Curve With a Curve Ball

Is there a left-turning car behind those trees?

Is there a left-turning car behind those trees?

Sometimes life can throw us a curve. As motorcyclists, we tend to like that. After all, curves are fun, right? But what about when a curve — especially one that seems relatively routine — throws us a curve of its own? I’m talking about the left hand bend that has a side road or driveway to the right. While we can often see if a vehicle is situated on that side road as we approach, we are often unable to see around the bend for any potential threat. What are we looking for? What should we expect? A fun curve like the one shown can be a real drag when an oncoming vehicle decides to turn left across our lane onto that tertiary road as we maintain speed. So what can we do? First, we need to recognize that a side road on a left hand bend can be one of the most dangerous situations we encounter on back roads. Become aware of side roads and adjust your speed downward, no matter how much that curve is beckoning your throttle. By moving to the right side of your lane you’ll see any oncoming vehicles sooner, giving you more time and more space to work with should that driver opt to turn in front of you. The number one scenario for motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle is a left turning car crossing the rider’s path. The risks go up on blind left curves with a side road to the right. The only safe play when a curve throws you this curve ball is to create sufficient time and space. Note the skid marks on the road in the photo that are the likely result of drivers being surprised by a left-turning car.



3 Responses to “Curve With a Curve Ball”

  1. gershon Says:

    Looking at the road furnature, I would guess there is not a driveway past the curve. The terrain upslopes too steeply to the right and the guardrail to the left seems to protect descending terrain where a driveway is not likely.

    Looking at the skidmarks just ahead of the bike, I suspect there is some local drive who comes out of the driveway to the right without stopping so good. His view is blocked by the hill.

    However, I noted these after looking at the picture far longer than I’d be able to do on the bike.

    There is something that jumped out at me. The speed limit is 35, however, my view is cut short by the tree overhanging on the left which probably wasn’t factored into the speed limit. Based on this, I’d consider slowing to a speed that would allow me to stop in the actual sight distance.

  2. Gershon Says:

    I have to admit, I looked at the picture first and formed an opinion. The end result would be slowing down. After reviewing the post again this morning, I realize you are pointing out a hazard I wasn’t well aware of. It’s possible I’m too focused on the road to the right and perhaps not looking hard enough for the left turner.

    Thanks for the situation. It’s real valuable.

  3. Timothy Crump Says:

    Good example! You would definitely want to slow, and I’d be hugging the right shoulder, as it is the perfect spot for some Bubba to come along BEHIND the left turner, and go around him into your lane……I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

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