Safe Riding

Safety Thoughts

Written by  August 1, 2012

Why are left turns so dangerous? The obvious answer would be they are dangerous because the driver is crossing oncoming traffic as she is completing the maneuver. One would think the knowledge of this information would make one look to her left at least twice before proceeding. But time after time I read articles in my Google alerts about people being injured or killed on their bikes because of a left turn. Most times it is a driver in a car making a left and either cutting off a bike or a bike crashing into the car as it crosses the bike’s path.

This begs the question, “What the hell do we have to do to make you (cagers) see us?” On a recent outing, a woman in her SUV made a left directly in front of us without once actually looking to her left. Cars were lined up to make a left onto the street she was exiting. She only looked to her right at the stopped cars. We braked and Don hit the horns and still, she never turned her head. I understood early on why he always slowed and moved to his left at side streets. A shiny silver helmet, white shirt and a headlight that is always on, along with those dual air horns, weren’t enough to catch that woman’s attention.

More and more I am seeing neon-colored shirts on riders as well as the bright vests usually seen on road crews. (One rider friend of my spouse has one that says on the back “Can you fucking see me NOW?”) It would be interesting to know if they are helping visibility (without the profanity). But as long as we continue to have brain-dead cagers who seem to be averse to turning their heads left, right, and left again before proceeding, change is going to be slow in coming.


If there is anything I fear as much as people who don’t watch where they are going, it’s deer. We ride a lot of back roads and my eyes are constantly scanning the woods for those crazy creatures. Recently, we observed just how crazy they could be. We were riding along a two-lane road, a Cadillac sedan immediately in front of us. A deer suddenly appeared to our left and just as suddenly, took a flying leap over the Cadillac and disappeared to our right. It cleared the car as it was moving! The driver pulled over momentarily, and we checked the car as we passed; there was not a scratch on it. Don joked that there was miraculously “no damage to the car except maybe the brown stain on the driver’s seat.” Of course, I didn’t have my camera in my hand to capture the leap.


Safety test. Except for the neon shirt, I would call this an epic fail. (He had sneakers on as well.)

By Louise Reeves