SAFETY MEETING PLANNER & AGENDA
- Prepare in advance to make this meeting effective. Click HERE for a link to instructions on how to best use this information.
- Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a pdf version here).
- Think about how you want to lead the meeting.
- Is there anything that is specific to your company or operation that you can include to personalize the information?
- Review the video for this session.
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START YOUR MEETING!
As we move into summer, it’s worth talking about some of the other road users that begin to appear when the weather improves. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups to injury or fatality when involved in collisions. By nature, motorcycles attract a contingent that are risk takers and may be much more aggressive in their driving/riding habits. These riders often find themselves the makers of their own misery as single vehicle accidents resulting from excessive speed or poor riding skills paired with high risk behaviour.
But what about the majority of riders? Most are more careful and take much less risk than these other aggressive riders.
The Questions for this Meeting:
Q: When a crash happens involving a motorcycle and other vehicle, who is typically found at fault?
It’s most often the fault of the OTHER DRIVER… SURPRISED?
In fact, when it’s not a single vehicle incident involving the motorcycle, it’s usually the other driver who has made a mistake that resulted in the accident.
Q: What is the most common place and type of collision involving a motorcycle and other vehicle?
Answer: (solicit as many as the group can suggest)
There are certainly many places where vehicles can collide; but the most common place for another vehicle and a motorcycle to collide is at an intersection when the other driver is turning left and turns in front of the motorcyclist.
Q: Why does this happen? (a driver turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle)
There are 2 primary reasons that this can happen:
1. The driver of the other vehicle simply did not see the motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see and many drivers don’t think to actually watch for them.
2. The driver of the other vehicle DOES see the motorcycle but thinks he has time to turn because he misjudges the approach speed.
Motorcycles are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection of a car or truck bodywork and collisions almost always result in injury.
If you expect to see motorcycles, you are more likely to detect them. Often we can filter out the things that we don’t expect and just not see them. Look for motorcycles especially at intersections.
Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorcycle, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in much shorter distance than your vehicle.
When you see a motorcycle approaching realize that it’s easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the cycle and the fact that it’s coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.
Use the vision tips from the first of Thinking Driver’s 5 Fundamentals, ‘Think and Look Ahead’ to develop your vision skills:
1. Keep Your Eyes Up – It’s tempting to look down and over the hood of the car at the centre line or the tail lights in front of you, but this can cause several problems. When your eyes are looking downward over the hood, steering can become choppy and require many more adjustments and frequently you will either cut corners or run wide. It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up and this practise prepares your for the next technique.
2. Eye Lead Time – Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is at any given time. As your speed increases, so will the distance you look ahead if you always look for this time interval.
3. Move Your Eyes – This takes practise and intent. Look left, right, ahead and into the mirrors and as you look, identify potential problems so that you can decide what you will do about them. Moving your eyes is particularly important to see things to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.
4. See the Big Picture – By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it. Pilots all this ‘situational awareness’ and it helps you to make good decisions about speed and movements such as lane changes, well in advance.
5. Eye Contact – The only way to know if another driver sees you is to make eye contact with them. If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you. If another driver is moving into your space and you want to establish eye contact, a light tap on the horn will attract their attention.
Introduce the Video:
Thinking Driver President, Spencer McDonald, discusses the importance of being aware of all road users, especially motorcycles.
For the next week, make a point of watching for motorcycles and develop a habit of identifying them as soon as you can.
Be especially careful at intersections when you are turning left.
Motorcycles are the safest vehicles on the road right up until the point of impact.
I have been a rider since 1972 and enjoyed riding everything from mini bikes with lawnmower engines to 100 plus horsepower sport and touring bikes.
I love my motorcycles: my BMW 1200RT is called ‘Alice (the missile)’, and ‘Hugo’ is a Kawasaki KLR 650 (you name your vehicles too, right?). I love riding off-road and touring on the highway and have been as far north as Whitehorse and south to Arizona.
In 1975, I won a trophy for being the first junior in Canada in the National Observed Trials competition (I ask myself sometimes: That was almost 40 years ago, should I still be bragging about it?).
But old or not, in the coming months, I will be heading off to the Grand Canyon via the Oregon Coast and Las Vegas on ‘Alice, the missile’
I, and thousands of other riders, begin to appear on the highways this time of year. Too many will not see the end of the riding season. Some will crash their bikes due to over-exuberant riding or overconfidence, which is unfortunate; but many more will lose in a collision with anther vehicle.
We riders say that motorcycles are the safest vehicles on the road because they accelerate out of danger, stop quicker and are more maneuverable than pretty much any other vehicle. We like to think that we can ride out of most dangerous situations.
The problem is that, too often, we are just simply not seen and the other driver does something to cause a collision that we can’t avoid. A motorcycle is the safest vehicle on the road, right up until the point of impact.
We are vulnerable road users and when we tangle with a car, the car generally wins.
When a motorcycle and another vehicle collide, it's most often the other driver's fault. The situation that is most common is the other driver turning left in front of the motorcyclist. The car driver typically doesn't see the motorcycle or actually sees the rider but misjudges the approach speed and thinks there is time to turn, because a motorcycle is small when viewed from the front, and this makes speed estimation problematic.
Motorcycles are tough to see and, if you are not looking for them, very easy to miss. They handle much differently than other vehicles and have some special characteristics. If you don't really understand them, they can be difficult to share the road with.
Some easy guidelines for you to apply a you see motorcycle riders this spring and summer will help keep everyone safer.
- When you are waiting at intersections to turn left, remember that you may have more than just cars and trucks approaching and look for motorcycles. If you see a rider approaching, make sure that they are coming at a speed that allows you to turn safely in front of them before starting your turn.
- Remember that a motorcycle can stop in a fraction of the distance that your car or SUV can so leave a good following distance. If the rider brakes suddenly for some reason and you are too close, you will not be able to slow quickly enough to avoid her. Normally, under ideal conditions we suggest a following distance of at least 3 seconds behind a motorcycle. Add more distance if conditions deteriorate.
- When you change lanes, check your mirror and should check to make sure there is no motorcycle in your blind spot. Most of us riders work hard to stay out of blind spots, but if you don't shoulder check before changing lanes, you will never be sure the lane change is safe.
- When you are stopped behind a motorcycle, leave a good space. It feels very intimidating to have a large vehicle stopped really close behind you.
This spring, take a moment to think about and practise these tips to help you stay out of conflict with us riders and share the road.
Written by: Spencer McDonald, President, Thinking Driver