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Thread: Uneven lanes

  1. #1
    Registered User GKman's Avatar
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    Uneven lanes

    Asphalt crew working on local interstate (I 29). Uneven lane signs. Fresh rolled, smooth asphalt 2"-3" in left lane only. Have crossed it w/o thought in a car but was on the bike yesterday. Fortunately didn't need to change lanes but wondered about it. Only fail-safe idea was to stop or nearly stop on right shoulder, wait for traffic opening, cross bump perpendicular and enjoy a quick zero to 70. Any thoughts?

    2002 R1150R

  2. #2
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    Same as with railway tracks or any other 'edge trap'. You want to cross as perpendicular to the line as possible.

    In your situation, moving from the right lane to the left, I would get as far right in the right lane as possible and move into the left lane on about a 45 degree angle to the direction of travel. Full stop on the shoulder etc. would not normally be necessary.

    Have you taken an MSF course? This is one of the many things they cover. It would be money well spent if you haven't done one.
    Dave

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  3. #3
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
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    When they repaved I- 40 here in RTP the last time they left such a large almost curb aspect. It wasn't a problem going down off of it. It was going up. It wasn't square but a little angled and when I had to do it, I slowed some (as traffic woud allow) swung a bit wide in my lane and then did as much of an S turn up onto it as I could. This allowed me to attack it with as much angle as possible. The bike behaved fine. It might have been more my worry.

    I have also had the experience where they are just adding a sealing layer, 3/4 " thick and it is of no real problem. Also the 1" resurfacing is pretty easily handled.

    My worse experience was with the large resurfacing on I -40. I travel it daily. I was aware thus that they had finished this section with all 4 east bound lanes. This day I did an errand and was merging back on this section. I was coming up to speed so about 70 ready for the lane to merge. I was over in the left hand side of the lane so it would be a simple merge. THEN...

    They had left a section undone. The acceleration lane at the point of the ramp getting to the highway was not done. I suddenly had this 3" inch drop, I had traffic behind me also accelerating to merge. I then was just over at the left side of the lane, I was slightly angled so I would be merging into the opening of the lane of traffic, the lip/curb up was right there, I was not in a position to slow down. There was lots of loose gravel and debris and such in this section from the paving. I ended up turning so I ran down the accel lane rather than merge, I continued down this lane moving as far right as I could, the emergency stop lane was at hand of which I was going to use if needed. There was enough break in traffic that I could now do S merge up and over it. It was succesful

    I work for DOT and called the resident engineers office and talked at length with him. He said he had heard some compliants that this height of paving could be a problem for MCs. He asked me my opinion. I agreed it was a problem and added that with training and experience and confidence a bike could handle it OK.. BUT, riders aren't trained for this, have no experience with this and thus are scared about it. That the 3/4 and 1" lips are very easily doable. Also that inexperienced riders would find the 3/4 and 1" section still a challenge and the larger ones terrifying and unsafe for them. We discussed a few possible remedies and I gave him same safetly folks to contact. He listened. I don't know if anything will be different with the next thick asphalt lay.

    NCS
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    74 Honda CB750 K4

  4. #4
    Geoxman KJ6OCL's Avatar
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    Not to worry, looks worse than it is. I live in the mountains, lots of uneven pavement. I also live on a dirt/gravel road. It is only one lane wide. There are times when there will be a 10 wheel dump truck coming in the other direction. No where for him to go. So I drop down into the ditch on the side of the road, any where from 4" to 6" drop off, and the ditch is only about 10+/-" wide. Then, when I get past the truck, I throttle on a bit as I climb back up onto the road surface. No problem! And I don't have a GS, just an old (2000) R1200C with street tires. Sometimes the difficulties of a task are only in our own minds......mind over matter at times like this!

    Lkarl KJ6OCL / 2000, R1200C

  5. #5
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    Not really a problem except in your head. Good for you to ask about this if your having questions. As stated above, just get as perpendicular to the edge as you can when you cross it, either up or down. Hang on to the handlebars a bit more strongly, but only so they don't follow the edge. Bike will pop right up and over, or down depending on your situation.

