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Riding in city traffic today there was a guy behind me who kept stopping about 5’ feet behind me at each light. It felt too close in my mirrors and one time I even turned my head around to assess the distance. That’s when I estimated it at 4-5’. It annoyed me somewhat and worried me a little because I was thinking, “What if he saw the green turn arrow for the adjacent lane and absent-mindedly rolled forward into me?” If I were in a 4 wheel vehicle it wouldn’t have even caught my attention but on the bike it did.

I’m posting this because I thought to myself, well, A-holes will always be with us and besides, what can I do anyway? But is that true…is there something more I could do to get people to stay back a little further? I have a brake light modulator, keep it in 1st gear and watch the mirrors at stops, etc.
They are not your roads. You can't have it all hasselhoff. If a close driver concerns you that much, pull over and let them pass. 4/5 feet is plenty of space.
 

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Riding in city traffic today there was a guy behind me who kept stopping about 5’ feet behind me at each light. It felt too close in my mirrors and one time I even turned my head around to assess the distance. That’s when I estimated it at 4-5’. It annoyed me somewhat and worried me a little because I was thinking, “What if he saw the green turn arrow for the adjacent lane and absent-mindedly rolled forward into me?” If I were in a 4 wheel vehicle it wouldn’t have even caught my attention but on the bike it did.

I’m posting this because I thought to myself, well, A-holes will always be with us and besides, what can I do anyway? But is that true…is there something more I could do to get people to stay back a little further? I have a brake light modulator, keep it in 1st gear and watch the mirrors at stops, etc.
There is nothing we can do to change the behavior of others. It's the same as with the "Watch for Motorcycles" signs and stickers: nothing more than wishful thinking, because all we can do is watch out for ourselves. Even those of us who ride don't always see the motorcycles when we're driving a car. When I'm driving on multi-land roads in town, I always expect the driver in the other lane to cut into my lane without warning and, if he does, I have already figured out where I'm going to go. And if he doesn't, I'm pleasantly surprised. When I'm driving down the road and there's a car sitting at a stop sign on the cross street, I expect the driver to pull out in front of me and, when he doesn't, I'm pleasantly surprised. But no matter what, we are always more vulnerable. That guy sitting 4-5 feet behind you at the light? He doesn't think he's doing anything wrong because that's the same distance he'd maintain if he were to be behind another car. In that situation, all you can do is hope he won't be inattentive enough to run into you. Your only alternative is to avoid driving in the city.
 

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There is nothing we can do to change the behavior of others. It's the same as with the "Watch for Motorcycles" signs and stickers: nothing more than wishful thinking, because all we can do is watch out for ourselves. Even those of us who ride don't always see the motorcycles when we're driving a car. When I'm driving on multi-land roads in town, I always expect the driver in the other lane to cut into my lane without warning and, if he does, I have already figured out where I'm going to go. And if he doesn't, I'm pleasantly surprised. When I'm driving down the road and there's a car sitting at a stop sign on the cross street, I expect the driver to pull out in front of me and, when he doesn't, I'm pleasantly surprised. But no matter what, we are always more vulnerable. That guy sitting 4-5 feet behind you at the light? He doesn't think he's doing anything wrong because that's the same distance he'd maintain if he were to be behind another car. In that situation, all you can do is hope he won't be inattentive enough to run into you. Your only alternative is to avoid driving in the city.
I mostly agree--we have to take care of ourselves--but those "Watch Out For Motorcycles" sigbs are hugely important because they are an official acknowledgement that motorcycles are an accepted form of transportation that belong on public roads and are not just the disruptive toys of psychos and outlaws they've been portrayed as in countless movies and on TV. Sometimes a behavioral change follows an attitudinal change.
 
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I have developed unique stopping habits like others have already mentioned. If a see a light turn yellow I will back off the throttle and let most cars fly by me only to brake harder than I have to (I do this both in the car and the motorcycle). As I approach a stoplight I will stop probably at least two bike lengths from the car in front of me. Then I keep an eye on my rear view mirrors; if someone is coming too quickly I will lane split.

The Space Coast is not too bad for people coming up too close at a stoplight.
 
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One of the biggest problems is the person behind, beside you, or in front of you staring at his phone and/or texting.
If a car is on your right at an intersection, even if he appears to be looking right at you, watch his front tires to see if he is moving. He may be looking right through you. I also stop slightly to the left or right of car in front of me, never in the center of the lane. It gives you an escape route.
 

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If a car pulls up 5 feet behind me I wonder what is wrong with him.
Usually 1-2 feet.
So what is your deal?
If you expect people to maintain 6 or more feet separation at a stop sign/light, I think you are being unrealistic.
Pull over and wait until everyone goes by, then continue.
And do this every time until you go crazy.
Good luck with that.
 

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Some of the differences here may be the result of where riders live. Riders in rural areas will be used to a different sense of space. In LA, if there's a foot between me and the car ahead, or me and the car behind, someone's going to squeeze a car in there. You just get used to it, and after a while don't much notice a safely stopped car with its snout up your exhaust. Most drivers aren't being intrusive, they're being defensive because the same thing applies--if there's a foot of space, someone's going to try to squeeze a car into it.
 

