“But I didn't see him”


How many Times you've heard this after a car pulls out in front of a motorcycle? Or the 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.

This is a picture of my motorcycle from 288 feet away which is a little shorter than a football field (96 yards).




At this distance on a clear day the bike shows up well.  Here is a picture from the same distance with a #2 yellow pencil held up at arm's length.




The motorcycle is completely hidden behind the pencil.  Now think of how wide a car windshield pillar/post is and you can see where it would be easy to "not see" a motorcycle. Also remember that this is a full dressed motorcycle unlike a sports bike or even the smaller Harley, Honda, etc. type motorcycle. Looking at this perspective it's a little easier to understand how it would be to “not see him”.


Crunching some numbers I found that a motorcycle can cover this 288 feet distance as follows:

30 MPH - 6.5 seconds
50 MPH - 3.9 seconds
60 MPH - 3.2 seconds
70 MPH - 2.8 seconds

As you can see a vehicle can cover this 288 feet distance in a very short amount of time.  So even if a car stops at an intersection, looks left, right, left and depending on his car angle, it would be very possible for a motorcyclist not to be seen for a fair amount of time and that's assuming he's not in a hurry and only looks left, then right and then pulls out.

  For us riders, it's best to “Never assume” a car sees you. I have looked at this from both sides of the coin. As a motorcycle rider, I can see how a driver could “not see me” and will continue to use caution when meeting a car ready to pull out into traffic. As a motorcycle rider who drives a car, I have gotten into the habit of when I need to pull out into traffic, after I stop to look left, right, left, I also lean forward while looking left to change the perspective of my view around the windshield pillar/post to make sure there's not someone in that blind spot like maybe a fellow rider because I don't EVER want to say the words, “but I didn't see him”.

Ya'll be safe
Joe Turner,
Chapter ”F” Rider Educator

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