What Could I Have Done Differently? - Suzuki SV650 Forum: SV650, SV1000, Gladius Forums

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Old 04-20-2018, 08:21 PM   #1
General Concept
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What Could I Have Done Differently?

Hello all. I've only been riding for about 3 years, and would consider myself to be a novice-intermediate rider. Not a total beginner, but by no means experienced. Recently I was involved in a single-vehicle accident (of my own causing) wherein I was not paying attention to the turn and ran off the road. I was going the speed limit (45mph), it was a VERY shallow turn (as in I could see all the way through it. Maybe 35degree turn... if that..). Not leaning over hard, not going fast, literally just cruising. I was not paying attention to the road (my eyes were on the scenery of a gorgeous farm with lake and cabin) and when I looked up I was approaching the apex of the turn, on the very outside edge of my lane. By the time I had looked up, it was more or less inevitable that my front wheel was going to run off the edge of the pavement. As luck would have it, this was one of those roads where the shoulder had eroded severely so there was a 2"-3" dropoff from the pavement to the gravel. As soon as I saw where I was heading I pretty much knew I was going down. Sure enough, front wheel nosed off the pavement, complete loss of front traction, lowsided and slid about 60ft.

My question is this. Aside from the obvious "watch where you're going", do you have any tips for ways to recover if your nose edges off the road? I am certain that all of us have (at one point or another) target fixated on either the scenery, or rearview mirrors, or SOMETHING - only to look up and realize we're dangerously close to the edge of the road. In the event that I find myself in that place again, what techniques do you experienced riders recommend as far as recovery goes? I understand that in this particular situation, given the 3" dropoff on the edge of the shoulder, it was highly unlikely that I'd be able to recover at all and the only fix would have been to pay closer attention to the road than the scenery. But what if the shoulder had been flat? I am pretty certain that, given my degree of experience, even if it had been flat and dirt, I would have still lost control. Are there ways to recover from this at all? Any techniques I could practice (including ways to still enjoy the scenery but not target fixate?).

The accident was rough but could have been a lot worse. It was 100% my fault, and now I'm preparing for when I get healed up and can ride again, so that I can come out of this a safer rider
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:04 PM   #2
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

Don't just do something, sit there! Let the bike proceed onto the shoulder, don't hit the brakes or throttle, just ride it out.

These accidents usually involve locking one or both wheels. the spinning wheels are gyroscopes to stabilize you. Keep them turning. That prevents most low-sides

Take an MSF course and focus on low speed maneuveability. You'll be amazed how steeplly you can lean the bike and your body (not always in he same direction). Like counter-steering it can be counter-intuitive. The instructors are watching and if you screw up, they'll show you how to do it right.
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Old 04-22-2018, 03:36 AM   #3
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

steveSLO pretty much said all, if you had room you could have straightened out and just rode it out, avoid brake inputs to prevent wheel lock as long as you can, especially while leaned.

If you caught it earlier enough, you could have pushed harder on the left bar to increase your left lean angle and avoid going off road to begin with. Assuming you were turning left, or right if that was the case. When in doubt in a corner, leaning more will usually save you.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:41 AM   #4
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

Preferable to pull in the clutch as well. Take the MSF course. I made similar mistakes with my first three bikes. It started to get embarassing, so I learned. They didn't have MSF in 1980
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:45 PM   #5
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

What the others have said - ride it out.

This may go as far as standing up on the pegs to get better control while the bike bounces around a bit under you, to going out and practicing on a gravel road to get a feel for what the bike does on loose surfaces. Once you have a feel for what the bike is going to be doing once it's off the paved surface, it will help you to understand how to keep it upright should something like that ever happen again.

Which, now that you've done it once, you shouldn't ever let yourself get distracted again anyway, right?
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

Quote:
Originally Posted by General Concept View Post
By the time I had looked up, it was more or less inevitable that my front wheel was going to run off the edge of the pavement.
Maybe it was inevitable, but maybe not. With a smooth throttle hand, these bikes are capable of a lot more lean angle than you may realize. It's possible you could have leaned in more and saved the turn. Anyway, the main thing is you came out OK and lived to ride another day.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

What rockrat said IF there is a relatively flat area to try to ride it out. Don't hit brakes, don't chop throttle, Feather rear brake while standing on the pegs. But since it was in a turn and there was a substantial drop off your best course of action would be to not make that kind of mistake in the first place. You have to pay attention at ALL times on a bike.
If you want to look at scenery, stop and look at it.

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Old 04-23-2018, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

Excellent advice guys. Thanks for the input!

Last edited by General Concept; 04-23-2018 at 04:05 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:36 PM   #9
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

One more adage for you: "You go where you look".
In a turn, you look at the apex, then you look at the exit.
Then you look at the scenery, which in this case was on the right, right?
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:44 PM   #10
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Re: What Could I Have Done Differently?

In this case, I was making a left turn and ended up running wide of the RIGHT side of the road, interestingly enough. But you do raise an excellent point. If you want to admire the scenery, either stop the bike or - if you must - at least wait till you've passed the apex.

Currently looking into Intermediate MSF courses in North Carolina...
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