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Thread: How to Handle Tailgaters on a Motorcycle

  1. #1
    Az Dawg

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    Default How to Handle Tailgaters on a Motorcycle

    You’re out on your bike going to the store, on your way to or from work, or simply out for a ride. It’s smooth sailing, until you get that feeling on the back of your neck and look in the mirror. There’s a passenger vehicle right on your butt and it either won’t back off or isn’t going to pass. It’s obvious that the vehicle is too close to you, and you can only imagine if what it could do to you if it were to slam into your rear tire or even run over you. You can get angry (and rightly so) because this driver is either being aggressive or oblivious, and both of those are a huge danger to you and others. Your first instinct probably involves a rude gesture and more than a few obscenities. But what should you really do?

    Tailgating: it happens all the time when driving a car, and it will certainly happen at some point while riding your motorcycle. And since many motorcyclists slow down by simply downshifting or coasting instead of using the brake (no brake lights!), the possibility of being struck by a vehicle from behind while being tailgated is greatly increased.
    As safely as you ride, there is no way to control other drivers on the road, so at some point you’ll likely find yourself being tailgated. The way you handle the situation can not only affect how the other driver reacts, but also your safety and possibly your life.

    The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends that when being tailgated, allow yourself extra room in front of your bike in case you must react quickly. Basically that means that if someone is tailgating you, do the opposite to the person in front of you. That will lessen the likelihood that you will have to hit your brakes hard or another scenario that could cause a collision from behind.
    Also, the majority of motorcycle crashing involve a front-end collision, with a much smaller percentage each year comprising rear-end collisions. What that means for you is that you’re more likely to strike something in front of you while distracted by a tailgater. However, being tailgated is still a dangerous situation and you want to get out of it as soon and safely as possible.

    What you do not want to do is speed up even more to try to distance yourself from the tailgating vehicle. Firstly, this only adds to the danger of the situation by increased speeds and possibly some extra maneuvering. Secondly, speeding up will probably cause the passenger vehicle to also speed up, and then you’re in an high-speed tailgating situation, stuck in a worse spot than you were to begin with.
    Be aware of everyone on the road (and don’t use your phone while on your motorcycle!)

    And while anger or frustration may be natural first reaction, keep in mind that other motorists do not always intentionally tailgate. Sadly, many motorists do not understand what it is like to ride a motorcycle and have trouble judging how fast you are going, how close they are in relation to you, the difference in braking, and the fact that you own as much road space as they do, even if your bike is smaller than their SUV.
    Although it is the ideal to educate every single driver about motorcycles and motorcycle safety, it simply is not the reality. This does not excuse tailgating, however, and we recommend you keep this in mind when dealing with a tailgater.
    Do not provoke a tailgater by making rude gestures or yelling nasty comments to them. If the driver is acting aggressive on the road, this will only raise that tension, increasing the risk for road rage. If they weren’t upset before, but simply aloof as to their bad driving, rude gestures and obscenities will only put them in a worse mood.\

    Along with increasing the space in front of your motorcycle and the next vehicle, you can lightly tap on your breaks to help alert the tailgater where you are. If the tailgating continues and you feel unsafe, use your signal and pull over when possible, allowing the motorist to pass you. When it is safe, signal again and return to the road.

    You won’t want to pull over for a rude motorist or a bad driver, but it’s worth it for your safety. If they won’t pass and a subtle hint (lightly tapping brakes) doesn’t work, just safely pull over and let them go by. They’ll be gone from your road experience then and in reality the whole process can take less than a minute. You won’t want to. You shouldn’t have to. You have done anything wrong – it’s the other person who is the bad driver – so why should you give up the road to let them by?
    Because your safety and your life is worth it, that’s why.

    You can find more information about motorcycle safety on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s website.



    http://blog.ridersdiscount.com/how-t...-a-motorcycle/
    Last edited by -Az-; 19-11-2016 at 10:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Excellent article!

    I find frequently checking the mirror normally gets the message across and most back off a tad. If not, I let them pass.


    "Because your safety and your life is worth it, that’s why."

