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 Motorcycle Safety
 General Discussion
 Threatening Situations?
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cswp905
Junior Member
28 Posts


Duncan, OK
USA

Yamaha

1100 midnight custom
Peer Review:

Posted - 05/10/2005 :  5:17 PM                       Like
I understand that I am a new rider and that time and experiance may solve this problem, but I would much rather learn from someone else's mistakes than my own. Here is the situation.

Cruising down a 4 lane road with a center median and left hand turn off in both directions. There is also a crossing road at everyone of these turn lanes. A car approaches from the right, stops at the stop sign. Now I expect that driver to not see me. I begin the second part of SEE. I am now evaluating the situation. I cover my clutch check my mirrors, and am thinking OK if I am here and they pull out I will do this, if I am here I will do this. OK I have my options planned out. Now all I have to do is keep an eye on them to see when I am going to have to put all of this planning into action.

Now here comes my question, and a bit of an addition to the situation. As I am watching this driver another pulls into the left hand turn lane from the other direction. I am almost to the point of evaluating this addional information when I pass the car that has approached on my left the same time I pass the first car that came up on my right. Now I feel as though as I was processing the car on my left I lost focus (bad word because I am not focused in the sense of target fixation) of the first car.

Do you find yourself paying more attention to the first car and loseing focus on scanning the other potential hazards? Or does experiance allow you to maintain an overall view of both directions and pavement conditions and what is happening at the next intersection. I find myself scanning very well in the 12 8 and 4 second ranges until a potential problem presents itself, then I tend to pay very close attention to what is right in front of me and lose my 12 second scan.

Thank you for any replies.

kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 05/10/2005 :  7:51 PM
It's an interesting question. The short answer is that experience will make you much more comfortable.

I really love the Keith Code analogy about having $10 to spend. When we first started we were spending 8 bucks on not stalling, using both brakes, shifting, etc. Now you're probably spending 50 cents there and eventually you'll be spending $0.01.

You hear athletes refer to being "in the zone". It's a very subjective topic, but my opinion is it's a state where you see everything but focus on nothing. You ignore all of the insignificant details and tune into the important ones.

It's also pretty rare. I have some days I do a good job of it and others, not so much.

Based on your post, you seem to be very methodical and it will come quickly for you. You have a plan. When the stuff about covering the brakes, clutch, and checking the mirrors becomes second nature and not a "check-list", you'll have it under control.

Does anyone have any tips to help acheive that mental "zone"?
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River
Male Advanced Member
506 Posts
[Mentor]


Chippewa Falls, WI
USA

Kawasaki

Concours

Posted - 05/10/2005 :  8:02 PM
Practice
Study Zen
Practice

Seriously, in athletics and other skill-sets where you perform many actions that require the 'meshing' of somatic and mental skills repitition helps immensly.

The other thing that helps is actually in your head. Research (from universities such as Penn State and Florida State, among others) has shown a statistical increase in successfully performed good actions (i.e., more scoring shots, or negotiating an unforseen difficulty successfully) among atheletes who used visualization techniques as part of thier training.

Easily translated for the layperson: Whenever you perform an action flawlessly, at your first opportunity, replay the act and its success in your mind. Store it and use it as a template for when you think about that _specific_ action.

I used to hang with some professional perfomance enhancement sports psychology people. Ill try to find the literature, and link or post to it if anyone's interested. This was just a nutshell.

And I really do like Zen practice- it helps me keep my cool in tight spots too.
^o^
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6950 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 05/10/2005 :  9:18 PM
In the situation you've described, I would be hitting the high beam about the time the second threat appeared and I would keep an eye on both of them in case they pull some move that would indicate they didn't see me. I don't trust any other drivers to do the right thing and keep an eye on them until I'm past the threat. I would definitely be slowing down and be ready to stop hard until getting by.

I guess most of my attention would go to the two cars until passing them, but having slowed down, there would be time to start scanning further ahead before arriving at the next possible threat.
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g6civcx
Standard Member
110 Posts


USA

Posted - 05/10/2005 :  9:30 PM
I don't know which bike you ride, but on mine, the headlights are on either side of the bike's centerline. The low beam is on the left (clutch side), and high beam is on the right (brake side).

I prefer to ride with high beam in the daytime for maximum visibility, but two lights makes it look like a car from far away instead of a bike that's approaching.

Reference the picture below. That's it with the low beam on.

This is what I did to fix it. I wired a switch to the low beam circuit. Now I run with my high beam on during the day, and I turn my low beam off. I can toggle the switch to use the low beam as a flash bulb should I need it.

I find that the high beam offers a slightly larger spready pattern, and I don't look like a pair of car headlights coming from faraway.

As for your attention problem, I think you're paying too much attention to one particular place and leaving yourself not enough attention for the rest of the field.

You're aware of the first car, but you shouldn't spend so much attention on it that you miss other cars. There isn't just one car on the road. Remember that you have a million other things to do as well.

Just remember that even if you make eye contact with the driver, they won't think twice about running you over.


Edited by - g6civcx on 05/10/2005 9:31 PM
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nomad dan
Advanced Member
1276 Posts


Denver, Colorado
USA

Kawasaki

06 Vulcan Nomad 1600

Posted - 05/11/2005 :  4:05 PM
quote:
Originally posted by cswp905

........ does experiance allow you to maintain an overall view of both directions and pavement conditions and what is happening at the next intersection.........



I suppose everyone can lose track of something in traffic at times. I’m a very experienced rider and I don’t think that there is much that escapes my attention. Besides 26 years of riding motorcycles, and a few years of driving trucks professionally, I have had passengers in my car ask me how I know what every car is doing for a block in each direction.

