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First month of riding - 4 near misses, a warning for other Learners

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by NoFearNick, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. I think this would be a very good read for other new riders or learners as you can learn from my experiences. I have been driving for three years now and on my P2 license and I've never been in any accident. So I've had a fair bit of road experience prior to riding and know what to look out for.

    So it's been a month since I had my little Ninja 250R registered and got my license. In that time I have racked up about 1400km on my bike and have had 4 near misses where if I hadn't reacted I would no longer be riding. I've also done a few skids and locked up the back wheel accidentally but that would have never been a serious accident. It's not like I'm a crazy rider who weaves between cars, I'm always cautious and in control. Though I will admit to letting the throttle go a few times at the lights, just for fun :)

    Last week was a very bad week for motorcyclists in Sydney, there were 3 deaths on our roads. One of which my close friend witnessed, which made me realise how dangerous our sport really is. There is some statistic like 90% of all motorcycle related accidents a car is at fault and I can understand that from my riding.

    The first near miss was in under a week of riding and travelling along a freeway at 80km/h at midnight, I was in the far left (bus) lane and I had a taxi sharply cut across 3 lanes of traffic to slow down and turn right in front of me. I saw him do this whole procedure and I had to slam on the brakes (which after a week of riding is a scary thing to do) to avoid rear ending him.

    Next, I was riding along a 2 lane road in the right hand lane and there was a broken down truck in the left lane. There was a car to the left of me and I knew it was probably going to try pull into my lane (even though I was there) so I slowed right down to let him merge. When he slowed down too I assumed he had seen me and was giving me right of way but just as I sped up to overtake him he sharpy merges into my lane (where I presently was) - so I had to swerve onto the wrong side of the road to avoid being hit, lucky for me there was no traffic there.

    Coming out from work at 8:15PM last week, it was still a little light out (you know how it is in Sydney) I was making a left turn. I obviously checked to my right before I turned and saw it was clear but when I went to turn I heard a loud noise coming from my right, so as I was halfway through the turn I looked and saw a ute with its headlights off coming straight at me. I obviously slammed on the brakes and almost dropped the bike but, I managed to avoid being hit. I guess I am technically at fault here but, what sort of idiot goes around driving at that time without headlights on?

    Finally my most recent one, at about 8:20PM I've got my headlights on (because they are always on) and I'm riding at about 60km/h on a two lane street. There is a car in my right lane just a little ahead of me and I see a car on a side street wanting to turn in from the left. I stay way over to the right of the lane for caution anyway, which was lucky for me because just as I was about 5m from him (still travelling 60km/h) he pulls out into my lane. So me being prepared for this I swerve into the right lane, I didn't realise the car on my right had slowed down though so I had to swerve back into the left through a very narrow gap between the cars. Again, I guess this would have technically been my fault if I hit anyway making that maneuver but it just goes to show how easy it is to be in an accident.
  2. The left hand lane is not safe for this exact reason. If you ride there, check RIGHT when approaching an exit for the late exit multi lane diving driver.

    Assumptions kill. You could have predicted what was going to happen.

    Well avoided, but did you really have a good look?

    Did you flash your lights or move about in the lane to drag your head light out of the background and into the driver's vision? Did you cover your brakes? Why didn't you slow down?

    Glad you're here to talk about it and good on you for sharing as you'll be helping another novice rider with your experiences, but your road craft appears to be letting you down - this could kill you if you don't get it sorted.

    Start searching for roadcraft courses or tips and start integrating them into your riding.
  3. yea my first few months on the bike where nuts. Took a few mistakes like your near misses to find out the hard way what not to do.

    Car driving experience doesn't count for much when you are on the bike IMO
  4. I'd probably (hopefully) be right in saying that you have already encountered all those near misses and more in your 3(ish) years of driving (a car)..

    It's just that this time you don't have a massive safety cage around you.. and for that reason, you shouldn't be riding like a driver.
  5. For a learner, I think he did an exceptional job of staying alive. I think your post is probably a little overly critical!

    Your points are all very valid, but I think the guy deserves a bit more of a pat on the back. He'll learn from each of the above and before we know it, he'll be as cynical and enraged at cager antics as we are.
  6. What's the warning for other learners?
  7. cager experience counts for only a little when it comes to riding.

    Were you a better rider, you wouldn't have any near misses. But, thankfully, you're still around to learn.

    Try and make sure you maintain control of all situations when on the bike. In each of your scenarios, the control was in the driver's hands and you were purely reactive to anything they did. Make sure you are the proactive one and all drivers are reacting to you and what you do. Never be in a position that can turn bad. You'll learn. Stay Upright.

