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Discussion Starter #1
A couple recent posts have shown the need for a thread devoted to crashes, close calls, possible rider mistakes, and their causes. Please post a brief summary (PAR--problem, action, result ala David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling series) of any situations you have encountered while riding that you feel would benefit your fellow riders. I figure if it helps even one rider avoid the same mistake, it's worth the personal embarassment.




Residential intersection near my old college, riding alone, made this turn a hundred times. No traffic, so I'm relaxed, my attention is all over the place "hey look at the cool dog over on my left being walked by the hottie".. I signal and engine brake for an easy, slow right hand turn, still looking left. About halfway into the turn I realize the street I'm turning onto has been freshly seal coated and gravelled. I smell it, I see the glisten of the oil, know my front tire will have limited traction... and I MASH the front brake. Front tire goes out, I go down at about 10-15 MPH. Scraped the can, broke the brake pedal and turn signal, but I'm unscathed because of the speed and the fact that I'm wearing gear. Pick up bike, assess the damage, off I ride.

Not paying attention + wrong instinctive reaction (mashing the front brake) = low side crash + mucho :oops: :oops:

Completely avoidable had I been paying attention and/or reacted by using the front brake gently and using a little bit of rear brake.

At the time I had about 2 years and 25,000 miles under my belt.
 

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Good idea for a thread. My most recent was in a long interstate tunnel. As it never gets washed by rain and is highly slippery, braking distance is reduced significantly and so following distance needs to increase as well. I managed to stay up (praise God) after locking both ends under moderate (non panic) braking.
 
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Maritan said:
My experience: Don't use tyre shine.
LOL... good one!

Chalk up armor all on the seat for this guy. In my defense though... that was back in my late teens when I first started riding street bikes. Had to have that "cool" shiny look :) Just about flew off the back the first time I hit the gas. That's a mistake only made once.

Well... twice. The other was when I armor all'd the vinyl seats on my '78 Chevy Nova (all stock grandma car). First left hand corner and I was driving from the passengers side of the bench seat!
 

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sclark900 said:
Maritan said:
My experience: Don't use tyre shine.
LOL... good one!

Chalk up armor all on the seat for this guy. In my defense though... that was back in my late teens when I first started riding street bikes. Had to have that "cool" shiny look :) Just about flew off the back the first time I hit the gas. That's a mistake only made once.

Well... twice. The other was when I armor all'd the vinyl seats on my '78 Chevy Nova (all stock grandma car). First left hand corner and I was driving from the passengers side of the bench seat!
No kidding, I always use armor-all. It makes the bike feel at least 10
horsepower stronger.

I forgot one: I underestimated the impact that a similar weight passenger leaning the wrong way into a turn can have on the bike (this after the verbal preparation...follow the bike, don't fight it...).
 

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A log jumped out,right in front of me from a trailer full of firewood. I did not have time to blink. Rode over it at 60mph....Resulting in a bent front wheel,and loaded underware. :!: Lesson learned,Do NOT follow trailers,or pickup trucks carring any load....this happened in 1970,and has never been ignored sense. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here's another one:

exiting a freeway, just starting up the ramp, about 1 second behind the car in front of me. Guy in front jams on the brakes due to the line of traffic in front of him, I haul on the binders in time to not hit him. Split second later I hear scrrreeeeech immediately behind me and I find a car bumper right alongside my right knee. No injury, no collision, but I could have been a hood ornament that day...


Mistakes:
following too closely to the car in front of me;
not looking far enough ahead to realize guy in front would have to stop;
not being aware of the guy behind me being too close to me; had I known, I would have pulled alongside the driver's side door of the guy in front and let him take it in the tail;
no brake light flashing to let guy behind me know I was slowing/stopping

What I did right (by luck or design):
positioned in the far left of the lane



Ever notice when cagers panic stop, they usually steer and skid to the right?