All that was to set up admitting a mistake I made recently. I was coming down a hill that leveled off abruptly, and right where it leveled off is a traffic signal and busy intersection. As I was coming down the hill I watched the vehicle a few car lengths ahead of me going into the intersection, then I watched the cars in the left turn lane to make sure they didn’t turn in front of me, I watched the car that wanted to turn right onto my lane to make sure it didn’t pull out, then I got caught be surprise.

After the car that was in front of me cleared the intersection, and while I was watching the danger from in front and to the sides, the light turned red. I just barely caught it in time to stop before the side traffic started to pull out.

I had never had such a thing happed, ever. Later I went back to see if I could make sense of why I missed it. The way the hill comes down and the way the traffic lights are set up, you have to adjust you eyes up and down more than normal to move from the traffic to the side and back up to the light. It’s a strange situation that you would just have to be there to see, but think of four-wheeling and coming down a very steep hill that levels off. Your front bummer about hits the ground where it levels off, making it so you are looking straight into the ground, and it is a bigger angle to look 16 feet up off the ground when you get right down to where it levels off.

I usually move from the perceived danger, what’s behind and ahead, and get the color of the lights in my upper peripheral vision. This time I missed it and was too focused on the two cars. I think that if I was traveling alone in my direction, I wouldn’t have missed the light, but a combination of the lights needing looked at more directly than is normal, and seeing the vehicle in front of me going through, caught me off guard.

That is the first time I have missed a light and had to stop suddenly on my bike. So to answer your question regarding, “does experience allow you to maintain an overall view of both directions and pavement conditions and what is happening at the next intersection?”

Almost every time for a lot of years, yes. But that one experience I had was a wake up for me to do things deliberately, not just habitually.
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subvetSSN606
Senior Member
418 Posts
[Mentor]


Ellettsville, IN
USA

Suzuki

800 Intruder

Posted - 05/12/2005 :  4:26 AM
Actually I think it is in the same sense as target fixation. The root cause of both are the same. It's a natural human reaction to focus on what is perceived as the most immediate threat. In specific circumstances in motorcycling it's called "target fixation." (And has added implications in where the motorcycle will go)
In other fields and in more general terms it's often called "tunnel vision," but it's esssentially the same phenomenon.

Just like we must learn to resist target fixation... we must learn to resist tunnel vision.

Tom
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subvetSSN606
Senior Member
418 Posts
[Mentor]


Ellettsville, IN
USA

Suzuki

800 Intruder

Posted - 05/12/2005 :  4:33 AM
That said... you got it right at first! The original threat didn't keep you from noticing the second threat. Well done!

But don't forget to check back on the first threat after identifying the second.

Tom
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jollyroger
Advanced Member
2157 Posts
[Mentor]


St. Charles, MO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Springer Classic

Posted - 05/12/2005 :  6:55 AM
quote:
Originally posted by subvetSSN606

That said... you got it right at first! The original threat didn't keep you from noticing the second threat. Well done!

But don't forget to check back on the first threat after identifying the second.

Tom


I think that goes back to his use of SEE, as is taught in the MSF...continuously scanning for trouble. It sounds like he had both "potentials" well within his peripheral vision; I think he did fine...
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htdb33
Standard Member
167 Posts


somerville, al
USA

Triumph

Trophy 1200

Posted - 05/12/2005 :  10:12 AM
quote:
Originally posted by River

Practice
Study Zen
Practice



This is a very insightfull answer. The idea is that what goes on in your mind and HOW you think about things is very important. It is a bit hard to explain. Simplisticly, for examply as you approach the intersection, think about your options and what you would do should "something" happen. However, DO NOT think about "thinking about" options. Simply have the option itself in your head. This avoids unnecessary clutter should you have to put your plan into action.

Another aspect comes into play once you enter the emergency mode. You should exist only in the here and now during an emergency. Never waste brain power thinking about the past once this happens and the past includes what ever caused the emergency. We will do that for your when you tell us about it later . What you need to spend you brain power on DURING the emergency is how you are going to get out of it. And continue to think about how to get out of the situation until it is no longer necessary. Dont give up.

One more aspect is becoming one with your motorcycle. (alright stop laughing) What I mean here is that you shoulding have to think about applying your brakes or swerving to avoid an obsticle. You bike should be an extention of yourself. When you think about stopping, the bike should stop without you having to think about using your feet and hands to apply the brakes.

Much of this comes only with time and experience but if you have this sort of mind set as an objective then it will come faster. There are some good books out there on the subject. All releated to other sports but the princables can be applied to motorcycling without a problem.

Yankee Dog
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g6civcx
Standard Member
110 Posts


USA

Posted - 05/12/2005 :  10:16 AM
I am one with the machine. The machine is one with me. I am the machine. The machine is I. Nothing else exists.

hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


Works for me
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River
Male Advanced Member
506 Posts
[Mentor]


Chippewa Falls, WI
USA

Kawasaki

Concours

Posted - 05/12/2005 :  7:24 PM
Right on.

To extrapolate, now- Becoming one w/ the bike means you are not ego-driven... meaning you won't be as likely to get caught up in the various games people play such as the "Ill merge first.. NO ONE cuts ahead of me!" ... or "my bike is louder/corners better/has more attitude"...
A big part of being a skilled and responsable rider involves letting go of those secondary distractions that can affect your ride, if you let them.
Be aware, ride well.
Life is good on two wheels..
^o^
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