Prelude to Conspicuity Article Series – Close Encounters of the 4-Wheeled Kind

Rear end collisions are near and dear to me, as they likely are to all motorcycle riders. Here is a brief story about one of the closest encounters of the 4-wheel caged kind that happened to me while stopped.

The highway I was on happened to end and curl onto the entrance ramp to an interstate highway in Minneapolis. Traffic had backed up in this spot and offered very few escape routes. I kept my head on a swivel and watched the traffic behind me.

A lady driving a Mercedes SUV, whom I noticed earlier talking on her cell phone, approached from behind without the nose dipping from applying the brakes. I watched for the bumper to dip and it just wasn’t happening. There was traffic in front of me and a Minnesota State Patrol officer had someone pulled over on the right shoulder. Finally I noticed the bumper dive toward the pavement, just as I heard her tires begin to squeal. I twisted my wrist and dumped the clutch. The bike revved as I sped up and stopped inches behind the officer’s squad car.

The trooper was stepping out of the car as this happened and his eyes just about popped out his their sockets from surprise. I could tell that his synapses were ready to use his cop voice to question what the hell I was up to. Until, that is, he heard the tires squealing and saw the SUV driver dump her phone to put both hands on the steering wheel to stop the 4,000 lbs vehicle just two inches from the bumper that I was resting behind just moments ago. Traffic began moving again and I filed in a few vehicles behind the asshat Mercedes driver. A feeling of relief didn’t ease my nerves until I got out of traffic and reached my destination.

The moral of this story is to always watch your six.  It also highlights the importance of finding ways to standout like a hot chic in a nice pair of jeans.

There are many ways to improve your visibility while riding a motorcycle. Stay tuned for upcoming articles on how to increase your conspicuity while riding motorcycles. Some of these articles will include product reviews, while others just provide pointers to keep your rides enjoyable.

Learn more about being conspicuous and environmental awareness while riding a motorcycle:

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2 comments on “Prelude to Conspicuity Article Series – Close Encounters of the 4-Wheeled Kind
  1. Chris Luhman says:

    I had a similar experience. I was able to escape between the two lanes of cars. They thought I was trying to queue/filter/lane split. Not fun. Avoid dying to get honked at by others.

  2. You might actually recognize the location of this close encounter, Chris. It was the intersection of southbound Hwy 280 to westbound I-94 in St. Paul. That can be a bad spot.

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