Hey bikers, it’s me, your Central New York motorcycle accident lawyer with some motorcycle safety tips for heavy traffic riding. That’s where a lot of the accidents happen, so listen up. I’m warning you, you’re going to have to multi-task out there when competing with heavy traffic. And if you don’t do it right you could end up wrong. I’m talking road kill or hood ornament.
(1) Ride in open zones
Look for those gaps between vehicles and try to ride them. This will keep those big hunks of moving metal away from you and give you more room to maneuver and react.
(2) Use vehicles as shields
When you can, let those four-wheelers block for you as you pass through intersections. If some jerk blows the light or runs the stop sign, you’re protected.
(3) Watch drivers’ heads
Anticipate what a driver will do by watching his head. Usually, they won’t switch lanes or turn without moving their head one way or the other. Learn to “head read”. But never rely on the head language alone. Watch the vehicle, too.
(4) Be a “low rider”
Sometimes you can avoid a collision by accelerating rather than braking. In heavy traffic, ride a gear lower than normal so you can zip forward on a moment’s notice. As a side benefit, the higher decibels you’ll be emitting will make nearby motorists take notice of you. Here’s the low rider theme song.
(5) Stop/slow to the side
When traffic in front of you slows or stops, don’t stop or coast right behind the car in front of you. Stay a bit off to one side. This will keep you from getting rear-ended by the guy texting behind you. He’ll coast right past you and bang the car in front of you instead of you. Being off to one side will also give you a front escape route in front if needed.
(6) Scan, man!
Constantly scan the scene, including in your mirrors, concentrating on what is going on around you. No daydreaming! Be a Zen monk; live completely in the present.
(7) More than one way out
There’s almost always an escape route. As you look around, anticipate one. Think ahead: “If this guy on my left starts drifting toward me, I’m going to . . . .” Think of riding in heavy traffic as an elaborate chess game.
(8) Hover over the brakes
In a car, in thick traffic, you probably hover your foot over the brake pedal. The equivalent on a bike is to keep a finger on the brake lever and your right toe close to the rear brake pedal. That way, if someone suddenly cuts you off, you’ll be ready to “give them the finger”, that is, the finger on your brake.
(9) Be left-turn aware
When approaching an oncoming car that’s signaling a left to turn across your lane of travel, be ready for him NOT to see you and to turn into your lane. Your bright lights should be on so the driver can see you (during the day), but never trust that he’ll see you. Watch the car’s wheels and the driver’s hands on the steering wheel; if you see movement, be ready to brake, swerve or accelerate, whichever seems best for the situation. Again, hover over your brakes.
(10) Never get between a vehicle and an off-ramp
Getting between a four-wheeler and an off-ramp is like getting between a shooter and a target. Yeah, the shooter will probably see you and hold off, but what if he doesn’t? Drivers wanting to exit a highway may not see you (they often don’t see bikes!) just to their right, as they lunge for the ramp. The best way to avoid getting clobbered is to never, ever, get between a car and a ramp.
Thanks for taking motorcycle safety seriously. Now reward yourself by listening to the ten best motorcycle songs ever written.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.