Is danger in front or behind?


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SequiMike
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Is danger in front or behind?

Postby SequiMike » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:40 pm



Here's something I thought I'd throw out to the gang -
My riding buddy and I have covered many thousands of miles together, and have almost 100 years riding experience between us, but we always seem to wind up having the same argument. He likes to ride the speed limit +5 to 10, and I prefer to hold it right at the posted limit (road conditions permitting, of course). As a result, he's constantly trying to get me to speed up and I'm forever trying to get him to slow down. His argument is that if we're not "keeping up with traffic", we could get hit from behind. My argument is that almost all the hazards are either in front of us (critters, debris, left-turners, etc) or directly below us (tire failures, etc) and that the chance of getting struck from behind at other than a traffic light is much, much less. We're planning on riding to the WingDing in Billings in September and he's already looking forward to the 80 mph speed limits, and I'd rather hold it down to ~65. What I'm looking for here is opinions, not solutions. Is the threat from behind really greater than the threats out in front?


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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby brettchallenger » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:00 am

Well Mike, I am definitely in you camp. I can understand your friend wanting to you to go that bit faster but not for the reasons he states. Unless you are the fastest thing on the road then there is always going to be a theoretical chance of someone behind ploughing into you. But at 10 mph faster than the speed limit I suspect you would only be reducing the amount of traffic wishing to travel faster than you by a small amount.

If you travel illegally faster (on a highway at least), then you will get to your destination quicker. Given that most of us ride for the sake of it, rather than getting somewhere very fast, riding quicker does seem a rather pointless exercise and carries with it the chance of a speeding ticket. If you are in an urban environment, then you will simply get to then next red light more quickly, the journey time will be the same.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby dingdong » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:04 am

Kind of a silly argument if you ask me. On your friends part that is. Getting hit from behind while driving the speed limit or slightly under on the highway is "not going to happen". Making other drivers angry and causing road rage is a possibility however.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby minimac » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:48 am

My friend the state trooper tells me that on the interstates "9 your fine, 10 your mine". Although I admit I'm usually running 5mph over whatever is posted, I figure that speedometer error puts me where I should be. On the super slabs I set the cruise at the posted speed and park my carcass in the right lane. I'm more likely to have something laying in the road or darting out in front of me, than getting run over from behind.

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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby NVSB4 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:07 am

I'm one that usually goes over the speed limit as well, but not because I'm worried about other traffic.
When the wife is on back and I have to hold it down, I'm never in the left lane (meant for passing only).
I think your only chance of getting hit from behind is if you are in the left lane going less than the posted limit.

On State Trooper limits, I've been stopped by the Texas Highway Patrol for going 4 over.
Each department/area has their set point.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby flogger » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:15 am

Personal observation only, but in my experience it really shows up from behind! On my cycles, I prefer the fun and the time riding so I do not pay much attention to gas mileage. However in my car, I wish to achieve the best gas mileage so I have found the optimum speed for this mileage. This happens to be 52 miles per hour in my Honda Civic. Since I live rural and fairly far from the interstates, most of my driving is on state highways and the like where the speed limit is 55 or 60...

So when I am driving a few over the speed limit, people are content to pace me. But slow to the limit, or (heaven forbid) just 3 miles per hour lower than the speed limit, other drivers get crazy, impatient, and down right rude... I get tailgated. I get passed in no passing zones. I actually get harassed, flipped off, yelled at, you name it... It becomes common for cars to pass 'the line' of multiple cars all at once. You would be surprised on how many drivers of all ages that ignore the no passing zones. I find this a very scarey safety issue...

Now when you remove this issue, I am a confidant, comfortable driver. Slowing for conditions doesn't bother me. I scan my route and what's along it for potential dangers well before I get there... I anticipate what's ahead and drive defensively whether I'm in a car or on a cycle.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby SequiMike » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:22 am

flogger wrote:So when I am driving a few over the speed limit, people are content to pace me. But slow to the limit, or (heaven forbid) just 3 miles per hour lower than the speed limit, other drivers get crazy, impatient, and down right rude... I get tailgated. I get passed in no passing zones. I actually get harassed, flipped off, yelled at, you name it... It becomes common for cars to pass 'the line' of multiple cars all at once. You would be surprised on how many drivers of all ages that ignore the no passing zones. I find this a very scarey safety issue...


