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Look twice for bikers when driving

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Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 12:00 am

With the weather turning nicer, there are more and more motorcyclists coming out on the roads. Please be aware of us as you drive about this great area. It is very easy to get distracted in a car and forget that there are vulnerable people around you.

The most common excuse given by drivers for why they hit a biker is, "I didn't see them." Many drivers complain about loud pipes (OK, there is loud and there is obnoxious; I'm talking loud), but that irritating sound lets you know we are there, to your side, so you don't swerve into us.

There is a campaign reminding drivers to look twice. Please do. We bikers are parents, husbands, wives, professionals, hard workers and loved.

Kevin Paglia


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Robert Jacobs posted at 9:56 am on Mon, Mar 11, 2013.

    Robert Jacobs Posts: 298

    Amen.. I forgot about that. Many times I will wave at a driver that blew by me at breakneck speeds when I catch them at a light. I forgot about the signaling also, most put their turn signal on at the same time changing lanes or turning right. What is the point if you don't allow time for other drivers to know of you intentions by letting that turn signal blink a few times before making you intended move...

    O well, I just try to stay out of their idiot way...

  • robert maurer posted at 12:08 am on Sun, Feb 10, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 483

    Mr.Walters; I don't like lane splitting either. I read my 1996 DMV motorcycle booklet and the under 30 mph law was in effect then, but there was another law that said that it was legal to split lanes at any speed as long as the rider travelled no faster than 15 mph faster than traffic and not exceeding the posted speed limit. As far as air cooled engines,excessive heat causes excessive and premature wear,thus a shorter lifespan than a liquid cooled engine. Of course there are exceptions to the general rule, and carburetion is a factor. Engines run hotter with an excessively lean fuel mixtures(courtesy of the EPA regulations)than a slightly rich fuel mixture.My GS is air cooled and runs a little rich,so I don't have overheating problems unless I let it idle long periods of time on a 100+ degree day. I put 84,000 miles on it before I completely rebuilt the the engine and transmission myself to factory specifications(blueprinting) and now has 18,000 miles on the rebuild. Many of today's motorcycles are liquid cooled using a radiator and liquid pump or else an oil cooler which functions like a radiator using the oil pump to cool the engine.Many late model Harleys have oil coolers and the rear cylinder is jetted richer than the front cylinder, since it is directly behind the front cylinder,it does not get the volume of cooling air; only the heated,dissipated air from the front cylinder.Motorcycle engines begin to cool at 15 mph and reach maximum cooling at approximately 65 mph. Many riders ride for the convenience of personal mobility(no traffic jams) and it is my opinion that this is the reason for the lane splitting laws as well as EPA regulated lean burning engine overheating issues.

  • Ed Walters posted at 1:14 pm on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 631

    Mr. Maurer: It seems most everyone on this page is in agreement, not like some on other posts. I realize it is against the law to pass on the shoulder, however I do question the CHP`s version of what is safe when passing on the white line and staying under 30 MPH, new law. Strange that H-D would not come up with an liquid cooled motor like most foreign bikes, rather than rely on the motor to be cooled by air passing over and through the fins. I also wonder how the fins get cooled on a 100 + degree day. My lawn mower is air cooled and will run as long as there is gas to power it. Oh well, just a thought. Ride On

  • robert maurer posted at 9:14 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 483

    Good,job,Kevin on bringing up a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. Yes, to modify our rides to our own personal preferences is a way of making the bike and ourselves unique. I t is an expression of our individualism. In my case,when I build a bike,safety comes first,then appearance.Therefore most of the rides I have built (19) look only mildly modified like they should have came from the factory that way.I won't ride in large groups for the exact reasons that Ed and R.Jacobs just posted. It only takes 1 wrong move from a sedan jockey or another motorcyclist to cause a multiple motorcycle mishap.By the way ,Ed, you are exactly correct regarding the law about splitting lanes and it is about what Kevin mentioned regarding air flow to keep the engine from overheating,however,it is illegal to pass on the shoulder of the road.I received a $60 ticket and so did the friends I was riding with that day.These are all great posts and I thought I was just developing a bad attitude toward drivers, but thanks to verification from Mr.Jacobs, I know that I'm not paranoid. I now have to watch for lousy drivers,as well as elk,deer, and moose who don't cross where the deer crossing signs are up here in northern Idaho.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 5:38 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    I hear ya Robert. I see people like you are talking about all the time. Pass me in school zones, run stop signs and such. I always point them out to my kids and show that at the next light, I catch up to them anyway.

