This month’s clip of the month, like many accidents, happened in the wet and resulted in a textbook “sorry mate, I didn’t see you” situation. Needless to say, accidents can and do happen in any weather, but bikes are of course even more vulnerable in the wet. The biker in the footage is progressing in a straight line in wet conditions, when he is hit from the side by a car making a left hand turn.
The footage is a reminder of the need to prioritise observation, to read the road ahead and to anticipate the actions of other road users. The need for extra vigilance and greater caution in the wet, both in terms of your own machine and in the actions of other road users, is well documented in both the advanced manuals and the Highway Code. In fact, the Highway Code has a specific rule, Rule 227, dedicated to use of the roads in wet weather:
Rule 227 - Wet weather
stopping distances in the wet are at least double those required for dry roads, because your tyres have less grip
In wet weather:
You should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase your ability to see and plan ahead
If the steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
The rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen
Be aware of the dangers of spilt diesel that will make the surface extremely slippery
Take extra care around pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders
“How to be a better rider” dedicates a specific chapter to observation, and states “Effective observation is a key element of better riding – it will give you time to plan ahead and spot potential hazards before they become a serious problem”.
From the footage in the clip it is difficult to definitively comment on the specifics of this accident, but needless to say the more anticipation and forward observation, the greater the chances would have been of avoiding the accident.
Would you like to nominate your favourite biking related clip as clip of the month? It can be anything you like with a motorcycling theme – examples of sparklingly good riding, best practice, hazard avoidance, inspired planning, intelligent decision making, lessons to be learned, sheer idiocy or simply something side-splittingly funny.