RIDING TIP: 5 Ways To Reduce Crash Risks at Intersections
Five (5) Ways to Reduce Crash Risks at Intersections
It is a bogeyman in the motorcycling world; the crash at an intersection. Unlike the mythical creatures that frightened us as children, crashes at intersections do exist and are rightfully our worst nightmares. Funny enough, the imaginary beings created to teach children lessons are the very same that can help us as adult motorcycle riders. Let’s explore the Five (5) Ways to Reduce Crash Risk at Intersections.
Proactive Riding Strategy – Namahage
In Japan, children are taught about Namahage in an attempt to warn them of laziness. Our warning to you is to be proactive and avoid being lazy before entering the intersection. We’ve written in the past about riding in front of the motorcycle and using a riding strategy that prevents the need for using hazard avoidance techniques. An intersection is managed well BEFORE a rider arrives at the intersection.
Avoid Hiding – Babau
In Italy, Babau is a boogeyman who hides. Hiding is the exact opposite of what we want to do when approaching an intersection. In the Basic RiderCourse we talk extensively about seeing and being seen. We introduce a concept called “Presentation”. It is defined as lane positioning yourself where other cars have a better probability of seeing you. As we’re approaching an intersection, we should ask ourselves:
- Can I see all cars at the intersection, especially the ones who may want to turn left in front of me?
- If I place myself in other drivers vehicles, from their perspective, can they see me?
It is our responsibility to make sure drivers have the best chance to see us. Lane positioning is a dynamic activity; it requires us to be constantly vigilant so that we can maximize the time and space we have to react.
(What do you think about this rider’s intersection management?)
Brightly Colored Gear and Well Lit Motorcycle – El Cucuy
In Mexico, children are on alert if they see the bright red glowing eyes of El Cucuy. We want motorists around us to easily see us. We can accomplish that goal if we make sure our lights are working properly. Using your headlight, including brights, during the daytime is critical. Riders may want to consider adding retro-reflective material to your motorcycle for night time riding. Up-fitting your motorcycle with additional lighting may be a valuable tool to increase your chance of being seen.
All The Gear, All The Time – Sack Man
Kids in Brazil are worried about being taken away by “o homem do saco” or Sack Man. Want to increase your chances of NOT being carried away in a bag in case of an incident? Wear proper protective gear. We’ve written about it in the past, and we’ll continue to write about it in the future. In particular, wear gear that grabs attention so that we can increase our chances of being seen. Before we consider hopping on our rides, we make sure the following gear is ready to rock:
- DOT Approved Motorcycle Helmet (at least; Snell and ECE are ratings you may want to include)
- Eye Protection (may be included with the helmet)
- Motorcycle Specific Jacket
- Motorcycle Specific Pants
- Motorcycle Specific Full-Fingered Gloves
- Motorcycle Specific Footwear
Cover Your Controls – Bøhmand
In Denmark, the bogeyman is known as Bøhmand. He specializes in GRABBING children who will not sleep. When it comes to using our clutch and brake, we’ll want to do anything BUT grab. We will want to consider covering our clutch, front brake, and rear brake before we enter an intersection so that if we need to use them, we’re already in position. We get questions about two fingers or four when riding; when it comes to intersections, whatever is most comfortable for you as long as the controls are covered.
We wanted to have a little fun with this month and lighten up a dark topic in the motorcycling world. We’re interested to know how you approach intersections. What works best for you? Please send an email or leave your comments below.
Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011. He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee. Have questions or comments about the article? Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com