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A near miss and why it's my fault

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by Rusti_GotRage, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. So - firstly, I'll say what happened, then the subject line will make far more sense...

    Commuting home on my girl (still need to name her!) and as I'm coming up Pascoe Vale Road, I see a situation developing in front of me.

    I'm sitting in the left lane, about 3 car lengths back from the white sedan in front and around 1.5-2 car lengths behind (and to the left) of the yellow van in the right hand lane. We're doing the limit (60) and we're just going over the bridge after the Red Rooster heading north towards Glenroy.

    I notice a vehicle on the WRONG side of the road, facing north which is making a bee-line from the service station driveway toward the right hand north bound lane - and on a collision course for the yellow van.

    I'm already off the throttle at this point. The yellow van brakes hard and swerves LEFT in front of me. I e-brake (as you do) and pull up behind the yellow van with a screech of rubber from my rear tire.

    Yup - locked it up.

    Soooo - on the plus side: I saw the situation coming and anticipated what was coming, to a point. I didn't come off, didn't get hit and was able to continue home unscathed.

    On the MINUS side: I should have reacted sooner. Rolling off the throttle was good to a point. The XVS650 drops speed like a dealer being raided when you roll of the throttle, but I should have moved immediately to braking. Had I done so, I wouldn't have had to e-brake later on.

    Second minus: When I finally DID brake, I was too hard on the rear brake by FAR. Any brake where you skid (and the tail DEFINITELY kicked out!) is a loss of braking power and my effort today was a perfect example of BAD braking. I need to brake MORE with the front brake and far less aggressively with the rear brake. So while yes, I realised what I was doing wrong when I heard the screech, and yes, I controlled the bike and eased up to pull out of the rear wheel skid safely, but it's nothing to be proud of - it should never have happened in the first place!

    Practice practice practice...
  2. rusti you only started riding a short while ago you did most of it right got away with it and learnt a good lesson good onya
  3. Glad you came out unscathed mate. It's important to recognise what you are doing well and not so well. Sometimes issues that happen help us to think about how to improve our riding (as this has done for you), as long as we actually improve these things, it's a great start. I'd start worrying much more if I find that I am repeating mistakes over and over again.

    Mate, well done on seeing the situation coming, stopping in time, controlling the lockup, and most of all, understanding the subtleties of what was not quite right.
  4. Sounds like you did alright, you're not dead & you're aware of what went wrong, so points for that.

    BTW, the weight distribution on a cruiser is a lot different than a sportsbike, you will find the rear brake very effective, probably more so than the front in a lot of circumstances.

    Practice e-braking every now & then to find the threshold, a rear lock up is not really a big deal in most occasions, but like you say, will result in less actual braking.
  5. Looking ahead is what saved you,
    Anticipating what is going to happen before it does and reacting to it.

    As you gain experience, Reacting sooner, moving your self out of harms way, will become a natural thing,

    You did very well,
  6. Nothing wrong done here. You can't hit the brakes every time you see someone doing something stupid. Otherwise you'll wear through your tires in a matter of weeks and probably get hit from behind.

    You slowed down, covered the breaks and when you needed to, used them straight away. Hence you are alive today after someone did all they could to stop that. Well done.
  7. Sounds like good positioning to me. Big plus here would be that you weren't sitting beside the yellow van.

    Most normal people would have a lol_wtf_is_this_clown_doing moment... Obviously decreases your braking time. But as smiledude says, can't be braking every time some does something dodgy.

    Good man. :D

    Well done. Crashing really would ruin your day.

    As mentioned above, the lol_wtf_is_this_clown_doing moment does reduce braking time. It would come down to judgement in this situation. Judgement of: is the car on the wrong side going to make it to where he is going? Is the van going to brake? Are they going to swerve? Making the right call in this kind of situation comes with experience... You're new to riding, the bucket of luck is still full. But I reckon you still made a pretty good call.

    You didn't crash did you? I'd say is was good braking. Just ineffective :D

    Because you are on a cruiser, the braking distribution is probably different to a sports bike or dirt bike. But on a sports bike, 80% of your braking comes from the front. Not locking the back under full e-braking is something it takes alot of practice to do. Simply because the wheel is sooo very light.

  8. Dont rely on your back brake, sometimes its probably safer not using it on the XVS650. Two heart stoppers ive had has come from the back end sliding on e-stops. The drum brakes are garbage and not very effective at all, the worst bit is that it lacks feel and sometimes its feels more like an all or nothing affair.
  9. #9 Rusti_GotRage, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Thanks folks... Like y'all said, I'm not dead and did most things right, sounds like experience is the answer, and of course more Practise!
  10. Unfortunately since most of us started on cars, the normal reaction is to come down too hard on the rear brake in an emergency. The only way to cure this is practice. You need to teach your muscles the correct way.

