George Kriss

Click on the picture of a crashed Gold Wing motorcycle at the bottom of this article
to see what should have been prevented.


(in most cases) AND MOST AREN'T BAD DRIVERS.

We hear about a motorcyclist crashing into a car way too many nights on the news. What this usually means is a car made a left turn into the path of the motorcyclist with tragic consequences. Is the driver ignoring his or her surroundings? Are they lacking situational awareness? Is the drivers attention on something else? This last scenario being interested in something else is usually the primary cause. But, before you start jumping to conclusions, blame or condemnation let's take a look at what's going on from the perspective of the driver.

Viewing figure 1 we see one car waiting to make a left turn onto a road 90 degrees to its current direction. Let's take a look at the yellow car #1 who's heading southwest on Ash St. Prior to starting the turn his head is turned towards Plum Ave. He's not really looking at car #2 because his eyes are focused on the general area where he wants his car to be at the completion of the turn. The driver has a number of things to consider about the turn so he ends up at the proper place. What's the radius of turn required? Do I want to be in the #1 or #2 lane on Plum Ave? Maybe car #3 begins making a right turn onto Plum Ave so this factors into the equation. The lane he turns into will determine the radius of turn for car #1 and where he merges into traffic. He still has a moment to quickly look forward at the intersection for opposing traffic. He's most likely looking for something the size of a car or truck and there is car #3. Not seeing anything else beyond the intersection is interpreted there aren't any vehicles that would be a conflict. So now he begins the turn with his head and eyes turned toward his turn and how he's going to direct the car to where he wants to be at the completion of the turn. The further he gets into the turn the more his eyes are focused on the remaining part of the turn. None of us has great peripheral vision so our field of view is greatly limited to line of sight.

The most critical part of his turn is at the start. Most drivers will hesitate for about 3 seconds while turning his head to take another look and assess his intended point on Plum Ave. and then quickly begin the turn so it only takes about 2 seconds from start of movement to reach a distance that's 25% into the turn. From start to finish the turn will be completed in about 5-6 seconds. From edge to edge many intersections are about 73 feet. The motorcyclist was about 200 feet prior to the intersection traveling northeast (opposite direction) on Ash St. when the driver first looked for any traffic conflicts and didn't see him for a number of reasons including the limitations of the human eyes field of view when things appear to be small or stationary. It's at this point it becomes critical to make your motorcycle stand out in some fashion and catch the drivers attention (see below). The motorcycle is traveling at the speed limit of 40 mph and covering about 60 feet per second. In the 3 seconds prior to car #1 starting the turn the motorcycle covers 180 feet so he's now at the defined edge of the intersection. The driver is now looking at Plum Ave. It's the next 2 seconds that things happen very quickly. The car starts accelerating and by the time it's reached 15 mph it covering 22 feet per second and crosses the dividing line into the next (opposite direction) lane which is about 12 feet center to center. In that 2 seconds the motorcycle would cover another 120 feet, beyond the car if it weren't there, but since it's only about 35 feet from intersections edge to the side of the car it's going to be about 1 second or less until impact. It doesn't matter how fast someone thinks their reflexes might be, 1 second isn't enough time to see the car begin the turn and stop the motorcycle. According to Bike at 40 mph the stopping distance is 105 feet and the total braking/reaction time 2.98 seconds. That's a point 70 feet beyond the point of impact. The motorcycle will stop at the crash site but there's a real good chance you'll go over the car and maybe reach that 70 foot point in pretty bad condition. Maybe you might have time to grab the brake handle and slow to 30 mph before impact. Applying the laws of physics a crash at 30 mph will result in a 20G force. This results in your body weight increasing from 200 lbs. (may be low for the average rider) to 4000 lbs. You won't survive!


Figure 1

Figure 2

How might we catch the drivers attention?
Now let us have a discussion about a headlight modulator. When pilots take their flight physical a part of the eye exam is to evaluate his peripheral vision. Little lights on each side of the testing device can be flashed to see if they are observed. People having normal vision will see the flash. It's very important for a pilot to be able to catch images off to the side so he can maintain good situational awareness in an effort to avoid a mid-air collision or a taxi accident. Pretty important stuff.

When the driver of car #1 was about to begin his turn and looked over at Plum Ave. his head was probably about 45 degrees away from his straight line of sight. This means there is no way he can see a motorcycle is approaching the intersection. But, if we can find a way to introduce an input to his peripheral field of view we just might catch his attention causing him to turn his head toward straight ahead and observe the cyclist in time to stop beginning his turn. Most of us who use a headlight modulator have many stories about the cars that just as they began to move saw us and quickly hit the brakes. We've seen cars start to pull out of a driveway or parking lot and suddenly the front end dives downward and the car stops. Not very scientific but it's sure a good test case for the use of our modulators.

I've personally known people who didn't think they were effective. One in particular stopped for lunch. After leaving the restaurant the only thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital. After recovery he was talking to a friend who knew I built modulators and said he'd help him install one on his new replacement motorcycle. About three weeks after it was installed the rider called me and said he wanted to install one on another of his motorcycles. He apparently learned something.

We've been building headlight modulators since 1992, long before any of our current competition even started in business. We've always built top quality because it's our desire to provide you with something that will last for decades and they do! With the introduction of LED headlights it's important that you know something about incandescent and LED designs, how they work and what is required to meet the d.o.t. requirements.

Can-Bus electrical systems: We no longer have a page explaining Can-Bus operation because people complained our site contained too much information. We suggest you search the web for Can-Bus definition.

About the d.o.t. requirements:

If you want to become misinformed one of the quickest ways is to read Internet forums where people post things about which they know nothing. I read one contributors statement that the only reason for the d.o.t. regulations was so the government could expand bureaucracy and exercise control over us. Complete rubbish. In a nutshell the reason for the modulation rate of 240 cpm is to avoid causing someone with epilepsy having a seizure triggered. With LED headlights this problem has even more impact.

Here's something we found that happened recently to a journalist who has epilepsy and was sent something by a pretty bad person.

" In his tweet, which has since been deleted, Mike made mention of my seizures and included a small video. It contained images of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been identified as a hate symbol. I was carrying my iPad, looking at the still image on the video and, without thinking, touched the PLAY button. The video was some sort of strobe light, with flashing circles and images of Pepe flying toward the screen. It's what's called epileptogenic - something that triggers seizures. Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done. It landed face down on the bathroom floor."


Click on the pictures below for the link to each of the pages.

You'll see the driver turn his truck in front of the cycle. Watch as the rider flips while airborne and his shoe flying about 25 feet into the air. If this rider wasn't a rugged football player he may not have survived. If you look closely you can see he wasn't wearing a helmet. Each year these type of accidents don't have a comparable outcome.

My neighbors accident
September 2010 Police Dashcam video

05 November 2016

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