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Thread: Lifesavers ???

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    Annoying The Idiots Yorick's Avatar
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    Default Lifesavers ???


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    Blimey. It smells of wee in here

    Anyway, I've got Penny going well off road and now wanna get her riding properly on the road. Spent an hour this morning how to do emergency stops. Braking is one thing I am good at

    Doing lifesavers is alien to her so need to drill it into her. I know the obvious times to look over shoulder, but sure there's some others she'll need to master for her test.

    Is there a definitive list?

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    Should Get Out More Cousin Jack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Every 10 seconds?

    Sorry, I'm a bit anal at the moment, recently ridden 400+ M'way miles with no offside mirror.

    Seriously EVERY time you plan to change lanes, if the mirror looks clear, CHECK!

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    Annoying The Idiots Yorick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Jack View Post
    Every 10 seconds?

    Sorry, I'm a bit anal at the moment, recently ridden 400+ M'way miles with no offside mirror.

    Seriously EVERY time you plan to change lanes, if the mirror looks clear, CHECK!
    Yeah, they're the common sense ones. I wasn't sure about approaching junctions. Left turn, right turn and T-junctions.

    (answer UK style and I'll adapt for here.)

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    Should Get Out More Cousin Jack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    I'm not an expert, Spin or Horse will be along in a minute day or two.

    Seriously, approaching any junction, if I am turning left it's a left check, right and it's the right shoulder. If I am not turning, but the road is wide enough for someone to make an extra lane I want to know who is close enough to do it, even if I don't plan to use that space.

    The other time I use shoulder checks is if my mirrors show someone coming closer than I like. It gives them the idea that I am not comfortable and am watching them, they often get the message and back off a bit.

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Blimey... guess what I was just rewriting for the website a few days ago?

    ---------------

    What are we looking for? The simple answer to that is the presence (or absence come to that) of other road users. And why we are looking is to work out if there might be a conflict between what we want to do and what the other driver's intending to do. For example, it's a good idea to find out what's around us before we:

    signal
    change speed
    change direction

    ...because we need to know how our actions will affect following traffic. We also have to know when traffic is likely to overtake or come alongside us. Gathering this information is called taking 'Rear Observation' in the language of basic and post-test training. And we combine:

    regular and sensible use of the mirrors
    'shoulder checks' (sometimes called 'head checks') which are looks into the blind areas to either side

    MIRRORS: We have mirrors for a reason and that's to have an easy way to find out what's behind us. Whilst some mirrors still give a good view of our elbows, most can be set up to give reasonable rearward view. Set them up to give the best coverage. As a rule I tend to set the offside mirror up to give a bit more of a 'wide angle' view, whilst the left is angled a little more behind me - after all, I rarely need a view of the pavement. But I may move the left out a little on motorways and I reverse the set-up in France. If the mirrors aren't wide enough, you may be able to solve the problem with mirror extenders - bolt-on bits that fit between the mirror and mount. I tend to avoid aftermarket mirrors if I've broken one because original mirrors are generally optically superior and balanced. Cheap mirrors can distort view and vibrate. I think it's worth spending the extra.

    However, mirrors are convex to give a wider angle view, and distort distance, making vehicles appear further away than they really are. Be cautious on a new machine until you have got used to judging distance and speed.

    How often should we check our mirrors? 'Regularly', which means often enough that we're not taken by surprise by something zooming past, although in really heavy traffic I tend to focus more on TARGETED observations. More on that in a moment.

    SHOULDER, HEAD or BLINDSPOT CHECKS: Even good mirrors have blind spots. There are usually three. The first is between our shoulders, immediately behind the bike. With narrow mirrors, this can be big enough to hide a police car (like the one that followed my GSX-R750 off the M40 and onto the A40 about 10 metres behind me at 70 mph, presumably expecting me to let it rip on the emptier road). It'll certainly hide another motorcycle, which must make you wonder why other riders persist in following in the wheel tracks. Have they never noticed their own blind spots? We can usually clear this blind spot - it's how I let the police driver know I'd seen him - by tucking in an elbow or even rocking from side to side.

