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Emergency Situations And What To Do

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by WeeBubba, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. i have around 5 or 6 months riding experience, and have got a few of questions please.

    The first thing is regarding blind, or partially blind corners. At the moment I am slowing down lots for these corners because I have small anxieties about what is around the corner. What if a car has broken down? Or somebody is lay across the floor? Or a tree is fallen down? e.g. On the Old Pac. Yet I see lots of other riders taking those same corners MUCH MUCH faster. Is this because they are experienced enough to know what to do in case of such an emergency? Or is this because with more experience riding they realise that the likelihood of a tree falling down is so minimal it's not worth thinking about?

    Another question. If I am coming around a blind corner and there IS a problem immediately around that corner, or indeed I suppose if anybody pulls out on me in general, what should I do? Keep straight and brake? Swerve off the road? Go into the other side of the road and pass? How will I know what to do? Is there ever a right thing to do, or is it all down to reactions? If there IS always a best path to take (e.g. take the other side of the road if clear, brake hard if not, etc.) then how can you prepare for this to give yourself the best chance?

    Also last question. Re emergency braking, should I be practicing doing this at higher and higher speeds now in empty car parks etc?

    I know that this is a kinda loaded question, sorry about that, but these questions are really important for me!!!
  2. I have even less experience than you unless you count the years on dirt, so I'm not going to even take a crack at handling the specific situations you mention, however in my opinion, the first thing to do in learning to manage emergency situations on two wheels is to train out those lizard brain survival reflexes. When your brain truly believes and understands the physics of a bike and how it reacts, you start to understand the input to result chain, that allows your mind to make unconscious decisions about the best course of action.

    I know it's a bit of a cop out answer, but there is no best thing to do every time for each situation, it all hinges on too many variables, and training your mind to be at home on two wheels is the only way to do that.

    I know it's different, but freestyle bmx in my youth has me feeling more stable on two wheels than I do on my own two feet.
  3. Suggest you do a course that teaches you emergency corner braking. They teach you a few techniques and it's surprising how quickly you can safely stop in a corner if you have to.
  4. These are the questions.

    If it worries you, only ride as fast as you can see, & PatB has a good one about not riding somewhere your brain didn't arrive 30 seconds earlier.

    The reality is, very few people ride like this.

    Practice your emergency stops & swerving & always expect the unexpected.

    You should practice emergency stops from whatever speed you ride, maybe even faster.

    As to what to do if confronted with a situation...

    Play it by ear. Based on your scenario, if you come around, say, a left hand corner & there is a broken down car for instance, your first instinct will probably be to brake, which will stand the bike up & cause it to run wide.

    At which point you can continue braking, or, since your already heading for the other lane go there, provided there's no other traffic.

    That's just one scenario, I suggest knowing what's going to happen if you do X and account for it.
  5. At the risk of being flamed, I think your approach is spot on. You should always be extra wary on a blind or partially blind corner. I was always told the golden rule is to go no faster than the distance you can see and safely stop in. Now realistically how many of us do that ???? until one day as you predicted something goes wrong car/bike/truck on wrongside of road etc.

    Obviously that speed will be different for everyone depending on their experience/skill level etc. Bottom line, in my observation (including me) is that most of us go too fast in blind corners on the public road and assume nothing will go wrong or we have mythical faith in our skills to compensate. . . . . ask your mates how many of them have actually practiced emergency braking in a blind corner or any corner?? On the track you have track marshalls telling you if something is wrong ahead but on the public road I wish.

    As you gather more experience, I would encourage you to do some more advanced training where many courses actually cover the scenario you speak of and you can practice it in a controlled environment.

    Apologies for the long winded answer but your approach is sound, better to err on the side of caution than paying a higher price one day. As for the anxiety that is natural and this too will be controlled in time/experience then you will be faced with the dilema of going faster and having the same anxiety at a higher speed OR staying within your comfort zone.

    just my 2 cents
  6. Part of the answer lies in how you approach cornering. Have a read of the stickies on cornering in this forum. See how that goes.

    You should ride to what you can see.
  7. Forget about the faster riders. There could be a myriad of reasons why seemingly barrel through a corner.
    They may have been through earlier from either direction and know the road surface is clean. They may know that section very well, and know there's no hidden driveways or sideroads.
    They may be highly skilled and at 'their' speed they can deal with most things, and are accustomed to riding with a certain amour of 'faith'.
    Or they maybe a bunch of dickheads gambling that lady luck is with them.

    I'll also say that some of riding is about "chance" and what one could safely assume based on the likelihood of some out of the sky thing, happening.

    Ie. Just demonstrate my point. We ride in thunderstorms if we happen to cop one on the commute home. Are we going to get hit by lightning? Unlikely, so we continue on our merry way.

    What everyone before me has said is correct and your safest bet.

    Experience will guide you, along with your developed intuition and practiced judgement from years on the road.

