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 Motorcycle Safety
 Mindset - The Left Turner
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Posted - 10/02/2009 :  7:37 AM
ANTICIPATE/DECIDE. What dangerous situation is most likely to happen? It's that car ahead turning left in front of me, or a car from that I didn't see entering the road. So what am I going to do if that happens? I'm going to swerve right and make sure I'm going slow enough to do that. OK so I've decided, but that could land me in another bad situation if there happens to be a car tailgating me or which is coming up in the right hand lane to make a turn, so...


I feel looking at pictures like this is one of the best ways to learn as it gives us plenty of time to think and discuss alternatives.

This article can help us make the choice between braking and swerving. Be sure to read it through or you might jump all over the beginning where it gives two very poor examples where one would swerve.

At speeds up to 40 mph, it takes less or very close to the same distance to swerve 6.5 feet as it does to brake. Slowing to 40 mph if there were a potential left turner takes away swerving as an option. It's a bad option at any speed as swerving 6.5 feet is unlikely to avoid the crash. That's a good thing as it reduces the choices to braking or accelerating.

It's important to learn how close one can be to an intersection at 45 mph and still stop. It's around 100 feet or so. I'd suggest the following in your cage. On an empty stretch of road, pace out a 100 foot stretch with a landmark at the end of it. Like a teleophone pole. Then select a landmark 100 feet prior. Maybe set something disposible like a marshmellow at that point. Then practice firm braking in your car. You should be able to stop in approximately the same distance on your bike. (Do NOT try this on your bike. It's not really safe at this speed.)

There is a saying for intersections "Slow in, Fast out." There is a gray area where you can either stop or accelerate to avoid a left turner. Then you enter an area where you can easily accelerate. Once I reach this area, I start accelerating even if the left turner doesn't start to move. (Use moderation on accelerating.)

When there are two lanes on my side and no car entering from the right, I'd consider moving to the right lane well before the intersection.
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