U Turning Van - Claims Another Victim

3 lane section London Bound.

Inside lane = Bus Lane

Middle Lane = Ford Transit

Outside Lane = Our Hero ( not me ) on his way to work.

Just after lights ( speed 15 - 20 mph ) van decides to U Turn - bang “Didn’t see him officer!”

Totalled bike - Broken Wrist that needs extensive surgery and pins - broken rib.

This was a very experienced rider - how can you avoid getting totaled like this? I know we all ride defensivly but have we got to hang back on every Transit we see in front of us just in case they decide to u-turn? Do we have to toot the horn on overtaking these twits?

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Not much I guess other than keep the speed down so you can stop (like we do eh?) and don’t daydream about girls etc (ahem). I presume there wasn’t a turning on the right? It was a pure U-turn across lane 3?

Lordy. Sooner or later the clowns’ll get ya.

S’right - it was a U-Turn to go back the other way…

I suppose we have to stay extra alert and look out for ‘unusual braking’ on a clear road that could indicate that chummy is about to do something clever - of course no indicators were used…

not wishing to teach you how to suck eggs but…

‘Time to react’ is the very foundation of ‘Roadcraft’ and i don’t wish to ram RC down your throat either but it does make sense.

You should always be travelling at a speed suitable for the conditions and in built up areas that can mean extremely defensively and your awareness on ‘uberalert’!!

Always ensure you can stop in a distance you can see to be clear, anticipate a vehicle ‘u-turning’ if it has the room to manouevre this turn…

you may think ‘great, so i have to be wary of everything i anticipate passing’ in a nutshell , YES, it may be a pain but i’d rather get home tired then be nursing a fractured limb and getting quotes on repairing my bike.

Always give yourself that Time to react and you’ll elliminate most dangers…it will alsomake you feel more in control of your surroundings.

Tip: Next time your out on the bike try a ‘running commentary’ on your ride…you’ll be amazed at what it makes you see and how your ride changes into a safe one…

for example: “Ok, travelling along in lane 3, bus in lane 1and of no immediate danger to me and a van in lane 2 which is a danger to me, conscious of the van as i approach so slowing to a speed i can stop in, van maintaining direction and speed and… BRAKE”

I know it looks daft printed and written but that commentary actually gives you the time to react, it heightens your perception of other roadusers and gives you that split second to react.

it’s the same as using a phone whilst driving. one distracts the other, either your driving becomes rubbish as your concentrating on your conversation or your conversation becomes rubbish as your concentrating on your driving!

Give yourself a commentary on your ride and you concentrate TWICE as hard on you ride.

Only an idea, but it works for a lot of us police riders and we still do it on our refreshers.

hope you and machine mend quickly!

Good advice Porks! - and not daft at all!

Defensive driving in practice and a wrning to us all not to stop concentrating on whats around us - ever!

BTW it wasn’t me who got smeared against the Transit but a mate of mine - proffesional rider of 20 years experience!


sorry tri, i meant i hope your mate mends!!

try the commentary though…it does work!

(unless your listening to your iPod shuffle…ahem

sorry but U turns should be banned as this happens too often…not just with bikes either…

if im going the wrong way i find a left turn and have to cross the traffic again to go to the right…

U turns are about selfish driving…and selfish drivers are bad drivers…throw the book at 'em

I’ll second PS on this. I’ve heard of the running commentary technique before, from a very experienced rider. He said the same thing. It feels weird doing it at first, but you will surprise yourself at how many things you thought you saw before, but didn’t really appreciate the potential consequences/impact that they could have. Actually saying it out loud does make you think more.



I throw the whole bleedin’ library at them!!!

Since my accident, i’ve been very aware of other drivers and their actions.

So i’m now riding more defensively and leaving myself time to react. I leave home earlier so I’m not rushing and forced into taking risks, some may find this style of riding boring but I’d rather be safe. It takes some practise to be honest!

I’m thinking of taking an advanced riding course as well.

Be safe

overtake quicker? I think I only spend a fraction of time actually sitting next to my overtake

Triang, sorry to hear about your friend. You raise a very good point mate! In London, you are constantly surrounded by vehicles that could at any time cross your path. Porkscratchin’s advice is superb, and I’ll give it a go, though I must admit to being scepticle about whether or not this is possible to adopt in Central London, as you’ll end up riding at 15mph. Still, I’ve always believed in being able to stop in the distance you see to be clear most of the time. Some times you just can’t, or won’t want to do this, but if you do it most of the time, you raise your chances of staying sticky side up massively I believe!

I also agree with the suggestions of u-turns being outlawed. At least on main roads anyhow. If you had to take the next left or right onto a side-road and perform a safe u-turn there where traffic is so much slower; would it really slow you down much? U-turns are so bloody dangerous! People don’t look both ways, and they don’t correctly judge oncoming traffic’s speed!

Cabbies are the worst for this, they actually scare me at times. I take it super-easy around these dodgy-drivers.

Remember the advice I always give. They ARE trying to take you out so ride accordingly.

S’possible - in the spirit of "if they’re behind you they can’t do you much harm "

Personally I like putting 10 yards between me and any ‘dodgy’ drivers so I guess a case of that plus defensive riding might save the day. But I suppose there are the boarderline “If I speed up to overtake and he is about to u-turn it will make things so much worse” scenarios.

I guess we stay alert and defensive and do what comes naturally …

I wouldn’t agree with keeping them behind you either. I’ve been shunted by cab-drivers before! And I know DA has had a hell of a lot worse!!

Hope your mate gets better soon

And I would say that you have to take every situation as it comes and deal with it to the fullest of your capabilities, be that slowing down and letting it pas or speeding up and getting away.
just be positive in your actions don’t dither and if you ever think shall I don’t as it is to late.

I’m sure the commentary works but even police riders have accidents. How does “see transit, slowing, slowing, stopped, he’s pulling out, I’m next to him, he’s running me over” help at all?

Not to mention the fact that if you slowed for every transit van (I mean, in order to stop in time for out-of-the-blue U turns) whilst passing, you’d more as likely be saying “van, slowing, getting rear ended by cabbie, looking at the lovely shapes formed by the clouds”.

Sh!t happens, hope your mate recovers and has minimal hassle with the insurance.

You must’ve done AIM.
I nrealy did it for a car, but then my car got written off by my mug of a brother.
Basically you have to do a running commentary of EVERYTHIGN on the road for 10 minutes (that’s what it was then anyway)

Two cars parked on left, kids could comethrough gap, School zone approaching, blue ford behind me 50 yards back but closing in, traffic lights ahed, bus stop ont eh right, someone may leap out, Blue Ford behind is now 20 yards away…

I used to practise this to myself when I thought I was gonna take the car test version, and its TRULY amazing what you see and learn about your driving, cos you are TRYING to notice everything, instead of thinking, I’m pretty sure I know what he’ll do next, then daydreaming about the tits you saw down the pub last night, (sorry ladies…that’s what I daydream aobut)

It really works…the commentary I mean ,

Just try the commentary, it’s a difficult tool to sell reading about it.

the proof in the pudding is the actual application of it in real time.

Try it!

what do you have to lose?

False teeth if you get carried away?