Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Self-fulfilling Prophecy?

I've been having some thoughts lately about innattentive/idiot cagers and their tendency to sometimes intrude into our lane while we're on our motorcycles.

You ride a motorcycle long enough and you will experience this sphincter-clench producing event...probably more than once specially if you ride in big city traffic!

So having either personally experienced such close calls, or read about them or heard about another motorcyclist's own experiences; one would tend to watch carefully and perhaps do the following (besides getting a louder horn):

When moving along on multi-lane roads, I try and maintain a safe following distance from the car ahead of me. This of course creates a tempting gap in my lane for some cager to move into said gap in their "me first, screw everyone else" attitude. Therefore I tend to also keep a close eye on the cagers in the lanes next to me, operating under the assumption that they will move into my lane at any time and cut me off.

I've notice as I ride and observe all this around me that I position myself short of the rear bumper of the car in the lane next to me, preparing for what I believe to be their likely moving over into my lane by the watched car, usually without warning or signals.

The trouble, you may already see with this tactic is that by anticipating being cut off, one can sometimes position oneself in the cager's blind spot! The cager can't see you in his/her mirrors, will probably not do a head check, and thinking they've got an open lane next to them, proceed to cut you off!

A self-fulfilling prophecy you see, and hence the title of this blog posting.

So, what am I trying to get across here? I think it is this: Not only do you have to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you to give you time to react to sudden stops on their part or road hazards; you have to balance the other variables such as the position of other vehicles in the lanes next to you. You may have to either lengthen the following distance (assuming the vehicle behind you is not too close) so that you're not in the adjoining vehicles blind spots or shorten up your following distance so that your more parallel to the adjoining vehicles and they're hopefully more likely to see you in the lane next to them.

Yeah, you may end up giving up some cushion in terms of distance from the vehicle in front of you but at least you lessen the chance of a cager's multi-ton vehicle trying to occupy the same physical space as you and your motorcycle!

Always position yourself to maximize the chances for the sometimes, ok most times, clueless cagers to see you. Don't put yourself and your motorcycle in a position to enable this self-fulfilling prophecy of a cager cutting you off!

Ride Safe.

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