Motorcycle Club » The Motorcycle Rant

My First "Oh, SH*T!" Moment

25 posts from 19 voices
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  1. Pabi

    It had to happen sooner or later, but I didn't think it'd happen after only a month of riding... I was tooling along at about 40MPH and coming up on a little traffic. No big deal. All of a sudden, a car pulled out right in front of me, trying to cross the road. I ended up locking up the brakes and screeching the tires, and I guess that's when he noticed me and stopped. As soon as he stopped, I straightened up the bike, gave it gas, and swerved around the front of his car. I didn't even have time to use my horn or raise my fist at him.

    I've tried to de-construct the events with a little more granularity, so than I could learn for next time, but I honestly can't remember all the details of how I applied the brakes, etc. It happened a little too fast. The main thing I remember is the tires (or at least the back one) squealing and the back end fish-tailing out to the right a bit.

    So, does it sound from my pathetic description that I could have done things better? Or is it the old saying that "any landing you can walk away from is a good landing?"

  2. Jassjljnne

    You could have noticed that car starting in your direction sooner.

  3. Pabi

    I'm not sure I could have. He darted out right after the car in front of me passed him. This wasn't even an intersection. I don't think he saw me at all. I will say that having "scan and plan" drilled into me at the MSF course probably helped me out, though.
    I guess maybe additional following distance when coming into more congestion may have helped too, though.

  4. viltirizhman

    Hey Pabi,

    Had the same experience with a car back in the Fall. The vehicle (pickup) driving in front of me turned right off the road, I rolled back on the throttle and just as I came around the exiting truck a cager looking the other direction pulled straight out! Needless to say I went into the exact skid pattern and with exception of a hand gesture I was able to get her upright. Valuable lesson taught in that instant. Was the vehicle in a blind spot (alley, blocked by building, or something else?) Glad you are ok. Hey I see you are a former "Zoomie", same here 85-89. Be safe

  5. Goadlocger69

    As for what you could've done better, it sounds like you did a good job at avoiding hitting the other car and your MSF class helped. Looking back, did you stop looking around and start looking at the up coming traffic more? Just a question. Always ride like every person out there is going to do the worst possible thing to cause an accident, eventually, you'll be right.

  6. Pabi

    I've been trying my best to anticipate everything, and it does definitely help. In this case, I guess I just didn't do a good enough job. There were no blind spots at all, so the guy must have just been looking right through me.

    @Irish - '81-'91, most of that in Europe.

  7. Mjzdic

    Glad you have quick reflects.How close were you riding to the car next to you? Were you creating a blind spot for cross traffic? Any other traffic behind you?

    I don't ride along with cars next to me.If there is no traffic behind me I ride out in front of any cars around me so cross traffic see my head light.If your the only traffic on the road and come across a guy ready to cross just give him a quick flash of you high beams to let them know your there.Ride safe

  8. havkvilt65

    You avoided a bad situation. You did everything right. When the woman ran the stop light in Memphis during rush hour traffic, there was no time for anything except react. I avoided her, the truck that she pushed over on me, but I was pinned to the side of another car. That accident could have been real bad like yours. I’m glade were both here to talk about it.

  9. kamezbanger

    We'll you should have tried not to lock you brakes up...but really, when the accident is already set into motion there is not much you can do. The secret is to not put yourself in situations for the accident to happen (i.e. riding in a blind spot/100 meters in front of a big group of cars/100 meters behind a big group of cars ect.) Really tho...shat happens, and if you are gonna ride a bike, you just have to consider the risk/reward factor.

  10. MigejCojode

    Glad you came through it unscathed. It sounds like you did everything right.

    This just brings home the point that every cager that comes to an intersection must be viewed as a potential hazard. Here are a few tricks I use, they do however work best for rural riding, you'd go nuts in the city with some of them, wiggling down the road with your hands on the brakes.

    First off watch for cagers stopped at and coming to an intersection. Even after you make eye contact treat them as if they didn't see you.

    Wiggle your steering head a little, tiny movements. That change in brightness will work like a headlight modulator and hopefully catch their attention.

    Reach for the brakes and flash them a few times, let the guy behind you know you may have to stop suddenly, keep them covered until through the intersection even if you think the cager has seen you.

  11. Pabi

    All great tips guys, thanks. I really thought I was doing it all right, but I guess that just demonstrates the dangers. I had good separation, I was scanning, etc. Live and learn on locking the brakes, too... I may take the bike out to a parking lot to practice on emergency stops tomorrow. I do know that my front brake control seems kind of sticky, so I do tend to rely mostly on the back brake. I need to either get used to how the front reacts, or get it fixed (if in fact there's anything wrong with it.) One of the bad things about being a newb and not having riding friends is that it's hard to tell what's normal. LOL!

  12. wzdar6

    Pabi it's sounds like you did great! Just pratice using more front brake. They will save your butt in a quick stop, just be careful using them in slow riding. Also be sure to keep check on your rear tire when at the end of the tire life. The fact that you locked up the rear will cause a flat spot and the Thread may be showing when you still have tread on the rest of the tire. I know from experience due to a "Big Ole Dog".

  13. popper19

    As an LEO, I'd say, you made it to the end of the ride without crashing, so you did good. We are taught in vehicle training to use the Smith style of driving. It focuses on "Aim High" (not like the Air Force). Basically, during pursuit driving, you want to look toward the horizon, watch further up the road, and give yourself more room to make decisions. Instinct will have you looking a few hundred yards up the road (keeping an eye on the car you are chasing, and looking for possible obstacles such as other cars, kids, animals), which will limit your field of vision Your brain will tend to exclude everything beyond your focal point). If you look several thousand yards (or as far as you can see) down the road, your field of vision will naturally encompass everything closer. It really works, and easily applies to riding.

  14. Pabi

    I use the Aim High method when in my car, and it definitely works. Cues like the brake lights of the cars many lengths ahead of you is the easiest to start using, and has the most bang for the buck. Being in Florida, I'm a BIG proponent for defensive driving, as we have so many people from different areas sharing the roads with us. And many of them can barely see over the steering wheel...


    The aim high works great. Im a truck driver and thats the way we're taught. On the bike, I use the same tactic and so far it works. As long as you come out alive, you did the right thing!

  16. raiterbede

    dont trust anyone drive like no one see you

  17. macrozzfan

    Anticipation is everything. I ride with the same thinking I did when playing and coaching football and Ice hockey. Keep your head on a swivel and anticipate that everyone around you is a potential threat.

    After that's its read and react. So far its kept me from going down...I've had my fair share of close calls but I've avoided many more.

    Ride safe man.

  18. ft38278

    I had my wife following me one day and after we got home she asked why my head wobbled back and forth so much she said it was'nt that windy. I said I scan constantly, even when I'm on empty roads (no traffic) cuz up here in the mountains you never know whats going to just pop out or run in front of you. I know my eyes are constantly scanning I didn't know I moved my head that much. I'm always looking at intersections with a "what if" going through my mind preping for the what might happen. I always try to make eye contact with the person who's getting ready to turn. I know no matter how prepared I am for what might happen you can only hope you react in a manner to come out alive and un injured.

  19. tunc

    glad your oh sh*t moment worked out ok for ya
    ya got have eyes in ya @ss sometimes
    have you noticed but when you drive a cage how much more observant you are of bikes out there and the cagers as well
    saved me a few times anticipatin a richard cranium drivin a cage

  20. popper19

    I said I scan constantly, even when I'm on empty roads (no traffic) cuz up here in the mountains you never know whats going to just pop out or run in front of you.
    Animals.... lots of people forget about them... Almost every motorcycle crash I've popliced has been involving deer or dogs....


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