Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Palma de Mallorca
This is part of a thread on another forum.
I think it is interesting enough to pass on.
"A little karma goes a long way, but do so with safety considerations. You stated that you pulled in and parked behind them. Let me tell you a story without being a buzzkill.
Years ago the SoCal Chromeheads were heading out on a ride from L.A. to Ojai when Phabiénne picked up a nail in her rear tire. Too deep to patch (patch kit was in Hildegärd's saddlebags anyway), and I didn't want everyone losing the day because of me, so I bid them adieu and called the Auto Club for a tow truck. Four lane divided highway, 70 mph average speed, windy conditions, crowned road surface shoulder.
A CHP cruiser saw me on the side of the road, pulled ahead of me and stopped. Asking if I needed assistance, I told him a flatbed tow truck was on the way. The reason I was standing next to the bike balancing it with my fingers was because with the tire flattened on a crowned surface the bike no longer had enough lean to stay to the left in the windy conditions. He noted that because of the long straights I had terrific visibility in case of a errant vehicle, and observed that I looked like a fast runner and had plenty of escape space just in case, and that I was watching oncoming traffic to the rear at the time he stopped. I thanked the officer for checking on me, assured him that despite a long wait that assistance was coming, shook his hand with my free hand and he went on his way.
The worries came from the next well-intended samaritans. A Jeep slowed down and pulled in behind me, even when I fervently motioned him to pull in front of me, as we were taught in Driver's Ed and multiple trips to traffic school as a youth. I explained that help was on the way, and asked why he pulled in behind me.
"To protect you," he replied affirmatively.
"From what?" I asked.
"Oncoming traffic." he states.
"So...if a car hits you from the rear, where's your Jeep going to go?"
With that question, his stunned expression told me he hadn't thought his good intentions through. If an oncoming car veered off the road at 70 mph it would tail-end his Jeep and plow it right into me and my bike, and because he's now blocking my aftward sight line we wouldn't be aware of a potential hazard until too late, endangering both me and himself. I also explained that he's blocking my view of a tow truck (and vice versa). Because he pulled in behind me he's now going to have to back up to get enough "runway" to match highway speed, causing another potential traffic hazard. Sure enough, when he tried merging back into fast traffic the Jeep had to stop and slowly back up even further. After a long wait he finally got his Jeep up to highway speed and pulled away.
My next conniption fit came in the form of a huge recreational vehicle slowing down almost to a full stop. I frantically waved this guy off. A tow truck would never spot me with this behemoth blocking his sight line. He got the message, but had slowed too much, slowing barely a car length away from my rear fender, and nearly causing a high speed bottleneck crash in the left lane as he lumbered the big RV back on the road without warning and practically no runway space. Talk about your panic attacks.
Where I grew up and before the days of cell phones, I was frequently stopping to render assistance, sometimes being the first at an accident scene. Other times we hit off some great conversations. In traffic school (yes, I've paid my debt to society a few times, well worth the 8 hours for some brush-up pointers) we're taught a few safety measures.
1. When stopping for a stalled or distressed vehicle, pull well in front of it. Never block the view of assistance, authority or rescue vehicles. Leave generous room for a tow truck or an ambulance to park behind you and in front of the other vehicle.
2. Parking in front of a vehicle allows you escape or runway space. Depending on traffic conditions, you may not have ample (or safe) runway distance to merge back into traffic if you park behind them.
3. Authority and rescue vehicles have conspicuous emergency lights, we only have hazard lights. They can pull in behind a vehicle and pull out with relative safety afterward. Even with the extra lighting, authority vehicles get hit, too. There's multiple online accident videos out there to prove it.
I'll never discourage anyone from helping out, having known from experience that you could be the factor that gets the other person home safely. But never take your own safety or theirs for granted, and have an exit plan thought out well in advance before you stop to render aid or assistance."