    I'm that annoying driver/rider that treats the other drivers how I want to be treated. Let the other drivers in, signal in advance of wanting to change lanes and drive with patience. That all goes up even higher when I'm on my bike.

  • Robert Jacobs posted at 4:51 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Robert Jacobs Posts: 298

    You're kidding right? I drive a big rig (about 17 years now, and have driven a car since 16 years old. I'm 55 now....) and there isn't ten people out of 10,000 who give two sh*** about anyone or anything out there on the roadway!

    99% of you people who are driving that 4 to 8 thousand pound vehicle are in a hurry to either kill yourselves or someone else to get where you're going 30 seconds faster. And many of you have small children while doing this, putting them in danger and teaching them to drive like mommy and daddy, a MORON!

    Let me be clear, 99% of you drive like this!

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 1:35 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    I have bikers shoot by my on the freeways on the white line going more than the speed limits. That is begging for a trip to the ER in my book. The purpose is to allow bikers to make their way through traffic jams where traffic is hardly moving, NOT freeway speeds. I remember once the biker that shot by me was going so fast by time I heard him coming, he was even with me and he had LOUD (the obnoxiously loud kind) pipes.

  • Ed Walters posted at 1:19 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 631

    The CHP will allow bike riders to ride on the white line legally. California is the only state that will allow this, with all the rules and regulations I knew it was legal, but to hear a spokesman for the CHP say it is, as long as the speed is under 30 MPH. Have you ever seen a rider ride under 30 MPH, I haven`t. If a person is about to change lanes and doesn`t see you, well guess the rest. A friend of mine hit a car as the car pulled out of a gas station without seening him, results a broken neck. He was brought to Kaiser South and was told by a nurse that he will have to wait awhile because there were 5 bike riders ahead of him, however he was the only one that conscious. It`s dangerous out there, B carefull.[wink]

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 4:34 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Those are close to the year I was thinking. I'll be looking for a 1972 junkyard rescue bike. Same year I was born.

    I've never ben mechanically inclined but I love the "art" of motorcycles, especially after someone has made it their own. I love the uniquness of bikers who take pride in their bikes and let it show. That desire for uniquness maybe why I am working on my VTX instead of a Harley. Not many modified Hondas out there.

  • robert maurer posted at 2:43 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 483

    Kevin; my ride is a 77 GS.I have made the changes and upgrades gradually over the 35 years I have owned it. Bought a parts bike with the mags,triple discs and race motor to help defray costs. I can turn it completely stock,full dress touring or racetrack ready in about an hour's time. I can't and don't want to spend all my time wrenching on multiple bikes anymore. I want to ride to enjoy the years I have left. BTW, if you are looking for a Harley cafe project, a 76 or 77 Harley XLCR factory cafe racer is an excellent start if you can find one at a reasonable price.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 12:31 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Robert: It would have taken me hours to stop shaking after what you saw.

    If money was no issue I would done a ground up build. As is I'm modifying my VTX. Already have plans for my "next" build. The VTX is a great long distance bike, but I want something a little more fun for around town so I will be looking for an old Harley to turn into a Cafe Racer style.

  • robert maurer posted at 11:19 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 483

    Kevin;congratulations on making your dream bike happen. It may seem like a lot of work now,finding the shops and technicians to build it,but the satisfaction comes with the knowledge you shall acquire. Someday you may build your own bike yourself and when you do and other riders admire your work, that is a great feeling. I had a close call very similar to yours once. I had a girlfriend with me travelling westbound through Clements on hwy 88,when the car ahead of me signalled a left turn and was stopped,waiting for traffic to clear.When I looked in my rearview mirror, I did not see the front of the car behind me dive,indicating braking,I swerved to the right and gassed it hard and rode in the dirt in front of Clements school until I cleared traffic. The car behind me slammed into the stopped car and sent in careening off the road right behind me, and another 3 cars joined the pile-up. I saw the whole thing happen in my rearview.Needless to say,I stopped at the A&W stand to stop shaking and check my shorts. Good luck and ride safe

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:06 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    There was a lot more I wanted to add to the letter but with the word limit I tried to keep it simple.

