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My first real scare yesterday

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by Santaria, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. I haven't been riding long, about 6 months. I've ridden dirt bikes on and off over the years but wouldn't at no stage call myself great at it. Anyways, I was leaving work yesterday afternoon and was heading to some traffic lights near work at a reasonable pace. The left lane only turns left, the right lane goes straight on or turns right. I looked up and saw the lights orange with about 5 car lengths to go. Not wanting to get held up I give a bit more of a twist to speed up. Two cars pull left to reveal a lowered ute parked ready to turn right. I hit the brakes (front and rear) in a panic to pull up before smacking into the back of the ute. The back locked up and got a bit wriggly and applied the front brake and pulled up just in time (I applied at the same time but modulated the front a lot better).

    I often practice emergency braking but when it came to actually having to do it some things surprised me:

    1. How easy the back locked up when I thought the brake was pretty useless at the best of times.
    2. How little I wanted to pull the front brake for fear of washing the front out.
    3. How much I actually used the back brake to bring me to stops at lights and intersections etc.

    I took away from the scare that I need to use my front brake more for stopping/slowing down and using back brakes for stopping from a slow speed and stability only. I also think I need to check further ahead and not anticipate an area being clear.

    It scared me a little and my ride this morning (in the rain) was more ginger than normal but that's not a bad thing. I know the front brake is most of the stopping power but it really did get me how easy it was to lock the back once the front brake was engaged at some sort of force.
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  2. Thank you for sharing SantariaSantaria. Well done to stay upright and to get away with just a scare and a big lesson.
    I'm new too, no prior riding experience, and I don't practice ES often enough. Note to myself, do it every time I ride out.
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  3. Glad to see you're ok, seems that practice does make you if not perfect certainly well prepared
  4. Good save, mate.

    Once the weight transfers to the front, the back will lock up very quickly.
    I ride the same bike and sometimes experience rear lock up when overcooking a corner entry. Trust the front brake, is what we both need to remember.
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  5. Nice one for not stacking it mate
  6. I also think I need to check further ahead and not anticipate an area being clear.

    ^^That would probably have saved the need to post. You're on a bike, look over cars, through cars, look three or more vehicles in front of you. Scan constantly. Buy yourself time. Don't worry what the car in front is doing - he's watching the bloke in front of him, whose watching the bloke in front of him, whose doing the same. You'll see the vehicle in fronts' brake lights come on in peripheral vision if you're looking ahead. Look as far down the road as you can and see it early.

    For the same reason never sit behind an SUV, or van, or truck if you can help it. Get the odds in your favour.

    Good save though ;)
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  7. Regarding front braking, sit up nice and straight and keep the bars steady, you should have no reason to fear washing out when you keep everything smooth and straight.
    and keep practicing those stops.
    I learned my emergency braking on my gravel driveway with both my front and rear slipping, was a real challenge to keep it upright at first but once I had it down pat, the road was easy as hell.
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  8. I try and practice my ES every day. As I pull up out the front of my house I almost always do an ES from 60 to 0.

    Recently I stuffed up the rear ABS sensor on my whinja and have been riding without ABS on the rear. To be honest, I feel I'd prefer no ABS on the rear and ABS on the front as since not having ABS I've got a stronger appreciation of where the lock point is on the rear brake. It locks up very easy with the weight of the bike forward.
  9. Not sure if I have read this right, but I was under the impression from your post that you accelerated through an amber light 'so as not to get held up' and you were still about 25m from the intersection (5 car lengths). Sounds a bit like you ran the light from your post.,An amber is exactly the same as a red, except when you are that close that braking would cause an accident - not just hold you up.

    The intent of the amber phase is to let vehicles already in the intersection clear it, not to let new vehicles enter - that's what green is for. The right turning ute was indeed clearing the intersection by the sounds of it.

    This is a double edge sword for moto's though - happened to me on the weekend. Due to the cultural (rather than legal) Australian practice of accelerating through Amber, you have to monitor threats from both in front (right turners clearing the intersection) and Amber runners potentially behind you. A right turner has much less opportunity to see a moto running an amber - especially if other lanes aren't moving. Gaps are traps - on amber especially.

    I braked normally for an amber on Saturday but car behind had an in a hurry attitude for the past few blocks so I could sense they weren't to stop - even though it was a camera intersection. I pulled to the far left of my lane and they flicked around and through the red. Double flash from the camera for their efforts too.

    Motos really have to watch the Amber - especially entering on it when it's possible to stop - cause that's the time right turners have to exit the intersection - and we are hard to see.
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  10. Well said, it is a big problem on two wheels, when the traffic lights change from green. In a car you only have to watch what is in front of you but on a bike you also have to monitor what is behind you and quite often make a split second decision. A lot of drivers actually speed up when they see the orange light and are not always in a position to stop, if a bike rider decides to play it safe and by the rules. I have suffered two rear end collisions lately; luckily I was in my car at the time. I can just imagine the carnage if they would have hit me whilst on two wheels. :sour:
  11. Absolutely. I was accelerating to get through the light before turning red as per cultural norm. The car turning right wasn't in the intersection and had stopped because on coming cars disallowed him to turn right. I couldn't see the ute in front of the cars that peeled off to the left to the left turning lane. I was fixated on them and not what was in front of me.
  12. Thanks for sharing this close call Santaria as there's been some valuable info in the responses too.
    So much to learn from each other in this forum. Glad you came out upright
  13. If there is no rubbish on the road
    If the road is dry
    If the road is reasonably level
    If the road surface is well maintained
    If it is good quality bitumen
    If you are not leaning at the time
    If you are perfectly on balance
    if you do not stab the brakes in a panicked fashion
    If your front tyre is in reasonable condition
    If your front tyre is correctly inflated

    The bike will actually stand on its nose wheel like I'm sure you've seen the stunt riders do. Of course our skill lies in making sure we have all the above factors in our favour before braking hard.

    However it is possible to lift the rear wheel off the ground altogether, in which case the rear brake is useless. I'm not suggesting you will stop like a stunt pro, but the harder we brake the less the rear brake will do for us.

    I agree, if you happen to lock the front, the end is disastrous and sudden, however so is hitting a ute.

    In a word it's never over 'til its over and most of your stopping power is in the front.

    Kudos my friend, you still have arms legs and a motorcycle, well done.

    See everything, never miss a thing. If you can't see something assume there is a psychopath in that space wanting to kill you.
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  14. This is a great lesson - thanks for sharing. I'm going to practice my EB this Saturday at the practice sesh. Need to get a real feel for it. I had two mini scares today of people reversing out into oncoming traffic in the CBD and not stopping at a roundabout. I was lucky though and I spotted it well in advance and at low speed. Both times required hard braking but not full EB thankfully. Glad you came out ok.
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  15. If you're going to practice emergency braking though, just make sure the bike is always on balance. Don't get caught off balance. ;-)
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  16. I'll be referring to the experienced folks at the sesh before I do hehe
  17. After riding in really heavy rain a couple of times, I've given up using the rear brake for actual braking to get out of the habit....
    I find it's easy enough to lock up the rear in the dry under emergency braking, which just makes it way more trouble than it's worth in the wet.
  18. What if I said I only ever use the front brake? Would that be good or bad.
  19. Using both will balance the weight distribution along with giving you better stopping power, amongst other things I'd imagine, but I'm just a noob so can't give you more detail. Since I started riding properly (meaning in Australia with a licence after gaining some invaluable knowledge from my instructor) I got myself in the habit of always using both simultaneously, even if I'm slowing down from 20kph in a traffic jam. I apply more pressure to the front, but my right hand and foot always operate in sync. This habitual process has now made it muscle memory.
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