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Code Brown Moment

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' at netrider.net.au started by itschriso, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. I found myself in somewhat of a pickle on Saturday.

    T'was a balmy Gold Coast morning, the surf was crap, the sun was beating down with a vengeance and the cagers were out in force

    RIding along in far left of three lanes having joined the lane approx 250metres previously.
    70km/hr zone with reasonably heavy traffic in the other lanes but a clear path ahead for approx 100metres in my lane.
    Not a huge fan of riding in far left lane so I was hoping to move into far right lane but didn't have the opportunity just yet.
    Riding in the right wheel track.

    Along side a truck, when he began to merge into my lane (naturally not using his indicator) I had a small speed advantage but only small. He probably did his head/mirror check (if at all) while I was cruising through his blind spot.

    Options at this point are to brake or accelarate and get out of the way.

    I elected to open up the taps and accelerate out of trouble and get in front of a rapidly closing lane.

    There was no time to hit the horn...... but I certainly had time to get into the left wheel track and give myself a little breathing room as I accelerated past and into clear air

    Almost simultaneously a blue Falcon exits a service station about 70 metres ahead, sees me...and I suspect the truck... He stops dead .....the nose of the car directly in the left wheel track.

    Time slows for me, my options have narrowed, no braking space here and I don't fancy a controlled or uncontrolled dismount over the bonnet of his car, nor do I like the idea of becoming sandwiched between the ever decreasing gap between a a big white truck rock and a very hard place. Another option which fleeting appeared was to go over the gutter, but the numerous trees lining the nature strip made this option rather unattractive as well........ This decision making process took maybe 0.02 secs but felt much longer.

    I decided to continue with my original plan and get the hell outta Dodge, the taps were half opened already and I cranked the throttle to the stops. Myself and the FJR made it through intact..... although I do now have a blue streak running down my left pannier where it came into contact with the front bumper of my mate on the left.

    Cue a bus stop ahead, and I pull in to take stock of the situation and both the truck and the Falcon cruise on past without a care in their world. Mine however has decended somewhat, from a nice Saturday morning ride to clear out the cobwebs, to questioning whether I should continue riding.

    I honestly couldn't get back on the bike for 20 minutes I was shaking so much.

    I am not sure what I could have done to avoid this and to be fair there was nil skill involved in getting out of the situation..... it was just blind luck.
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  2. Well, it's always easy to pull apart an incident bit by bit in front of a computer later on where the biggest risk of injury is RSI in my typing fingers. Firstly kudos, you are alive, have two arms, two legs and best of all a motorcycle. Where did this occur? Was it on the old highway? That is a nuts piece of road.

    I'm going to throw a few points at you, but please it's just for us all to learn, not intended as criticisms of your actions, after all the key point here is you survived.

    Firstly I don't quite understand a couple of points. When you say "rapidly closing lane" do you mean as in it was becoming occupied by the white truck, or was the lane running out? Why didn't the truck hit the car? Did he stay over and not complete his lane change until after he passed it?

    Mate one point I'd like to pull apart and examine was your decision to power through. One way to look at this is that during the time you were being presented with an increasing number of risk factors, your vehicle speed was increasing, leaving you less time and ability to react and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In your opinion looking back, do you think there was scope to slow down, let the truck in, then change lanes later to go around him? Please I'm not being a smart arse here, just looking at possibilities to make us all safer in the future. Regardless of which FJR it is (I'm imagining it was the 1300 if you scraped a pannier?), it's a pretty quick bike, even if you were in a higher gear and the engine loaded, I imagine if you pegged it, the increase in speed was fairly impressive which heightened your problems approaching a stationary object?

    I know it's not as simple as that, slowing down when you are being minced by a truck can lead to a rear ender, and we generally have a poorer understanding of the traffic behind us than the traffic in front.

    I hope you respond, I'd like to discuss this further.

    Cheers and thanks for sharing what happened.
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  3. Tricky situation, what sort of truck was it, Semi Trailer, 7 tonne etc. Trucks blind spots are fairly widespread particularly on their off side. Glad you came out unscathed except for a change of underwear.
  4. #4 Big W, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
    Agreed with Teef. No criticisms here but we all need to learn as this is an all to frequent occurrence. I'd say the truck didn't see you. The uterus didn't see you (as he was focussed on the rapidly approaching truck!). My instinct probably would have been to back off once I'd realised the truck was on its way over. Especially being in the far left lane when you've got nothing but kerb, pedestrians stepping out & front ends of cars waiting to kill you! It's for this reason I hate riding up to, and along, trucks! I make it a point to never ride beside them any friggin longer than I have to. I certainly don't filter past them, but rather overtake to continue filtering. I guess I can be a bit of a pus & err on the side of caution than bravado but I'll always ride as though I can't be seen. It's kept me alive so far!

