Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Blind Spot!

Having recently completed some advanced rider training, one of the biggest things that impacted me was how big our blind spot is on a bike.  Most bikes have fairly average mirrors anyway, and the need to really twist your head around and check became quite apparent to me during the training.  I was not to realise it then, but a few weeks later this very skill probably saved my life.

I was travelling along Auckland's Northern motorway heading south, when I cam upon a car in the "fast" lane or as the case is in New Zealand the outside lane.  Unfortunately in this country is seems that drivers pay no attention to this and will drive at slow speeds in the out side lane and fast speed on the inside lanes. Of course this does nothing to help traffic flow, and only helps to create chaos and erratic driving on our roads.

As I came upon this driver, it was apparent,after a rather short time that he was not going to move over into the slow lane.   He was well below the speed limit so I indicated and moved left and passed.  I Stayed in this lane till, and yes you guessed it,  I came upon a driver who was also driving well below the speed limit but in the "slow"lane.  I checked my mirrors and a quick glance revealed nothing to the right of me. So I indicated to move right and  to pass.  I then made the conscious effort to look well over my shoulder and double check for vehicles.  It was here , wouldn't you know it, that the car I had previously passed had sped up and was sitting right on my tail, but out of view of my mirrors.  Weather he was trying to play silly buggers I am not sure.  The fact remains though, if I had not double checked and looked over my shoulder I may have moved and clipped him, the result no doubt would not have been pretty. 

Since I have done some advanced rider traing I have noticed some horrendous example's of driving and riding. I recently saw a young man wearing shorts and sneakers and riding a Aprilla 250cc swerving through traffic, on the motorway. This stretch of motorway that he was racing through is a 70km only zone and  is under construction and maintenance.  If nothing else I have become so much more aware of what is happening around me.  I know for a fact that some of my riding skills still need a lot of work, but I also know mentally I have stepped up a gear from where I was previous.


  1. Somewhere just below people who text while driving is the person who finds a motorcycle's blind spot and sits there. What are you thinking?

    I also can't stand being tailgated. I stopped my bike in the middle of the road once it was so bad. I thought he was going to hit my rear fender. When he finally passed in a fervor of indignant rage, he had a large HD sticker in his rear window. You should know better.

    I do check every time I change lanes. Sometimes not as early as I should, but I know what happens back there and it scares the living crap out of me.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  2. Nice to hear from you Brady, and I couldnt agree with your more! All we can do is beaware...be very aware!

  3. That's one of my biggest bugaboos. I get angry when people hang in my blind spot or put me in their blind spot when they change lanes on the highway. Actually the second example is not too bad because they don't realize they're doing it... I think. Anyway, it's generally worth an extra look if you're not sure.

    Safe riding Rog!

  4. Superb post Roger! After your comments on that in the recent advanced riding post, I've been making doubly sure too. Yet another reason why your posts are not only inspiring, but are life-savers too!

    Well done mate.

  5. Mike, If my post encourages you to 'look more' then that is a good thing. Safe riding to you to mate. Your honesty is appreciated.

    Geoff, I was in the car last week and a biker moved into the lane in front of me, no movement of the head, and no indication....some thing I probably once would of done. Thanks for your words and encouragement. Feeding of like minded people is a great blessing.

  6. I am glad that you learned something and are actively pursuing adding it to your arsenal of safety. ;) I religiously check my blind spot because people here have a tendency to "pace" other drivers. They may be going slow enough to pass, but unconsciously speed up when passed and just hang out at your speed. Annoying as all get out!

    Thanks for the reminder of the necessity of it!


  7. I have big blind spots on the ninja, compounded by somewhat limited range of neck motion. I added mirror extenders and some stick on convex mirrors for a better view back. Dorky looking, but it works. I like being able to see all the cagers in my vicinity.

  8. Best thing for me to do when out riding on the road is imagine everyone one in a car is a complete idiot and have no clue what they are doing,its kept me alive so far. Great article,keep em coming. Cheers.

  9. Roger

    One thing I did after my IAM Test, and following some kind advice from the examiner, was to raise my mirrors to avoid having to lower my head when mirror scanning. I also fitted some extra wide angle aspheric lenses. I'm not keen in over/behind the shoulder checks at speed - too much is happening in front. My normal scan just before manouvering is left shoulder to right shoulder via the mirrors.

    all the best from sun drenched England, N

  10. Lori; Kiwi drivers also like to pace bikers it seems.

    Bluekat: The main thing is you have compensated for your blind spot, that is what is important.

    Godbother: agree completly..they ARE trying to kill us.

    Nikos: I hear the weather is great over there!! hehe. You are right of course there is a lot happening in front of you at times.

  11. I always do a "headcheck" and feel somewhat safer riding a pace that has me steadily overtaking traffic. No scientific basis for this - I just feel safer doing so. Great blog by the way.

  12. Jonesy; Thanks for stopping buy and your comment. I agree with your comment to some degree, but it is not always possiable .