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A guiding hand (Guardian Angel)

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by OFI-NT, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Not sure if this is the right area to put this so Mods, move it if you have to. Let me start just by saying I am not an overly religious person but I think the thread title applies.

    This thread has a lot of stories about near misses that MAY, in some part, be partly attributed to the rider. I am going to give you two stories about near misses that were totally my fault and no one else's.

    Just so you know, my background is that I have been riding since I was 9y/o and on the highways since I was 14y/o. I am in my mid 50's and am a retired Paramedic (15yrs) / Defensive Driving Instructor (8yrs).

    The first is 1983, I have a Honda VF500 and I'm living in Darwin. I decided I would surprise my parents at home in Canberra and just turn up for my 25th B'day. I left Darwin, headed south to the Three Ways, turned left and through to Cloncurry, then right and heading to Blackall / Barcaldine.

    Qld Government were updating the goat track to a proper Highway. They had a 20km - 30km detour of dirt etc running beside the new, raised 4 lane wide unsealed (as yet) road but there were no vehicles working on it. So, after about 10km of this I started to get peed off and decided to motor cross through the scrub up to the smooth gravel.

    Off I went travelling south but at 130kph instead of 50kph. I was cruising for about 5 minutes when I noticed I was approaching a roadside camp where all the guys had gathered for lunch. I slowed down so as not to make too much noise but someone noticed me and started running toward me waving their arms, then others joined in. So I did what anyone would do and gunned it.

    As I looked in the mirror I could see they had stopped running and waving their arms. Haha I thought your not going to catch me and felt pretty good with myself. Next thing I know there was a slight bump and my engine is revving at redline .... and there is no road beneath me.

    About an hour later (having had a few smokes) after I had calmed down I went back to see that I had hit a 5cm berm of dirt and literally flown across where the Bridge / culvert should have been but was missing.

    The rest of the trip was uneventful till at Yass, 35km from home I totally lost my nerve riding and could not go over 60kph and even that was a struggle. I spent a few days in Canberra trying to Psych myself into the return trip but I wasn't doing any good. So, on day 5 in Canberra, I packed the bike, said goodbye to mum and dad and set off at 60kph on the return trip to Darwin via Adelaide.

    By the time I got to Wagga, I had snapped out of it and was able to continue as before at a steady 120kph - 130kph arriving safely in Darwin 4 days after leaving Canberra.

    Cheers OFI-NT
  2. It's 1986, I am working as an Ambulance Officer in the Alice and had just bought a brand new Honda VF1000F11F in Candy Apple red. I did all the correct things to run it in properly and was very pleased with the Bike. One of the things I had heard people talk about was this thing called Tunnel Vision at high speed. It was described to me as being like all around you is blurry until about 10m - 15m in front of you, then the vision clears.

    I think I had about 5000km on the clock at this stage. 20km north of Alice Springs a road goes off to the left to Yuendumu / Pupunya. From that intersection the Stuart Highway was absolutely smooth, straight and two lanes wide of clearing on each side of the highway. So, I started to wind out the 1000.

    Steadily the speedo climbed to 160kph, then 200kph and it was still pulling strong. I'm not sure what the top speed was 251kph (I think) but the tacho read 9800rpm then, the slowest 60 seconds of my life started. I really don't know what possessed me but having hugged the tank to reach terminal velocity, I sat up in absolute wonder. The bike did not have the single seat cowling fitted and as I rose up, the wind swelled inside my jacket and literally lay me prone across the seat, arms outstretched holding the throttle on full with just my middle and index fingers on both hands barely holding the handlebars.

    As I said, time went very slowly. I started calculating I was travelling at 1km distance very 15 seconds. I started to realise I was just a passenger because I could not reach the kill switch without letting go of the handlebars and I was not going to do that. I started looking at where I could take the bike through the fence and crash it and maybe live if I could land in / through some bushes.

    Even today, I still don't know how I reached the kill switch but I did and the bike started slowing down to the point where I nearly killed myself stepping off at 60kph because I thought I had stopped forward motion.

    As I said in the first story, I am not particularly religious but I have this strange feeling of someone looking after me when I have done something totally stupid.