As an interesting sidenote, here in Washington state there is a law that you must pull off the road and let traffic behind you pass if there are 5 or more vehicles following you on a 2-lane highway. I contacted the Washington State Patrol and asked them if this means that, when driving right at the speed limit, I am legally obligated to pull over and let 5 speeders behind me go past. Although their answer was a little convoluted, it was basically YES because this will reduce road-rage incidents. I find it interesting that the system penalizes the compliant in order to accommodate the non-compliant. (BTW, in my car I am almost always above the speed limit, and nobody hates a left-lane-hog more than me. My bike is a different story, though).
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby flogger » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:57 am

SequiMike wrote:As an interesting side note...

I'm old school... The speed limit is as it says, THE LIMIT... IMHO that means (or used to) you can go whatever you wish (no min unless published) but the limit was THE LIMIT and you were eligible for ticketing if you exceeded it... If I happen upon a slower driver, I patiently hold my horses until it's my turn to pass, until I am in a legal position to pass, and until it's safe to do so... Then you pass and there is no need to be rude or crass about it... Funny too, I use the same guidelines while on my cycles. No need to pass illegally simply because you can on a cycle... Seen too many bikes doing this and that gives us a bad rap. Lastly, the limit is not always the limit. Every state has a 'too fast for conditions' law but no, not anyone today... They don't want to slow down for wet roads, storms, snow, ice- they don't want to slow down for one darn thing... Today's drivers (kids) feel entitled to go above the speed limit regardless... What does it tell you in your state if there are 5 or even 10 cars behind a driver doing the speed limit on a road as you described? It tells me the road is not suitable for passing otherwise they would have... I've been in that situation many times and I just set my cruise control to match the line and 'be happy'... Honestly, people are just stupid today!

As the OP asked, and I think this debate shows-there is more danger from behind... I can see, anticipate, control somewhat the things in front of me but I worry more about the guys behind me.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby themainviking » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:15 pm

I have been hit twice from behind, and never run into anything in front of me. I drive 10 klicks over the limit (6.2 MPH). Both times that I got hit from behind, it was intentional on their part, and no, I did not even know them, so probably a bit over the limit did not help one bit. Both times were while riding a Harley, so I guess those that hate, do it up right. I don't think, except in ten lane traffic through huge metros, I will be hit 'accidentally' from behind, and as long as I am attentive, I will still not run into anything that is in front of me, cause I make sure it is enough in front that I can stop if need be.

So, the question is: why do I drive faster than the limit? Well it gets me away from the blue hairs, and is not enough over the limit to catch up with the rowdies, and I get to ride more or less with a buffer around me. That is my story and I am stickin' with it.

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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby Happytrails » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:38 pm

Prefer going 5-10mph faster in traffic. Anything to put me into a position where I can avoid a cager and make my bike as visible as possible. Within reason of course. If its highway traffic thats much different than city traffic. Talking 35-55mph city or 55-80mph highway. And depends on the highway too and time of day. I guess main theme is never let cagers dictate the situation because they have poor habits/skills and aren't focused on the task at hand. I follow the worst drivers every morning on the way to work. And I can tell where they are going before they even get there. They are school bus drivers and are incredibly bad drivers. :D
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby Jim1 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:11 am

The best risk managers return home safely to ride again tomorrow. The laws of physics trump the laws of the land.
Obtaining the maximum enjoyment from operating a motorcycle is a mind game. Keep the mind on the ride from exiting the friction zone to kick stand down at the end of the ride.