    Well done for anticipating though. And too many riders (if only a few) would be blaming everyone else for the near miss and not looking at whether or not they could have done something better. So well done for analysing also.
  11. Well done on what you did right and identifying where you could improve. I realised this week that my e-braking skills are poor and need more practice. Fortunately I have not had to use them, I'm not sure whether I'd have done as well in your situation.

    Having said that, I'm concerned that at 60kph you would be sitting only 3 car lengths back. That sounds waaaay too close. As I'm a noob I try to keep the 3s gap if I can. I know this is not always possible, just a thought.

    As you say: practice is the key.

    Edit: quick calc: you need to be 50m back. That = about 12 car lengths.
  12. Rough standard is 1 car length for every 10km's of speed, at 12 car lengths down Pascoe vale road you'd almost be going backwards as cars cut in on you.

    OP did everything right, he's alive and still shiney side up. Could it have been done better? As he said, next time a bit less on the rear and a bit more on the front, But practice that when youre Not in an emergency, so its almost instinctive rather than a thought out process when the excrement hits the pelton wheel..
  13. you did pretty good on the whole, mate.
    But yes, it is a wise thing to critique yourself and learn from it. Alot of guys would ride off thinking 'yeah baby', with only false reinforcement. YOU have taken the time to reflect on it, and that shows alot of maturity, and WILL be a big help to you in the future.

    Yes, having identified the likely outcome from the developing circumstances, you should have backed off a little earlier. Ie what if the road had been wet?

    You were a little firm on rear brake, which in an emergency isn't going to help you much, when coming to a dead stop.
    Mmm...now, speaking of that, if for instances you had reacted earlier and avoided the e-brake you might want to spend that time looking for escape routes to avoid being a sitting duck just sitting there behind the yellow van...which begs the question, were you aware of the traffic behind you? Any cars right behind you etc?

    Not nit picking at you at all - since you've taken the time to self-analyze what, where, and why etc, it is important to take in all the factors (you'll be doing it for the rest of your riding life). :)

    Locking up the back brake is something that can happen to even a very experienced riders, occasionally. So don't worry too much.

    So! You read the traffic ahead, identified an outcome, and it all unfolded just as you were expecting it to. As a result you avoided a possible cras, and stopped with bike upright. That's a pretty desirable outcome for any of us, I reckon. So kudos to you. :) well done!, and continue to be vigilant. Good job, overall. :)

    Loaded question... What was the key, to your control of the overall situation? Not patronizing you...it is just often overlooked, that's all. And it's very important.
  14. The problem with this situation though, if I understand it correctly the van did the opposite to what was expected. And your escape route could have landed u in worse trouble. It's pretty hard to predict what someones going to do if they see you at the last second and panic. It's pretty hard to make two escape routes if the van turns left or right. There's a lot to mentally compute in half a second.
  15. My apologies if my maths is wrong...but I was thinking about a 3s gap, not a 1.5s gap.

    As I said, this is not always possible or advisable.

    The OP referred to a 0.75s gap???? :eek:hno:
  16. Umm... You need several potential escape routes all the time.
    A 3rd if one of them is to ebrake and stop. By spotting trouble ahead of time, you increase your time and options.

    Honestly, you need to stop your current mindset, look further down the road for warning signs and prepare, constantly.
    You will then find that having an escape route or two, noted or recognized, is fairly easy to maintain.
  17. Sorry probably didn't word that quite right. But my main point is that predicting a paniced driver in an instant is very difficult and aversion strategies can lead you to more grief. Something coming head on at u is obviously the worst example where they can go left, right or straight. And I hope I never have to face that.
  18. Normally, coming straight at you, they will vear left. back on their side of the road, so you go left,

    Bit if a car is doing 360's at you. They are out of control, You head for the safest place for you, Thats your decision at the time, Hopefully you make the right decision,
    Even if it means running off the road and parking behind a tree,

    Instant decisions, as you dont have time to think about it,
  19. Glad to hear you got out of that in one piece. Don't beat yourself up over it.

    Well done on two counts
    1. You anticipated a situation and did enough to avoid an accident.
    2. You realize what you could have done better and are learning to be a better rider.
  20. Yeah, fair enough. Sometimes the strategy can be to do nothing all, and just slip right through the mess . :)
    One habit ( call it a strategy) that I never fail to do, is to immediately drop down a gear or two, in preparation, the minute I get a sense of anything at all, until it passes. Then I resume normal channels.