This month we have two videos for you. The first clip is a classic example of the dreaded words no biker ever wants to hear – “sorry mate, I didn’t see you”.
Clearly the car pulled out directly into the path of the bike, however the bike did appear to be travelling at speed, particularly relative to the traffic being passed. Lack of visibility of the speedo means this can’t be accurately verified.
In this situation, awareness was needed not just of the traffic joining from the left (which resulted in the accident), but also the (harder to spot) traffic potentially joining from the right (around the 11 second point on the video).
In a filtering (or quasi-filtering) situation like this hazards include (but are not limited to), traffic joining the carriageway with insufficient observation, unexpected lane changes, impatient drivers making sudden U-turns, car doors being flung open and unseen pedestrians crossing the road between slowing traffic.
It is generally considered good practice to avoid filtering in traffic above speeds of 15 mph to 20 mph. Similarly, the speed differential between a filtering bike and the traffic being passed should not be more than 10 mph to 15 mph so as to create enough time to predict and react to hazards as they emerge.
Filtering is where your slow speed riding is very much put to the test, and where control is of the utmost importance. Whilst all observations are vital, the focus of concentration will be more on the near and middle rather than far distances (but needless to say, rear observation awareness must not be overlooked).
Key points to consider when filtering include –
Awareness of escape routes
Maintaining an adequate safety bubble
Looking for pedestrians or other hazards obscured by other vehicles, particularly high sided ones)
Are stationary vehicles allowing somebody else, unseen to you, to pull out potentially into your path?
Look for visual clues (such as movements of the head, use of mirrors, eye contact) to help determine if other vehicles are aware of your presence
Place particular emphasis on positioning in order to maximise both your own visibility and your visibility to others
Read the road surface for clues, for example, a break in the chevrons indicating an unseen side road
If filtering close to the kerb, unexpectedly opening car doors, wet road markings, gutter debris and drain covers all present a particular hazard
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. Please send your nominations, along with a link, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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