Take advantage of this habit, along with the visibility enhancement of being directly in the driver's line of sight and the 'escape out' of diving up alongside the car in front if the guy behind you can't brake in time

following distance, six o clock awareness, and lane positioning are your allies
 

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1 - Sharp hair-pin left turn up a mountain - almost switch-back-like. Come around to the mid-point of the turn and the shiny guardrail catches my eye - and keeps it. Next thing I know I'm laying on the ground and the bike slides under the guardrail.

damage: broken shifter and very severly sprained ankle.

lesson learned - don't fixate on targets

2 - Riding up a huge hill with a traffic light on top. Was still in the learning stage on how to feather the clutch, etc. Light was red, big line of traffic so I decided to u-turn. Not enough gas for the gear I was in, stalled out, fell downhill and sent me flying off and rolling down the street. Needed someone to get out of their car to help me pick the bike up, and since I was completely blocking a lane, they couldn't go anywhere until they helped me.

damage: broken turn signal, pride

lesson learned - avoid u-turning on steep hills
 

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We should each chant following distance at least 20 times before riding a bike in traffic.



Two accident lessons:

Accident 1: Had bike for about 350 miles or three weeks. Riding at night and distracted by the chance of deer or gravel missed a stop sign and ran right off the road.

Mistakes made: poor distribution of "attention pie". Riding an unfamiliar road.

Accident 2: Riding with Justin(Nimbus) in some twisties. I dragged a peg, and picked the bike up a few degrees midturn....went off the road.

Mistakes made: riding too fast for the street, picking the bike up, not hanging off.
 

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just after learning how to ride street

last summer, acouple months after i got my sv ,and my endorsment. riding behind my dad and his friend through oregon somewhere. nice sunny day, temp in the 80's. I'm sporting a first gear non-leather mesh jacket, some cloth gloves, and extra thick Cabela's geans, and my hjc cl-14 helmet, and of course my half leather riding pants(but there in my tank bag, cuz its too hot for them, i thought). well, i'm going around these nice turns, sweeping back and forth, day dreaming about a gsx-r that i wanted. Then taking this fairly sharp turn to the left, at about 60-70mph, then all of a sudden a squirrel ran out infront of me, and stopped! well, i was riding with my foot over the back break, so unconsciously i slammed that down, and my rear wheel locked up, the bike went down faster than i could think what was happining! I blacked out. then i woke up laying on my stomach with my dad and his friend running over to me. I shouted at them "pick up my bike!", so the friend picked it up while my dad tried to help me. our cell phones were out of service there, so i had to ride on the back of my dads FJR to the hospitle 45min away. The damage you ask? my sv had the tank dented in two places, the blinker was broken, handle bars bent, left tail plastic scrached up, tack broken, shifter knob gone. My double thick geans wore right through, shaving all the skin off my left knee and some off my right, and part went down below all the skin and flesh stuff on my left knee(ouch!), broke my right thumb, fractured a rib, fractured left foot, and got a nice pice taken out of my rear! and after all that, i got out of the hospitle, i put my riding pants on over my huge knee bandages, ate some dinner, got on my dads bike, rode to my bike, and we continued our trip.

Lessons learned:
1. Always wear good gear. Suprises can happen! geans a no no.
2. Don't daydream while riding!
3. Don't ride with your foot covering the rear brake.
4. Im sure there are someother things i should have learned, but i just cant remember them right now.

I now wear a full leather suit and gloves where ever i go on my bike, i'm taking no chances!

And after all that, the F#*@ing squirrel lived :shock: :evil: !
 

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A few weeks ago, I was riding when it was snowing. It wasn't sticking to the road, and I was only going a mile or two. I went around a corner, hit slush on one of those metal plates used to cover temporary holes, and my front wheel slid out from under me. I was wearing full gear, and I just bounced. No damage to my gear. My helmet didn't touch the ground. I broke the little knob on my front brake lever.

Problem: weather conditions got worse than I expected
Action: decided to tough it out, instead of locking up the bike and taking a cab.
Result: minor accident that could have been worse if other drivers weren't attentive.