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If/when I'm stopped as long as they aren't touching my vehicle that's far enough. Multiple vehicle lengths are unnecessary.
 

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Riding in city traffic today there was a guy behind me who kept stopping about 5’ feet behind me at each light. It felt too close in my mirrors and one time I even turned my head around to assess the distance. That’s when I estimated it at 4-5’. It annoyed me somewhat and worried me a little because I was thinking, “What if he saw the green turn arrow for the adjacent lane and absent-mindedly rolled forward into me?” If I were in a 4 wheel vehicle it wouldn’t have even caught my attention but on the bike it did.

I’m posting this because I thought to myself, well, A-holes will always be with us and besides, what can I do anyway? But is that true…is there something more I could do to get people to stay back a little further? I have a brake light modulator, keep it in 1st gear and watch the mirrors at stops, etc.
I usually pull over and let them go by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
They are not your roads. You can't have it all hasselhoff. If a close driver concerns you that much, pull over and let them pass. 4/5 feet is plenty of space.
What’s with the insult, JGordeon2021GW? Hasselhoff? If you’re trying to imply I feel entitled to a safe buffer zone, you’re right. Maybe just say that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
If a car pulls up 5 feet behind me I wonder what is wrong with him.
Usually 1-2 feet.[/QUOTE
“Usually” 12 inches behind you on your bike? That’s so exaggerated it’s simply laughable nonsense. Or your perception of distance is optically challenged.
 

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On my 2nd Goldwing, had a ‘75.(lost in a fire). Now the awesome’22 DCT. I’m combating these close calls all the time. LED light help. Getting ‘kisan’ brake modulator next. Extra flash WILL help. I smother them with kindness, while inquiring about why they think creeping up on me is safe at all, if able to communicate at all. The middle finger never helped me, even though it’s instinctively displayed on occasion. Education is key if the situation allows. Or the swerve ( take all your lane) really gets them thinking I’m drunk or incapable of operating my machine. So they change lane, or back off big time. Have not been knocked off in 45 years.
 

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Riding in city traffic today there was a guy behind me who kept stopping about 5’ feet behind me at each light. It felt too close in my mirrors and one time I even turned my head around to assess the distance. That’s when I estimated it at 4-5’. It annoyed me somewhat and worried me a little because I was thinking, “What if he saw the green turn arrow for the adjacent lane and absent-mindedly rolled forward into me?” If I were in a 4 wheel vehicle it wouldn’t have even caught my attention but on the bike it did.

I’m posting this because I thought to myself, well, A-holes will always be with us and besides, what can I do anyway? But is that true…is there something more I could do to get people to stay back a little further? I have a brake light modulator, keep it in 1st gear and watch the mirrors at stops, etc.
[/ It's a hard one and we all went through it. Leave more space with the front car, stop, and slowly roll through, hopefully, they won't follow. You could wear a gang's leather vest, that works too. Enjoy the ride.
 

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I wonder if there's a way to inject something harmless into the exhaust so that a thick stream of noxious black smoke pours out when I choose.
 
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I've noticed that after installing the Gold Strike lightstrike trunk light that goes into a flash mode while at stops that most car drivers stay farther away from me at stop lights.
 

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I’m quite surprised by the number of (presumably) experienced riders who have an issue with cars approaching too closely to the stopped motorcyclist.

My SOP:

When approaching a stopped vehicle at a red light, for example:

  • As you approach a stopped vehicle, choose a lane position to the left or right side of the lane that gives the best emergency escape route from being rear-ended
  • Bring your motorcycle to a stop leaving about 1 car length between you and the stopped vehicle
  • Watch your mirrors for traffic approaching your rear; if a vehicle is approaching, pulse your brake light to alert the approaching driver
  • As the vehicle approaches your rear and appears to be slowing sufficiently, gradually pull forward into the 1 car length buffer space you allowed when you stopped.
It‘s not “rocket surgery.” Lol.

Tim
 

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I wonder if there's a way to inject something harmless into the exhaust so that a thick stream of noxious black smoke pours out when I choose.
Maybe not black, but antifreeze would produce a thick white smoke.
I’m quite surprised by the number of (presumably) experienced riders who have an issue with cars approaching too closely to the stopped motorcyclist.

My SOP:

When approaching a stopped vehicle at a red light, for example:

  • As you approach a stopped vehicle, choose a lane position to the left or right side of the lane that gives the best emergency escape route from being rear-ended
  • Bring your motorcycle to a stop leaving about 1 car length between you and the stopped vehicle
  • Watch your mirrors for traffic approaching your rear; if a vehicle is approaching, pulse your brake light to alert the approaching driver
  • As the vehicle approaches your rear and appears to be slowing sufficiently, gradually pull forward into the 1 car length buffer space you allowed when you stopped.
It‘s not “rocket surgery.” Lol.

Tim
And keep the bike in gear. I've seen a lot of riders put the bike in neutral, especially at red lights because they didn't want to hold the clutch.
 
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