[Elist] You never talk to me anymore

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 6 13:20:29 PDT 2011

                         “YOU NEVER TALK TO ME  ANYMORE”
by John Del Santo
How many times has that line been used when a relationship was headed downhill to disaster?  Communication is important.  Communication is very Important when you are getting ready to change directions on your bike. The more you let the other drivers know  what you are going to do,  the less chance there will be that they’ll do something unexpected and get in your face.  Signal your intentions.     Naturally,  people being what they are….we should  keep our eye open for those “me first” drivers who will see our signal,  and then will try to beat us to the opening that we are heading for.
When we are slowing or changing lanes, many of us feel that hand-signals are noticed quicker than directional-signal lights by the cars close to us in traffic.  A brain picks up motion quicker than light.  A California law reads that if our bike has (working) electric directional signals,  then we must use them;  we aren’t supposed to  just  use hand signals alone.  But we could certainly use both  if we want to….clicking on the directional signal, and then using a hand signal to communicate to the drivers that are near us in heavy traffic.   Whatever works.
When we are downshifting for a stop or turn,  a couple of flashes on our brake light should wake up the driver behind us to the fact that we are slowing down so that we don’t surprise them… we’ll reduce the odds of being mowed down by someone who’s not paying attention.  In the early morning and late afternoon when the Sun is glaring low in the sky and most of the other drivers are squinting, trying to see,  having our headlight switched to High-Beam will make our presence a little more evident.  And….don’t hesitate laying on your horn  (AND being ready with throttle or brakes)  if someone near you in traffic looks like they might change into your lane without checking their blind spots.  Wake ‘em up !  A rider that I know has an interesting technique….When the traffic suddenly slows,  she puts her left hand, in a fist, straight up into the air!  That really seems to catch the immediate attention of the following traffic. 
Hey!    There are a lot of different ways to communicate!  Hand Signals;  Horn;  Directional signals;  Brake Lights;  High Beams on during heavy daytime traffic;  Modulating Headlights;  Reflector Vests;   Whatever fits your style! Communication!  It will help us avoid disaster,  and help us keep the Shiny Side Up !  

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