  3. #3
    I called AMZ a guuurl and survived! kamza's Avatar
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    Awesome advice, yeah I've experienced driving behind a bike and it is actually quite difficult to judge if you are too close as a bikes mirrors work in such a way as to show objects closer (hoping i am making sense by this statement)...best thing i do,especially in group rides as i usually am sweeping, is give the vehicle behind a hand signal to slow down and if that still persist sometimes turning around and looking behind can scare them a bit then they slow down.

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    Thanks Az - great article.

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    AMZ and Moose fan!

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    yes uncle Az

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    Hate tailgaters and it's worse on a slower bike. The "aggressive" ones seem to think sitting on your ass will make you go faster.

    Had a close call the other day (cam video is somewhere). It had just rained, riding through twisty suburb roads and this bakkie sat on my ass. Eventually, I got a bad feeling, stripped my moet and decided I'll pull over on the sidewalk and let the chop go past. No sooner I made up my mind I heard this "gravel" noise behind me.

    I realise what's happening and get on the sidewalk in haste. Next thing he gets off the sidewalk on the other side of the road. The moron sitting on my ass on a damp/slippery road's brakes are shot and he locked them...

    Seriously, fsck tailgaters intentional or not!

  7. #7
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamite View Post
    Seriously, fsck tailgaters intentional or not!
    Personally I would avoid sex with them, but to each his own ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMZ View Post
    Personally I would avoid sex with them, but to each his own ....
    ...I got a bit carried away

  9. #9
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    I saw on an article/video sometime that it is possible that the driver is just oblivious to the distance between you. In the video the guy suggested moving from the wheel-lane you are riding from (say, right hand side) to the other wheel lane (left hand side) and back once or twice. This would alert the driver in front of you about your presence as well, and the tailgater might just back off, especially since you keep checking your mirrors...

    What says those in the know?
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  10. #10
    Cheeky!
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    Had an incident last night down Witkoppen, as it was a single lane I had nowhere to go and as the focus goes on the tailgater, I slowed down a little to increase the gap with the car in front. Still not interested in backing off, last resort I used my strobes, this made him back up a little but as soon as I switched them off he was back again.

    To add to his stupidity he then tried to overtake me on my left, with my options been him or on coming traffic, I closed his gap and he backed off a little, as the road split to two lanes he gunned it and stopped at the robot 50m ahead, , Pull up next to him and asked if he was trying to park in my top box, which went over his head. Asked why he would tailgate a bike, his intelligent response, well still playing on his phone, was well did I hit you.

    He drove off like a bat out of hell when the robot changed to be stuck behind the two cars at the robot, tailgating them first in the left lane and then in the right, he finally saw a gap, cut across intro my lane and then squeezed between the two cars forcing the one to brake.

    I had chosen to keep my space which was a good thing, as I would have been in the gap which he used to cut across.

    Something that tailgaters do not realize, besides been bullies, is the focus of attention for the driver been tailgate moves from looking at whats happening in front and to the side of them and goes to the idiot in the review mirror thereby making the road dangerous for all users in the close proximity.

  11. #11
    Cheeky!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
    I saw on an article/video sometime that it is possible that the driver is just oblivious to the distance between you. In the video the guy suggested moving from the wheel-lane you are riding from (say, right hand side) to the other wheel lane (left hand side) and back once or twice. This would alert the driver in front of you about your presence as well, and the tailgater might just back off, especially since you keep checking your mirrors...

    What says those in the know?
    If the person is oblivious it may help, if the driver is intentionally tailgating, he may look at this as a sign of aggression, so suppose its all depends on the mindset of the tailgater.

  12. #12
    Evil Biker Scum
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    Nicely written and thought out article..... except that I've never been, nor can imagine myself, in this situation?

    Surely comes from a country or state where lane splitting is illegal and motorcycles are slower than cars?

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    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbon View Post
    Nicely written and thought out article..... except that I've never been, nor can imagine myself, in this situation?