    Once you do this a few times you will be ready to tackle the next obsticle: grated metal bridge decks.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  6. #6
    Registered User GKman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stkmkt1 View Post
    ....Once you do this a few times you will be ready to tackle the next obsticle: grated metal bridge decks.
    Thank's for the replies. If I ever get stuck where I have no choice, I'll know that others have done it. I can't imagine any way to build experience safely in the real world. Larger bump, shallower angle, more speed until there is a negative outcome - never had a light crash.

    Done the metal bridge decking. I just imagine a 750 lb safe traveling in a straight line. (My bike and I weigh about that) It would take a large force to divert it from its course. The bridge deck doesn't have that force to apply therefore Newton says we should keep going straight. I think the squirrely feeling comes from the tires continually running up on small ridges and falling back off sideways which have no real consequence as long as I don't induce and oscillation by fighting the handlebars. I have a tendency to do this and compensate by gripping the tank with my knees which seems to send a signal to my hands that they can lighten up. Works for me.

    THIS REALLY HAPPENED TO ME.
    Oklahoma City, fast rush hour on through downtown interstate, raining, boxed in. Sign EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS TO MOTORCYCLES. Got no idea of what it is and nowhere to go. It was steel decking used as a slight offset detour into a parallel lane. Practiced the tank grip and had no problem except for wanting to kill the jerk that posted the sign too late to do anything about it.

  7. #7
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    My rule for trying to climb those uneven lane edge traps is don't. I know that every now and then it is hard to avoid, but I've ridden for miles on milled grooved pavement rather than switch lanes to that nice new smooth stuff over there. I look for a bridge where they didn't mill the surface and the lanes are even briefly - sometimes these even have "bump" signs. If I can cross on the bridge where the lanes are even I will if traffic permits. Plan ahead.

    How to do it if it is absolutely necessary has been covered in this thread, except I'll add I may be on the shoulder waiting unless I can do it at a sharp angle, and at a speed that is unlikely to kill me or hurt me if I do screw up and fall down. Motorcycles are not designed to climb 3" (typical overlay thickness) curbs at shallow angles.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  8. #8
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    My rule for trying to climb those uneven lane edge traps is don't. .
    Same here. I'll drop down to a lower layer, but won't climb to higher layer if I'm going 60 MPH or so. If I can hit it at a sharp angle and a slow speed I will.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  9. #9
    RK Ryder
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    I was riding in Michigan a couple of weeks ago and construction diverted me on the ripped up lane. I was very surprised when a construction truck blocked my path and the flagman instructed me back onto the road's right side which was at least 3" higher; no graduated ramp. Going slowly, I veered left, then swung right and gassed the bike a bit just the front wheel was about to touch the higher pavement. I believe that it was a fall down waiting for some less experienced rider. The construction crew should have been better educated to accommodate motorcycles getting back on the high side.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  10. #10
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Just make as big an angle as you can and go for it. It beats the heck out of freshly graded soft dirt, or freshly sprayed oil.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  11. #11
    Bmuused 182242's Avatar
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    Just about a year ago, on Labor Day weekend, I was riding back to the Chicago area, with my brother, from a Goldwing rally in Arkansas. He was on his '86 Wing, I was on my Suzuki Bandit 600. We had ridden through numerous construction areas on I55 northbound. About 50 miles south of Springfield, we saw the sign for yet another construction zone ahead. We decided to pass the truck in front of us so we wouldn't have to spend the next 15 miles staring at the back end of a semi. When I saw my brother signal to move back into the right lane, I glanced back over my right shoulder to make sure I was clear of the truck. The next thing I remember, a very nice young woman was holding the sides of my helmet and telling me not to move. I was trying to figure out why she was upside down. As it turns out, I was lying on my back and she was kneeling at my head, leaning over me.

