Best solution is not to be hit from behind in the first place:
- watch the mirrors, slow down progessively using the brakes (rather than engine) so your brake light can give a warning, consider the use of an arm signal. Importantly KEEP checking the mirrors so you can be sure the vehicle behind is reacting.
- when stopped, don't switch off but keep watching the mirrors. Consider keeping the brakes on, there's some evidence that automatics are involved in fewer rear end collisions because the brake lights are usually on at a standstill as the driver keeps a foot on the brakes.
- try to stop where you can be seen particularly if the queue isn't one you would normally find at that point (ie where there are roadworks with a temporary traffic control, or perhaps a broken down car is causing a queue). Don't stop just around blind turns or over a blind crest if you can avoid it. If I find such a queue and I can't stop where I can be seen I'll either filter past the queue or sit tight on the left where I'm least at risk of being hit (and can jump into the hedge!)
- don't sit right behind the car ahead either, if you sit back a bit you've a chance of moving up alongside if you realise the car behind isn't going to stop - I usually only shift to neutral when there is a car behind me that's stopped too.
- if you're stopped to turn right, don't sit at an angle to the road to make the turn easier - an impact from behind will push you into oncoming traffic . If you are in line with the road, it'll push you straight ahead. If the road is narrow, don't sit by the white line - you'll get vehicles squeezing past on both sides - not a safe place to be. Stop just right of centre of the lane and block it - vehicles behind will have to stop, but that's far safer than having someone doing 30mph clipping the end of your handlebar!
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"Force has no place where there is need of skill" Herodotus 450BC :burnout:
I believe I was close to being rear-ended today and it's down to breaking all my own rules.
What did I do wrong? Well first I was racing the lights - I knew they were about to change but thought "this time I'll see if I can make it". I was also riding too fast (40-45mph in a 30 limit) so the timing of the change didn't give much time to slow down. Lastly, I didn't check my mirrors before braking, which I am normally careful to do but this time was in too much of a hurry to stop for the red.
Just as I was coming to a stop, the car behind changed into the next lane and drove straight through the red light. It may be he just intended to pay not attention to it but more likely I believe that he realised he just didn't have time to stop. Had the next lane not been clear and/or had he not had the foresight to move into the next lane instead of attempting an emergency stop right behind me then the ending might have been different.
There's also a fair chance he assumed that as you were on a bike, you'd run the lights.
I got hit in London in similar circumstances - I was turning right, but the driver behind assumed that as I was a courier I was just overtaking the cars in the queue alongside in the right turn refuge and followed me past... fortunately it was only a minor bump but I didn't spot him coming, I was too focused on looking for a gap to turn through.
Many trucks and vans have a sign:
"if you can't see me in the mirror, I can't see you"
Worth remembering when you are planning where to come to a stop - even a car with three people in the back seat is difficult to see out of - the door mirrors are usually the only thing you can see behind with. FWIW, it's happened to me too.
Concidentally, I had a similar incident this morning...
Approached the rear of a queue of three cars waiting at a red light, normally I would have filtered forward a bit but the oncoming traffic meant that there was no room so I sat behind the last car, a VW estate, waiting for a gap to filter. I was very far offside, virtually on the white line, in first, headlights and brake on. I was looking in the offside wing mirror of the VW and watching the driver's face.
"A skittish motorbike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth".
When stopping try to make sure the driver can see you - even a car has huge blindspots and with headrests and the thick rear C pillars it can be very difficult to see a bike stopped behind. With a van with no rear view mirror, try to sit out to the right where you're in a line of sight to the door mirror.
Give yourself at least a bike length and preferable two when stopping between you and the car - then if the car rolls back or reverses you won't be instantly squashed, and have a chance to move the bike out of the way!
I've avoided being rear-ended by an articulated which had locked up the trailer wheels and was struggling to avoid jack-knifing on a wet road surface.
Firstly I was watching the mirror, so saw the situations developing in plenty of time to think "oh sh!t".
