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Street Riding Safety in 2016 "Familiarity breeds contempt"

Today I spoke on the topic of "Familiarity breeds contempt" this morning in our weekly safety meetings in our company.

Yesterday morning we had a lovely sunny quiet day to enjoy and at Noon I was riding around the streets of our small village.
After stopping at a four way stop I proceeded and within 25 yards I began watching in slow motion as a black
Dodge Ram proceeded to roll the stop sign and come out into my lane turning left heading in the same direction I was traveling and while I figured he would see me as I was only going 15 miles per hour he did not and he fully took my lane and pushed me off the street into the yard and now I was riding in the grass along side of him.

I continued dodging trees and bushes and once ahead of him I made my way back on to the street and safely rode on.

I then turned around to find him no where behind me. Where did he go?

I went back to make sure I had not run a stop sign myself, I had not, so then I turned around to find him running out to the corner motioning me over.
I pulled over near the driveway of his house where he had parked.

He was saying, "I am so sorry, I did not see you". I said, you ran that stop sign and cut me off. He said, I am sorry.

It was then that I realized he is a guy I've known for 40 years and is a full time fireman in a city nearby.

I told him that he was distracted, had something in his passenger seat that blocked his view (turned out to be a golden lab dog) and he never saw me because of his distraction.

This scared him more than I. I was prepared.

He said, he has been a "Harley Rider" for 8 years (as if that mattered to me, I ride a Harley too) and he was sorry that he nearly hit another motorcyclist.

Good that it scared him.

I told him, you are in the business of saving lives, you nearly took one today. Had this been a child on a bicycle it could have been injury or death.

So, the moral of this story is that being trained don't prove a thing. You can be trained, skilled and experienced with years of service in a field like firefighting and still get distracted.

My story is that "FAMILIARITY can BREED CONTEMPT" and we get so used to a thing that we take for granted the damage that can be done.

Ever ride or drive somewhere and not be able to remember the course you took because it is so common? I have.

Ever operate a power tool and do the same? I have.

I have a very close friend who lost his left leg this January, just a few weeks ago, while riding his motorcycle in New Haven Connecticut and perhaps it was due to "commonality".

Let's keep our heads in the game brothers. Safety brings you home, not chrome.

God bless

Ride Safe in 2016
 

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I used to think 'I didn't see him' was a pretty bullshit excuse and it really just meant 'I wasn't paying attention', but recently I found that sometimes you really can't see them.

A few months ago I think, I was sitting at a stoplight waiting to turn left. There was a pickup coming my way, but the street was otherwise empty. As the truck approached the intersection, I started creeping into the intersection to turn behind him, and when he passed I started turning- and then hit the brakes hard enough to remind me the ABS doesn't work. Slightly behind the truck in the far lane was a guy on a sportbike [that probably now needed to change his pants] that was completely unseen from my vantage point. Even though I was barely moving, he was probably doing about 50, and if I wasn't paying attention I could've ruined his day pretty quickly.

So maybe they can't see you or maybe they aren't paying attention or maybe they don't care- that just means you have to pay attention for them and anticipate the unexpected whenever you go riding.
 

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When I (legally) started riding street bikes at 14, my Dad (old Indian rider) told me just one thing:
"Every time you get on a bike, ride like you are invisible.
And every sunofabitch out there is going to try to kill you!"
I did.
He was right.
And I do.
Thanks Dad!
 

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The old saying "It takes two to tango" applies here for sure. Ken managed the situation because he did not TOTALLY assume that the truck driver had seen him and removed himself from the danger at the last second (lucky there was no cliff or guardrail). Experienced riders NEVER assume anything, no matter how unlikely it is. We really ARE invisible sometimes and it is not always a clueless driver on a cell phone that we have to worry about. Even really good conservative drivers can screw up from time to time like our fireman friend.

Twice now in the last 6 years I have not seen what I should have seen, once a pedestrian and once a bicyclist......less than 300 yds. from my house! The pedestrian was wearing black at dusk (see tango) but the bicyclist was wearing Day-Glo. I stopped in time, but just barely. The bicyclist stopped too although he had the right of way. Neither of us was going over 10, which helped.....why I did not see him after looking STRAIGHT at him 4 seconds earlier I cannot explain :eek:. I don't get upset with people that don't see me anymore, I just assume they don't and always have Plan B ready for instant use.
 

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...Slightly behind the truck in the far lane was a guy on a sportbike [that probably now needed to change his pants] that was completely unseen from my vantage point...
I see this a lot. If this were me on the bike, I would have been either behind the truck, same lane, to the far left so that you could hopefully see me, or I would have stayed in the far lane and passed through the light next to the truck. You have to make yourself visible / not be where you are not visible.
 

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I have taken to weaving like a drunkard, staying in my lane. They notice you that way and stay the hell out of your way.

I am not kidding
I'd much rather take whatever concentration, coordination and caution that requires, and spend it on riding well with full concentration on traffic and "situations".
But maybe I'm getting too strong of a "visual" of you snake dancing down the road!
 
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