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Old 05-06-2010, 07:23 PM   #1
JMcDonald
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Default Safely passing through an intersection (with graphic)



Ok, when you are passing through an intersection in which there is a car preparing to turn left in front of you, which is the safer option? Hanging back to stay out of the black car's blind spot (but potentially in the path of the left-turner if he thinks there is room for him to zip through behind the black car), or moving up near the black car to use it as a "shield," so the left-turner (red car) would have to crash through the black car to hit you?

On the one hand, by moving up near the Black car, you are going to great lengths to prevent the red car from turning left in front of you. On the other hand, you also run the risk of the Black car changing lanes into you for whatever reason.

Which would be safer? Assume we are talking about busier traffic.

Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:21 PM   #2
trenttheuncatchable
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It is always better if the opposing driver sees you. So you should be behind the black car, on the left, not too close.

If you are near the black car where the opposing driver can't see you, the opposing car can turn quickly, driving behind the black car and hit you because he doesn't see you. Also, if you speed up to avoid him, you can be hit by the black car making a lane change.

Here are two real-life examples of traffic situations that I encountered within the last 10 days:

1) I'm coming up to a busy four-way intersection traffic light that's green, but close to changing to yellow. I need to take the center lane and cross the intersection. I'm behind two cars, the leading car is an SUV, and the car behind it is a van. The SUV turns into the left turn lane without signaling, and the van follows it. At this point, I'm thinking, "should I speed up and make the light?" The SUV changes his mind, and turns into the center lane, and then keeps going into the right-turn lane, to turn right. As he does this, he turns his head to look, and I can see he's on the phone. And then he puts his blinker on, when he's already in the right turn lane. As he does all this, the van follows his every move without signaling, because the van is (now obviously) following the SUV to wherever he's going. So, if I would have sped up to make the light, I would have hit either the van or the SUV.

2) On a different day, I stop at this same light, at the front of the line of vehicles, and wait for it to turn green. It turns green, and I cross the intersection. As I do this, the vehicle opposite me starts a quick illegal U-turn, into my lane. I hit the brakes, he hits the brakes, and I ride around him, after which he completes the U-Turn and continues driving (behind me, in the same lane that I'm in).
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:53 PM   #3
silentgrayfellow
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In the diagram above, the motorcyclist likely is (but should not be) in the black car's blind spot.

What I would do is move forward to be next to the black car's front end. This puts you in a position that the black car's driver should clearly see you. You can then cross the intersection using black car as a shield. when you are safely out of red car's path, you can accellerate away from black car to avoid the lane change issue.

If traffic is "busier" as you stated, you will often have cars in the lane(s) next to you. You can usually avoid blind spots, and just have to remember to have an exit strategy in case the vehicle to your right or left tries to push you out of your lane.

Also keep an eye out for asshats coming from the right and blasting through the red light, especially if your light just turned green.

Last edited by silentgrayfellow : 05-06-2010 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
Dr_Sprocket
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I would have sped up prior to the intersection to position myself alongsid the black car driver, so that he could hear/see me in his passenger window. This would also position you where the opposite driver has the best chance to see you, and if not see you at least he will see the other car.

FWIW, I am always amazed at the number of motorcyclists that ride to the right side of their lane. Behind a bug SUV or minivan, you won't be seen by the left turning driver until it's too late. When it's a viable option, I almost always ride to the left side of the lane in which I am travelling.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:45 AM   #5
JMcDonald
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Ok, so:

1) If you had to stay in the right lane (immediately right turn after the intersection, for example), it would be safest move up to the front quarter panel of the black car?

2) Otherwise, it would be better to stay back behind the black car, on the LEFT side of the lane?
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:10 AM   #6
trenttheuncatchable
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Always make sure drivers can see you. If I am behind a car, I'll ride in a position where he can see me in one of his mirrors. Otherwise I tend to pass a car, so he can see me after I've passed him. I try not to ride next to cars that I'm not sure whether or not they know I'm there. If I've passed a car, and that car then drives up and next to me, I know he should have seen me, so I'm not as paranoid about him taking me out.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
12er
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I agree with the front quarter panel positioning if traffic was heavy. Also I recommend speeding if on a two lane road to avoid making angry cagers pass you. Now if you have a lead foot behind you then let them go, but dont force most traffic to pass you, or you may end up punted out into the weeds.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for the pointers, guys! That makes sense about riding a little faster than traffic.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:23 PM   #9
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On the slab I run in the right side of the left lane a little faster than traffic. That way my lights are beaming directly into their side mirror if I'm approaching and I have 3/4's of a lane to swerve on if they force me over. But I hold the old adage "what cant catch you, cant kill you" close to heart. Never ride in the slow lane on the slab, someone will cut across 3 lanes to take you out on the off ramp. And never ride in the middle of the lane as I was reminded by a brick Saturday. Oil and other fun stuffs love to pop out from under the car in front of you.

Last edited by 12er : 05-07-2010 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:46 PM   #10
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I have police package red and blue strobes on my ultra...that usually gets their attention. If that doesn't work, I hit the Whalen police-spec siren...
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