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Crash avoidance question for elite riders

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Mariner, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. I have been riding for a while and have completed a couple of advanced rider courses, although still have much to learn. One thing I do is think about possible scenarios, have a planned response, and practice that where possible.
    Two particular scenarios trouble me. I don't know what I would do, and hence would like to hear from some of you highly skilled riders (not an opinion from a newbie). What would you do in the following situations:

    1: a car pulls out in front of you from a side road in an 80k zone (eg rural type setting) so you have a bit of speed on. Assumption is you have seen him and prepared for the possibility, perhaps backed off a little on the speed, done a weave or flicked lights to show him you are there. Appears to have seen you, since staying stationary, but then suddenly pulls out, leaving little time to respond. What action would you take at that time (eg emergency brake, and counter steer behind-or is that too complex?). Where would you be looking (on the basis that the bike will go there)?

    2: you are out in the twisties going into a right hand sweeping bend (ie you already have some lean on) and an approaching rider takes his corner wide and is on a collision course with you. You have a split second to respond. What would you do, and/or what would you have been thinking as you approached (eg do elite riders consider and prepare for possibilities like this)?
  2. Good questions. Dunno if the answers on the internet will translate adequately to make sense. Every time I've had a conversation about those two scenarios they've each lasted over an hour long.
  3. Where do you live?
  4. All depends on what you can do. Knowing and actually doing when the shoite hits the fan are two totally different things.
    In either case look and take the shortest line around them. 6,587294 different things can happen because people are involved. And people do some weird shit.
    Wash off speed and attack the vacant space.
    Then hunt down the idiot who rode on your side of the road, smash his nuts with a hammer and put decorub on them to make them feel better. Then start on his wife and children
    • Like Like x 2
  5. lmfao!!!!!
  6. When a car does pull out in front of you, please don't do what I did and try and do both: steer and brake... It doesn't work :(

    It will come down to the circumstances, but if someone pulled out in front of me in an 80 zone I doubt I could stop in time so I'd try to go around them if the road was clear. The best thing to do in those situations is to not let them occur. If you aren't sure about it, just slow down. That 20-30kmph you knock off could be the difference between hood ornament and riding on.

    For the second circumstance I have had this happen to me while just on L plates, thankfully the guy was a bit further up the road than me. I'm not sure what you can really do other than just avoid riding near the centreline around corners and possibly straightening the bike up/leaning in depending on their 'trajectory' around the corner. Just make sure you don't do either too much as you could end up in the scenery without anyone to blame... There was a video of a Hilux doing something like this to an S1000RR with a pillion rider. If he crashed that could have tragically been blamed on the rider who was 100% not at fault as he was run off the road. It's an inherent risk I guess, but there are some things you can do to avoid or mitigate it..
  7. First one, depends on where the car is going and which side the turning is on.

    If the turning's on the left and they're turning left, I'll probably try to overtake on their right. I've done this before and got away with it at considerably more than 80 km/h.

    If the turning's on the left and they're turning right across my path, it's a toss up whether they become aware of me and then panic and stamp on the brakes or whether they keep going. The former is more likely but trying to go round their front remains a gamble so I'd go for the back. If it comes to it, it's better to go over bonnet or boot than hit the edge of the roof.

    If the turning's on the right and they're turning right into my path, again I'll try to go behind/to their right.

    All those depend on a lot of factors such as sight lines, oncoming traffic, type of threat vehicle etc. though.

    Second scenario, I'll pick it up and widen my line as far as possible, unless he's really cooked it and I've got enough room/visibility to tighten up and go inside him. Or, if I happen to be on the Ural, I'll chuck it sideways and let the silly bugger hit my cast iron sidecar rather than my soft an vulnerable bod :twisted:.

    Thing is, though, as you become more experienced, you find that you cease to be presented with either scenario unexpectedly as frequently as you once were. I can't offer a specific explanation as to exactly how, beyond putting it down to your unconcious observation and data processing developing to a point of being able to accurately predict the next 5 seconds or so, 99% of the time.
  8. I don't think I'd have the balls to claim I was an "elite" rider, but I'm not a newbie and have dealt with similar situations more than a few times. I do have an oppinion and will do my best to try and keep the response brief.

