Right Hand Vehicle Turns Kill Motorcyclists – How to Avoid Them

Traffic accident statistics indicate that human error contributes to the majority of road accidents. Certain types of accidents predominate. In particular, vehicles turning right to cross oncoming traffic at marked and unmarked intersections account for approximately one quarter of all accidents. It is this type of accident to which motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable.

Accident analysis has become increasingly sophisticated in the past two decades. Research has moved beyond working out what happened and increasingly analyses why an accident happened. It is this information that is useful for us motorcyclists.

Researchers in the USA and Japan equipped hundreds of cars with video and sensor recorders to record traffic conditions and driver behaviour, including driver gaze (where the driver was looking), GPS location data, vehicle speed, accelerator pedal position, steering angle, and turn signal activation. This is what they found.

A significant number of accidents, whether with oncoming vehicles or pedestrians, involved vehicles making right turns at intersections in a particular way. What is remarkable is that the researchers were able to re-create the accident scenarios on a close circuit and watch test subjects make the same mistakes. Certain driving situations produce much higher accident rates than others.

From the perspective of the motorcyclist this is interesting because it draws our attention to one of the highest risk road situations. If we can identify the problem, perhaps we can do something to avoid it.

If you look through the photographs below you can see how the typical “right hand turn” accident develops.

Five Seconds to Near Miss - Right Hand Vehicle Turns Kill Motorcyclists
Five Seconds to Near Miss, ref.1.

Notice the position of the motorcyclist in the photo “3 seconds to near miss.” He is either obscured or partially obscured from view to right turning traffic by a vehicle in front (“oncoming vehicle 3”).

Two Seconds to Near Miss - Right Hand Vehicle Turns Kill Motorcyclists
Two Seconds to Near Miss, ref.1.

As the “oncoming vehicle 3” makes the turn, the motorcyclist carries on into the path of the “Test vehicle.” This is the point at which the accident occurs.

Let’s view the accident situation from the point of view of the car driver.

Near MIss, Drivers Perspective - Right Hand Vehicle Turns Kill Motorcyclists
Near MIss, Drivers Perspective, ref.1.

One can see from the video stills above that it is only if the car driver’s gaze point is close to that of the motorcycle when he emerges from behind the oncoming car that the turning car driver might stop in time. The research found that if the car driver had already begun the turn (in other words their foot was on the accelerator and not the brake) they would take more than twice as long to stop. The average reaction time in this case was 1.7s. How far will the bike have travelled across the junction in 1.7s? It would be safe to assume the worse.

That the researchers were able to reproduce the accident reliably indicates the right hand turn can be a remarkably efficient, and lethal, trap for both car and motorcycle drivers.

As a motorcyclist, to avoid this type of accident it is essential one recognizes and anticipates the danger and adjusts one’s speed so the motorcycle can be brought to a halt safely. Do NOT trust that drivers making a turn have either seen you or that they have correctly estimated your speed.

A separate research study in Malaysia concluded that an increase in approach speed of the motorcycle is associated with an increase in motorcycle crashes. It is self-evident that approach speed is important in the right hand turn crash.

So, how to avoid right hand vehicle turns that kill motorcyclists?

(1) Anticipate that a vehicle that can not be seen might appear from an obstructed view-point on an intersection.

(2) Position one’s motorcycle to maximize visibility both of the intersection and so that the motorcycle is conspicuous to other vehicles.

(3) Don’t lane-split down the side of a vehicle that is making a right hand turn ahead. There is no visibility through the vehicle, and another vehicle turning across your path would not be visible. Don’t risk it.

(4) Reduce your speed so that in the worst-case scenario the motorcycle can be brought to a halt before hitting a right turning vehicle.

While not a research conclusion, one might consider circumspection when faced with the typical U-turn where it is commonplace for drivers to creep forward to complete their manoeuvre while waiting for traffic to pass. It is not unreasonable to reduce one’s speed to negotiate the area where the driver will turn (while remaining aware of the risk of being rear-ended by following traffic). One of the key research findings was that it is very difficult to estimate the speed of an oncoming motorcyclist and poor estimation by drivers initiating a turn frequently causes an accident.

Ride safe!

James

Notes

A modified version of this article appears on the GT Rider forum.

