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Thread: Crash Chronicles (Crashes and Near Misses)

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  1. #1
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Exclamation Crash Chronicles (Crashes and Near Misses)

    One of our members - Tim Bro - sent a PM to me suggesting that we consider a new subforum for crash reports, and advice on avoiding crashes. While an excellent idea - the moderator team is hesitant to create too many subforums since that tends to fragment information, making it less likely to be spotted by our members. We decided to try making a sticky in "Just Riding" - and see if there is enough interest and input to it that would justify making a subforum for this rather specific topic. So - this is that sticky thread.

    Here is TimBro's description:

    Quote Originally Posted by TimBro
    Motorcycling = FUN - Risk

    Each of us use the above formula to define our motorcycling experiences. To maximize the fun, we take measures to reduce the risk, i.e. ATGATT, Experienced Rider Course, ABS equipped bikes etc.

    Each of you also has a wealth of mental risk aversion knowledge accumulated over years of motorcycling that were formulated after crashing or experiencing a near miss on your motorcycle.

    This sticky is designed to share the invaluable strategies members have learned from crashes or near misses. The overriding goal is to share a learned strategy with the group that can be assimilated and hopefully prevent other members from crashing and minimize the number of near misses.

    If even one crash is prevented after learning from the mistakes/experiences of other members, this sticky will be well worth the time, effort and consideration you took to post.

    It's all about looking out for our fellow members.
    Please join in this thread in the spirit that it was suggested and created in - helping other riders to improve their possibilities of avoiding road incidents! Negative, razzing or nagging postings will be summarily deleted - but I really don't expect we'll have any of those to concern ourselves with.

    Enjoy! And safe riding!
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  2. #2
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    OK, Ill go first
    I change driving styles in certain cities I know have a senior citizen heavy driving population or a tourist destination for that age group. I also try to avoid passing thru them at certain hours I know they are headed to doctors appointments . For some of these drivers, it's the only driving they do each week or two. I have had neighbors fitting this profile in the last two places I have lived so it is not a presumption. Leaving even more room between vehicles and having all available lights on as well as tapping brake lights even more when slowing to activate the flashing mode on my LED's. It turns into a video game of watching for "snipers" more than what I consider to be normal technique.

    The reason is I have had two serious near misses recently to reinforce what I have been aware of for years. Not picking on the older folks...I'll be there one day, but the skill sets are declining for most. My late dad did this same move I am describing years ago when he lost some lumber from his truck...it did not end well, luckily no injuries other than vehicles. He stopped driving a short time later.

    In the most recent about a week ago, I was in a local retirement mecca leaving extra room in front of me as I could not see the driver in the Lincoln ahead of me in the right lane of a four lane- no center lane main street drag. The left inside lane was in a constant left lane prep mode for turns. My senses told me they were address/parking spot hunting in the car ahead of me and I increased the gap . Just as I expected, the car hit the brakes and immediately hit reverse without regards to surroundings to get that parking spot. I had enough time to lane split the Lincoln to the left while I had the car next to me in my field of vision at a stop due to a left turning vehicle. Had I not been in gear and already on alert I would have been backed over in spite of the car and a half gap I had made. I believe being on the left side of the right lane also gave me time to get the heck out of the way...there was no room to swing out right. Typically, Helen is staggered behind me...it would have ended differently if she or other riders had been along. As I passed (or as she passed me going backwards) within inches ,the tiny lady never even slowed or acknowledged anything occurred. I didn't honk as I figured that might have caused her to swerve. The truck that was behind me by a car length did honk...a long time! She stopped at his grill guard
    I often put the bike in neutral in a lot of conditions when I do not feel a threat when sitting at a long sequenced signal. In high density areas, I almost always keep it in gear and watching/listening to everything in my space cushion.

    Branson ,MO is another one of those places Blind spot awareness is key in that locale! Have had several lane changes in front or almost on top of me there on all visits during the Blitz to Branson weekends. Even with staying out of the blind spot...it just happens.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  3. #3
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    My 91 year old aunt still drives. Guess it's okay because she has fair vision in one eye and fair hearing in one ear. Scares the hell out of me.

