How many times have you heard this after a car pulls out in front of a motorcycle? Or a motorcycle rider asks, “How could he not see me when it’s a bright, sunny day?” The truth is, he probably didn’t see you.
On a clear day, my motorcycle shows up well from 288 feet away, which is a little shorter than a football field at 96 yards. From the same distance with a No. 2 yellow pencil held up at arm’s length, the motorcycle is completely hidden behind the pencil.
Now think of how wide a car’s windshield pillar / post is and you can see how it would be easy to not see a motorcycle. Also, remember that this is a full-dressed motorcycle, unlike the cafe racers (aka, crotch rockets) or even the smaller Harleys, Hondas, etc. Now you can understand how easy it would be to “not see him.” I crunched some numbers and found that a motorcycle can travel 288 feet in a very short amount of time.
- 30 mph – 6.5 seconds
- 50 mph – 3.9 seconds
- 60 mph – 3.2 seconds
- 70 mph – 2.8 seconds
So even if a car stops and the driver looks left, then right, then left again, depending on the angle of the car, you could be out of view for a critical amount of time. That’s assuming the driver is not in a hurry and pulls out after only looking left, then right. Never assume a car driver sees you. This example may help you understand why. I have looked at this from both sides. As a motorcycle rider, I can see how a driver might “not see me” and continue to use caution when meeting a car ready to pull out into traffic. As a motorcyclist who drives a car, when pulling out into traffic, I have gotten into the habit of leaning forward while looking left the second time. It changes the perspective of my view around the windshield pillar or post that ensures there’s no one in that blind spot. I don’t ever want to say the words, “But I didn’t see him,” particularly about a fellow rider.
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