Showing posts with label Cagers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cagers. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finishing out Winter with a close call

Temperatures from high 30s to low 60s, sunny and gorgeous riding weather.

Got in some pretty good commute riding miles today, not too "brisk" in the morning and just my work shirt under my riding jacket in the evening when I left work just shy of 6pm.

Traffic was light by then, the rush hour and my taking back roads result in a pretty easy ride home. The sun was still halfway up in the sky, very few clouds and cool winds.

All was great with the world, that is until the DAC showed up. DAC: Dumb Ass Cager.

It's good that I am paranoid about cars coming up behind me at stoplights, I am always watching my mirrors to ensure they're slowing down.

Today, about five miles from the house, I am slowing to a red light on Gun Club Rd and Jewell Avenue, sliding slightly to the left of my lane on this two lane road so that oncoming traffic can see me as they try and make a left turn. I have a vehicle in front of me.

As I slow down, I look in my mirror and this dumb ass in a white POS coupe was fast approaching me from behind, giving no sign of slowing! Luckily, I had not come to a full stop yet, I swung my motorcycle over to the left, going over the lane marker and partly into the left turn lane. This dumb ass finally stops his vehicle with him abreast of me as I come to a stop. Big dumb look on his face. I was so in shock at this that I failed to raise my helmet visor to yell at him or even give him the finger, just something to express my anger!

The light turned green and this dumb ass makes to keep going like nothing had happened! I goosed Maria and cut him off by perhaps a foot off his front bumper and kept the speeds slow for the first 1/2 or so, watching him warily in my mirrors. Dumb ass finally got the hint that he was stupid and backed off a ways. I sped up to the limit and still watched him closely, maintaining more than the usual safe interval between me and the car in front of me, just in case.

I turned right at the next intersection, and again he sped up and closed on me as I slowed and braked and signaled my turn. Again, I failed to even give him the finger as he sped by, the temptation to abort my turn and follow him was great but reason prevailed. What an asshole!

So the close call, courtesy of that asshole, ruined what had been a pretty lovely day of riding to work and between data centers. Oh well, goodbye Winter.....Hello Spring, glad I will be able to greet you properly tomorrow, in spite of dumb ass cagers everywhere.

Never let up on your vigilance, the DACs are out there and you're invisible to them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sometimes, the most extreme conspicuity is not enough

I spotted a posting on advrider.com about a motor officer in Idaho who was rear-ended on his police motorcycle while he had all its emergency lights going.

I mean, that's about as conspicuous as you can get on a motorcycle! Flashing blue and red lights, very bright lights designed to catch the eye.

Picture from Idaho Statesman News

The office is OK, thank goodness. The idiot cager's name has not been released but I hope the driver is prosecuted to the full extent of the law! Getting hit from the rear is high on my list of dangers I worry about while on the motorcycle. My main brake light flashes several times upon initial activation of the brakes, and I´ve got flashing Hyperlites LEDs as well that continue to blink so long as I hold down the brake lever. This incident kind of renders moot my measures to be visible though, just goes to show that sometimes no matter what you´ve done to prevent something, some inattentive idiot cager will come along and hit you.

The police officer was apparently riding behind a police cruiser, also with its strobe lights on, which was pushing some disable vehicle in front of it. The theory on advrider.com is that the motor officer had nowhere to go to avoid the oncoming idiot and got hit.

The lesson for all this? Keep enough distance at stops to be able to maneuver out of the way of some idiot who looks like he´s going to not stop safely behind you, keep the motorcycle in gear and a wary eye on your mirrors. I rarely, put my motorcycle into neutral at a stoplight, I am ever ready to move. If I do have to free up my clutch hand, I wait for the cage behind to come to a stop and then use it as a shield (hopefully) but this is a rare thing.

Be wary and careful, there´s limits to conspicuity.

LINK to the news article.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Lesson Reinforced about crossing intersections with multiple left turn lanes

Today was the second time this week where I had an idiot cager make a left turn and swing wide into my lane as I was making a left turn concurrently. In both cases, I was watching them closely and sure enough, both idiots swung right in front of me, causing me to brake to avoid being hit.

I am now convinced that when given the option of two left turn lanes, side by side, at an intersection; and you want to make a left, that it's safer to take the leftmost left turn lane to make your turn.

If you use the rightmost left-turn lane, chances are pretty good it seems, that the idiot cager on the leftmost left-turn lane will swing wide and into YOUR lane as you're executing a turn.