    To the LNS (if any of you are reading this or can pass it ti the "Powers That Be"): It might make a good article to discuss/highlight motorcycle issues in the area here.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:02 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Robert: I am jealous. I see that you customize motorcycles. I've been wanting to do that for years. Well, this is the year. I've got all the plans, know what I want and now I get to start looking for people to do the work.

    I agree with all the comments so far. The first, most important safety device is the riders brain. Ride smart, defensive and always assume the drivers around you can't see you. Had a real good example of this coming off I-5 on to 8 mile a while back. A car stopped in the dedicated lane like they thought they were required to stop. I saw it in pleanty of time but assumed the driver behind me thought traffic was moving so when I slowed and stopped, I did it to the side of the stopped car. Driver behind me had to slamm on their breaks and would have sandwiched me.

    Sadly in two years of riding I have had three close calls but, as it has been said, riding defensively protected me.

    Daniel, as a rider I hate it when fellow bikers "split lanes" at highway speeds. Split between two cars=splitting lanes for those that didn't know. BUT did you know that in congested traffic that is at a crawl, it is legal for motorcycles to slip through stopped/barely moving cars? Only had to do it once. Motorcycles are cooled by air flowing over the engine, stop and go of trafic jams can cause motorcycles to overheat.

  • robert maurer posted at 9:45 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 483

    Daniel just posted "ditto bicyclists" and in his letter said "I heard the tire skid,that the biker was going pretty fast,"... Seems to me that bicycles are extremely fast nowadays and that he has extremely sensitive hearing. It was unbelievable and humorous to read.I know Daniel posts researched and articulate letters and I think that he tried to advise motorists to also be aware of bicyclists while telling an experience involving a motorcycle.I have a serious question for Daniel:did you happen to notice whether that bike had loud pipes or not? I study all phases and aspects of motorcycling;especially rider errors in accidents. That is why I have been so "lucky" in my almost 40 years of riding. Ride safe.

  • daniel hutchins posted at 12:50 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    daniel hutchins Posts: 1342

    Ditto bicyclists.

    On topic: There was a biker fatality just in front of my job. I heard the tire skid. It was the automobile driver's fault, for pulling out of a stop sign, on a blind corner, but I also know that when I heard the tire skid, that that biker was going pretty fast, in a metro and commercial area, with lots of hazards pulling out of parking lots onto a 55 mph busy roadway. Here, it is recommended to drive defensively, and to expect hazards to pull out unexpectedly, and one did.

    Fault lying upon the auto driver, does not bring the biker back to life.

  • Ed Walters posted at 4:49 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 631

    Mr. Paglia: On another subject, I agree with you and what the other poster said. He is a most luck rider to ride for 40 years and only have a few scrapes. I also agree that motor riders must ride defensively just as you would in a car. I have rode for 30 years, been down twice, the last time I went down was the last as I sold my bike.

    The real reason for my post is that, whicle the CHP allows bike riders to ride in between cars, I believe it is most dangerous for both car and bike rider. In traffic that was moving at a snails pace a bike rider was working his bike in between cars, riding on the white line. The next thing I know, my left side outside mirror was gone due to his handbars hitting it, and down the road he went. The best bike riders work for the local PD, or CHP. even though they go down upon occasion. The sign of a good rider is, a tight 360 circle at slow speed without your feet toughing the ground. I believe riding on the shoulder of the road is safer than a white line rider, no cars to deal with. Ride with care.

  • robert maurer posted at 11:00 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 483

    I agree with your letter,but as a year-round biker,and I live,dream, repair,and customize motorcycles, and have for almost 40 years, and I can only remember a 6 month period in all those years that I didn't have at least 1 motorcycle in my garage. I ,however still hate loud pipes on motorcycles and I have Kerker headers with the fiberglass burned out, and is still quieter than almost all Harleys. An experienced rider learns to watch as far as he can see ahead, imagine what possible dangers can suddenly appear as he approaches, and prepares an escape strategy,i.e brake,swerve,accelerate,etc. It is always a good idea to watch any approaching car's driver to see if he sees you or is not paying attention. I pretend that I am invisible to traffic and stay out of blind spots and even when when we do everything right we still get hit.Happened to me 4 times,but fortunately through training,learned skills,and experience, I've suffered only minor injuries. I guess the point I am making is for us bikers not to depend on other drivers at all for our safety.We must depend on ourselves. We could talk about motorcycling indeinitely and we all have our stories to tell and learn from each other.


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