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Analysis required of my reactions during a VERY close call!!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by parko, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. Hi all,

    I've been riding about a year now...From day one on my learners I've ridden every day about 100 kays to and from work and I get off my restrictions in a month (Yay!). In all that time, this is the closest call I've had, I would appreciate a closer analysis of my actions from the more experienced of you out there!

    Traveling home on the Caulder yesterday and very nearly went up the arse of the car in front.... Here's how...

    I was riding in one of those sections of traffic where the traffic in front of me was accelerating away after being slowed to a near stop due to traffic congestion... Well as we all know, it's in these situations that rear enders tend to happen because people get a little over excited, don't look ahead enough and "Bang", go into the arse of the guy in front because he himself has had to quickly decelerate as well....

    Anyway, I don't know why, but I remember thinking... "Ummmmm, that guy in front is accelerating pretty hard, and the traffic much further ahead appears to be pretty slow, I think I'll just hold back a bit".....

    Then I made my mistake, I remember then thinking "Ummmm, the lane to my left is moving better, I'll change into that, mirror check, there's a car there coming up pretty fast, I'll speed up to get in front and merge".

    Mind you those two thoughts occured pretty fast, prob. only about 2 seconds from start to finish...

    So I sped up and, checking my mirrors to make sure I'd put enough space between me and the car behind, indicate left and start to vear left. Suddenly....."SCREEEEEEEECH, BANG!". Look up and the guy in front of me has gone up the arse of the car in front of him pretty hard, there's dust billowing up from the front of the car and I'm still going pretty fast trying to merge left!"

    This is where thing get a little hazy... I remember thinking... brake!, not enough distance! And suddenly with no thought (that I remember anyway), I'm doing a hard swerve left and right to go around the "crashed" cars in front!

    Heart pounding the rest of the way home...

    So I know I went wrong with my second thought, prob. should have been a little more patient, accelerating slowly and kept the distance between me and the car in front... hopfully that would have given me time to brake, or swerve right in to the emergency lane....

    Also I hope that my decision to swerve left was based on the fact that swerving right into the clear emergency lane was to risky, as I was in the far left of the lane about to merge, or perhaps it was simply due to the fact that most peoples natrual reaction is to swerve left?

    I do remember thinking as I'm swerving, #$@%# where is that car that I was concentrating on in the left lane, hope he's far enough back!

    Lucky to get away with it I guess....
  2. You probably spent a little too much time looking in mirrors/to the side, while the bike was still travelling forwards.

    I've done it before - nothing bad happened, but I realised "Hmmm, if I'm looking to the side while changing lanes, anything could happen in front of me."

    Good work on the dodge though!
    Takes a clear-ish head :) to abandon the brakes when they won't do the job.
  3. Sounds like you were bloody lucky not to go arse over tit.

    There's two things i think here. If you hadn't sped up to try to get in front of the car on your left you could quite possibly have had enough time brake safely when the cars in front said hello to each other. On the other hand, you might not have had enough time to brake no matter what you did, so maybe you did exactly the right thing (without knowing it) by be prepared to jump out of that lane anyway...

    Good to hear you made it through alright though, are your undies clean???? :LOL:
  4. I guess if you didn't go too far to the left (i.e. just enough to miss the ones in front, not a full lane change) the guy coming up quick on the left would still have had the space to avoid you if necessary. (Not sure what you actually did.) But yeah, sounds like you had read the situation pretty well in terms of the risks and possibilities. Maybe you could have been a touch more patient and planned to go in behind the fast car on the left instead of in front.

    But as they say, any one you walk away from is a win... and one you ride away from even more so. Glad to hear it went that way.
  5. You should have been lane splitting on 1 wheel straight up the middle rather than faffing around in traffic :cool:

    Sounds like you handled it okay. I usually like to stay right near the edge of the lane in traffic like that so I can swap between lanes quickly if one lane starts moving faster than the other. Because the cars are so close together, you can see the car behind you in your mirrors without doing a head check. Not saying this is recommended, but that's the way I do it...
  6. agree with Ktulu - too much time trying to do the right thing by looking in the mirrors and as a result a lot has happened in those valuable split seconds.

    Side issue here - you basically watched an accident happen and you didnt stop to a) offer to help or b) give them your details in case they need a witness?

