[Elist] Bikes hit by cars turning left

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 16 00:00:01 PDT 2011

Collected by John Del Santo
We all know that one of our most common accidents takes place when a car is turning left, and violates a biker’s Right Of Way and turns into our path.  These thoughts were gathered from different written messages on the Internet.
BUGMAN :  I don’t seem to know what to do in that situation.  Do you brake and turn into the space vacated by the vehicle ?  Do you brake and turn hard to the right and hope  you don’t collide ?  Depending on when the “cage” turns it seems like a ‘no win’ situation.  What are your options ?
BRUCE :  I think the best advice here is to “ride like you are invisible.”  Whenever I come into an intersection I try to think that.  I try to identify what the potential threats are, and devise a mental game plan for responding to them if need to be….And as you enter the intersection,  as the guy who fell off a was heard to say while passing a third-floor window, “So far,  so Good”…
NICK :   Something else about intersections that drives me nuts.  People that are getting ready to turn left and are stopped, but have their wheels turned in the direction of the turn while they are waiting.   .  People need to keep their wheels straight while waiting to turn.  (The two threats here are these….If a car is waiting with their wheels turned left and they are hit in the rear,  they will be coming head-on towards you in an uncontrolled rush, as happened to Nick’s Sister.    And if a car is waiting to make a left turn with their wheels already cut,  and they decide to  “jump” into their left turn,  they are ready to go, and you will get no warning other than the start of their movement).   
  JOHN :  “That guy ran the  light and almost killed me!  My light was green….I had the Right of Way !!”    “Waddya Mean…..No I didn’t” !       That driver was supposed  to yield the Right of Way,  but if he doesn’t,  then we don’t HAVE the Right of Way !     ….…. “What doesn’t kill me…..Should make me a Smarter Rider”……
ANON :  There are no guarantees that others see you.  Never count on "eye contact" as a sign that a driver will yield.  Too often, a driver looks right at a motorcyclist and still fails to "see" him.  The only eyes that you can count on are your own.  If a car can enter your path, assume that it will.  Good riders are always "looking for trouble" — not to get into it, but to stay out of it.   Increase your chances of being seen at intersections.  Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic.  Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action.   As you approach the intersection, select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver.  Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time.   Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection.  After you have entered the intersection, move away from vehicles preparing to turn.  Do not
 radically change speed or position.  The driver might think that you are preparing to turn.                                                                                                  
“Use a headlight or high-beam headlight during the daylight hours.  I will not flash my high/low  high/low headlight to warn them….They may come from the days when people flashed headlights to other vehicles to let them know it was time to “GO”.    
Ron :  When you are approaching an intersection, if you are following another vehicle too closely in their right-track,  you are just about totally invisible to vehicles coming from the opposite direction ….especially vehicles that are waiting to turn left….They can’t see you, and they think that you are just an empty space into which they can complete their left turn.  Be Ready !  
SuperRookie :  A few days ago, coming upon an intersection with no escort in sight I encountered the worst of all left turners. The 'nosignalohcrapwasIsupposedtoturnherescreeeeeeech' left turner. I'm always prepared to stop at intersections.   Cover your brakes……..Both of them.

   John Del Santo
   ABATE of California
   Safety Officer  

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