References
1.  Nobuyuki Uchida, Maki Kawakoshi, Takashi Tagawa, Tsutomu Mochida, An investigation of factors contributing to major crash types in Japan based on naturalistic driving data, 2010, IATSS Research

2.  V.L. Neale, T.A. Dingus, S.G. Klauer, J. Sudweeks, M. Goodman, An Overview of the 100-Car Naturalistic Study and Findings, 2005 ESV Paper Number 05-0400.

3.  S.Harnen, R.S.Radin Umar, S.V.Wong, W.I.Wan Hashim, Motorcycle Crash Prediction Model for Non-Signalized Intersections, 2003, IATSS Research Vol 27, No 2.

The 5 Things You Need To Know When Buying a Motorcycle Helmet in Thailand

Over on the Golden Triangle Rider forum we have published a note on How to Buy a Good Motorcycle Helmet. While pertaining to Thailand the surprising conclusion is that more expensive helmets are not necessarily safer. Some of the very best rated helmets, as measured by the UK’s SHARP tests, can be bought for between $100 and $200.

 

A Guide to Motorcycle Shops in Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

It was time to see a few motorcycle shops in Kuala Lumpur, so after an early start I arrived in KL on a hot and humid April day. First visit was to KCM SuperBike (No. 17, Jalan  Sri Permaisuri 8, Bandar Sri Permaisuri, 56000 Cheras, KL Tel 03 9173 9435).

From the airport this was easy (here’s the .pdf 2015 Klang Valley Rail Transit Map). Take the No 7 KLIA Transit to Bandar Tasik Selatan (light blue on the map, not the purple No 6 KLIA Express). Change to the No 4 LRT to Sentul Timur (brown on the map. You have to go out of the KLIA station and follow the walkway to the LRT station nearby). For KCM, get out at Salak Selatan station two stops down the line. From there take a taxi or find the opposite (south) entrance to the station. KCM is approx. a five minute walk.

KCM SuperBike motorcycle shop, Kuala Lumpur
KCM SuperBike, Kuala Lumpur

On arrival at KCM, I found a range of new and used motorcycles both for sale and under the spanner. Smaller bikes included 200-400cc Kawasaki, Honda, and KTM’s (love the 390cc KTM’s) and some large capacity bikes including a Kawasaki Versys 1000 and an MV Agusta Brutale 800.  In the workshop at the back of the store was a variety of bikes both big and small and a rather damaged sportsbike which appeared to have low-sided on a wet corner. Outside the shop was a range of small bikes for sale.

What’s striking about motorcycle shops in KL is they sell everything from 125cc to 1000cc whereas in Thailand motorcycle shops sell either 100cc-135cc Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki or “big bikes” of 250cc and up.

Venturing upstairs to the clothing and accessories floor there was a collection of generic “Japanese” lightweight mesh jackets, some pants and boots, and an assortment of accessories. I would say more accessories, such as lights and grips to sprockets and fuelling modules, than clothes. Some small projector headlights suitable for a motorcycle caught my eye.

It wasn’t long before the owner’s wife, Sherlyn Yee, asked if she could help. I told her I was scouting KL motorcycle shops since we make motorcycle clothing. Sherlyn described the KL bike market and generously took time to suggest who we should contact in Malaysia should we want a distributor for Assero Gear. You can’t get better customer service.

KTN S 125 in Kuala Lumpur
KTN S 125 in Kuala Lumpur

After leaving KCM Superbike I turned right and walked down the street to where some shops were selling small bikes and accessories. Honda, Yamaha, Vespa, that sort of thing. As I walked by a retro cafe racer styled 125cc caught my eye. Made by KTN. That’s right, KTN not the Austrian manufacturer KTM. Got to love the stickers, “GP125” and the Union Jack. Actually, it’s Made in Malaysia.

It was time to find some more bike shops. I had read there were a few within 2-3km of the LRT station at Sentul. This is on the north side of Kuala Lumpur so to avoid the traffic it’s quickest to take the train.

From KCM turn right out of the shop, proceed to the end of the row of shops approx. 50m. Turn right and walk due north(ish!). You should be able to see Salak Selatan station roof. Pass through the small bus terminal to the station to re-embark on the No 4 line towards Sentual Timur. I got out at Sentual (Bandar Baru Sentul).