    She lives in NJ... careful Don.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  4. #4
    I'm from M.A.R.S. From MARS's Avatar
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    After Effects

    On my way to work one Spring morning down in Mobile, AL, I had my first "real" accident. Years later, a similiar situation appeared to be unfolding, and I reacted........... maybe over-reacted.

    The road surface was damp with dew, and I was riding my 750 Virago accordingly at the speed limit of 35mph. Traffic was minimal going South down Dauphin Island Parkway (DIP) in Mobile, but the Northbound lanes were pretty full. The part of DIP I was riding is a divided 4-lane, and I was riding in the southbound lanes when a pickup pulls up to a stop sign on my right about 1/2 block ahead. I watched his head turn towards me and then rapidly turn away to look for an opening in the northbound lanes. I "knew" he hadn't seen me and was going to pull out; so I rolled off the throttle. He pulled out, but instead of going all the way into the esplanade, he stopped blocking both lanes. I grabbed the brakes, but it soon became clear that I wasn't going to stop in time. I remember thinking about where to hit him....the front, the door, the back? I chose the door since I didn't want to fly over the hood or halfway across the bed of his pickup. I had on my winter gear, helmet, boots, and gloves. Just before we made contact, I raised my butt several inches off the seat to protect the important parts which I knew could be damaged by striking the tank and instruments when I went over the bars.......an event which I knew was coming. He saw me when I was about 10' from his door; the look on his face was priceless! When we hit, I was down to about 15mph, but my momentum carried me over the bars and into his door. I was able to roll my right shoulder down just like my old football coach had taught me to tackle bigger runners. The helmet and gear did their job. The only injury I had was on top of my left foot where I had a nice bruise; the result of having hit the fuel petcock on my way over the bars. The bike was totaled. I felt that I had dodged a bullet.

    Ten years later. I'm riding my K75C through a small town in East Texas when a guy in a pickup pulls up to a stop sign and starts pulling out towards the main road. In my mind, I was right back in Mobile and this SOB was going to block my lane. So, I clamped down on the binders, no ABS. The rear tire locked up. Now, either he had already seen me and was just easing out getting ready to pull out behind me or the sound of my tire sliding got his attention, I don't know, but he stopped with plenty of room for me to pass. At this point I did something stupid; I released the rear brake and promptly high-sided. Once again, the gear did good as I slid down the road alongside the bike and yet, I didn't have a scratch. The bike needed some new plastic parts, but I was able to ride it 80 miles home..........after I quit shaking!

    Now I'm 20 years older, and probably don't bounce as well as I used to so I ride a little wiser. The 12 sec. rule is used all the time. If I can't see or predict what is going to happen 12 sec ahead, I slow down, look for "outs", and create as much space around me as I can.

    Tom
    "Everything is something."
    '88 K75C, '03 K12RS, '93 R100GSPD '02 F650GS (all gone, but not forgotten)
    '93 R100R
    http://frommars.smugmug.com/

  5. #5
    Registered User robday's Avatar
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    Cars turning left

    Ok, I've had this happen twice now.

    The first time was back in 1983 on a Suzuki GS450T, less than a month old, my first brand-new bike. This was as much my fault as the other driver's. I was young at the time, and not very experienced, and full of adrenaline.
    As I approached an intersection, the light turned yellow. Instead of slowing to a stop, I did the inexcusable and punched it to get through. There was a car in the intersection waiting to make a left, and he also punched it. But when he saw me coming he hit the brakes (instead of continuing through). In the meantime, I had seen the impending doom approaching and locked the back wheel in an effort to lay down the bike and slide around his backside. But when he stopped, my rear wheel hit his rear bumper, and I (along with my passenger) was launched through the air. I came down and slid, my passenger AND my pretty new bike rode the whole thing out on top of me. No broken bones, but plenty of deep road rash. My passenger only had a small scrape on his ankle, but I was a bloody mess. The bike suffered lots of cosmetic damage and was repaired by insurance.

