Approaching hazards

12 messages
03/10/2011 at 17:45
Wow it really is quiet in here...

Anyway I thought I'd attempt to stir up some useful (to me at least) conversation.

My question is in regards to the point where you are committed to passing a hazard. I.e. riding along a NSL road approaching a junction with a car waiting to pull out, at some point you are going to have to commit to passing the hazard - i.e. the point where if the car were to pull out, you would not be able to stop in time.

So, what is the procedure as we approach, slowing down at every junction isn't really feasible so how else do we minimise the risk?. I am working my way through roadcraft, but would like to hear some opinions.

If the Earth is the size of a pea in Britain, then the Sun is a beachball 50m away, Pluto is 4km away, and the next nearest star is in Tokyo. Now shrink Pluto's orbit into a coffee cup, then our Milky Way Galaxy fills North America

03/10/2011 at 22:37

What I tend to do is, where safe, move closer to the centre line so I'm more visible (road positioning or whatever), and to give me more room so I have the option to try and swerve, instead of just hammer on the brakes. I also like to think it gives me the option where I see them start to move, and then get on the horn, so even if they do stop half way in my lane, it doesn't matter as much.

I also check my mirrors for a nice, easy to see car behind me, I find that drivers don't pull out on you as often if you have a car behind you, probably because they can see the car first, but if there isn't one there you can't do much.

I also find that trying to make eye-contact stops some drivers from pulling out even when they have seen you because they remember its a human under the leathers and lid, that said, it's probably unwise to just focus on them.

While riding up to a car which I'm uncertain about, or indeed another bike, I try and use the tyres to give me a split second's head-start when braking.

Otherwise, I just have my lights on, wear a high-viz bib,and pray that it's quick.

I should probably say that I am a learner and it's probably all wrong, so I would suggest going onto a more livelier forum and asking there. Or pester your local bike instructor with questions when they are packing the bikes away after finishing up with their clients.

Edited: 03/10/2011 at 22:38
06/10/2011 at 10:50
Thanks for the replies, I had rather come to the same conclusion that the situation is too dynamic to assign a rule to but I hadn't yet weighted the severity of each collision into my riding plan, i.e. I was treating all collisions as equal.

Plenty to think about, thanks!

If the Earth is the size of a pea in Britain, then the Sun is a beachball 50m away, Pluto is 4km away, and the next nearest star is in Tokyo. Now shrink Pluto's orbit into a coffee cup, then our Milky Way Galaxy fills North America

10/10/2011 at 18:19
While a fair way off, U tend to move about a bit in-lane (wiggle) to make myself more noticable. Then when closer, moving to the right is good, but you need to be careful not to end up riding in their blind spot where the car's pillar is. If the car isn't stopping, it's a moving target.
19/07/2012 at 11:48

THis is an age old problem, called a smidsy  thats short for 'sorry mate i didnt see you', which is what the driver often says when he has caused such an accident by pulling out in front of a biker.

First think u can do is to be as obvious as possible and try to own that space around u and maintain as much space as is possible on that road at that time re other vehicles. keep well away from the rear of anything large or small that will obstruct someones view of your approach.This will also imprive your vision of other traffic all around. even keep an eye on traffic at the rear and try and keep 2 seconds distance between you and and any traffic in front or at the rear, more in the wet andf more so over 60 mph.

On approach to a potential hazard such as a driver at a junction, asses any other hazard present ie traffic coming towards you that might become involved. should that driver pull out. that could be a killer if u have to swerve to avoid that car and end up head on into any oncoming other vehicle.


Choose a position as far away from the junction as is possible without making yourself a target by oncoming vehicles also. With sufficient space between yourself and any vehicle at your rear u may be able to slow slightly without causing any inconvenience to that driver.

Keep your observations on the car at the junction, even if you make eye contact it may be that he hasnt seen you so dont whatever you do peresume that he has, act as if he hasnt, it could save your life.

Are his tyres turning, is he looking the other way [ about 25 to 30% OF DRIVERS look the WRONG WAY FIRST] i dont know why that is`. Is he turning the steering wheel. is the sun behind you and directly in his face. is he on the phone, or otherwise engaged doing something else OTHER THAN LOOKING AT YOU AND OTHER TRAFFIC

All these things have to taken into account. be prepared to slow even further no matter how it may effect the traffic flow, its your life not theirs at risk.

If you get some form of acknowledgement from the driver, maybe a nod of the head. gently ride past but keep observing.  if necessary learn how to countersteer in order to perfect your swerve manouver, now required as part of the road test for motorcyclists. Look up countersteering


Enjoy motorcycling and learn new skills on courses


19/07/2012 at 13:41

Did you used to make old panniers Bob?I know that name.......

PS you need to do a bit of work on your written English....but one or two OK ideas there.


How do you "gently" ride past someone? That's a bit of a mystery. Can you explain?



23/07/2012 at 16:39

Its this dam computor  the keys are all in the wrong postion. and gently is the way i always ride.  Actually its broken english like broken french as spoken in the series  Hello.Hello.   Thanks for brungin it two my attintion. Hug.


Sorry didnt make the panniers , u are going back a bit.

23/07/2012 at 16:40


would that have been more graphic?

24/07/2012 at 05:41

the speed wobble makes your head light less constant,  and anything flickering is more eye catching...

so I tend to sway a little as I move out into the middle of the road ( oncoming traffic allowing )

this generally gets the WTF are you doing look,   too stunned to move.

if they are looking the wrong way I'm not embarassed to "pip" a little...  

cos they do tend to look the wrong way dont they?!!



03/10/2012 at 21:22

Not bad but a bit difficult if u ever get stopped by the police who think that u are under the influence of drink or drugs.

Might have to spend some time explaining yourself.

13/11/2012 at 19:10

Drop a couple of gears and ease off.   Never assume the car has seen you.

There's no sure way to avoid having a car pull out on you.  Hiviz may help in certain conditions as will a headlight.  Just assume you haven't been seen.

13/11/2012 at 19:39

Watched a video made a few years back and it talked about 3 things.

1. Looming. a motorcyclists is small looking at a distance and as it gets closer it apparently doesnt increase in size very much untill its almost on top of you.  If you saw a bus that would get bigger and bigger and bigger.  So there is the first problem....Looming.

2. the second is camouflage. A car is a recognisable shape and usually one colour so it stands out from its background.  However a bike is all sorts of colours including maybe Hig Vis which makes for a breaking up of the total image so instead of being more conspicuous you are in fact creating more camouflage.  So high vis isnt working for you.

3. and last is background... as you approach in a straight line you can blend into the background and thus become invisible.  so when you see the car at the junction not moving asyou approach then consider swerving or moving from side to side of your part of the road.  This manouver is called SIAM. or Smidsy Identification Avoidance Manouver.

So there you have it.  Its apparently up to us motorcyclists to do all the work in the hope that we dont end up under someones wheels.


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