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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,190 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I became more aware on the ride home tonight. I became aware that I was invisible.

I noticed I was doing something different.
Same ride home, but changing seasons, different time of day,
what I noticed I was doing was admiring my shadow.

Beautiful day, cool and sunny. My ride home is in a generally northeasterly direction.
I was making a strong shadow, and it was stretched out in front of me pretty far.
I was admiring my profile in shadow.

Then I had a sobering realization.
I realized that means the sun is right behind me, bright and low.
I realized that means all those people who I worry about, can't see me.
They are looking right into the sun.

The drivers of approaching cars on my left, drivers trying to turn left in front of me.
They are looking right into the sun.

The drivers sitting on my right, in driveways and sidestreets, trying to pull out
and join the traffic flow that I am in, or cross into the other lane,
They are looking right into the sun.

There are always moments that a rider in traffic thinks to himself/herself
"..damn I sure hope he sees me.."

I realized tonight that there are times when I can be pretty sure that the answer is NO,
he does not see me.
And the prominent and effective reminder I will carry with me, is that I can see my shadow.

Remembering Diamond Lil's thread on when the sun is the threat, there is another side of that story, and it is similar.
When you are having trouble with the sun being in your eyes, even if you deal with it effectively,
the thing to remember is that the driver coming up behind you is blind too, and much more likely than usual to hit you.
 

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On a ride
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4,996 Posts
I was invisible today while going down a highway. Car coming the other way decided to pass a vehicle, coming into my lane. Either didn't see me or totally misjudged the distance. I veered into the shoulder to avoid a head on.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,190 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Car coming the other way decided to pass a vehicle, coming into my lane. Either didn't see me or totally misjudged the distance. I veered into the shoulder to avoid a head on
More likely he decided to force you to yield.

People who don't live or often travel in the western states might not know of the habit, but in some western states, Texas for sure,
when there are wide smooth straight 2 lane highways w/wide emergency lanes and no side streets or intersecting roads,
and everybody's going pretty fast, so that passing drivers will either have to pick up a lot of extra speed or spend a very long time
out in the oncoming lane, slower drivers will frequently pull over voluntarily to let an overtaking car pass easily
and w/o any really high speed drama, and w/o going out into the oncoming lane.

On a major high speed Tx rural 2 lane highway with really wide emergency lanes, more than a few times,
I've also seen oncoming tractor trailer drivers deliberately and in broad daylight force me into my emergency lane.
They were not going to have time to finish their passing maneuver, and they had to know it when they pulled out.
They knew me going into the emergency lane was an easy option for me, they chose to force me to make room for them or die.
And I was in a car.

Once I saw a scene that was quite memorable, wish I'd had a camera.
There must have been three tractor trailers trucks in a row, the first one was being overtaken by the second one,
who was probably going 20 mph faster, and the second one was also being overtaken by the third, going 20 mph faster again.
I don't think the first and last driver were aware of each other at all.

This first driver did that yield for the overtaking driver, pulling over into his emergency lane,
at just the time the third driver pulled out into my lane to pass,
and that was the guy who choose to finish his pass by forcing me to get out of his way.

When they passed me, or the spot in the highway where my right of way was,
they were a dead even juggernaught, three trucks wide, side by side by side.
It was quite an imposing sight.
Overall, they were probably three lanes wide at over 65 mph for 3/4 of a mile or more.
 

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On a ride
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4,996 Posts
Nathang, Your post reminds me of two observations...

1). The nice wide shoulders on many TX roads and how I could come up behind someone on the bike and frequently the driver would edge over to the right and let me pass. While one can come across this in other states, it is much more practiced in TX -- probably a combination of wide roads and aware drivers observing it by others more often.

2). How tractor trailer drivers drive their big rigs around as if they were cars. Passing, flying at speed, staying in fast lanes, etc.
 

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Registered
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212 Posts
I am a qualified Tractor Trailer driver and have on many instances made room for me at the expense of others,the old adage from truckers is,"18 goes into 4 1 time with nothing left over"I drive trucks differently than I drive my car or P/U.
Stay alert all the time and give yourself at least a 2 bike coushin .
 

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Just passing thru
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6,636 Posts
I try to ride with the idea that in every instance the other guy WILL pull out from the side street or he WILL make that left in front of me or he WILL pass a vehicle when I'm in the way. It takes some enjoyment away from my ride but it increases my odds that I'll make it to my destination. You will never get an apology from these nipple heads so I'll do it for them. Sorry you guys had to put up with that. Nathang thanks for the reminder.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,190 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I prolly should mention that in my North Dallas area, most years since I moved here in 1980,
all construction activity has been feverish, residential, commercial, and highway construction,
and that means a BOOMING local industry for gravel truck drivers.

They get paid by the load, driving like a maniac might make the difference between 3 loads and 4 loads in a day,
or 5 and 6 loads. whatever, that's a BIG difference in pay. 20 to 25 %

I mention this because I think the majority of threatening behavior from "truck drivers" in this area
should not be confused with the actions of professional over the road truck drivers. Hell I KNOW that is the case.

Texas Department of Transportation said once that when they stopped trucks on the road for safety inspection,
some very high number, maybe 3 out of 4 gravel trucks had at least one set of their brakes sealed off and non-functional.
So that means heavily loaded trucks, frequently in tandem, (pulling a second load,) driving like a maniac, and with impaired brakes.
 

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BatRod
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502 Posts
Remember, when you put on your helmet (you are wearing one when you ride, right?) you become invisible. Unless they can see you. Then they WANT to kill you.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,190 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
When I rode a bike MANY years ago I read an article by a rider
who was tired of people saying they didn't see motorcycle riders,
so to make a point, he invested money in a test.

He bought an old police bike that still looked like a police bike.
It had been just barely civilianized, logos had been obscured,
he put generic logos on, went right up to the line of impersonating a cop,
wore an outfit that looked like a police uniform from any distance at all,
just to see how visible he was in traffic.

He said people could and did pick him out from far away,
no doubt their eyes would SEEK HIM OUT, they stood on their brakes
or snapped to attention instantly, to his satisfaction he proved that they
most certainly DO see motorcycles,
at least the ones that are perceived as a threat TO THEM.
 

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BatRod
Joined
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502 Posts
When I rode a bike MANY years ago I read an article by a rider
who was tired of people saying they didn't see motorcycle riders,
so to make a point, he invested money in a test.

He bought an old police bike that still looked like a police bike.
It had been just barely civilianized, logos had been obscured,
he put generic logos on, went right up to the line of impersonating a cop,
wore an outfit that looked like a police uniform from any distance at all,
just to see how visible he was in traffic.

He said people could and did pick him out from far away,
no doubt their eyes would SEEK HIM OUT, they stood on their brakes
or snapped to attention instantly, to his satisfaction he proved that they
most certainly DO see motorcycles,
at least the ones that are perceived as a threat TO THEM.
If you don't look like a cop, they try to kill you. If you look like a cop, they just want to. :D
 
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