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Red Lights Are Easy...It's The Greens That Kill Ya!

by Michael Scott
(St. Catharines, ON)

Intersections are one of the two most deadly places for motorcyclists. (Curves are the other, in case you're wondering.)

The reason is, lots of things are happening there...

• Vehicles are crossing each others' paths
• There are traffic controls, signs and signals
• Pedestrians may be around
• Some vehicles are accelerating, others are slowing down and/or stopping
• Some are turning, others are going straight through

Intersections are confusing....especially if they're unfamiliar to you. So, here's what I do to stay alive (and it's worked so far) at all the intersections I travel through.

I do two main things:

1. I ALWAYS slow down...even if I have the right of way (i.e. no stop sign or a green light)

2. I treat all "opposing" traffic (and by that, I mean traffic coming toward me on my street AND traffic crossing in front of me on the 'other' street) as though they are going to break every law and rule in the book.

Those are the two main things I do, but they actually break down into several smaller things:

I assume that I'm going too fast for what I'm doing
I assume that everyone else is going too fast
I assume that people with a stop sign or stop light are going to blow through it
I assume that opposing traffic will turn left in front of me
I assume that my engine will stall in the middle of my OWN left turn and that oncoming traffic will 'clock' me
I assume that pedestrians will jump out from every possible direction and j-walk in front of me

In short, I assume that all the bad things that could possibly happen, WILL happen.

I know you may be thinking I'm a 'puss'! Trust me, I'm not. I raced motocross for years and I've done my share of edgy riding on the street. But I've ALWAYS flipped my paranoid switch to "ON" when I get to intersections.

So endeth today's "stayin alive" lesson. :-)

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