    Fast forward to last year. On the way home from work, waiting at a light. In this case, there are two right-turn lanes and I was in the right-most with a pickup also turning right in the next lane over. At this intersection you are not allowed to make a right turn on a red, so we were both waiting for the green. The light changed and we went. Within 50 feet, there was a car traveling the opposite direction trying to make a left across our lanes to access the gas station on the corner. My culpability here was taking off a bit hot (I had just purchased this K1200GT a moth before this and was still getting used to it). I saw her coming and hit the brakes as hard as humanly possible, and was beginning to stand on the front wheel. Unfortunately, the driver panicked and stomped the gas. She slammed into me just forward of my left leg (thankfully) and threw the bike across the remaining lanes and up onto the sidewalk. I flew through the air and plopped onto the pavement, knocked out. I was extremely lucky. After an ambulance ride to the ER, I basically walked away with some bruises and a concussion. The bike AND the car were totaled. The girl driving was devastated, she was crying and apologizing. I actually felt bad for her. Insurance covered everything and I replaced the '06 GT with an '08. And since then I have been practicing my ultra-careful Los Angeles surface street riding style, which is basically to go nice and slow and act as if I'm invisible, and every car out there is trying to find me so they can kill me.
    '92 K75S, all black...
    '08 K1200GT, silver...
    '06 R1200GS, silver...
    '63 R50/2, black...

  6. #6
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    2009 Crash in the round-a-bout (rotary)

    April 2009:

    I was picking up my serviced 1985 K100RT from my dealer in Monticello, MN when the service manager told me the same thing he had told me dozens of times before: "Be careful on that new front tire."

    I nodded and thanked him with the sage look of a motorcycle veteran I thought I was. I started the bike and started the trip back home. Outside temperature was 40 degrees F and the roads were dry.

    About a mile away from the dealership, I came upon the new roundabout that had just been installed the previous fall. This one was made of concrete; nice, smooth, new, concrete.

    Traffic was light, and I love to blast through these roundabouts doing the weave to the right and back to the left. My speed was 25-30 MPH.

    I made the weave to the right, on the asphault approach but when I made the weave to the left on concrete to set up my exit, my bike went down amazingly hard and fast on the left side. It happened so quick, I swore I had hit a patch of ice.

    They say that it takes a healthy adult 3/4 of a second to react to a situation in front of them. The bike must have gone down much quicker than that because I did not have a chance to even ponder the thought of going down. Reflexes took over, I did a combat roll on my left shoulder and landed upright on my feet.

    I then watched in slow-motion agony as the K100 slowly rotated 360 degrees on her left side and then crashed into the curb around the perimeter of the roundabout, fairing first.

    The left side mirror popped off and the curb inflicted a 3 inch diameter bruise/crack on the fiberglass fairing. A passing motorist graciously stopped and helped me right the K100.

    I then headed back to the dealership to drop off my bike to have them perform a post crash inspection and service.

    What I did right: Due to the low ambient temperatures, I was wearing my First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket and pants, boots, full face helment and gloves. Injury was a sore shoulder that took a couple months for all the pain to go away.

    What I did wrong: (Stupidity broken down into the following 3 points)
    1. Totally forgetting that I had a new motorcycle tire on the front of my bike. New motorcycle tires are very slippery, (ride with care for first 100 miles).
    2. Not exercising caution on cold motorcyle tires, also very slippery until they warm up, which will take a very long time on a 40 degree F day.
    3. Riding too fast for conditions through a newly constructed, (very smooth surface) roundabout.

    It is amazing in the weeks following that crash how alert and careful I was when riding. With that crash in my memory I was on "red alert" for the next month or so, continually analyzing potential threats and taking corrective actions. It was like I was experiencing a partial, continuous adrenalin rush each time I rode in the weeks following the crash.

    Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, crash memories fade over time and while I am still careful, most of the time, that adrenalin rush feeling is gone.

    My hope is that I will not be experiencing that adrenalin rush while riding anytime soon.

