Stayin’ Safe: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

web-DSC03533 On any given ride, we are presented with countless road signs along the way, each strategically placed to guide and warn of potential danger. Are there particular signs that suggest more of a threat than others? I believe there are.

web-JunctionRightCurveConsider the commonly seen signs shown here. Each represents a routine curve to either the left or right. Each also indicates a junction with a side road at some point mid-corner. Although, at face value, neither sign appears to suggest a higher priority over the other, one distinction presents higher risk to the rider. Of course, all intersections deserve our full attention. But knowing that traffic crossing or entering our lane is the leading cause of multi-vehicle crashes, a curve with a junction to the right is of particular importance, especially if that curve has an obstructed view. Assume an advancing left-turning driver (who would also have a limited view of our approach) will be crossing our path as we appear. By making this sign a high priority, we can anticipate the turning car before we even enter the corner, and then take necessary precautions to avoid a mid-corner conflict.

The wider picture shows a rider positioned to the outside of a blind left curve with a road to the right. This position increases his line of sight and provides the most advanced visual warning possible. He slows his approach, leaving space to stop if needed. He’s far enough behind the car to avoid being hidden, yet not so far back to invite that turning driver to dart between the car he’s following and him. He also scans to the right, looking for a vehicle at the intersecting road that might be poised to pull out. It’s a solid strategy that started with a simple but often overlooked sign.

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