Lesson learned:
1. Armored gear is bulky, but better to crash in than unarmored gear.
2. Riding in slush is far more unpredictable than riding in rain.
3. Don't be stupid.
 

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Reverendlex said:
A few weeks ago, I was riding when it was snowing. It wasn't sticking to the road, and I was only going a mile or two. I went around a corner, hit slush on one of those metal plates used to cover temporary holes, and my front wheel slid out from under me. I was wearing full gear, and I just bounced. No damage to my gear. My helmet didn't touch the ground. I broke the little knob on my front brake lever.

Problem: weather conditions got worse than I expected
Action: decided to tough it out, instead of locking up the bike and taking a cab.
Result: minor accident that could have been worse if other drivers weren't attentive.

Lesson learned:
1. Armored gear is bulky, but better to crash in than unarmored gear.
2. Riding in slush is far more unpredictable than riding in rain.
3. Don't be stupid.
I was riding during a snow about 2.5 weeks ago. When I rode out to work there wasn't a cloud in the sky...and an hour later it started snowing up until I got off work.

I decided I would just tough it out...for the most part the roads were clear...but I remember one section of road(for no apparent reason) was quite covered in slushy snow mix. Luckily it was directly after a turn on a mostly straight.
 

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Almost killed myself at an intersection today in DE. Nice day for a ride..100 miles. Anyway I'm day dreaming at about 60 mph coming up to a major intersection. See the light turn yellow so like a retard and everyone else I speed up to make it before it changes to red. Decided I was never going to make it and get on the brakes. THey lock up and there I go out into the middle of the intersection. Everything went into slow motion at that point ....kind of like Matrix style. I thought I'm dead...I lucked out let off the brakes and hammered the throttle to get me throught the rest of the way. I could see people looking at me as all this happened. I know they were think there goes another jackass biker. There are tons of squids around this area so I know we have a reputation. I pulled over up the road and took a few deep breathes...rode the rest of the way home at 50 .
Lesson- pay attention to the road. A yellow light does not mean go faster.
 

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Riding home after work, in the dark on 10 lane freeway. In right hand lane, heavy traffic doing about 25 - 30. Guy behind me so close I can't see his lights in the mirrors. Brake lights coming on heavy a few cars ahead. I drift right toward shoulder to go around car if he stops hard. Check mirror to keep tabs on guy behind me. When looking forward again, I am already passing car that had slammed on brakes. Just to the right of him in our lane.

Done right: Planned to pass on right if needed to avoid being rear ended.
Done wrong: Fixated on car behind me.
Pure luck: If that car had been 12 inches to the right, my bars would have clipped him. Had I simply stopped, I would have been rear-ended.

Lesson REALLY learned well: Know what's happening behind you but not at expense of what's happening in front.
 

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Years ago I was coming home from work and was rounding a clover leaf to get on the highway. I couldn't handle the decreasing radius and sailed off into a relatively soft ditch. I wrenched my back and broke and bent various pieces on the bike. For years, i truly believed that I hit a phantom patch of gravel and lost traction. The truth literally took years to bubble to the surface:

* I was showing off for my co-workers driving behind me, going faster than I was capable of.

* I could've made that turn but I wasn't mentally ready to lean far enough.

* As the turn tightened, I fixated on the edge of the road instead of looking around the turn.

Lessons learned:

* Never let your ego control your actions.
* Never give up in a turn. Unless you've consciously practised, the bike's limits are much higher than you'd expect.
* Always keep your eyes up and looking where you want to go. Looking at what you want to avoid is a sure way to hit it.
 

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I was on my way to work doing 80-90 in a 65. I was thinking that if I don't learn to control my speeding, I'm gonna run out of luck. Got off at the exit and preparing to turn left when the light turned yellow. The car in front of me sped up to take the yellow, I thought I would do the same (anything to save 30 seconds :roll: ).

The car decided not to go thru the light and stopped, I panicked and blasted the rear brake causing a lowside. Luckily I wasn't going that fast so I didn't slide far. I stopped sliding just short of hitting the bumper.

