Friday, 27 February 2015

Thank you Bike Safe. You probably saved my life today.

To my biking friends out there, always remember your life-savers when riding. I learned about always checking over your right or left shoulder before changing lanes from the Police on a Bike Safe rider course a few years ago. I try to apply it all the time and I am really glad I do, because without it, I probably would have been in a serious accident today. I was in London, pottering about on my motorcycle because I was early for a meeting. Riding along the Bayswater Road, I needed to change lanes as the car in front of me was about to turn right. Before moving to my left I looked over my left shoulder and thank God I did. There was a vehicle over-taking me on the inside, less than two feet away from me, at about 20-25 mph faster than I was riding. I was at about the speed limit, so this guy was, at best, being very reckless. Had I not done a life-saver, he would have hit me for sure.
He was driving a private hire taxi operated by a very well-known firm and I suspect he was rushing to get to his next job. Not clever. What was so crazy was he not only would have hit me, but probably would have tried to swerve to miss me, and run into people on the pavement. I pulled up next to him at the next lights and surprise, surprise, he was using his mobile phone. It was a really chilling incident, so please remember, that little effort of doing your life-saver, by simply looking over your shoulder, might one day save your life. I am sure it did mine today. Be careful out there!

12 comments:

Greybeard said...

I'm now 68 and have been "on two wheels" 56 years.
For a while I owned a Sport Bike.
Its mirrors did a wonderful job of showing what my right and left shoulders were doing.
Bar end mirrors resolved the problem. Yes, look right and left before lane-changing. But "situational awareness" on a bike is CRITICAL. When you look and are surprised by what you find, you ARE NOT situationally aware.
Do what's necessary to know what's going on around you.

Gary France said...

I tend to agree with you about situational awareness, Greybeard, but this was on a busy London street where the speed limit is 30mph. Yes, I had been aware of him being behind me as I had seen him in my mirrors, but I hadn't expected him to then be doing roughly twice the speed limit in such a dangerous location and overtaken in the wrong lane. I have ridden in many countries in the world and this was one of the most dangerous situations I have ever encountered, anywhere. Yes, as a motorcycle rider it is up to us as individuals to never find ourselves in a situation that could be dangerous, but this was no normal situation. People could have been killed.

David Masse said...

Great advice Gary and thank heavens you consistently practice that habit. Accidents happen, and when they do, when do you ever hear anyone say that they saw it coming? Basically never. That's why good habits are so essential.

VStar Lady said...

Gary,glad you were prepared - it is a good lesson for us all to be reminded of!

WooleyBugger said...

Glad you only had a close call there Gary. I've always been one to look and look again before making a lane change, buddies use to laugh saying I looked like a yard bird with my head going left and right all the time. One time that stands out in my mind though was on a group ride in mountains on two lane, I was second as we made a moving left turn off the roadway with rest of group behind. I could hear sport bikes coming up from behind but we had none in our group, just as I began to enter the turn two extremely fast moving sport riders decided to pass our turning pack on the left in oncoming lane. I swear, and others in our group, both those riders only missed me by three or four inches as I was turning.

Gary France said...

David – It is remarkable the number of near misses that can be seen in a big city like London. It is a great place, but driving standards are awful. Is there really such a thing as a vehicle accident. I would say they are nearly always someone’s fault.

Gary France said...

VSL – Being prepared is so important. We all need to consider “what if” all the time when on our motorcycles.

Gary France said...

Wooley – I bet your friends would rather you look like a yard bird than have to scrape you up off the road. I am sure everyone says “I am a good driver / rider, but it is everyone else that I worry about.” I do. Sometimes, though we all make mistakes and it sounds like those sports bike made a huge one that day.

Nikos said...

I always do it driving in the car too!

Robert Wilson said...

You bring up a good point. We always want to make those little safety tricks we learn habit.

Check and double check everything. :) Glad your safe, continue to stay safe.

Gary France said...

I don't like admitting on here Nikos that I drive a car, but if you don't tell anyone, I will admit to doing it as well when on four wheels.

Gary France said...

I like that Robert. Habit is a good word to use. If we all did it as habit, then that would save quite a few crashes, no doubt.