    Cheers OFI-NT
  3. Fwiw, 1 km every 15 seconds is 400kph.

    Doubt you were going quite that fast...however for you to be hanging off the bike prone with your arms outstretched, maybe you were!!
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  4. Well that's odd, as 360km/h is 1 km every 10 seconds. I never figured that the idea of "time slows down at those speeds" was actually literal.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. I am not someone who needs to exaggerate for any reason and I was there, also
    1km every 15 seconds is 4km every minute, therefore multiply by 60 minutes in an hour and you arrive at 4 x 60 = 240kph (basic arithmetic)

    1km every 10 seconds is 6km every minute, therefore multiply by 60 minutes in an hour and you arrive at 6 x 60 = 360kph (well done).

    As for time literally slowing down, it is a new law of Physics called The Vincenzo Treatize or the Big Doofus Theory,

    Cheers OFI-NT (Vincenzo)
    • Agree Agree x 1

  6. Lol. You are right.

    It was late, I should have just gone to sleep.

  7. I had this happen while overtaking someone on a ride the other day. I was going exceptionally fast (by my standards, anyway, which aren't that fast), when everything around me and in front of me went blurry, and I started getting dizzy. Pulled back onto the left side of the road as soon as I was past the ute I was passing, and slowed right back down again. I've never had that before. Bit scary, especially the dizziness...!!!

    I had thought it was something to do with my eyesight (I'm a little short sighted), but perhaps not - does anyone else know why this happens?
  8. Are you diabetic?

  9. I don't believe so... You've got me thinking now though...
  10. So much awesome stupidity. Thanks I enjoyed reading.
  11. Tunnel vision is a survival reaction. The human brain isn't wired for high speeds and so all peripheral vision is ignored, vision closes down. The brain is smart, the greatest source of risk isn't likely to come from within the peripheral area.... it's likely to come from what lies ahead, and you're riding towards the great and scary "ahead" at a great rate of knots...

    It even happens on the trackdays until your brain starts becoming accustomed to top speed down the main straight as "normal".

    Good thread OFI. Welcome to NR.

    I had my own guardian angel moment I wrote about a few year back involving a throttle rocker and a slight right hand kink in a major road...
    • Informative Informative x 3

  12. Wow. Read this with my jaw on the desk. Awesome.
  13. Thanks. I think about riding a lot. Comes with the territory. :)
  14. Interesting stuff. Generally with regard to motorcycling we consider survival reactions to be bad things, as they are actually detrimental to riding safely. Would you put this in the same basket?
  15. I guess so Lilley. Anything that can interfere with riding and riding decisions should be viewed negatively.

    Any survival reaction can be mastered though, with repetition and application, best to creep up on this particular one at the track. No one starts in the fast group for good reason.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. I would be thinking on two fronts, either the beginnings of Diabetes as someone suggested or an Adrenaline rush from travelling at a speed your mind / body is not used to. Either way monitor and check with your medical team.

    Thanks, glad I made your day. It is amazing how, as young people we don't understand risk management or listen to those little voices in our heads.
    An easy read to explain this is Alan Pease's book "Why Men Don't Listen
    And Women Can't Read Maps." The book is written from an Anthropological point of view, explaining the reason the brain is hard wired the way it is.

    Seems like good advice.

    Cheers OFI-NT
  17. Been riding now for over 40 years and yes have had that happen a few times, all have been when I was doing well over 250kmh, last time not all that long ago when I decided stupidly to see if the 299kmh ECU restriction on my then bike a BMW K1300R was true, yep it was and nope I'll not do that again, it's bloody scary!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Tunnel vision is something every driving instructor in Germany will warn you about and will also teach you how to notice the signs and what to do against it. You do not want someone to be flying along the Autobahn, having no clue what he is currently actually experiencing.
    I have experienced only a very mild version of it and found that I have to concentrate in order to refocus again once off the Autobahn ('slower' speeds) and I have to start using your peripheral vision again. It is real and can happen to anyone and can be really dangerous if you can't 'turn it off' once you're on a road which does require you to see more than just what is right in front of you.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1