    Surely comes from a country or state where lane splitting is illegal and motorcycles are slower than cars?
    It happens all the time. One example I can think of is a single lane road with a barrier line. Vehicle ahead is doing 110. Then you. No space to legally overtake. Vehicle behind you crawls closer.

    I do however see your point and in most situations, it is more fun to just leave them behind ... in your dust, so to speak.

  14. #14
    I am dreaming of a mielie field ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cubby View Post
    Had an incident last night down Witkoppen, as it was a single lane I had nowhere to go and as the focus goes on the tailgater, I slowed down a little to increase the gap with the car in front. Still not interested in backing off, last resort I used my strobes, this made him back up a little but as soon as I switched them off he was back again.

    To add to his stupidity he then tried to overtake me on my left, with my options been him or on coming traffic, I closed his gap and he backed off a little, as the road split to two lanes he gunned it and stopped at the robot 50m ahead, , Pull up next to him and asked if he was trying to park in my top box, which went over his head. Asked why he would tailgate a bike, his intelligent response, well still playing on his phone, was well did I hit you.

    He drove off like a bat out of hell when the robot changed to be stuck behind the two cars at the robot, tailgating them first in the left lane and then in the right, he finally saw a gap, cut across intro my lane and then squeezed between the two cars forcing the one to brake.

    I had chosen to keep my space which was a good thing, as I would have been in the gap which he used to cut across.

    Something that tailgaters do not realize, besides been bullies, is the focus of attention for the driver been tailgate moves from looking at whats happening in front and to the side of them and goes to the idiot in the review mirror thereby making the road dangerous for all users in the close proximity.
    Glad nothing bad happened... Guys like that are a danger not only for bikes, but cages and pedestrians as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cubby View Post
    If the person is oblivious it may help, if the driver is intentionally tailgating, he may look at this as a sign of aggression, so suppose its all depends on the mindset of the tailgater.
    Probably true. But there's no way to know, except hindsight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbon View Post
    Nicely written and thought out article..... except that I've never been, nor can imagine myself, in this situation?

    Surely comes from a country or state where lane splitting is illegal and motorcycles are slower than cars?
    If I recall correctly this was a video from an American who also spend some time in London.
    Ride so you can ride again tomorrow.
    From your friendly cager

  15. #15
    Hooligan Biker RocketRooster's Avatar
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    I can't agree with some of the remedies in the article. Tailgaters are of two types. the oblivious and the self-entitled.

    The fact of the matter is that either is in control of the situation. The former will not compute signals like brake checks, likewise hand signals and the like. it rarely works and it just adds to the aggravation.

    The latter are the worst because if you make your displeasure with their following distance known, you feed their power and allow them to know that they're in control. You can forget about getting them to back off.

    The only control you have is your own positioning, so leave them behind or change lanes.

    What does work is to catch them off guard with something unexpected that isnt aimed at them, like weaving from side to side or standing up on the pegs. It takes them out of their comfort zone as an unidentified hazard and they subconsciously and automatically back off.

  16. #16
    Hooligan Biker RocketRooster's Avatar
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    PS a tube running from a small diesel tank to one of the exhaust headers, and a handy thumb valve to make a smoke screen... now that's what I'm talkin about!

  17. #17
    Hooligan Biker

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    I respectfully disagree with the views expressed in the initial post. We live in South Africa, not in Europe or US or Oz. Tailgaters here either do not see your brake lights flashing or they simply don't care. What usually works for me is a hand-gesture motioning to the driver behind me to slow down, failing that, I speed up and get away and engage the driver in a friendly chat at the next stop...

  18. #18
    Trip 7s colyvon's Avatar
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    What worked for me, was lifting the back of my jacket to expose the stainless steel, 4" barrel .357 Magnum, amazing how quickly they backed off. Of course that was twenty years ago, probably wouldn't work now.

  19. #19
    Hooligan Biker

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    Quote Originally Posted by colyvon View Post
    What worked for me, was lifting the back of my jacket to expose the stainless steel, 4" barrel .357 Magnum, amazing how quickly they backed off. Of course that was twenty years ago, probably wouldn't work now.
    Hahahaha

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