    The other two are over the shoulder to the the left and right. This is where the vehicle will lurk when we're turning into side roads, manoeuvering round roundabouts or changing lane one one-way streets or dual carriageways. Out of sight from the mirrors, there is only one solution to blindspots (hence the term blindspot check) and that's an actual turn of the head (hence the term head check). How far do we turn our head? Just enough to see into the blind area (hence the term shoulder check) - chin to shoulder is nearly always far enough, and anything further back should be visible in the mirrors. So head, shoulder and blindspot checks are more or less interchangeable.

    There is another potential advantage to a shoulder check. A turn of the head alerts a following driver that you are about to do something, and sometimes they will back off - but don't rely on it! If you are being followed too closely by a car, used carefully a pronounced head turn tells the driver that you know he is there. It's about the only time I'll look a long way round, but unfortunately, thanks to the old DSA habit of making test candidates look right behind them, there are still some riders who look too far round, and some others who say that ANY head check is dangerous. It's true that trying to look right behind takes a lot of time, and so even at urban speeds we're covering a considerable distance looking the wrong way. It was exactly this kind of look that led to my own crash. And we can also end up dragging the bars around with us, causing a wobble. A half decent set of mirrors will gather much the same information as this old-fashioned full turn of the head, in a fraction of the time, and without turning our heads too far away from what's going on ahead.

    Unfortunately, the previous version of the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists manual showed a picture of a rider doing this full 'look behind' and captioned it as the 'lifesaver'. That's not how a basic trainer would understand or teach a lifesaver.

    WHICH WAY TO LOOK: Where do you need to look with a shoulder check? Although the old DSA system completely confused things, use common sense:

    look in the direction you are about to move - right before moving or turning right, left before moving or turning to the left
    look into any space that's big enough for another vehicle to squeeze into (and don't forget that could be a cycle or a scooter!)

    Having spent years as a courier in London, I'm always checking left before turning left. Many trainers say it's unnecessary but I remember where I might have overtaken you when I was zipping around the capital.

    THE REAL LIFESAVER: Probably the most important shoulder check, and one that fully deserves to be called a Lifesaver, is a final blindspot check that confirms it's safe to take up a different position. It's usually over the right shoulder before turning right, but depending on the situation I might make this final check to the left too - for example, before exiting a roundabout after a right turn. I'd check before turning right into a side turning (this is a MUST-DO on the bike test), and I'd probably check before turning left too (I know where a cycle or scooter can try to pass). I'd check the appropriate should before changing lanes on one-way streets and multilane roads, or where lanes merge back together. The lifesaver check confirms ALL our other observations. The key point is timing. We must make this check BEFORE we start the manoeuvre. If we're already halfway through our change of position before we look, it could be too late.

    So, the term 'lifesaver' should be used to describe WHY we carry out a shoulder check, not how!

    COMBINING MIRRORS and SHOULDER CHECKS: Understand that a shoulder check is NOT a substitute for a mirror check, nor vice versa. Whilst we often only need the mirrors to discover what's behind us, it's important to check the blind spot when we need to know what's alongside. To save time, don't make two separate observations, but combine the two - look in the mirror and then turn the head a little further to make the blind spot check. It takes just a fraction longer.

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    Annoying The Idiots Yorick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Cheers Mr Spin.

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorick View Post
    Cheers Mr Spin.
    No problem... sorry about the smell

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Quote Originally Posted by The Spin Doctor View Post
    No problem... sorry about the smell
    She loves it and saved it all to her phone

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorick View Post
    She loves it and saved it all to her phone

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    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorick View Post
    She loves it and saved it all to her phone
    That's an usual app if it can save smells ...

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
    That's an usual app if it can save smells ...
    Many clever things over here

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    When I took my test it was before any manoeuvre. 👍

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Most important thing is to do them early enough that if there's something there you haven't committed yourself and also have time to take appropriate action.

    OK, that's sort of two most important things.

    And having planned your alternative.

    OK, three most important things.

    eg Before a right turn major to minor, or before leaving a roundabout, or changing lane ... What will you do if there's something there? Do you have time and space to do something else?

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    Great replies so far and she's impressed
    is there a test fail for any non lifesaver?

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    Default Re: Lifesavers ???

    You'll need Spin back for that.

    However, concentrate on doing it 'right', rather than 'not doing it wrong' [ie riding just to pass the test]

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