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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby SequiMike » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:05 am

From the comments, it would seem my friend is not alone in being more concerned about what's behind than what's in front.
Here are some summary points on a study that was done a while back:
http://www.clarity.net/adam/hurt-report.html
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby pixel288 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:58 am

To me, it would depend on 2 factors. In town/ lots of surrounding vehicles, or highway/freeway.
In town, speeds are lower, and there are many more visual distractions for cages, as well as the fact that they feel because they are going slower, they can spend more time on their phones, yellling at the kids etc. So I am always paying MUCH more attention to the rearviews in town. The conditions are such that speed changes of the traffic flow are are frequent, and relatively abrupt.
Out on the slabs, I think the greatest danger is from overtaking debris, critters, and drivers that do unexpected things, so I tend to watch my speed to allow enough reaction time. Having said that, I stick real close to the posted limits in town, but I usually run 5-8 km/h over on the 2 lanes, 15-18 km/h over on the super slabs. Ontario constabulary are usually looking for the 'high rollers' -25+ over the limits. That gets the revenue stream running at flood levels real quick.
So to sum it up, in town is the greater danger of being run down from behind, and highways from hitting something. At least that's how I see it. Either way I guess, there is no technical excuse for running over the posted limit. IMHO.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby FM-USA » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:44 am

Few points to ponder...
It's not a race, hold the pace.
ALWAYS keep one faster vehicle in front of you, unless it's a cop.
Coming to a stop? IF possible check mirrors FIRST before braking. You'd be surprised what's going on.
2 lanes, keep right. 3 lanes keep it centered. 4 or more, RUN LIKE HELL... LOL, no, either two middle lanes but truckers prefer you stay in 2nd from left lane. I know, I asked a few at truck stops.

If your riding buddy is that intent on speeding WAY beyond the limit, let him go but tell him, "I hope you see you alive and in 2 pieces at 'X'."
If you've been riding/talking that long you know he's NOT gonna change.
The faster you ride the faster you tire and the more stops you need to take. YOU hold the pace, fuel lasts longer, you will ride longer between stops, you just might get there before him. But I don't think he will see it that way nor will he change.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby harvey01 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:05 pm

I belong in the 5 to 10 MPH above the limit. I am not trying to avoid what is behind me just keeping up with traffic. I agree with your friend about "keeping up with traffic". I believe it is much safer to run with the fastest 1/3 of the folks out there rather than the others. This way you are not blocking traffic. "if someone comes up behind you and wants to go faster than you get out of their way"

Those higher speeds on Interstates in the west are due to the greatly reduced volume of traffic and it really is safe. It seems fast till you run all day at 80MPH and pass only one car---try that on I-95 0r I-81 in the east! At 0430 hrs you will still see more than 1 vehicle per miles on those roads.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby Jim1 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:21 pm

Safety can not be legislated, mind set is the best safety available. Danger is present in all directions.
Obtaining the maximum enjoyment from operating a motorcycle is a mind game. Keep the mind on the ride from exiting the friction zone to kick stand down at the end of the ride.

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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby FM-USA » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:03 pm

Jim1 wrote:Safety can not be legislated, mind set is the best safety available. Danger is present in all directions.

GOT THAT RIGHT...
From high flying bird droppings to helicopters dropping from the sky, one must also look up. :shock: SPLAT :lol:
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby Jim1 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:29 pm

FM-USA wrote:
Jim1 wrote:Safety can not be legislated, mind set is the best safety available. Danger is present in all directions.

GOT THAT RIGHT...
From high flying bird droppings to helicopters dropping from the sky, one must also look up. :shock: SPLAT :lol:

I have often wondered what the weight of helicopter parts at terminal velocity was? :cry:
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby flogger » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:28 pm

Jim1 wrote:I have often wondered what the weight of helicopter parts at terminal velocity was? :cry:

Not me, I have often worried about bird droppings - they scare me to death...
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby themainviking » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:46 am

Jim1 wrote:I have often wondered what the weight of helicopter parts at terminal velocity was? :cry:


same weight as they were when they fell/dropped off, but moving a heck of a lot faster.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby FM-USA » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:09 am

flogger wrote:
Jim1 wrote:I have often wondered what the weight of helicopter parts at terminal velocity was? :cry:

Not me, I have often worried about bird droppings - they scare me to death...

