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Old 02-08-2014, 05:39 AM   #239
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Bisbee, AZ
Oddometer: 1,663
Originally Posted by FTL900 View Post
In my book, that falls into the "doing everything I could to avoid a crash but it didn't work out that way" category. Not an intentional "oh crap, a problem. Where's that back brake... STOMP!"

My sister is a new rider (about 8 months) on a Ninja 500. Recently she asking me about the skills required to "lay it down". Seems a new friend (a Harley riding acquaintance) had mentioned to her that she needed to learn how to do that kind of thing. (My dad explained this to me when I was a new, very young rider as well)

Later she also added that her friend was giving her that advice from a hospital bed. He had been on or near a freeway exit ramp and noticed a car headed for the same ramp at a much higher speed, and closing from the rear. (I don't know how he realized all this while it was happening behind him- and the story details seem to change a little with each telling). So anyway, the guy lays it down to avoid the car coming from behind him, slides into the concrete retaining wall, mangles his bike, and is hospitalized with several broken (large) bones.

I asked her about the car, and she said since it wasn't actually involved in the accident at any point, it drove on by and kept on going. That was when I pointed out to my sister that A) the guy had purposely crashed his bike in order to avoid what "might" become a crash, and B) that he created his very own single-vehicle accident, all on his own, complete with injuries and destruction to his bike.

She was amazed as I explained to her that the idea is to AVOID going down, not to purposely initiate a crash as a "safety" feature. She was sure that this mature, seemingly intelligent friend knew something that I didn't, but she's smart, and I could see the light bulb turning on in her head as she began to comprehend the logic of what I was explaining to her. I went on to explain the many different options that an upright motorcycle has- braking, turning, accelerating, pulling over and stopping altogether, and how few options a sliding bike and rider have.

I have been in 2 or 3 situations where I absolutely KNEW I was going to crash- no two ways about it, but still somehow managed to ride it out, work around an imminent crash, and avoid it by the grace of God or tremendous amounts of good luck- your choice, YMMV.
I have had several good laughs at myself during this thread. When I was a young man I had a few incidents of cars pulling out right in front of me(green 305 Dream) and I couldn't stop in time. I am sure whenever I told the stories I said I had to lay 'er down. It went down on the left side both times. I thought I was demonstrating decisiveness and courage. The brakes on that bike were really lame. Speed was 35mph. I was a mile and a half into a 3,200 mile trip to AZ the last time I went down.I kept going of course.
In 1985 my wife was studying for her motorcycle test and asked me about something in the VT DMV manual: countersteering. Hmm. A real head scratcher. Then it came up in a motorcycle magazine I had subscribed to and I could explain it to her, and I listened too. In a short time I noticed that my scooter (by then I had my old German scooter in my avatar) felt different to operate, I seemed to be living in the handlebars, steering with my shoulders instead of my ass.
Around 1988, I was on my way to Burlington riding VT US Route 2 north toward Jonesville , a well known curve that comes right before the famous Harbor Vintage Motorcycle shop, at 55 mph in a suddenly 40 mph zone. I liked taking this corner fast. Today however there was a long haired guy in a black Saab 99 on the side road on the right who seemed to be watching me intently. He pulled out suddenly, when I was too close. I knew I was going to hit him, but I aimed for the back of his car. I remember the rear tire of my scooter was badly worn and I was waiting for a new one. I know the scooter swerved right, it must have then swerved left next, because I didn't lay 'er down! I ended up on the right shoulder,Pointed north, on two wheels, upright, breathing hard, amazed at what had occurred. I had avoided a collision with a car on a 1960 motor scooter that I would have wiped out on with my motorcycle years earlier! I just sat there for a few seconds before the vintage bike place wondering what I had done right.
42 years on a Heinkel Tourist
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