It was after arriving at the station that I was lucky. Turned down by one taxi driver, the next was one of those 1 in 100 hundred taxi drivers, the ever helpful Mr Jasbir Singh Gill (019 6629 566).  After some gentle enquiries he took me on a tour of the local motorcycle shops. He waited for me while I visited the stores. And he called his son in law to email a list of motorcycle shops in KL. Outstanding.

First, we went to Sunny Cycle (37, Jalan Pahang (Titiwangsa), Setapak 53000, tel 03 4021 1161 / 6611). This was the second bike shop on my list after KCM. It was Saturday afternoon and Sunny Cycle was busy. I entered via the workshop, mainly to see the range of bikes that was being worked on. BMW’s, both sport and touring, Ducati, and Kawasaki were in evidence. Road bikes and race bikes. It looked good.

Sunny Cycle Workshop,
Sunny Cycle Workshop,

A door to the left took me inside the shop proper where there was an impressive collection of motorcycle clothing including garments from Held and Clover in Europe. While Held are famous for their leather motorcycle gloves, Clover isn’t well known outside of Italy. From the point of view of a garment designer, I admire their product since they are one of the few companies to design to the European standard for “Personal Protective Equipment for Professional Motorcycle Riders” EN 13595. If you want verifiable top quality, this is the standard to look for.

Sunny Cycle, Kuala Lumpur
Sunny Cycle, Kuala Lumpur

After meeting the owner and his son at Sunny, I headed back to the workshop to chat to some customers who were waiting while their bikes were serviced. They were an experienced group of motorcyclists.

As I left Sunny Cycle one bike caught my eye. Parked away from the other bikes was an immaculate BMW R1100 S Boxer Cup. I took a few close-up photographs where you can see the exposed boxer cylinder heads and the shaft drive.

BMW R1100S Boxer Cup
BMW R1100S Boxer Cup
BMW R1100S Boxer Cup
BMW R1100S Boxer Cup

But I failed to photograph the whole bike. Darn! Technologically, and as a fine looking bike, it was quite something.

2005 BMW R1100S Boxer CupPhoto courtesy of Canine64, Speedzilla.com forum

After Sunny Cycles, Jasbir suggested we visit CBK Motorsport. They are Malaysia’s “Kawasaki MX World One Stop Center” housed in a four storey building on the corner of a street junction (No. 373, Batu 2, 3/4 Jalan Ipoh, 51200 Kuala Lumpur). You can’t miss the building; it’s painted Kawasaki green.

CBK Motosport Kawasaki MX Center Kuala Lumpur
CBK Motosport Kawasaki MX Center Kuala Lumpur

Inside the store CBK offer a large range of MX bikes, clothing, and accessories.  If you are looking for motocross gear this is the place to come.

CBK also run a competitive motocross team who, judging by the silverware on the walls, appear to be Malaysian national champions more often than not.

CBK Motosport Kawasaki MX Center Kuala Lumpur
CBK Motosport Kawasaki MX Center Kuala Lumpur

After CBK it was a short journey to Jalan Sentul where there is a large number of motorcycle accessory shops. First, I wanted to visit Kedai Motosikal, part of AH Hong Motor.

Kedai Motosikal, Jl Sentul, Kuala Lumpur
Kedai Motosikal, Jl Sentul, Kuala Lumpur

The observant reader will immediately notice a white No 27 “classic” bike on the pavement. It is another KTN, which I will write about later.

Kedai Motosikal stock a wide range that on my visit included BMW GS adventure bikes, a Honda Fireblade SP, 390cc KTM’s, some Kawasaki’s, and lots of small Honda, Yamaha, and Vespa bikes. If you want to buy one, this is the place to come.

BMW GS at Kedai Motosikal
BMW GS at Kedai Motosikal

Their workshop was divided into two; a shop unit for servicing small bikes, and a large area in the main shop for servicing big bikes.

Kedai Motosikal Big Bike Service Area
Kedai Motosikal Big Bike Service Area

Judging by the illustrated service posters on the walls they are a major Yamaha service center. As you can see below, they are a friendly lot.

Kedai Motosikal, Sentual, small bike servicing
Kedai Motosikal, Sentual, small bike servicing

Before heading back to the taxi I wanted to visit the long row of motorcycle accessory shops that run down Sentul Road after the Police Station. If you can’t find what you need here, its not available in Malaysia.