    Tim Bro

    '85 K100RT; '90 K75RT; '91 K75RT; 2005 R1200GS

  7. #7
    Registered User WalterK75's Avatar
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    This was a self-inflicted bike drop. I was making an almost U-turn in two driveways. They were separated by about a yard of grass. I intended to ride up the minimal incline to the sidewalk, turn on the flat sidewalk and ride out the other driveway. It basically amounted to a wide U-turn and actually didn't require a lot of lean to the bike. I went in from the street in one driveway, turned and began to exit the other driveway. Suddenly the bike felt top heavy and was leaning too much. I stuck out my foot and realized it was hopeless, so I did a head first somersault off the bike to the side, landing on the grass and rolled safely out of the way. The bike went down with damage to the fairing and a broken mirror.

    If I had remembered my riding class and accelerated the bike instead of sticking my foot out, it would have stood up and I wouldn't have had to practice my forward roll, which I learned years ago in judo class.
    That which the Fascists hate above all else, is intelligence.
    Miguel de Unamuno

  8. #8
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    Once again I have one on video

    Another near miss. A mini van pulled out from behind a shrub at a gas station. Then they stopped in my lane. In hindsight, I was going too fast.

    http://youtu.be/gs0HVfrrc8w
    Last edited by LuckyGrownup; 06-07-2012 at 11:53 AM. Reason: grammer check

  9. #9
    Registered User alphashifter's Avatar
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    Riding to work Tuesday morning on Interstate 25, in the far left lane at about 75-80 mph with other traffic - vehicles on 3 sides and a concrete barrier on my left.
    Tire fragments from a semi got my attention, but I wasn't ready for the whole tire that shot into my lane like a Peterbuilt hockey puck...It probably had been struck repeatedly by other traffic. I had nowhere to go and no time to brake. I might have moved a foot or two to the left before impact.
    I nailed the tire and to my surprise, the bike glanced off of it - (I don't know which glanced off of which, but I didn't stop dead in my tracks or get flipped into oncoming traffic).
    The bike started to do the freeway-speed wobble but quickly recovered, and I got over to the right shoulder as fast as I could.
    Expecting bent forks, trashed tire & rim, torn-off brake lines, exhaust leaks and other damage, I found a cracked horn, some smouldering rubber on the pipe and a little paint missing from the right valve cover. And a new button hole sewn into the seat.
    I rode it another 20 hiccup-free miles to work and looked for more damage. Found none. Rode the 50 miles home this morning and the bike seems to be as happy to be alive as I am.
    Those discarded tire fragments mean something totally new to me now.
    '78 R100RS/S
    '70 R75/5
    '01 Royal Enfield Bullet 500

  10. #10
    aka Johnny Hammerlane bullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphashifter View Post
    Riding to work Tuesday morning on Interstate 25, in the far left lane at about 75-80 mph with other traffic - vehicles on 3 sides and a concrete barrier on my left.
    Tire fragments from a semi got my attention, but I wasn't ready for the whole tire that shot into my lane like a Peterbuilt hockey puck...It probably had been struck repeatedly by other traffic. I had nowhere to go and no time to brake. I might have moved a foot or two to the left before impact.
    I nailed the tire and to my surprise, the bike glanced off of it - (I don't know which glanced off of which, but I didn't stop dead in my tracks or get flipped into oncoming traffic).
    The bike started to do the freeway-speed wobble but quickly recovered, and I got over to the right shoulder as fast as I could.
    Expecting bent forks, trashed tire & rim, torn-off brake lines, exhaust leaks and other damage, I found a cracked horn, some smouldering rubber on the pipe and a little paint missing from the right valve cover. And a new button hole sewn into the seat.
    I rode it another 20 hiccup-free miles to work and looked for more damage. Found none. Rode the 50 miles home this morning and the bike seems to be as happy to be alive as I am.
    Those discarded tire fragments mean something totally new to me now.
    That's why, when I'm on the slab, (or on any road for that matter) I NEVER EVER ride so close to the vehicle in front of me that I can't see the road in front of it. I've read too many horror stories about people getting struck by flying road debris.
    I do what I can to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once, while on the multi-laned 401, my Toyota truck was struck with a piece of re-tread that was hurled up at me by a truck that I was following too closely behind. The steel bumper was bent. If I had have been on my bike at the time the damages both to the bike and to my body would have been significantly worse.
    It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.