    Then again, if you'd braked in the first place you probably would have had some phone playing twat up you wahzoo so either way you're jiggered! Still mate...20/20 hindsight. You were skilled enough not to become another statistic so you should feel pretty satisfied with that! You threaded that needle perfectly & lived to tell us.
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  5. That's all I needed to read mate. My experience with GC drivers has been that they're some of the worst in Australia. With the other Hinterland thread - I couldn't help but wonder if some of those single vehicle fatalities actually had a driver as a contributing factor but because the driver didn't hit the bike, and the accident happened past him they might be completely unaware of what they caused thus going to single fatalities. Could be wrong, but GC drivers are a breed of their own.

    Stay safe up there - and thanks for posting your experience so we can learn from it!
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  6. Hey itschrisoitschriso close call. I reckon you did well :)
    Thanks for sharing because it is really good for novices like me to take stock and think through the alternative scenarios.
    But at the end of the day as Teef said easy to do from the comfort of the computer etc. so I am not sure what I would do
    if I was on the ninja 300 I probably would have slowed right off (maybe who knows?) as gutless acceleration but on my new beastie probably would have gone back to second and hammered the throttle...maybe.
    Isn't that adrenalin surge just frickin amazing?

    One thing for sure I would have needed a stick and the sards to clean the reg grundies :woot:
    So glad you are okay and hope your debriefing helped.
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  7. I try very hard to not be in blind spots so I would have passed the truck quickly, but that would have had me approaching the car faster and that would have been worse than your original situation. Tricky scenario,anyway avoiding blind spots is a big factor for me. I avoid traffic these days as well if I can but how do you do that.BTW if you watch that Air Crash show most accidents usually have more that one cause, and it become a cascading panic driven event real quick reducing problem solving time and overwhelming the operator.You did good,any landing is a good landing
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  8. Even though it's not a complete solution to the scenario described, it's still the take away message here IMO.
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  9. #9 fruechtel, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015

    I have been in a few situations like this, where I decided to speed up and only just made it. In hindsight it would have been better for me to back off and play is safe. The fact, that I got away with it does not mean I made the right decision, because with increasing speed your options disappear quickly. There are situations, where some brisk acceleration can save your bacon; but in a situation when you have some seen and possibly more unseen threats ahead of you it is generally safer to back off. But most of all, good on you for getting through it in one piece!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Firstly apologies, trying to quote and even post on an iPad is challenging, I shall try my best.

    It was west bound on Smith street just coming up to the Wardoo St intersection. The Falcon was coming out of the Servo on the corner. By "Rapidly closing lane" I am referring to the narrowing space I was in, This happened so quickly that truck didn't really seem to react, I think he was holding position as he percieved he was going to miss the nose of the falcon so was only partially in the lane. I don't think he knew I existed until I powered past him.

    The decision to power through originally was wrong I believe, I should have braked, if I had started braking could i have e-braked in time ? .... possibly, I certainly would have been in a better position to slow enough ..... I guess this comes down to my style of riding, which centres on a good offense being the best defence, thats what I need to review.

    I would normally have gone faster past a truck, but the junction I was approaching has a redlight/speed camera combo hence my restraint....... in many ways this was a perfect storm for me.

    To be honest I don't remember, my gut is telling me a large Pantec but it could have been a semi. All I remember was that it was a large white harbinger of death and destruction.

    Good point here, I have replayed this a 1000 times and I still don't know, my gut tells me that I did the right thing, but I need to consider whether a more conservative approach in the future is better.

    The FJR 1300 and the ponies it brings to the table helped me get out of trouble here. I guess the question is ...... should I have risked the unknown threat behind me by throwing out the anchors....... To be honest I don't remember what was behind me.... You tend to develop tunnel vision when in a situation like that.