Motorcycle Shops in Jalan Sendul, Kuala Lumpur
Motorcycle Shops in Jalan Sendul, Kuala Lumpur

NHS Sport Bikers, UMA Racing, Racing Boy, and Kedai Motosikal / MotoZone were just the beginning as the motorcycle shops stretched over a couple of blocks. It was here that you can find every manner of spare parts for old and new bikes as well as some bikes themselves.

A New Clutch Literally Fitted on Sentul Road
A New Clutch Fitted Literally on Sentul Road

There was plenty going on. Engine-out repairs, clutch replacements, new fairings, it was all being done on the street.

Original Carburettors Sentul Road Kuala Lumpur
Original Carburettors Sentul Road Kuala Lumpur

The range of parts was impressive. This photo of new carburetors was just part of a much larger display. I’m not sure if RM280 is good value for a Honda Wave 125 carb but it might be quite handy to know that you can buy new carbs here if you have a pre-fuel injection bike.

Motorcycle Shops on Jalan Sentul, Kuala Lumpur
Motorcycle Shops on Jalan Sentul, Kuala Lumpur

I dodged in and out of a few shops to see what they had. There wasn’t much in the way of clothing though one shop had a good range of helmets (Shark, HJC, etc). Cheap rear shocks, HID light systems, tyres, and all manner of hardware predominated.

Petronas Race Bike
Petronas Race Bike

The last bike in the last bike shop I saw was this Petronas racebike. Was it one of seventy-five legendary FP1 three cylinder 899cc bikes destined to obscurity after the FIM rule change to 1000cc in 2003? Or was it a Yamaha R1 in drag? Next time I go back, I’ll have to investigate. It seemed like a fitting end to a day full of motorbikes both small and large.

My thanks to Mr Jasbir Gill for getting me to more motorcycle shops in one day than I thought possible.

Contacts:

Mr Jasbir Singh Gill (019 6629 566). Taxi service, day booking, city tour, airport booking. Highly recommended.

CBK Motorsport No. 373, Batu 2, 3/4 Jalan Ipoh, 51200 Kuala Lumpur.

KCM SuperBike, No. 17, Jalan  Sri Permaisuri 8, Bandar Sri Permaisuri, 56000 Cheras, KL. Tel 03 9173 9435. Sherlyn Lee.

Sunny Cycle, 37, Jalan Pahang (Titiwangsa), Setapak 53000, KL. Tel 03 4021 1161 / 6611.  Jeremy Oh.

KTM 690 Rally Factory Replica Modifications

When considering a round-the-world ride many people ask, what is the best motorcycle for such a ride? One of the most experienced long distance riders, and a long distance racer of some renown, is Lyndon Poskitt. He began riding aged 10, and has participated in races all over the world including the Baja 1000, the UK’s Big Bike Rally Challenge and the 2013 Dakar Rally.

Lyndon-Poskitt-Racing
Lyndon Poskitt Racing in the Dakar Rally

Since completing the Dakar Lyndon wanted a new challenge. Why not ride around the world while competing in races on the way? Races To Places was born as was a very special motorcycle.

KTM 690 Rally Factory Replica with modifications
KTM 690 Rally Factory Replica with modifications

Lyndon chose the KTM 690 Rally Factory Replica with a host of modifications. He wanted a bike capable of racing and complete reliability, suitable for touring some of the world’s less travelled routes and yet which could be stripped of its touring gear and raced. In his words,

“…the advantages of the 690 Rally over that of the 690 Enduro. I see this breaking down into 5 categories:
1) Suspension and chassis set-up
2) Fuel Capacity
3) Carburetor
4) Simplicity of systems
5) Ergonomics and durability.”

Lyndon goes on to describe these categories in more detail, “Why I chose the 690 Rally and not a 690 Enduro R for Races to Places.

While the specific component level details are applicable to the KTM 690 Rally, the logic and thought behind each choice can be applied to other bikes. A recommended read if you are considering a round-the-world ride.

Tajx7

You can find the full list of the KTM 690 Rally Factory Replica modifications at Adventure Spec.

The Official Assero Gear Thread live on Adventure Rider

We are excited to announce that our Official Assero Gear News and Discussion Thread has just gone live on the Adventure Rider forum.

Adventure Rider Forum - Assero Gear Launch
Adventure Rider Forum – Assero Gear Launch!

In it we launch our new Arx Keprotec motorcycle glove together with a Special Offer for members of ADV Rider. Head over to catch up!