    These are very good questions but unfortunately I don't think there's a definative black and white answer for them as there are too many variables to be sure a strategy will work every time. There will always be exceptions to the rule and it pays to be ready to try Plan B.

    This one is the easier of the two questions for me to answer, but it depends which way the car is turning onto the road I'm traveling on.

    My first reaction will be to emergency brake to wash off as much speed as possible, however the question assumes I will need to swerve which leaves two possible answers.

    If the car is turning right (to go the opposite direction I'm travelling) or if the car is going straight across the intersection then I tend to swerve behing the car because I know that gap is going to get wider. There is a risk the car will suddenly stop, but I still know the gap won't get smaller so that is where I aim my eyes and bike.

    If the car is turning left (to travel in the same direction I am travelling) then I will go to the right (front) of the car because that gap should be bigger. It also avoids being cleaned up by the car if the driver panics and pulls over after suddenly seeing me. The danger here is that oncomming traffic may lmit the space to move so practiced lane splitting skills may help to preserve your undies in that case, but there is usually plently of space to fit two cars and a bike across most roads.

    In either case, my eyes look where I want to go and I keep my options openfor a plan B. Not every circumstanse is exactly the same. If the oncomming traffic is a header or large tractor and I clearly won't leave enough space then I'd probably take my chances with a bit of gravel.

    Edit: I have assumed the car is on my left as it pulls out. If the car was to my right as it pulled out then only a right turn or straight accross would cause my a problem and in both cases I'd swerve behind him (being aware of oncoming traffic)

    This one is really a case of each situation as it arrises, however there are some points to discuss.

    If you are turning right through the bend then it's most likely that you are on the left hand side of the lane and have bugger all room to move in order to widen your line. This makes tightening the line the most likely option and one that has worked for me before.

    The real problem is that you don't know what action the other rider will take. They may get their act together and tighten their line as well which puts you in danger. However, to get that far out of shape, I'd be guessing he/she is more likely to end up in the bushes than they are to tighten up and pull through.

    My best advice would be to wash of the speed (the other rider will probably be doing the same) and wait till the last second before you have to decide whether to go wide or tight. Most of the time, I would guess it's best to tighten the line, then stop and help the other rider pull their bike out of the bushes. Just be aware that you might have to change your mind at the last minute and risk a bushy end to the day as a less painful option than having a head on with another bike. Only in the moment when you know the speeds, lean angles, road/traffic conditions and the roadside flora could you be sure which is the best option though.
  9. Would you like me to put up some photo's of the end result ???
    Seriously not for the squeamish.
    I've had it a few time. And usually got away with it. But not always. if your on the road all day every day on a bike it is going to happen. Unless you name is teflon Don.
  10. I'm no elite rider, but I've thought about the first one where there is just no chance of stopping or swerving around the car. I would brake hard and look for an escape route as described above, but on realising I couldn't get out of it, stop braking, stand up on the seat, and basically jump over the car as the bike hits it (or be catapulted over the car). Then tumble down the road as best I could. I would prefer that to the quick stop of hitting the side of a car with my head or chest.

    I don't know if I could do it, but that is the vision in my head.

    I've only had a car do what you describe to me once, and I was so locked into the bike, hard on the brakes with the back end lifting, that it would have taken 30 metres for me to let go the brakes and jump onto the seat, and that is a lot of time to take evasive action. So maybe I would never get a chance to try it, but that is still the vision. Mind you, elite riders know to never give up on the bike, and look for and see escape routes.

    The second one has too many variables to provide an accurate repsonse. Is the other rider just heading straight off the road? Are they going to make the corner, and if so, how much of your lane are they going to use? Is there any traffic behind them? Do you have maneuvering speed, or are you at the limit?

    One of the escape routes in that situation is to cross the road to the very right, and brake hard at the edge of the bitumen. But that may freak out the other rider and have him fixate on you, or you may end up in a head on with other traffic, where you are at fault.

    In either option, just remember that you must always have escape options, and look for even the smallest opportunity, even if it is going to hurt and perhaps not save the bike, but will save you.

    Oh yeah, if you survive, use the hammer and dencorub. :evil:
  11. Situation 1 is difficult, your gut instinct will be to avoid the crash at all lengths possible, but if you fail you are going to be in a lot worse position than if you accepted the inevitable crash, took as much speed off as you could and aimed for the lowest part of the car so that you are flung over it. It depends on the situation but making the decision to crash rather than avoid as soon as possible is critical.

