Caution, Intersection ahead!
Caution, Intersection Ahead
It’s no secret that most vehicle crashes occur at intersections. As a motorcycle rider, if you didn’t know that fact, you should. This is true whether you’re on four wheels or two. Of course, a crash at an intersection is hundreds of times worse on a motorcycle.
When I say intersection, you’re apt to think about a four-way intersection; and yes, that is the most dangerous. But, you must be extra careful with any intersecting roads whether it be on your right or your left.
If you think about it, the reason four-way intersections are the most likely place for a crash is simply because so many things are happening at the same time. The most danger lies in the vehicle waiting to turn left. That driver is not looking for motorcycles. He/she’s looking for four wheeled vehicles, thus, that driver may not recognize a motorcycle coming right at him.
Then, there’s the driver who can make a right turn on a red light. He/she is also not looking for motorcycles and can pull out right into your lane. The good news is just about all intersection crashes can be avoided with some defensive skills.
The first thing to do when approaching an intersection is to slow down and cover both brakes. Be wary of the vehicle waiting to turn left even though you have a green light. Have an escape plan in your mind should that occur. Keep a good distance from the car in front of you; if you’re too close to that car, you will be hidden from the left turning driver’s view.
Should that vehicle violate your right of way, or even the vehicle that pulls out from your right, you have two choices. If you can stop in time, do so. To know if you can stop prior to a collision, you must spend some time practicing quick stops from various speeds. If you’ve never practiced emergency braking, you’re in deep trouble. The other alternative is a quick left to right or right to left swerve. Again, if you’ve never practiced that swerve, you’re in worse trouble because it takes more practice to make an aggressive swerve than to perfect braking skills.
If you’d like to practice your swerving skills, go to my Ride Like a Pro website, www.ridelikeapro.com and download the practice guide and work on the offset cone weave. That’s the exact maneuver you’ll need and the practice guide is FREE.
It’s very important to remember that you cannot perform maximum braking while swerving. The idea is to hit both brakes hard, release the brakes, then perform the swerve.
At my Ride Like a Pro class we spend about an hour on the offset cone weave alone and it takes most riders three or four times through the exercise to get it right.
In the intersection when that car pulls out in front of you, you have only one shot at getting it right. Are you ready? No? Then, you had better get out there and practice.
Copyright 2017 Jerry “Motorman” Palladino