    We later reconstructed what happened. The "UNEVEN LANES" sign was probably blocked by the truck when we passed it (there was only one sign, on the right). With the angle of the late afternoon sun, the difference in lane heights wasn't readily apparent. We were riding staggered with my brother in the left portion of the lane, so he hit the ridge at a sharper angle. It jolted him hard, but the 800+ lb. Goldwing soaks up bumps pretty good and he was able to maintain control. He turned to waive me off, but my head was turned, checking the truck's position. I was in the right hand portion of the lane, so I hit the raised pavement at a shallow angle as I moved over. I have to take his word for what happened next, as I have no recollection of the accident itself. My 450 lb. Bandit went left, I was thrown right, and the semi somehow slipped through the middle. I apparently did a rag doll bounce and roll, coming to rest on the right shoulder of the road.

    Luck was with me. By the time my brother stopped his bike and ran back to where I lay, three cars had already stopped. The nice upside down lady? Turns out she was a doctor. The next car? Two nurses. The third car carried a volunteer firefighter/paramedic who activated his lights and blocked off the shoulder. In the ambulance, I felt the sudden onset of nausea which I've learned to associate with broken bones. The paramedics refused to take off my full face helmet so I had to refrain from puking. Then they gave me a shot and everything was just lovely. By the time the doctor saw me in the emergency room in Litchfield, I had already diagnosed my own broken collarbone (It wasn't that hard, I had previously broken the same collarbone on a dirt bike in 1974, but I healed a lot faster in those days.) CT scan, no concussion, but my new Shoei was scraped down to the bare whatever-it's-made-of on on the right side, with scrapes around the back (bounces?). My armored mesh jacket looked like it had been mauled by a bear (although, to be fair, the paramedics had cut it up some too) but the only road rash was a quarter sized scrape on my shoulder that didn't even require a band-aid.

    By the time I was discharged, there were no pharmacies open to fill my prescription, so I spent the night in a nearby hotel with ONE pain pill they gave me at the hospital. The next day, my wife came down to pick me up. As we passed the accident site, she went to change lanes and the big Buick BOUNCED back into the left lane. "Yeah," I grimaced from the back seat, "it was kinda like that."

    Epilogue: I'm all healed now and back to riding (albeit with my own personal, self contained weather indicator, which aches when rain or snow is coming). I replaced the Bandit with my current (heavier) R1100rt, and I always ride with full gear, even on the hottest days.

    Note: Feel free to move this post to the Crash Chronicles thread.

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    Good judgment comes from experience, but experience often comes from bad judgment.

  12. #12
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    Just make as big an angle as you can and go for it. .
    No problem if you're going slow.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  13. #13
    Registered User GKman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    No problem if you're going slow.
    Had a riding partner go down at 5mph at a trolly track. No dice.

  14. #14
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    No problem if you're going slow.
    When you're riding over an obstacle you should give it some juice to lift a bit of weight off the front wheel.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  15. #15
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    Right now, where I live, they are resurfacing I155. They have the lanes blocked so as you enter or exit the the road, you have no choice but to go over the edge of new blacktop. Nice thing here is that they lay the blacktop down in two layers. So the whole road is laid with the first layer. THey they will come back to lay the top layer. Each layer is about 1 1/2" thick. So crossing over is no big deal. You cannot ride on the side of the road as they have dug trenches the length of the project on both sides and installed drainpiping. So you have no choice but to cross each time.

    Funny story. Back in the 70's, my now ex-brother-in-law called me to help him retrieve his bike. It was stuck between a train rail and the wood next to it. The tracks ran at an angle across the road and he swerved to miss a cat just as he was crossing at a low speed. Swerving the wrong direction caused him to ride with the tracks rather than perpendicular to them. I suspect he really wasn't planning on crossing them perpendicular, but rather to just cross in line with the road.

    So here is his bike, standing upright, in the middle of the road, being held up with a train rail on one side of the tires and a railroad tie on the other. It took three men to get that think out. It was really jammed in there. I never thought the ties could be spaced that close to the tracks. But they were here.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

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