    The second situation depends on how much you've put into the corner. As they have over steered, they wont be able to lean further to pass you to your right, their only option is to pass to your left or remain on the same line. So if you've got a lot of room to lean harder then go for the wrong side pass. If you're at full tilt then I'm not sure.
  12. myself, not by any stretch of the imagination claiming eletism.
    > both scenarios, if assumed worst cases, you ain't going to do nothing. there won't be time to react. so no point dwelling on it.

    i've experienced the first given circumstance and i don't remember it happenning. never lost consciousness. was just riding along one second. and a milisecond later was mid air and bikeless.
    worse case scenarios, just bang, something is dead in front of you. could have done everything right. eye contact and certain driver is waiting for you to pass by, then just shoots out at that crucial milisecond in time and space. it happens.
    and it's just going to happen faster than your brain can process it. so theres nothing you can practice to survive it.

    the only sound knowledge anyone can give you here, is that the more speed you wipe of, the less damage.

    for the second scenario (op) standing the bike up will bring you to a stop the quickest and over the shortest distance.

    and fwiw, riders who claim to have reacted a certain way pre-accident always give me a chuckle.
  13. The first one.

    A mate did it and we all called him a Bullshit artist in the extreme and laughed him out of the place, It just couldnt be done,

    But I did it at Bathhurst instead of slamming into him

    A car came out on my right, Directed by a copper, no doubt, that he saw me coming,

    I had no where to go,

    I laid the bike over on its right side hard, just as it was about to let go and slide, I flicked it upright again and laid it over the other way, Hard. using the Gravitational forces of the bike.

    What actually occured was it moved the bike sideways about 3 feet, allowing me to go around the back of the car,

    If my mate had not told me this before hand, I would have just ploughed into the side of the car, But standing up so I would go over the top of the car and not get injured, Rolling off the other side,

    The second one,

    Change your line dramatically, either further in or out, Depending on where the bike coming at you is in relation to your self,
    Crank it over harder and go underneath the other rider,
    or stand it up and go wider and then crank it down and hope you still have some road left to finish your turn with out hitting the edge of the road,

    It doesnt matter which side you go, As long as you miss each other,

    Hitting the other rider will more than likely kill you both,.

  14. I have to (unfortunately) completely disagree with that.

    I have had situation 1 happen to me more than a couple of times in my riding life, and I have escaped (up to now).

    I'm NOT some super-elite rider but I have enough experience to know that almost EVERY encounter is a survivable and escapable one (HURT report shows that in 30% of motorcycle accidents, the rider has tried....NOTHING AT ALL. They freeze and crash!)

    It is better to attempt SOMETHING than give up and go down.

    At EVERY second of EVERY ride, you should have (at least) THREE options for escape.
    I don't need to think about what I'm going to do to get out of there:
    Al; I need to do is run down my list of options and discard them as I assess them.

    For me, depending on the situation, as an example, my options usually go something like this:
    Option 1: brake
    OPtion 2: swerve right
    Option 3: Gun it out of there.
    Option 4: Swerve left

    If I ever am in about to enter a situation where my escape routes are reduced less than three, I rethink whether I should be get into that situation in the first place.

    For situation 1, my strategy is usually:
    1. Wipe off enough speed to do an effective swerve
    2. Look for the bigger gap (front or back). When in doubt, go behind (that gap's always going to get bigger)

    3. Look THROUGH the gap to the other side where you want to go(remember, you're going to have to swerve TWICE. No use avoiding the car, if you're gonna hit the phone box or the oncoming traffic)

    4. Go for it:
    PUSH left,then PUSH right - HARD! (or vice versa)
    Trust The Bike!

    That takes all of a second, plenty of time to have your reflexes kick in and you run down your escape options and make the right decisions.

    Getting on the brakes hard and stopping sometimes exposes you to some dufus running up your ass and killing you.

    Situation 2:
    Stand it up and touch the brake then lean again
    If the other rider was coming directly for you, that should give you more than enough to avoid his line and make it past him.
    Going for a tightening of your line and trying to go in front of him to his other side is farking suicide.

