I saw it again this morning… A motorcyclist blissfully unaware of an indicator left on. I wouldn’t know how many accidents this action causes. Maybe not many – but any number greater than zero is too many.
Most modern motorcycles have standardised on indicator switch configuration*. Operated by the left thumb, a self-centring switch can be pushed left or right to activate the turn indicator and pressed in (into the switch-block) to cancel the indicator. For many years, BMW have done things their own way, in an effort to confuse motorcyclist journalists and test-riders alike. For their new models appearing next year, it looks like they have finally relented. Huzzah!
Indicators on motorcycles don’t self-cancel. Like so many aspects of riding a motorcycle, the onus of responsibility is on the rider. If your indicator is signalling your intention to leave a road, it is reasonable to presume that some drivers will actually expect you to do just that. The possibility of a driver (or rider) pulling out in front of you has just increased. Most drivers paying sufficient attention would probably detect that you are not likely to be taking the corner due to your speed, body language or lane positioning; but do you really want to rely on them paying attention?
When I learnt to ride, one lesson was passed on to me by a qualified instructor that I feel is justified in mentioning here. Make a habit of pressing the cancel button on your indicator every now and then. If you’re not indicating, it does nothing – but if you are, of course, it stops! There is a tactile difference when pressing the indicator cancel button when the indicator is actually going. From time to time, I’m surprised to find that I’ve left my indicator going longer than intended.
* As a funny “aside”, I once rode a friend’s Aprilia Tuono. On my Honda, the horn button was directly below the indicator button, whereas on the Aprilia, it was directly above. The end result was after every corner we went around, we ended up blasting the horn! (And yes, I blasted it a couple of times when performing my “redundant cancel” habit too! To cover for excess horn usage, just wave at somebody as if you know them!