    Thanks for the feedback thus far guys, happy to continue to discuss.
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  11. There's another partial answer. I know this sounds know-all in hindsight (and I'm not being critical here), but at least some of the problem was caused by not knowing what was behind you. Maybe what we can ALL learn from this example is to never stop scanning for escape options so when the unexpected occurs we already have the full picture.
  12. Well, regardless of what is technically "right" or "wrong" here, I think your attitude is what will help you the most in surviving. I think being prepared to review and critique your riding shows enormous strength of character and for that reason alone if there were more riders like you I think we would have fewer fatalities.

    I really appreciate you sharing this, it's so much easier for me to learn from your experiences than to try to repeat them all for myself. This is internet forum use at its best, a chance to discuss how we all improve, every last one of us.

    Tunnelling in a stressful situation is a killer,, a lesser rider may well have been so tunnelled on the truck that they failed to notice the Falcon. In this case I would have been watching it on the news instead of reading your thoughts here.

    I'm now thinking through my riding, because what I initially said to you about your speed increasing by powering out of a dangerous situation completely applies to me as well. All of my bikes are over 1000cc so I'm in the same situation as you, there are plenty of ponies to use as an option.

    I guess lessons here are:

    Pre-think about a conservative approach to a dangerous situation as well as an aggressive solution

    Practice continuous full situational awareness, both in front of and behind us. Not easy to achieve, it's that one split second that gets us. However when faced with a dangerous situation, especially a dynamically developing one like you faced, our best exit route, may not be in our immediate field of view. That has its own dangers.
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  13. Reading your description, in future merge faster than traffic, clear any hazards like trucks, get out of the merge lane, then slow down to traffic speed.
  14. You did well to keep alive, it's notable that the most powerful accelerator on your bike is your brakes though, but rearward visibility is obviously the lowest and there lies dangers coming from the back.
  15. Being on Smith st was your biggest mistake =D
    I'm interested that you mention being in the right wheel track whilst alongside a vehicle to your right .... never a great place to be as any incurion into your lane is a close thing .. best to buffer away from the hazard where possible.
    As for the situation slowing down would probably have been the better choice.
  16. Good point, however I have always been of the defend your lane school of thought.
    I have always found lane incursions are more likely if you take a passive approach. Although I must say I am reviewing that school of thought and my defensive vs offensive riding.

    I would be interested to hear what other people do.
    Do you defend your lane (right wheel track in the left lane or left wheel track in the right lane) or keep out of the way?
  17. #17 cjvfr, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
    I use the wheel track or centre of the road based on the side with the greatest danger, In a road with parked cars where the chance of being doored is high then right track. Ditto with left entering traffic, a right track gives you greater visibility to the other vehicle and a greater view. of that traffic. In a situation where traffic is entering from the right then left track. Where danger is equal from each side then centre track.

    My rationale is that you place yourself to allow greatest view of the risk and allow maximum escape paths.

    Edited: I said left when I meant right above, fixed now. A brain fart ;)
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  18. As said by others; no criticism intended here. I say the following based on over 20 years riding experience on many bikes and learning from quite a few F*#@ ups of my own ... through which I have lived and am goddamn grateful and much, much wiser!
    Always give way to the bigger vehicle, it is the safest choice to assume they have not seen you and that they will continue driving in the same manner. i.e. into your path.
    The two available options: power on as you did and risk it or take control of the situation and put your breaking skills to the test.
    Powering on- this is only an option when you know without any doubt (plenty have guessed and paid a price, including me!) that you have the available space and plenty of reserve power and that you and your vehicle will sail on through like a bat outta hell or the Millennium Falcon and be gone before they knew you were there.
    However, you do not have control of the situation as there are too many variables and this is why you must be sure- The car could pull out (happened to me), the truck could move over much quicker that he had been (happened to us all); or there could be a car pulling in front of the truck where you intended to be ....
    Braking- it is always safest to assume control of any uncertain situation which puts the odds heavily back in your favour. Brake immediately and progressively harder and harder. The truck sails on past you not caring; the car in the driveway can do whatever the hell it likes, because you're not there!
    Statistically, the number of fatalities as a result of collisions occurring below 60km/h are negligible. anything over that and they increase exponentially with the speed involved.

    Cheers all
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  19. Sorry I missed your reply.

    I ask you "what defence"? I'd suggest that a bike trying to defend their place in a lane against a much larger more stable vehicle is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

    I prefer not to be prescriptive about lane position ... you can legally use all and any part of your lane. The key being creating space away from any hazard. Something to remember is that buffering within your lane means you are moving ie not static ... the human eye is tuned to notice movement.