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What is the 'lifesaver' when riding a motorcycle? What is the 'lifesaver' when riding a motorcycle?

  • Possible answers:

     
  • A. A certificate every motorcyclist must have

  • B. A final, rearward glance before changing direction

  • C. A part of the motorcycle tool kit

  • D. A mirror fitted to check blind spots

 
 

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Riding and driving: dealing with blind spots

Lifesaver

A lifesaver is when you turn your head to see what is outside your peripheral vision when you are riding a motorbike or driving a car or heavy vehicle, and it is used immediately before you make a turn to the left or right, change lanes or begin an overtaking manoeuvre. While the term is predominantly used when riding a motorbike, the head check itself is important when riding or driving any kind of vehicle.

You can help maintain an awareness of the traffic that is around you by regularly taking quick glances in your mirrors and occasionally turning your head to see if anything has already crept into your blind spot; a lifesaver glance or head check isn't just something that you would do immediately before a manoeuvre.

Blind spots

Vehicles have blind spots caused by incomplete coverage by the mirrors, the position of pillars, and the size of your windows (particularly the rear window on large SUVs). On a motorbike, the helmet itself can create a blind spot. A blind 'spot' is more of a 'zone' than a specific small space as it can be quite a large area. They are also called blind areas.

Blind spots can be reduced by setting your mirrors correctly

Choosing the right sunglasses and glasses can help you improve your peripheral vision when riding a motorbike.

Shoulders and elbows

When riding a motorbike it's possible that your shoulders and elbows can cause blind spots. To avoid this problem, fit longer mirror stems or extend the arms (if possible).

Mirrors on motorbikes

It's preferable to have a mirror on both sides of your motorbike so that you can see as much around you as possible.

Highway Code advice for blind spots

Rule 159

Before moving off you should

Move off only when it is safe to do so.

highway-code-rule-159-blind-spot

Rule 161

Mirrors. All mirrors should be used effectively throughout your journey. You should