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I almost killed myself today

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Polly Pocket, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Hi Guys. Just wanted some advice, I really scared myself today and am hesitant to ever ride again. I have recently got my Ls and have a little XT250. I have been riding around my neighborhood confidently at around 60 kms so thought I would take it down a road I know well where I could do 80 kms. I was going fine however all of a sudden on straight road my bike just started drifting towards oncoming traffic and I couldn't correct myself. I went straight in front of an oncoming landcruiser and ended up just missing it and stopped on the opposite side of the road, just missing a tree and a fence. I was terrified and luckily my husband was following with a trailer and a guy riding a motorbike behind him pulled up to check I was OK and to help load the bike on the trailer. The lady I pulled in front of was shaken and I don't blame her, I feel terrible. I have no idea how it happened and why my bike just started pulling in that direction and why I couldn't correct it? I feel maybe I am not cut out to ride, Im lucky I didn't kill myself.. Any suggestions on what I could have done wrong for this to happen?

  2. A term you will learn about: target fixation. Worse around corners. But you are lucky regardless
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  3. jesslee90jesslee90 glad to hear you're ok. Do you have any idea as to what was happening for you at the time? Hopefully it will give the more experienced guys on NR some further info to help with advice.
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  4. Check things like tyre pressures first and if OK get it checked over for any mechanical faults.

    If it wasn't mechanical it may simply be that you started to drift slightly and then once you realised you were and were drifting towards traffic, you may have then target fixated on traffic.

    If you target fixate although you think you are trying to steer clear you may not be and you may be doing all the things which stop you from steering clear, like tensing up which can lock the bars; and straightening the bike instead of leaning it to turn.

    Other than that who knows? Did hubby see anything which gives a clue as to what might have caused it?
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  5. Yep. Doesn't just happen to beginners either.

    The good news is you survived to learn from your incident. I hope hubby is ok too.

    I suggest some lessons to help build skills and confidence, but probably a couple of days of quiet, traffic free riding as well.

    It does get better.
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  6. Wow sounds scary, really sorry you had to have that introduction to such an awesome sport and pastime.

    Number one it's not like riding a horse so you don't have to get straight back in the saddle. Give yourself some time to settle down.

    Number two get the bike checked out by someone competent, although I'm guessing the bike is probably not the problem. Getting it checked will set it right in your mind.

    Number three get some tuition, bikes can do stuff that doesn't feel right till your used to it. The best place to find out is in a controlled environment. There's plenty of active practice groups on here and I'm expecting they will pick you up pretty quickly.

    Number four if you ride bikes your going to get a scare or two, it's the nature of the beast. Everyone on here has had a scare or they're telling fibs.

    Really hope you can push through this to experience how much fun riding really is!
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  7. Glad you missed everything. Read up on target fixation, survival reactions (which cause problems, like standing your bike up in a turn if you find yourself going in too hot), and other riding essentials such as counter-steering. No need to give up riding unless you are too shaken from this experience, but maybe take it back a step and practice exactly this type of scenario plus emergency braking, etc. You want to have these basics sorted asap.

    And as suggested, check your tyres - but it sorta sounds like target fixation tbh.

    Good luck.
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  8. Thanks guys for the advice. Going to book myself in for some lessons so I don't get myself into this situation again, if it was to happen again I might not be so lucky..
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  9. hit up the net rider mentors man.

    they're really good
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  10. The faster you go and the more you tense up the harder it gets to change direction.

    Best way is to look where you want to go and to stay relaxed in your upper body.

    I had a similar experience when I target fixated onto oncoming traffic on a busy Sydney road. As soon as I relaxed the bike turned back into my lane.
    Take it easy and learn the basics of motorcycle control on quite streets before going out to busy roads with other cars.
    One day should be enough for you to learn the basics. :)
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  11. Horrible throttle / clutch control. And as others said, target fixation. Thank god at least in Victoria the laws are getting tougher and now you are going to be doing on-road tests and the works.