Having sat at the stoplight NEXT to the idiot cager means nothing, loud horn blowing means nothing, modulating headlight means nothing. These idiots are oblivious and think they own both left turning lanes.

Beware.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Got Louder Horns for Maria

It's going to be a hot one today, the forecast is for a high of 90 and mostly sunny. As I write this, it's already feeling hotter than that.

Spent the morning removing Maria's tupperware and replacing her stock horns. Removed those and their connectors and mounted a couple of FIAMM Horns that I got from the local auto parts store. Took me a while to wire it up since I tried to reuse the connectors that were used for the stock horns, ended up cutting them off and splicing the wires together instead. Not clean or neat but it works.


The new horns are advertised as putting out 132db of sound. Got a high tone and a low tone horn and the noise they make when they go off together seems a lot louder than the stock horns.

These new horns put out 7dB less than the popular choice amongst motorcyclists who've upgraded from stock horns: Stebel Nautilus (139dB), and I got both at less than the price of one Stebel horn.

I've the beginnings of a headache now as I write this after testing the horn several times. They seemed loud even when I donned my helmet and blasted the horns while my wife listened inside the minivan with windows closed and radio blaring. She said she could still hear the new horns but recommended I do a series of beeps to get better attention. We'll see the next time.

I usually do the short beeps in order to get attention of wandering cagers, but in case of an emergency, I'll most likely just hold down the horn button like I did the other day during my close call with an idiot cager.

Their form factor is same as the stock horns, they just say FIAMM on them instead of Bosch but a quick look at Maria will not betray the difference. Based on what I understand of the decibel scale (see chart below), these horns are about 43 db or 8 times louder than the stock horns which up until recently I thought were pretty loud already (89db). Even accounting for voltage loss from using the stock wires, I've now got horns that are at least four time (probably more) louder than before.

Must go get some aspirin for the headache. : )

Here's hoping I never have to use them in an emergency but....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My closest call yet with an idiot cager, wondering if louder horns would have helped any.

Temps in the low 80s and sunny, enjoying the ride home, feeling a nice breeze course through my mesh riding jacket. Work had been pretty good today and my RT was running great as usual.

About the stock horns that came with my 2004 BMW R1150RT, I'd always thought they were pretty loud and they'd come in handy on previous occasions to wake up some moron on the road. Heck, they seemed so loud before when I inadvertently pushed the horn button instead of the left turn signal and scared myself!

This is what I thought up until the ride home today, when I had to use them again. I was riding in the left lane and had a feeling this cager in her new suv (dealer tags) was going to do something stupid. You know how sometimes you just know when someone is going to move into your lane? This was one of those times. Man am I glad of the stuff I learned at the MSF BRC, from safe riding books and motorcycle forums.

Sure enough, the idiot starts moving into my lane after pulling ahead a little bit, this after I had been right alongside her, both of us doing the speed limit. I am laying into the horn as I see her left front wheel move into my lane. Nothing! Apparently the 89db put out by the stock horns had no effect on her. This idiot just keeps moving into my lane forcing me to rapidly slow down and she ends up in front of me by perhaps 5 feet!

I kept slowing while continuing to blow the horns and she finally notices me right behind her. I now believe she wouldn't have noticed me even then had her passenger not noticed that she'd almost hit me and told her. She does that pathetic hand wave that people do when they realize they screwed up but I was so pissed off at this point that I kept blowing the horns. She finally gets back in the right lane and I pull past her sheepish looking face with one final long blast of the horns. She tries the hand wave again and it took all my will not to flip her off! Moron!

Sometimes having a dark visor does not help you convey a 'angry stare' when that's all you got left to convey your displeasure at a stupid cagers actions. I must remember to flip my visor up the next time! Or, just flip them the bird I guess. ;)

So, long story short, now thinking about plunking down about $40 to replace one of the horns with a 139db Stebel horn. Or perhaps, go the whole hog and get two of them. Two of them together are quite loud as you can see for yourself here.

Only things stopping me from buying the stebels right now is the amount of electrical work that I am hesitant to take on to mount the stebels to the motorcycle and a suspicion that I could have horns equivalent to a Tractor-Trailer Truck and still it would not be enough at times to get an idiot's attention! Today's cager probably had her damn music on high volume.

There's also other loud horns available at local auto parts stores, perhaps I'll see if there's one close to the db output of a stebel and check out how it sounds.

Then, there's the more "extreme" options for dealing with idiot cagers: