Ride Safe Tip – “Too Close For Comfort”

by geno on October 15, 2012

It’s so un-nerving to see some yoyo tailgating a biker. I can barely handle it when I look into my rear view mirror and see nothing but grill! It’s bad enough when I’m caging, but 100 times worse when I’m on my bike. I’m sure you know the feeling.

I’ve heard stories about bikers slowing down to get along side the perpetrator, then take a mirror off with their whip. Some have even told about carrying a little sack of ball bearings or pennies on their bike, and dropping a few when somebody gets too close. Now I’ve never done anything like that, and I sure don’t recommend it because of the possibility of really getting someone hurt or killed. BUT! I have to admit, there have been times when I wish I had a bucket full to drop. Aaarrrgghhh!!!!

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about here, is the danger of bikers following too close to cars.

A while back, not long after I started selling motorcycles, a guy bought a bike from me and had an incident on the freeway that sent him to the emergency room. I felt terrible about it, and there may have been a possibility that this was avoidable.

Apparently the car in front of him tried to straddle a board in the road, and one of the car tires hit it. The board was splintered, and flew up to hit my customer in the leg. Yep, it was as bad as it sounds. Luckily he didn’t go down, but he did have to get the splintered board cut out of his leg and get stitched up.

Who knows what’s lurking on the road just beyond our visibility. There could be pieces of semi-truck tires, or a huge pot hole. My ‘potnuh’ never saw it coming!

We’ve all had close calls no doubt, but in this case, he admitted riding close enough to the car in front that he couldn’t see but just a few feet in front of him. At 70 mph, it doesn’t take long to cover a few feet.

When I’m in traffic, whenever possible, I not only like to keep plenty of room between me and the vehicle behind me, but also the one in front of me. Of course we know that if a space opens up, somebody will take the opportunity to plug a car into it.

For safe riding’s sake, it’s important to see the road ahead. This may provide us an escape route. If nothing else, we’ll have the option of more reaction time.

If/when I get too tightly surrounded, I usually twist it on enough to get out ahead of the crowd, or back off and let the stampede get ahead of me. Then I maintain my own spot on the open road for as long as I can.

Hope this helps. Ride Safe! – geno.

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