enforced much it at all.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minner
If the state does not want to get involved it doesn't mean we have no power in spreading the message.  If there is a safe and legal way to attach the message to ourselves (shirt, jacket, small sign above the licence plate) stating that " Lane Splitting is Not Illegal in California - Improves traffic flow and Reduces Biker Fatalities" the message will go where we go, everywhere.  
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
motomeek
Oh and BTW, I voted "NO" on being rear-ended while on a motorcycle…
 
In a car on the other hand… I'd say I've been in at least 5. Some as the driver, some as a passenger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
schalicke
YES... I have been rear ended...
I was on my Yamaha R6 back in 2002 and I was riding home from University. I was at a stop light with a van in front of me. I heard the squealing tires behind me, checked my mirror, turned my wheel to the right as to avoid hitting the van. Then Crack!!! The cars front end went between my rear tire and the sub-frame, catapulting me in to the back of the van. I'm sure I looked like a cartoon hitting the van, sliding down the rear door, and rolling into the gutter. The car was on top of my bike and the girl driving was screaming. She though that her car was on top of me. Adrenalized I jumped up out of the gutter, took my helmet off and threw it as hard as I could into her windshield. I never knew helmets could bounce so high. The helmet spidered the windshield and ended up flying over oncoming traffic and landing in someones yard. After some loud choice words to the hysterical girl driving I caught my breath. She then told me it was not her fault, it was the person behind her. I looked back and some 80 year old lady with her damn $1000 Purse Pooch on her lap was looking at us like it was our fault. Apparently her dog was in the way and she did not see the cars stopped in front of her.
 
I was young, invisible, and lazy so I never sought medical help or legal representation I was just happy getting my bike fixed. I never even went to the Dr. even though I felt like I had been, well, hit by a car. No broken bones or major injuries that I knew of. I recovered after a few days and all was good. Until now...
 
I suffer from periodic migraines and some misalignment in my neck that needs servicing a couple times a year. Nothing major but if I would have gone to the Dr....
A. I would have know that something was messed up and maybe got it fixed so it would heal right.
B. That old Battleaxe would have had to pay for the medical bills.
 
Word of advice: I'm not one to go sew everyone for anything but if you are in an accident get checked out before you sign anything. The pain might not be there now but it could be later. Medical Technology is pretty damn good now and they might catch something that may take years to start bothering you.
 
I now pay a lot more attention to my mirrors while stopped. I also keep left or right with a gap big enough to get to the shoulder or other lane if I have to.
 
Thanks for reading my story...
Ride Safe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  


×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.