    The amount of people i saw whiskey throttle and nearly wheelie while doing my L and P's was embarrassing.
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  12. #12 twistngo, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
    Try some reading too. This sort of thing

    Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
    by David L. Hough

    Helps get your head around things that can happen. Sometimes our brains just freeze up when they get in a situation where we don't have a programmed response.
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  13. Glad you survived, the positive is a good scare is a good reminder that we do need to ensure we obtain our skills properly and within our own gradual progression (i'm a beginner as far as road bikes go also)

    I nearly plowed up the arse of a bus yesterday afternoon due to the driver riding the brake continuely at low speed for about 300m whilst keeping the same line and no traffic about (it was weird to say the least), i was situated about two car lengths behind but it still took me by surprise. Previous emergency braking practise and always keeping a buffer zone saved me, it was a great reminder that i need to keep up with my defensive riding skills practise, it all happened so quick i didn't even have time to shit myself...which i guess is a reminder just how quick things can turn bad if we are not absolutely on the ball.

    As others have said most of us have had some close ones at one time or another so i hope you stick at it and get through so you get to the point where your enjoying yourself (i'm at the beginning of that point at the moment), i was a bit ginger too when first starting out, i think that is fairly natural to be honest...it definitely gets better with more miles.

    All the best and stay safe and aware out there :)
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  14. I fail to understand how it's harder to change direction when you are going faster, you aren't turning your handlebars like that of a car. It's called counter-steering my friend. The only time turning is somewhat a little "tougher" is when you are going slow, IE on my 600RR compared to my 650LR that's a sports tourer the lower handlebars of the SS makes it a lot more challenging because you've got less leverage.

    Target fixating in a straight line is quiet.. i don't know.

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  15. Deep breath, Target fixation is the most likely as others have said. Look where you want to go is the mantra. One thing that others haven't mentioned is grooves or patched areas in the road which are not flat. Narrow tyre bikes have a tendency to get caught in the edges of these and track in the direction of the groove. Do you remember anything like that on the road?
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  16. Regardless of what caused you to drift in the first place, counter steering will remedy the situation. As you couldn't turn the bike, it suggests that you tried to steer by turning the wheel to the left. This would have moved the bike further to the right. Pushing the left grip would have leant the bike left which would have steered the bike left. I would say that you need heaps of practice in counter steering in a safe area before attempting it on the roads.
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  17. Puss......

    Don't think about what you are doing at this early stage.
    Think about where you would like to go.
    Your primary function is keeping upright and going where you intend.

    Keep your learning curve as slight as possible.
    Set yourself up for success - small increments.
    Above all - don't be too hard on yourself.

    Everything else will come later.
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  18. You've cheated death today, Polly. Congrats!

    But, beware! Death does not like to feel cheated. I've learned this life fact from the 'Final Destination' movie.

    Please seek further tuition and/or quality mentoring, a.s.a.p. You cannot let this mistake be repeated, as cars hurt - a lot!

    Do you recall trying to steer the bike back into your lane, only to feel it stubbornly going the other way? If so, that suggest you did not counter steer correctly. It's natural for every new rider.

    Don't give up yet, Polly. Learn and practice. It takes longer for some of us, than others. Most of us get there, in the end.
  19. Slow speeds and car parks people turn their bikes like a bicycle where the turn of handle bars is enough to change direction.

    When you up speed you get more tense as a result of being scared you will find it is harder to change direction due to subconsciously steering at hazards you are actually trying to avoid.

    Hence my going faster comment. Common mistake which is good to avoid especially when cornering.
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  20. Some counter steering can be done by using the lower half of your body. The concept of consciously counter steering was daunting when I first started riding, but honestly, overthinking is not the best idea haha. Try to relax when you ride, keep your eyes and head up looking forward on those straights: scanning the road side, ensuring safe stopping distance from people in front, looking out for hazards etc. Just having a loose body, may seem weird, but it helps take things in your stride.
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