    Now i just need to go find all the posts where we all complain about drivers not stopping when one of us has had an off. :shock:
  7. Yeah you're, right Duffman, I did actually think about it, but only after several kays down the road.... By then I thought it was to late/far to go back. At the time I was too busy thinking about myself, but in the future I'll try to take it into consideration sooner to try and be of help at an incident I've witnessed and/or nearly become involved in...
  8. Sounds like you didn't have enough awareness of the other vehicals positions. As others stated, it's likely because you spent too much time on the mirrors when a quick head check would have been enough. :)

    The Calder is a biatch. In that sort of heavy traffic I simply don't ride in the lane. The risk of being rear ended is very high in those situations so it's much safer to split. Even if you're traveling at the traffic speen rather than passing, position your self to the edge of a lane where you han easily change lanes to lessen the rear end risk. :)
  9. Well done to avoid a bad situation.

    This article will have some of the answers regarding rubber band effect that happens in group riding.


    Ever since reading it, I try to remember to accelerate slowly in traffic to reduce the bungy cord effect.
  10. Yeah I've done that a few times. The first time was going home from the city, being in the far left hand lane and having to merge 5 lanes in about 20 seconds to get to the mosman exit. Sure I got there, but when I looked forward I was heading right for the median strip! :roll: Luckily I pulled back into the lane properly and learnt my lesson... Although sometimes when someone's following me I'll look back to the road and not remember how long its been since I was looking at it.. :LOL:
  11. The good news is that your automatic reaction was spot on, so that's a positive. Decision-making might need a little work, though.
    I know it's so tempting to jump into that next lane when yours is slow. I've slowly come to the conclusion, though, that if I don't have time to properly plan the lane shift, it's just not worth the risk. Sure, the bike can do it, but if I don't have time to check everything at least twice, I'll sit and wait until the next opportunity (which always comes).
    Doesn't sound like you did very much wrong, though. If anything, maybe you could have anticipated the possibility of the crash in front of you better? But that's nit-picking. If you learn anything from it, maybe just be prepared to be a little more patient before diving into the gap, and be happy your reactions are good.
  12. All I can say is well done for avoiding a major crash yourself. A lot of people in that situation may pause or freeze, you followed through with the action you had already planned.

    My 2 cents... from my own experience

    Only thing i can think I can add is to try and look further ahead in traffic.

    I know it's hard when you are at speed bumper to bumper, but imagine you are in a big truck and what stopping/ moving distance you'd need. Truth is driving a heavy truck is a lot like riding a bike, you can't just rely on reactions, you need to be planning all the time.

    If you try to apply this to the bike and you'll get caught out less, as you'll find you are scanning the road further up for danger and planning your safest route better on move.

    Again well done on the bike reaction skills.


    P.s. I used to drive trucks....
  13. Yeah your totally right parko and i've done the same in the past. I wasnt trying to sound all high and mighty :grin:
  14. in my personal opinion i think you have done the right thing, because as you excelerated the car behind you would have done the same, if you got on the brakes and with how qiuck a bike can pull up, chances are you would have worn the bumper of the car behind
  15. just learn from it... really really learn from it. cos it sounds like you was damn lucky not to plough into the car in front. sounds like you tried to fit too many assessments into one manouver.

    once you get on a bigger bike (once your used to it dont become a throttle jockey) youll be able to accelerate out of a lot more stuff easier.

    thats all, no wait.... yeah thats it
  16. Yeah i'd agree with that aswell. As soon as you realised the car in the left was accelerating hard you should have just left it and not merged.

    Changing lanes should just be a quick head check..........not a monitoring of the car in the other lane to make sure you can out accelerate and pass him like others have mentioned.

    Lucky your ninja skills saved you good work :grin:
  17. hard to understand exactly what happened without seeing it. i think you should have broke and broke hard if possible. slowing down any traffic behind you. what happends if the car in front decides to avoid the cars hes coming upto and go the left lane also? he might have been more focused on missing these cars and getting out the way of an accident than checking his mirrors as you have. a bike is after all harder to see.

    if i was to go around him i would hope that i would be ready for this swerve by being as far on the left as possible. caution is needed if you are taking up another vehicles emergency path or merge space.

    then again maybe any impact could have caused the traffic in front to enter the left lane blocking your path..

    idealy i always try to give myself enough distance so that i can stop if the vehicle in front dose an emergency stop for whatever reason. there you have to take into account differences in speed, that cars always have better braking power and more tyre traction than bikes.. road contitions.. wether the car in front has abs ect.

    also if the car behind is tailing me i will make more space in front to allow for thier reduced reaction time.

    i have had a similar situation where i just got around another car while traveling in my cage, where i would have crashed if i hadnt gone around. actually it happened on the bike too in wet weather.

    i think safe distance and scanning others possible actions could have avoided both situations in my case.