    Here's an example of what I faced 2 days ago:
    I'm riding home from work, and taking a series of roundabout about 500mts from my place. I know those roundabouts like the back of my hand.
    I lost concentration (because I was so familiar! :/) and next thing you know, I realise that a car is entering the roundabout on my right and I'm slightly too close & hot on the roundabout (97% of the time, I can treat those rounabouts like chicanes, so I take them a bit hot).
    I get on the brakes as usual, then realise (argh!!), that I'm skidding on diesel spilt on the road and I'm going to end up stopping right in the path of the car.
    Driver's not even LOOKING at me, let alone trying to stop
    Panick =0.2 seconds,
    Thought about options = 0.1 seconds,
    Realised there was only 1 viable one:
    Raised myself off the seat and bounced DOWN on the bike (to get more weight and grip on the diesel-slick tyre), opened the throttle , and swerved in front and around the car.
    Shat my pants, but escaped unscathed!

  15. Thank you all for your considered responses (including those yet to post) which are very helpful.
  16. For #1 I'd go straight onto the wrong side of the road, flat out past him. if there's a car coming the other way sit on the centerline and brake hard and split between them.

    For #2 it all comes down to timing of the exact situation but I've learnt that I can use the front brake pretty hard at decent lean on a full sports bike. (Not the case on anything else). The main thing is to focus on exiting the corner yourself because the other guy may pull it back online but you still come off out of panic. I've had a time at max lean on a roundabout (I know I know) and I saw car pull out out of the left of my eye. I think I was so low that I was below his vision. I thought I was screwed but just stayed calm and wound the throttle on as hard as I thought I could and waited for the impact. He had seen me at the last second and ebraked to a stop in the middle of the roundabout. The point is I did what I could and he did what he could and it worked out. Just keep that focus.
  17. Can I just highlight this, I believe the common wisdom is that this is strongly recommended against as it is a confusing signal. Many drivers will take it that it is acceptable to pull out in such a case.

    Personally, I avoid doing this at all for that reason.

    Big fan of the weave though.
  18. Agree completely with this.
  19. . . . . . . . .
    1.I'm not sure I'd call myself an elite rider, but I've been doing it for quite a while, so ...

    This is a good question, because I can tell you what I did at 5:30am on may 19 2009. It was dark and p1ssing down rain and I was on my way to work and half asleep. By the time I realised that the creeping was going to continue into a full fledged U-turn, in front of me rather than behind, it was way too late to stop or even slow significantly, so I began to counter steer, leaning the bike over to the right. I had maybe 15 degrees of lean happening when impact occurred, but the line hadn't really begun to deviate yet. I didn't attempt to slow down. There was no point. Like the last serious bike - car collision I had, I had a vague notion rattling around in my head like 'Sheesh, that was a bit close!' It seemed like it was going to be a concerning near miss, not a collision.

    Obviously my reaction was too little, too late, but I kept my attention focussed mostly ahead, and tried to turn away. There was no time or room to even slow down - let alone stop.

    [edit] Having read some of the other answers... There are many similar situations, but each one is subtly different. Planning contingencies is not a bad idea, but be careful you don't lock yourself into a course of action or a small number of options, because they're the one's you've imagined and mentally explored. The situation you find yourself facing might be like the one you described, but just different enough to result in an entirely different best option.

    I too have thought of jumping up and off the bike to go over a car rather than into it. I think that most times, if you had enough time to recognise the situation and prepare for it and do it, you'd probably have enough time to do something else instead.

    For example - I have occasionally made a very bad decision about overtaking, and found myself facing an oncoming car. Most times, the best option is to aim for the white line in the middle, as close to the car you're overtaking as you can. Generally, the other car will either be far enough over, or will get far enough over, for you to fit. (Most of the time, cars don't pass so close to each other that a bike won't fit between them.) The second option would be to turn hard right into the darkness and hope you went down and slowed down quite a bit, or even stopped before you hit something solid. Riding into an oncoming car and trying to jump over it is not a realistic option.

    2. My first instinct would be to stand the bike up and run wide, toward the left, myself. However, it would depend on whether I thought I had a better chance of passing on the left / outside or the right / inside of the other rider. Most likely, I'd still be sitting there going " ... WTF is this guy doing?" when he hit me.
  20. @adprom thanks for pointing out the danger of flicking lights. So obvious how it could be misinterpreted now that you mention it.