  11. #11
    lloving
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    Alls Well BUT...

    Riding to town on my R12RT approaching a bling S curve. Car approaching in the on coming lane with a large pickup following very closely behind. The pickup was towing an empty race car trailer with the obligatory tire rack just be hind the hitch. No racer on trailer but a full set of slicks were on the rack. Since they were NOT tied down one escaped in to my lane. Damn those things can bounce. Since there was no way to know where the thing was going next I stayed in my line to round the curve combination safely. Good choice given the the escaped tire made it to the shoulder just before I got to it.

    Lessons: Some things just happen. Appropriate speed and a clear head help. Also, as it relates to the truck driver aka race crew, you just can't fix stupid. I verified that when I did a U turn at the next intersection and went back to express my concern for his errant tire and see if he had any idea the impact that fugitive would have had on me or any other oncoming vehicle. His response (F... Y..), can only be abbreviated according to forum rules.

    Most important lesson learned by me? Should never made that U turn. Nothing to be gained from it.

    LL

  12. #12
    Throttleup Mymidlife's Avatar
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    Routine 4AM commute, only wet roads this morning with showers around. Normal null traffic. Approaching an intersection where I change directions with a left turn, 2 through lanes, 2 left turn lanes, no medians. Turn light is red but can see from other lights it will go green momentarily. Two work trucks are in the right (outside) turn lane, light is just about to change to left arrow when I'm rolling up. *Routinely I get to the inside turn lane to be more visible to all and to increase my own visibility by not hiding behind vehicles. This time I hung back, didn't want to surprise the trucks at the moment the light changes. Hanging back a few feet off the 2nd truck, I drifted left into the inside turn lane, but still behind the last truck. Ahead of me, a vehicle is approaching, he still has the through light or it's yellow. SL is 40, car is doing at least that, maybe trying to beat the light? With the wet road and streetlights I can't see the centerline ahead, only the shadow/reflection, but something tells me this vehicle is over that line. As I tap the rear brake, I'm at wobble speed now, I realize the car is indeed going to blow through the inside turn lane, so just a second or two to duck back right, but close to the truck's rear and no speed anyway. My profile is halfway behind the stopped trucks rear and the car blasts through, apparently no slowing, it was close, but strangely not a panic, I think I was occupied trying to size things up. I always felt a bit vulnerable at that intersection, in that turn lane, even in daylight, but man this makes me think twice about it. See how I feel about it tomorrow. Lesson: 1) Alertness to changing conditions (car approaching, light changing), 2) leave wiggle room, escape route. Glad I was awake and looking ahead. That one was no joke, without my slight course correction he would have had me.
    Charles Ratliff
    G650 GS

  13. #13
    Registered User arthurdent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lloving View Post

    Lessons: Some things just happen. Appropriate speed and a clear head help. Also, as it relates to the truck driver aka race crew, you just can't fix stupid. I verified that when I did a U turn at the next intersection and went back to express my concern for his errant tire and see if he had any idea the impact that fugitive would have had on me or any other oncoming vehicle. His response (F... Y..), can only be abbreviated according to forum rules.

    Most important lesson learned by me? Should never made that U turn. Nothing to be gained from it.

    LL
    Another option would have been to stop at the tire and inspect it with a 6" serrated blade. You do always carry a knife?

  14. #14
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    A lesson i never learned

    Quote Originally Posted by lloving View Post

    Lessons: His response (F... Y..), can only be abbreviated according to forum rules.

    Most important lesson learned by me? Should never made that U turn. Nothing to be gained from it.

    LL
    And those two words would have been the last he said with a fulls set of teeth. And yes, I have pulled more than one moron out of his vehicle and adjusted his attitude.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  15. #15
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Please join in this thread in the spirit that it was suggested and created in - helping other riders to improve their possibilities of avoiding road incidents!

    Here is a tip...make sure the inbred idiot that hits you isn't busy yapping on his cell phone about sweet eff all. I realize that is kind of hard to do in advance.

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