Last year, first time getting hit with a bird dropping.
WOOoooOOooWEEEeeee! did it smart. :shock:
Right between the left hand first 2 index fingers. I looked up and Geese were couple thou-high.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby FM-USA » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:14 am

Jim1 wrote:GOT THAT RIGHT...
I have often wondered what the weight of helicopter parts at terminal velocity was? :cry:

It's not the Velocity that hurts, it's the Terminal part of the equation. 8-)
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby Paulcf » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:11 am

Having ridden for 45 years, I have found the danger is 99% from behind. After all, you are looking forward 95% of the time, right? I can see activity in my rear view mirrors via peripheral vision and if something catches my eye, I can focus on it.
I can depend on my forward facing senses and brakes to prevent me from crashing into someone, except for left turning morons.
My only accident happened when I was rear ended. I was hit by a FOB (Fresh Off Boat) Asian who could not speak English and didn't have a drivers license. I saw it coming in the rear view mirrors and put myself into ragdoll mode. I woke up partially underneath the van that was in front of me. Bike was a write off. I walked away with minor scrapes and dirt on my riding gear.

Thus I hate city driving, too many things happening, must he on HIGH alert. City drivers are all tensed out, late for an appointment, kids screaming, etc. Highways are easier, see further, few things to worry about (critters, debris as usual of course). I ALWAYS have and want a 'fast runner' ahead of me...they take the radar traps, the police, the road rage....I merely follow, then I get passed by another and so on. Besides I get my best gas mileage at around 100kph/62mph and I want to enjoy and look around.

So let someone else 'break the wind' for you, it's much more enjoyable, relaxing and will save you money on gas and tickets. Keep an eye on the rear and if you see a Buick or Oldsmobile being driven by a man with a hat on, PASS LIKE HELL and get some cars between you and him lurking behind.
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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby teck1002 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:18 am

First off I don't have 50 years of riding experience like the author. I have a little over 30. But I ride every day year round unless it snows. Which it does here a few times a year. I do ride in the rain but I would prefer a sunny drive with a cool breeze and slightly winding roads. I don't wear a helmet unless I think I'll be out long enough to get a sunburn. So I suppose what I am about to say will seem a little hypocritical. My first bike I totaled on a 45 mph left turn oil slick. (Front hazard) my next bike I totaled from a right turn followed by another quick left turn into me, 3 lane, me in the center lane, car driver (front hazard) left turn car idiots. My next bike was rear ended. I almost get hit every day. I mostly drive in city traffic but I have had my share of iron butt trips.
I am sure in my youth I contributed a little to the bad rap some drivers give to anyone on two wheels, by driving in excess speeds. Now I drive a lowly 1500. And, here are my hypocritical thoughts.
Bikes are hard to see unless you make a habit of looking which most car drivers don't do. But what makes them easier to see is if there is movement. Going the same speed as the car next to you is creating a scenario of no movement. So doing that makes us disappear in their vision. They forget us. Then they hit us. When we are going either slightly slower or slightly faster than the vehicles around us we create motion in relationship to each driver around us. So take your pick go slow or go fast but just don't sit still. One other thing, contrast, you need it. Matching helmets are cool white ones or yellow ones are much more visible. My bike is red my helmet is bright white. Yes I look like a dork when I actually do wear it. But I'm still driving after 30 years. If you want to match go to the prom. If you want to stay alive don't match, create contrast and either pass people or let them pass you. Personally I drive 3-5 mph faster than what is around me. If I get a ticket, which I've had my share, then I pay it. Riding bikes has its costs and its perks and it isn't for everyone. I ride cause I like the breeze so faster is nicer. But that is a whole different story.

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Re: Is danger in front or behind?

Postby FM-USA » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:42 pm

White helmets = COP

I agree movement is what LAX drivers need.
I'm seeing a new problem, drivers closely pacing you to your left rear.
They leave no room for emergency maneuvering or lane switch.
What I do is start weaving that usually backs'm off or they give up and pass.

It's INFURIATING why cops don't give out tickets for improper lane use.
In Illinois you can get 7 moving violations for camping out in the left lane yet the cops only want to give out speeding tickets.
DUAH???!!! :shock:


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Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.


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