A little FYI on seeing bicycles and motorcycles

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As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune Obituaries, the Associated Press reports Amazon.com senior executive Joy Covey, age 50, was killed Wednesday, Sept 18, when a van turned in front of her while riding her bike, in San Mateo County, CA.

 And this, following the loss of our own renowned wedding photographer, and veteran corrections officer Marvell Smith, age 40, who was killed in a horrible motorcycle accident in Riverton, when a large industrial truck lumbered out in front of him, earlier the same day. (Video on KSL;  full story in the ‘Tribune.)

Honest to God, people!  Can’t we start seeing these folks!  Please don’t take your foot off the brake, until you’ve looked both ways.

But here’s an important tip:  You can’t rely on your peripheral vision to see small objects like these approaching.  You have to turn your head – and LOOK.

 

Here’s why: 

  • From a driver’s vantage point – sitting high up in a truck – approaching 2-wheelers can simply disappear behind your blind spot.  In fact, it can completely mask motorcycle sized objects – appearing in your lower left and lower right fields of view.
  • And since most car seats are at least slightly reclined, though lower to the ground, drivers can still have their vision similarly compromised, by having their blind spot naturally positioned at just about the exact angle you might otherwise expect to see a motorcycle approaching from.
  • There is only one sure fix for the problem, and that is to turn your head and LOOK – both ways – in the direction of approaching traffic, with your central vision.  You’ll not only be able to see more motorcycles and bicycles – before you suddenly surprise each other – but this simple step will hopefully stop you from taking your foot off of the brake prematurely.  (The same reason you should make complete stops at all stop signs and LOOK both ways at railroad crossings.

 

Also, don’t assume you can get away with pulling out, or turning in front of those 2-Wheeled vehicles, either.  Please – yield to them, whenever you see one.

 

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6 thoughts on “A little FYI on seeing bicycles and motorcycles

  1. It really hurts to lose a friend and/or a loved one; you have my sincere sympathy.

    I wanted to mention that pedestrians, especially children, are also “invisible” to many drivers. I spent my 10th birthday (in 1949) flat on my back with a broken hip because a driver didn’t see me and passed a car that DID stop at the crosswalk I was using (an illegal move in California).

    One problem now is that middle school and high school pedestrians no longer “look both ways” before they start across a street. I live very close to three schools, and I tried very hard not to drive anywhere at all between 2 and 3:30PM on weekdays. (In addition to the careless walkers, we have the heavy traffic of the daily SUV parade; parents who are afraid to let their kids walk a few blocks on their own. Or have the kids over-scheduled with organized after school activities.)

    I finally quit driving altogether a year ago; I don’t trust my own reflexes anymore, and I have diabetic neuropathy in my feet. I was terrified I might accidentally step on the gas pedal instead of the brake.

    ‘Nuff said.

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      • I forgot to mention another category of “invisible” people in crosswalks…those who need wheelchairs or those little electric scooters to get around. 20 years ago a friend with severe cerebral palsy (and an astonishingly clever mind) was nearly killed by a driver who didn’t see him on her left, “jumped” the signal, and made his condition much worse than it already was. Totaled an expensive wheelchair, too. He lost what little independence he had, and died about 10 years ago. I’ve tried to push that to the back of my mind because it still makes me angry.

        Some drivers don’t bother to check their surroundings because they are so arrogant that they believe the world revolves around THEM. As far as I know, you can’t “fix” that kind of attitude.

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  2. The road is a “two way street,” trying to avoid a pun. I hate a lot of cyclists who don’t use the bike lane, try to beat traffic lights, completely ignore traffic lights in general, then look at you like you’re the piece of trash when there is a close call. Just because you ride a bike doesn’t mean you get to break the law and shirk responsibility for the safety of others.

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    • No doubt, the ones who act like you’ve suggested, can almost count on coming to an unhappy end. Unfortunately, it’s the untimely end of the many who simply lose out to 2 – 4,000 lb behemoths, because their drivers simply aren’t paying attention, that we’re talking about here.

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  3. Donnie you know my take on cage drivers and big trucks when it comes to two wheeler’s and other invisible members of our mobile society. Having had far too many close calls when I am on my motorcycle I can readily agree with and support the message you are making with this commentary.

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