Best position to be in when you are rear ended?

16 messages
26/07/2010 at 12:45
Hi, I lurk here a lot but I don't often post.

I was looking for an old thread from years ago but I can't find it. So maybe someone can help me out.

This year I have developed a paranoia about being "rear ended" whilst I am stationary at junctions, traffic lights or whatever.

Can someone please remind us all the best position to be in when you are in this vulnerable position.... sitting at an angle, gear in neutral, brake light on or whatever. Should we be in neutral?

Cheers, this is stuff I probably knew but I seem to have forgot. Let's call it a senior moment.
26/07/2010 at 17:29
Now THAT is why Visordown is the best UK motorcycling forum on the web. Thanks.
27/07/2010 at 11:28

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.

10/08/2010 at 22:37
another lurker drawn out .

I got "front ended" in dunfermline a while ago when the guy in the White Van in front of me decided to reverse to let someone else out of a turning.
The things i learned from this was:-
divy's don't have a reverse, and pull up behind the van so that you can see his mirrors.
Even with my horn at full pelt he was still coming at me, mounted my front wheel and broke the mudguard. He did pay for all damage but lesson learned .. Watch the mirrors, front and back.

There you go again, mistaking me for someone who looks like they give a damn!

13/08/2010 at 22:10

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.  

Suddenly, his reverse lights come on so I rev the engine a fair bit (usually wakes people up) but no response - he starts reversing!!  I lean the bike as far as possible to the right without tipping over and hit the horn repeatedly.  He eventually reverses enough so I am almost level with his window, then he winds it down and says "sorry mate, you alright?"  I make a few comments and he drives off.  Thinking later about what I did wrong, I think I should have hit the horn earlier and I shouldn't have been so close to his rear.

"A skittish motorbike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth".

T.E. Lawrence

23/11/2010 at 22:48
Best position to be in when you are rear ended?
FOR GOODNESS AKE THIS IS A BIKE FORUM, CLEAN YOUR MOUTH OUT. HAR HARseriously thoughthe truth is, if you get hit by a car that hasnt even got on the anchors, your fooked. period.forget trying to do anything, there will be no time.
24/11/2010 at 14:56
Personally if I want to turn right, I always filter to the front no matter what. Its better that there be at least a car behind you, so that if a drunk driver doesn't hit the brakes he hits the Transit behind you, who will absorb the energy and transmit less momentum and hit you, than the drunk driver hitting you directly.

As for waiting at the lights, I always have my foot on the rear brake pedal, and my hand on the throttle and I watch the mirrors as cars approach and note their speed. If they are going a bit quick I have a twitchy throttle hand, but if they are braking gradually and approaching slowly (99% of the time in my exp) then I relax.
24/11/2010 at 17:32
re: foot on brake I meant so my brake light is on for visibility.

And I meant I filter to the front at a traffic light to turn right where there is a dedicated lane. Basically I meant that you decrease ur chances of being rear ended if you're in front of an already-stopped vehicle.

24/11/2010 at 18:20
"FWIW, when I was despatching, I'd usually pass the queue for a right turn on the LEFT"

I do that too, but. Well okay to clarify I live in Limerick, Ireland. Population: 100 000. There's never a median or anything at a traffic light, ever over here so can easily cross back in from filtering on the right, and I only filter on the right to get to the front of the queue if there is no traffic coming the other way, and I can then basically just gun it to the front of the line so I'm only "exposed" for about 2-3 seconds at most.
Not sure if I'm entirely clear there but anyway.

You'll hate me when I say that my brake light's been out for a few weeks and I haven't got it fixed! Stupid I know, and more so considering my bike's my only transport!
There's no speed cameras here tho and few police so I generally ride w/ the attitude of "Get thee the devil behind me" so that a car is never really close to me from the rear for long, and at lights there's usually a few cars waiting anyway so I just filter. I shud get it done tmrw tho fack!
07/12/2010 at 16:08

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!

07/12/2010 at 20:43
"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."out of interest for a learning experience what could i have done differently in the following situation.. following a das student with a reasonable distance between us (2 SEC),nobody behind me ,30mph speed limits  there is a small side road to the left with a car approaching the junction , just after the side road there is a puffin crossing, as my student went thru the crossing the lights changed to amber  , giving me plenty of time to slow down and  stop ,just as the pedestrian started to cross she jumped back , i then found myself going forward and then i was laying on my side  looking up at the sky thinking WTF, it transpired that the driver of the  car coming out from the side road decided to just pullout and used my exhaust pipe as a stopping device . obviously he was looking to the right and forgot to look left before moving out .
08/12/2010 at 11:26
The Spin Doctor wrote (see

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.

Thanks for the welcome

Even after 20 years of riding practically everyday it probably boils down to a bit of complacency on my part, which I think if we are honest with ourselves we all tend to do, but the only person really at fault was the woman who hit me.

Trouble is I had already committed to the turn when she hit me so it was too late for me to get out of the situation, had I used the mirrors more before committing could I have escaped? maybe, as with any accident you replay it over and over in your mind trying to work out what could have been done to avoid it and thats the only thing I didn't do before the turn as I knew I had traffic behind me but at that stage didn't know she had her eyes somewhere else other than on the road! normally I see everything going on around me and pre-empt everones moves!

Although with the lovely freezing winter weather here I am sticking to the the A3 rather than my preferred back roads and this presents a different breed of driver to contend with! and plenty of life savers now and re-tuning my 'biker vision'

Roll on summer

12/12/2010 at 22:19
When turning left at roundabouts and minor to major roads keep well into the kerb, foot on the kerb if necessary, less chance of being "rear ended" as cars tend not to drive up the pavement. It also has an added advantage of pointing the bike in the direction you want to travel so you can have a quicker get away. At roundabouts it will also put you closer to your exit. I've had tree instructors "rear ended" in the last 18 months...all at roundabouts turning left. Hope this helps.
13/12/2010 at 13:52

"When slowing down, you're nearly always taking away risk in front and transferring it behind you. "

What a neat way to put it.


2004 Triumph Tiger 955i
1955 Velocette Viper

22/12/2010 at 11:24

HI All

Passed my DAS a few weeks ago.  I am 69.  Had been riding a scoot for a year and at  present a 125,  also for a year.   Now looking for a first big bike.

One of the things that instinctively I did not find right during my DAS was the advice to keep well to left and to block the inside of the lane when turning left at a junction or roundabout,  or going straight ahead at a roundabout.  It seemed a plain invitation for others to drive up alongside to the right of me and to block my view to the right.   I am sure I was uneasy because of my many years riding a bicycle to work in London.  My route included Hyde Park Corner.  Now,  if you gave up position there you were doomed.  You HAD to dominate your lane,  and use hand signals if necessary.   As we used to say,  if you ride (or stop)  in the gutter that is where you will end up. 

Neither did I like the advice on the DAS to position myself just inside the centre line when turning right. I felt too exposed to traffic coming towards me and to the swish of people passing to my left.   But for the purposes of the test I did as was required.  I am now learning to ride properly.

Apart from a few reservations about the DAS I thoroughly enjoyed it and the instructors I worked with.  After holding a car licence for 50 years I needed a wake-up call.

22/12/2010 at 13:44

There are other advantages of not positioning yourself over to the side of the road

Mostly you get a better view of what is round the bend

 The mechanics of steering round the actual turn are easier, espicially if going onto a mini roundabouts

As a result I generally sit fairly centrally in-lane at junctions. 

Edited: 22/12/2010 at 13:46
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