OFF THE WIRE
“TO BE, OR NOT TO BE”
by John Del Santo
William Shakespeare wrote “to be, or not to be….that is the question”. To motorcycle riders though, “to see….or not be seen” is the question that will get you through the day.
Blind “spots” is a cool sounding name….but Blind “AREAS” is a better description of what we deal with out there. Why do they call them “Blind Spots” ? because there are areas all around many types of vehicles in which we are not visible at all !
We will be in someone’s Blind Spot about a thousand times each day. We just need to stay there as short a time as possible, and when we are temporarily IN someone’s Blind Area, we need to be aware of it and be ready to move OUT of that space on a half-seconds notice if a driver appears ready to move towards you.
Today’s cars are being built so tight and soundproof, and have such powerful audio systems, that the drivers of many of them are not able to hear a motorcycle horn. And “Loud Pipes Save Lives” may look neat taped to your helmet….but don’t count on car drivers actually hearing you.
When you are approaching an intersection, if you are following another vehicle too closely in their right-track, you are just about totally invisible to vehicles coming from the opposite direction ….especially vehicles that are waiting to turn left….They can’t see you, and they think that you are just an empty space into which they can complete their left turn. Be Ready ! Any intersection is a “Bad Neighborhood” and is filled with Blind Spots ! The safer place to ride is any place where you can see.... and where you can be seen.
An S.U.V. or large Pickup has more blind spots than smaller cars. The problems occur when someone who has been driving a small auto for most of their lives, now gets into one of these big status symbols and doesn’t realize that along with taller and higher and wider comes a GREAT increase in Blind Spots !! They can’t see us approaching as well, and totally lose sight of us when we get close. The right-rear wheel area of an SUV or Pickup is an especially high target area.
Big Trucks are usually piloted by professional drivers who are more aware of what’s around them, but there is a huge blind area about a hundred feet long behind a Big Truck, and a large, dangerous blind area just off their right-front fender. If you cannot see the driver’s face in the mirror……they cannot see you !
As a motorcyclist, to see and be seen is the goal that we want to ride with. As soon as we “assume” that other drivers know that we are there, or “assume” that they know what we are going to do….We will be setting ourselves up to be caught in someone else’s mistake.
John Del Santo
( 619 ) 223 - 0421
At Intersections, and
In Your Blind Spots,
"Check Twice for Motorcycles".