    You don't have that yet, but common sense is usually a reliable sense, so use it in copious amounts in the meantime.

    As for specific, key ways to handle situations, I would say swerve to avoid whenever possible, is on average your best move. Turing to come to a dead stop each time, won't work often enough, unless it's a case of 'no choice'

    For me personally I go for the slow down and maneuver strategy by default.

    Until you have developed all your skills, it's a case of visual content - you can only be absolutely sure, of the things that you can SEE.

    So ride by that rule and you'll be ok, most of the time.

    Oh, and no...there is no golden talisman of advice- simply way to many variables.
  8. OK firstly most blind corners should be signed. It's a good idea to take notice of the yellow advisory signs that litter our roads. But anywho life is life and not always as it should be.
    So if you are out riding on a strange road. First, do not try to make up time on the straits. Little country road straits are lethal for bikes. Remember old mate does not see many cars down his road and just pulls out of his drive. Live stock tend to not obey road rules well either.
    When approaching a corner, you want to enter wide. One it straitens out the corner. Two it gives you a better look through it. So.... the longer you stay wide, the more you see through the corner. And the straiter line you make of it. I don't turn in until I can see well into the corner. There is no point turning in till you can see the apex anyway.
    On a bike you want the apex more so about 75% through the corner. Your steering dynamics and geometry change from on throttle to off to on. Your gearing changes the further you lean over. It's much better to go into a corner a gear too high then one too low.
    Now this should stop coming across mid corner miss haps. But if you do. Ease the bike up and get on the brakes as you normally would in a panic situation. But here and now it's best to look for a way to ride out of this mess. Remember the slow speed crawl the instructor taught you. Remember that stupid figure eight we made you do that you all said, why, I will never have to do that. ha ha no I am not saying do a figure eight. But the technique you learn for these things can help you here in a mid corner emergency.
    If your not real good and you grab a handful of front brake mid corner. Eek. probably a high side, well hopefully cause if that front gives out you will come down on your shoulder so hard it will break your collar bone. And that hurts more than any other bone I think. You cant laugh for months.
    I have forty three years riding under my belt and mate. I still throw in a practice emergency brake, every day. True. Practice is everything champ. I still have to do it to keep my skills up. You have to push yourself a bit. Try not to focus on the speedo. Listen and feel it. Just get it right in your comfort zone. Then build on it. Have something to focus on that will keep your eyes up before you start your run. Then really try to feel it. If you keep you eyes up you will. You should feel your forks compressing in one nice smooth motion. Use you stomach muscles and knees, not your arms to hold you back.
    Lean forward into acceleration and back from braking. It will take away the G forces. Stop and Analise each run. How could I do better, also find what your doing right and remember it. Use it as confidence.
    You will fall sometimes training. It happens. It hurts lol. try not to let it get to you. Don't jump strait back on. Sometimes you can hurt yourself and the adrenalin will mask it. Learn to laugh at yourself. Have a sit and a chuckle. Let your breathing and heart rate come down and go back to something you know and can do. then come back to the beast that made you fall.
    Use the focus point. Set yourselfup for it as you build up speed. Knees into the tank. Back bent back by your gut muscles. Eyes still on the focus point. Now the big squeeze. Remember it's not how fast you get that lever in. In a perfect high speed situation, you would want that lever to tap the grip as your left foot comes down at the end of the stop. Make sure your getting it back to first. And your eyes go strait to your right mirror. In real life you might have been good and practised and become efficeint at it. Old mate behind you.... maybe not.
    Look right around you every time you go for a run too.
  9. thanks all for taking the time to reply

    i get that there are too many variables to make this kinda thing an exact science. but still, this has been really really helpful. from reading this, i've realised that what i need to do is get more active in this area, which will make more prepared should the time come.

    for my own sakes (and for any other learners reading this), i've tried to bullet point the main bits of advice here. i can add other bits afterwards with an EDIT if needed.

    - read ROB's cornering threads then go out and keep practicing them until my lines and exiting etc. improve.

    - practice emergency stops more!! try to do at least one a day. keep practising this too at faster and faster speeds (should be easy for me as i have some quiet roads nearby)

    - ring HART and find out about the intermediate and advanced courses. See what I can do to learn more about braking on corners and swerving in a controlled environment. (i dont use the back brake yet at all only when going slow and weaving through traffic etc)

    - only ride as fast as i feel comfortable with around corners. ignore faster riders and try to always remember that i've only been riding for a relatively short amount of time.

    - go buy a dirt bike!! (eheh if only. would love one. a few people have told me this is a great way to understand a motorbike's limits more - but may have to put this one on the back burner for now until i get a pay rise!!!)

    - if the shit does go down, don't just automatically hammer the brakes and try to come to a dead stop, see if there is a way out too.

    - get ACTIVE and get PREPARED