Stayin’ Safe: Wheel He Or Won’t He?

wheel he or won't he
Will this truck pull out in front of you? Watching for the front wheel to begin rolling is a more reliable predictor than making eye contact with the driver.

For those of us on two wheels, the most likely clash with another vehicle would be at an intersection with an approaching vehicle turning left across our path or a vehicle pulling into our lane from a side road, parking lot or driveway. How can we know if the driver will pull the trigger and shoot point blank into our immediate path of travel? When it comes to the anxious driver poised to pull out from our right or left, is there a way to detect the driver’s intent?  

If there’s a wheel, there’s a way. Determining if a vehicle is beginning to move forward is most practical if we look to the car’s front wheel. Our brain has a much easier time detecting even the subtlest wheel rotation than it does trying to discern if the mass of the vehicle itself is moving slightly from right to left (or vice versa). See the wheel of that vehicle to your right beginning to rotate counterclockwise? Be ready; the vehicle is about to enter your lane!

But what about eye contact? Even if a driver appears to be looking directly at you, he or she may be looking beyond, never even noticing you. And, even if the driver does see you, they could easily misinterpret the distance and speed at which you are approaching, believing that you are farther away than you are.

Always anticipate the move. Even if you are confident that a driver will not pull out, be ready when they do. The way to do that is by managing your speed. Ask yourself if you could smoothly and safely stop your motorcycle to avoid contact if that driver began to pull out. Looking and anticipating while still carrying excessive speed takes away your options and limits the space and time you have to work with should the driver enter the lane ahead of you. He wheel. I mean, he will. 


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