I had all riding gear on except for a pair of Dockers. Minor scrape to the knee. Maybe Dockers will give Joe Rocket a run for their money :D

Result was a broken rear brake pedal, cracked right front fairing and a little scuff on the newly installed Scorpion.

What I learned:
Never be in a hurry
Do not run the yellow
Do not use rear brake, or only minimal (which I got used to since I didn't replace the pedal for some time)
I needed to practice emergency stopping so it becomes second nature
I needed to buy pants

I kept the broken pedal and put it on my desk at work as a reminder to ride smart.
 

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Here's a few:

I'm ripping down the highway and get stuck behind a mini-van (the bane of my existence) who is trying to ooze her way in front of a semi. So I'm right behind her, riding alongside the cab of the semi while I'm waiting for BroomHilda to crawl her way past and GTF outta my way. All of a sudden I hear this insanely loud bang, which in Flint that's not a good thing to hear, so I look behind me to see who's shooting and about 10-15ft behind my bike I see the whole carcass of the semi's tire going flying across MY lane. If I would have been just a few nanoseconds farther behind it would have taken me out clean. So from now on, I give those semi's a W-I-D-E berth. Even if I have to sandbag for a while just so I can get a run at 'em and fly past in the farthest part of my lane away from them. I also learned to do everything in my power to stay the hell away from mini-vans. The last part should need no explanation.
 
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Excellent topic!

Chubblebeeks said:
"...problem, action, result..."
Problem: Front wheel got stuck in a steel joint on a freeway overpass at 65 MPH.

Action: Bulldogged it down to about 40 before it chucked me off.

Result: Thanks to some attentive drivers I didn't become another greasy spot on the freeway. Minor damage to bike and rider, rode back to shop.

Lesson(s) learned:
Think ahead:I knew that joint was there -it didn't suddenly move- but my own piss-poor planning put me in the wrong lane.
Complacency kills. I was a bike courier then, and had been down that piece of slab about a million times but just wasn't thinking that day.

:)
 

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I just wanna thank all the riders for this thread...

It's one thing READING about how a low side occurs...

But seeing real life applications... I can relate, cause we've all been there

Thanks again!
 

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PROBLEM: Riding on my favorite loop, a 1-hour twisty ride just south of my house. I was on a very small (only about a lane-and-a-half wide) section of road, came around a 70-90 degree left hand turn with vision occluded by woods to find a hatchback occupying the middle of the road.

ACTION: I successfully avoided fixating on the hatchback, applied the brakes but not heavily, and moved to the right edge of the lane in order to go around. However, I may or may not have fixated on the right edge of the road.

RESULT: The edge of the road had accumulated some grit, and beyond the edge there was a 2-to-3 foot slope-off. I'm not sure if the bike started to slide on the grit, or if I went off the side of the road and the bike started to slide down the bank, but either way, it went over onto the left side and down the embankment.

Damage report: Rashed front fairing, scratches on the left side crankcase, chin spoiler, and tail section, bent radiator, broken shifter. Two sprained wrists and a strained left elbow tendon. (I was wearing full perforated leathers.)

Lessons learned:
1) DO NOT OVERRIDE SIGHT DISTANCE. The car was in the wrong position, but the true cause of the problem was my inability to spot the problem and get stopped and/or maneuver in time to avoid it at the speed I was travelling. I was only going about 30 mph, which seems slow...but given that I couldn't see around the turn, and how tight the lane was, I probably should have reduced speed to only 15 mph or so.

2) Don't target fixate. I really remember thinking HARD to myself "Look where you want to go. DON'T look at the car." But maybe I was looking too close to my front wheel, and not farther ahead.

3) Beware surface hazards. Of course, if I'd learned lesson #1, the surface wouldn't have been an issue.

4) Reconsider riding on such small roads. I haven't been back on that loop since. I'm going to try to find a different route that takes me to part of this ride without having to go through the tight-lane section. I just question at this point if it's worth the risk of another run-in.
 
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