    From behind the door,


    Edit: @Boy.racer: don't think you're a good rider just coz you've driven a car.
  8. I'll try.
    Cagers won't stop this behaviour - whether they know it or not, they're ALL out to kill you every second of your ride.
    So it's up to YOU to be responsible for THEM too - expect stupidity, don't be there when they pull that crap, and ALWAYS have your escape route planned.
    Own the road.
  9. I just like that learners are giving each other advice, not just asking for it. The blind leading the blind, as it were.
  10. OK, I get you now - "for other learners" ;)
  11. The reason I'm here is to learn and keep myself alive, so I've been doing as much reading and research as humanly possible.

    My mates Dad (who has been riding 40 odd years) always keeps telling me ride as if all the cars are out to get me, or something along those lines. So I have been trying to avoid situations like the ones mentioned in my first post but, it's hard being constantly alert and especially so in traffic.

    In the situations I was prepared (fingers on the brakes, ready to react, etc) but like you said I shouldn't put myself in a situation where I am at the mercy of the driver, in the future I'll continue to expect them to do something stupid.

    The warning for other learners is to watch out for cars :)
  12. Learners who express self congratulatory behaviours from surviving their incidents, but don't display any evidence of learning and improving their riding, deserve a no nonsense non molly coddling response from the more experienced whose only intent is to try and jolt them into awareness.

    The next novice reading the posts will have learned something.

    If the OP was genuine in his intent to post up the experiences for other learners to learn from, then he'll be tough enough to take the very mild tough love that my post gave him.
  13. Very mild tough love?

    I understand where you're coming from and from reading other posts from experienced riders I acknowledge that all you're trying to do is save lives.
  14. No, I like to hear about learners crashing and giving up. Many others enjoy schadenfraude as well.
  15. You get it... but I'm also trying to further YOUR education.

    A bit of quiet reflection SHOULD have gotten you to a point where you moved away from thinking you were the lucky almost victim of some crap driving, to a victim of your own growing skills.

    Don't get me wrong, you did well, but if you didn't learn anything, then you didn't do well enough.

    Anyway, once again, genuine props for posting up. :)
  16. No you don't.

    Keep the trolling outa this thread mate. It (the thread, not the trolling) has potential for some genuine work.

  17. You'll find that you can 'weave' or split when being cautious and in control - in fact I refuse to sit in traffic.
    Agree with Rob on this one - stay right! If you find yourself near an exit ALWAYS be ready for someone to cut you off.

    On a side note - starting now you should be practicing your e-braking at what ever speeds you intend on riding at.

    Assumptions kill - Also if you can avoid in in any way try to never be next to a car on multilane roads - speed up to be in front, slow down and sit behind.

    'Lucky' should also stop being in your vocab - as soon as you saw the truck and anticipated the car was going to come into your lane you shoud have ruled the opposite side of the road as 1 of your exit plans or an unsafe option.

    With Rob on this one

    Agree with Rob again :) Also in a situation like that alway be aware of what all the cars are doing around you, and re-evaluate your exit plans as the situation changes.

    Good work avoiding the incidents this time round - as you said luck played a part - best work on removing luck from the equation.

    As a rider just keep this in mind - there is no right and wrong (only cops and insurance companies care about this) there is only dead and alive.
  18. I don't weave in and out of moving traffic but, I will split if all the traffic has stopped at the lights.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't e-braking using the handbrake? I have been practising my high speed braking to prepare for the worst and for the provisional test.

    Normally I do speed up or slow down and completely avoid being in drivers blind spots but sometimes it's impossible not to be with cars on all sides.

    I'll definitely keep those two things in mind, I never thought about it that way but I can see the knowledge in it. They both stand out to me actually, so I won't be forgetting those.
  19. Maybe, maybe not. I'll leave him be though.
  20. Explain a little more what you mean by handbrake? e-brake is short hand for emergency braking.

    By the way, Holly fights the freeway traffic every day, she'll have heaps of good info to share.

    True, so be up level or just ahead of the driver or passenger window, staying as far away as possible from all surrounding cars and be sure the drivers beside you know you're there. Have an exit route/plan ready to go - what happens if the car ahead brakes suddenly? Scan well ahead to find a better space to be or look for potential trouble - what's the body language of the car two ahead on your left? Are they gonna change lanes and cause a box car effect? Keep tabs on the car behind you, are they coming up to tail gate? maintain a mental radar map of the cars around you ...are you getting the picture that this is a pig of a position to be in?