And secondly because I saw it early, I was able to figure out that as there was nothing coming from left or right, I could run the red light I was slowing down for!
I also tend to slow a little early and leave a bit of a bigger gap to a stopped car than most riders. That's also saved me from being tagged as I've been able to roll into the gap to give the car behind room to stop and also on loads of occasions I've used the extra gap to allow me to swerve and filter up alongside the car I was planning to stop behind. On a couple of occasions the car behind me then collided with the car I'd just pulled up next to.
You may not be able to get out of EVERY situation where you're going to be hit, but some proactive riding through awareness of the issue, awareness of what's behind and leaving some extra time and space when braking makes it much more likely you CAN get out of trouble.
The problem with filtering to the front then waiting to turn right is that it can put you in a very vulnerable position with traffic moving past you on your left - presumably very close if you've just filtered past it - and what about the effect on the bloke you've just filtered past if he wants to go straight on?
Having said that, there's onetraffic signal controlled junction locally where it isn't entirely clear that where the single lane splits into two, that the right hand lane is a dedicated right turn lane. It's not unknown for people to assume it's two lanes ahead, and pull into it to try to overtake the slower traffic on the left, colliding with a vehicle that's slowing down to turn right. It's a very poorly designed road layout, particularly as it was only installed a couple of months ago after years of crashes on the previous uncontrolled junction.
JOOC what purpose do you think keeping your foot on the rear brake serves when stationary?
Ta for the clarification! That makes sense!
FWIW, when I was despatching, I'd usually pass the queue for a right turn on the LEFT, then swing across to the right at the front of the queue, avoiding the need to filter against oncoming traffic.
I've heard of riders being advised to keep their foot on the rear brake so the bike "isn't shunted forward when its hit from behind"... like a motorcycle's rear brake is going to stop 2 tonnes of car!
5 weeks ago today, taken out from behind whilst making a left turn off a main road, female driver not paying attention!
I had indicated, slowed with brakes, knew there was traffic behind me, as we had just passed through roadworks, then the usual thing, heard her lock up then bang! sky, road, cars and a sudden stop that helped wreck the bike a little more and buggered my ankle, very luckily didn't break anything on me!
I can't see what I could have done differently in this instance as I was already in the turn at point of impact, all took place in about ten foot! I think the only way I would have been ok was to have not turned left!
TurboSlug wrote (see)
5 weeks ago today, taken out from behind whilst making a left turn off a main road, female driver not paying attention!I had indicated, slowed with brakes, knew there was traffic behind me, as we had just passed through roadworks, then the usual thing, heard her lock up then bang! sky, road, cars and a sudden stop that helped wreck the bike a little more and buggered my ankle, very luckily didn't break anything on me!I can't see what I could have done differently in this instance as I was already in the turn at point of impact, all took place in about ten foot! I think the only way I would have been ok was to have not turned left!
Welcome to the forum and glad to hear you weren't hurt too badly.
Bikes are very vulnerable to rear-end collisions. I've been hit from behind several times over the years, the most recent occasion when I was trying to follow a diversion round the back streets in a Luxembourg border town and wasn't paying sufficient attention to the mirrors and was following the car ahead of me too close.
The French driver in front was confused by the priorities, stopped when she shouldn't have, and although I stopped, I was then hit from behind by the local Luxembourger who wasn't expecting the traffic to stop. As I was too close to the car ahead, I was punted into the back of it.
Your defence in any situation where you're slowing are the mirrors.
As you say you knew there was traffic behind, why weren't you watching them?
If you'd realised the car behind wasn't reacting to your indicator, you could have tried an arm signal - because hardly anyone uses them they are surprisingly effective. And as you've already noted, your final escape route was to go straight on - to abandon the attempt to turn. I've had to do that myself.
The fact you say you had just left roadworks is an extra clue that a bit of extra care might be needed - most people will be trying to put their foot down.
None of this is a foolproof method of avoiding collisions... but the moment we start thinking "there was nothing I could do" or "it was the other guy's fault", we're just setting ourselves up for a repeat performance at some time in the future.
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