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Picking Sides

Remember when you were a kid? Can you remember back that far? Remember the games you used to play? Remember picking sides for those games? Some of us remember thinking, “Pick me! Pick me!” Now we’re’ a little older, some more than others, and we don’t pick sides as much. But maybe we should.

We’ve heard the statistics. We’ve seen the reports. We know that most motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Frequently these crashes result from someone pulling out in front of the biker. Yet we often ride down the road watching what’s happening in front of us and occasionally checking our mirrors.

This is important because we need to see things developing ahead so we can respond to them before they become critical issues. We need to keep a strong visual lead so we can identify potential hazards and deal with them early. We must check our mirrors so we know what’s coming up on us, especially when slowing or braking.

"When many people are looking for things around them, their perceptions impact what they see."

But what about picking sides? If many of the crashes result from drivers pulling out into our path, why don’t we pay more attention to the sides? Sure we may see things happening to the right or left as we scan the road ahead, but what about the vehicles at our sides?

How many times have we seem someone approach our intersection from the right and stop? How many times have we assumed they saw us and will wait for us to pass before they move? Hopefully we’ve been right every time. But what if we had been wrong?

We shouldn’t focus only on the driver on the right. There are plenty of other things that we should be watching as we go into the intersection. But we can’t ignore that vehicle either. We need to know if that vehicle’s wheels start rolling. We should see if the driver looks our way increasing our chance of being seen.

We’ve got to keep looking well ahead to see trouble developing. A twelve second visual lead, looking to where we will be in twelve seconds, is recommended. But we’ve got to pick sides, too. By picking sides we may see the clues that will allow us to react to the unexpected before it becomes the unavoidable.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!