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This is my biggest close-call to date (being a newer rider), so I figured I'd share it.

I was approaching the 24 interchange on 580 westbound in Oakland, late afternoon, dry and clear.

Map of the near-event: http://goo.gl/AF2Tt

Traffic was moderate, and full-speed. The right lane is exit-only for 24 west. The next lane is exit-only for 24 west or east. The next lane is optional exit for 24 east. And the number 1 and 2 lanes are 580 west.

I wanted 24 east. I chose the lane that is the optional 24 east exit for a couple reasons:

1) I like options. If it's too freaky, I can bail on 580.

2) It kept me the farthest possible distance away from the crazy exit lane-changes on the rightmost lanes.

Now, my focus was pretty close-up at this point. There were merging cars everywhere, and moving fast and thick. It would be a complete lie to say I was paying attention 12 seconds up the road. In the thick of traffic, it would have been difficult to see that far.

The west-bound 24 traffic peeled off, last remaining mergers came out of in front of me, and I was clear to take my exit to 24 east.

Except in the rightmost lane in the 24 east exit, there was a car at a dead standstill. It had stalled or something. All other traffic was moving at 65 at this point.

Thankfully, I was not in the same lane as the stalled car. Had I been, I would have had time to swerve, but I would not have had time to stop.

There were a couple factors here. One was that I couldn't see as far ahead as I needed to given my speed.

But the other interesting one was that my brain seemed to reject the idea that the car was stopped when I first saw it. "It's on the freeway, it must be moving," right? That ate up precious distance while it registered.

I slowed (non-emergency) and went far left as I went by. "Holy Frank!" I said, or something to that effect.

Now in those situations, I be sure to keep one eye far ahead.
 

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Glad you came out ok. I ride Hwy 4 to 680S every day through peak traffic. Not always fun. That 12second rule is a lifesaver. The only time I don't is when splitting, more of a couple second rule while watching tires and focusing on traffic. Don't get me wrong, I look ahead too, but when splitting on those two freeways, constant 12 second focus/awareness will kill you since so many drivers are jockeying to move 5 feet farther in the next lane than they are currently. After I slow because of the jerk who generally cuts off the car slightly ahead of me I always make sure to turn on my blinker in whatever direction they merged to. Not sure how many have gotten the point, but as Ron White says: you can't fix stupid.


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Discussion Starter #3
That 12second rule is a lifesaver. The only time I don't is when splitting, more of a couple second rule while watching tires and focusing on traffic. Don't get me wrong, I look ahead too, but when splitting on those two freeways, constant 12 second focus/awareness will kill you since so many drivers are jockeying to move 5 feet farther in the next lane than they are currently. After I slow because of the jerk who generally cuts off the car slightly ahead of me I always make sure to turn on my blinker in whatever direction they merged to. Not sure how many have gotten the point, but as Ron White says: you can't fix stupid.
Good point on the lanesplitting.

My favorite is when a car refuses to let you split past. You can see the guy (it's always a man who does this, it would seem) looking at you in his mirrors as he scrunches over to block your path. Of course, it's a losing game for him, since you can just get in the next lane and wait a few seconds until it invariably ranges ahead of him, and then you're gone.

I've passed many, many more cars who moved to give me room than moved to block me, though. Most people are nice. :)
 

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Thankfully most are. I have had a few pieces of work and one guy awhile back when i rode my sport who actually thought it would be funny to place his F150 with mud tires (who the hell needs those in Danville?!) just over the line as soon as he saw me. Car behind saw and slowed, swerved and left his mirror hanging. Only time I've done that, not sure if I regret or or not but he stopped laughing. Then there are the great drivers who will part like the Red Sea. It gets even better when you are following a CHP.


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I'm just thankful I don't (won't) have to drive in traffic like that.
 

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Glad you're okay.
On the freeway I always like to have a bail out plan. It's part of looking ahead. It comes with experience.
Sounds like you might have had a little object fixation on the stalled car.

I really dislike the East Bay Freeways on my bike. The SF / Peninsula ones are bad enough, but it seems that when traffic is really bad it's all just stopped up so the speeds are not so high.
 

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worst i was ever in was around baltimore during rush hour, everyone running 90mph and no give or take, just bumper to bumper asshole city drivers. good thing i was on a k1200lt
 

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Jeez. I got to respect you all that ride in that kind of traffic. I couldn't do it regularly.
Of course I'm spoiled. During my morning commute I only see about 15 to 20 cars (and I have to worry about moose stepping out of the woods within the 12 seconds).
 

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Jeez. I got to respect you all that ride in that kind of traffic. I couldn't do it regularly.
Of course I'm spoiled. During my morning commute I only see about 15 to 20 cars (and I have to worry about moose stepping out of the woods within the 12 seconds).
It's not that bad. I get to pretend I'm Luke Skywalker shooting thought the Death Star trench every morning and night! ;-)


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Good Evening Beejjorgensen,

Glad to hear you made it out alive. Yeah, it is a scary feeling. I recently had a scare from a driver that did not like motorcyclists at all. She actually slammed on her brakes and swerved directly in front of me. You should have seen the wobble of the front handlebars as I slowed down real fast. I know this due to the fact that there was no one in front of her and she flipped me off as I went past her.

Ever vigilant, ever observant..

Snakeboy66
 

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Good Evening Beejjorgensen,

Glad to hear you made it out alive. Yeah, it is a scary feeling. I recently had a scare from a driver that did not like motorcyclists at all. She actually slammed on her brakes and swerved directly in front of me. You should have seen the wobble of the front handlebars as I slowed down real fast. I know this due to the fact that there was no one in front of her and she flipped me off as I went past her.

Ever vigilant, ever observant..

Snakeboy66
Those people are really irritating. Glad your ok Snakeboy. I run into at least one person like that a week. When I was younger I used to carry Gobstoppers in my pocket that would accidentally fall out as I passed... Older and wiser (hopefully) I just avoid them and keep going thinking peaceful thoughts...


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Discussion Starter #12
I recently had a scare from a driver that did not like motorcyclists at all. She actually slammed on her brakes and swerved directly in front of me. You should have seen the wobble of the front handlebars as I slowed down real fast. I know this due to the fact that there was no one in front of her and she flipped me off as I went past her.
Man, that's insane. I wonder what it is that makes people snap like that for no reason. Yet more good reason to keep ones distance...

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Lane splitting is not legal in Arizona, to the best of my knowledge. I lived most of my life in California, where it is common. Luckily, the traffic in Arizona is not like the traffic in California, and lane splitting is not really needed.

Those of you who have been harassed by angry (jealous?) drivers, I'm glad you are okay. It's hard enough watching out for bike blindness, it's gotta be much harder watching out for bike madness.
 
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