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Play it safe this Spring/Summer a must read!

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by mattb, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. My partner Fee and I went for a ride yesterday two-up on the Suzuki GR650. We decided to see how far to Mount Baw Baw we could get before lunch, and ended up stopping in Noojee for food and a nice long coffee, then we headed back. Getting back to the intersection which sends one either back to Yarra Junction, or off Warragul, rather than turn to go straight back to Yarra Junction we decided first to ride up the steep sweeping hill just beyond us, heading to Warragul, to see what we expected might be a fine view. As we passed the intersection I nodded to a rider who had just pulled up, and watched in my mirrors as he pulled onto the road following us. Although it was otherwise dry there seemed to have been a contained spot of rain just there and the road was wet. I generally have a 'safety commentary' running through my head as I ride, and it serves me well, even when my emotions might otherwise get the better of me the commentary kicks in and counters it. As I headed up the long tight 180degree corner I slowed down for the usual reasons – "who knows what’s around this tight corner?", but I slowed some more because of the conditions – "a narrow wet road so take it easy; it's not worth coming off!". I was doing about 60 or 70 in a 100km/hr zone, which was sensibly proportionate to the conditions, nicely within the safety buffer. Just as an oncoming car came level with Fee and I, that other rider flew past at a great rate, in the narrow gap between myself and the oncoming car! Bloody idiot I thought as I jumped with fear. Then, five or ten meters in front of us…BANG! He was leaned way over on the wet road in order to take the corner at his speed, and he lost it, low-siding. Luckily the road was straightening at that point, so the bike went flying up the road. He did too, except that the metal barrier forcefully brought him to a loud stop, slamming into it like a bag of potatoes!

    You don’t realise until you see it before you, just how violent and forceful such an accident is: the explosive smash of the bike as it shatters and goes flying away so fast, but also the noisy sound of the rider sliding at a rate up the road and then – as Fee cried out for it not to happen – slamming loudly into the barrier in a cloud of stones and dust. We pulled straight over, and Fee ran over to him while I struggled to find a park for the bike which was trying to topple in the wet grass. When I got to him he was conscious and answered my questions. He was lying with his middle back against the six inch square wood supporting the metal barrier (if it hadn’t been wood…!) which had shattered upon his
    impact, and which had been full of big red ants which now crawled over him. Fortunately his backpack had taken the hit and he could move his limbs. Soon others arrived, including a nurse who took over his care, while I and another guy dragged his bent-up Aprilia off the road and we waited for help...

    He was only about 19, riding his Dad’s litre bike. It seems that he (who was not a Netrider - I asked in order to comfort him if he was) came out of the accident very luckily, at my guess with deep bruising and, at worst, maybe a broken pinkie and fractured knee. He was wearing normal jeans which miraculously stayed intact. 12 inches more along and his head would have connected with the barrier support, and it was his backpack which was stuffed full that took a lot of the other-wise spine-snapping impact; and if he had gone under the barrier he would have landed on a series of concrete walls a few meters down, which might have snapped him before he fell another few meters off them; and of course if that car had only been 15 meters back... Exceedingly lucky! I was so full of pity and relief that when the police interviewed me at the scene – Fee and I were the only witnesses – I didn’t have the heart to tell them about his reckless move a moment before the accident, figuring he surely had received a harsh enough lesson. Later I felt angry about that: sure, he had a dramatic accident, but if things had been slightly different his recklessness with the safety of Fee and myself could easily have done us in – it was just chance it didn’t!

    Usually as Summer comes on (though I ride all winter anyway) I surf the net and read a few horror stories of bike accidents, and check out the photos. It's a kind of emotional conditioning which I undertake on myself - to counter any stupid passions in the riding moment with a strongly *felt* sense of the real danger. I figure it keeps me safe, keeps the risks feeling real rather than abstract in the moment when those little - but in unhappy hindsight crucial - decisions are made. Well I've had my dose! Two bikes went up that road at the same time and only one came back. The $30,000 one had the best suspension, tyres, and design that money could buy, and carried one rider. The $1,500 one was a 23 year old commuter with a jelly frame, budget tyres, old suspension, two riders and luggage. One rider was figuring the risks and that this was no race track, and was rewarded on the way down with what were indeed beautiful views from that hill!

  2. Re: Play it safe this Spring/Summer...accident yesterday

    That MUST count as some sort of miracle. To avoid spinal injury, avoid going under the armco AND get out of it with a few minor breaks/abrasions is amazing.

    With any luck the rider has learned a lesson and won't put himself in that type of situation again.
  3. yep we can only hope that he learns from his crash but he wasnt the only person he put in danger.
    i know what you mean about the noise too matt.the sound of colliding plastic,metal and leather has just as much an impact on the senses as seeing it all happen.much like the noise when 2 cars collide.
    im glad his recklesness didnt harm fee and yourself mate. :wink:
    sounded like a close call.
  4. A sobering story Matt....glad to hear it wasn't as bad as it may have been.
    I salute your common sense, ( safety commentary ), and the way you handled things.

    A good lesson to be learned here that may save someone else's ass. Who knows ... perhaps even my own. ( I say 'perhaps' not because I view myself a safer rider than anyone else here, I just ride pretty conservatively )
  5. Matt

    Glad you and your pillion weren't injured. Glad the other guy was okay too. As zed said, some sort of miracle.
  6. Aaah, the stupidity of youth. Why must they push it further and faster than others?

    Even though I've only been riding for four months, I've had the same feeling on corners that I could and have done at higher speeds. For the majority, it has been safe, but you learn fast the types of roads that cagers like to use all the road to get around corners.

    I'm glad that the end result of the accident was not fatal, but will he learn??
  7. Kudos to you and your'safety commentary', good idea.

    Its moments like those when your sixth sense tells you something is going to happen.
    It's almost a sick(ish) feeling.

    Anyway, hope you and Fee were not too shaken up and able to recover for the rest of the day.


  8. Comment from a"beige rider".......

    Sobering story.
    Mods, could you change the title of this to (something like) A must read for young riders.... and then sticky it.

    This is the reason some of us complain about the young inexperienced riders who post the "I scared 3 little old ladies in a mazda" threads, amongst us.
    We then get called safety nazis and reminded "why people ride" by young riders who have no clue.
    We know why people ride. We (contrary to idiots like Boris) are not "colorless" we are experienced / careful.

    We also know we should not have to:
    (i) Tell a relative that "x" had a prang. Ever made that call?;
    (ii) Attend the scene of another "p" plate fatality / serious incident;
    (iii) Attend another funeral.

    A lot of us "older" riders are sick of doing the above.
    If this means I'm beige I say lets get badges made that say "Beige and Proud!" or similar.
    Lets turn it into a badge of pride.
  9. wow - you guys are lucky his bike didn't bounce back & collect you!

    good on you for helping at the scene & trying to comfort him.

    hopefully he learnt that some days you should just take it easy
  10. exactly..

    i'm sure we've all seen the (deadly) youtube video of the head on between two bikes.
    unfortunately this is natural selection at work- you cant stop people doing stupid things-and age doesnt come into it.
    we all ride bikes for different reasons, the main one being they're fun, and no doubt we all like fanging it from time to time but surely riding to the conditions is the only safe way.
    good on you for stopping to help, hopefully the near death experience was enough to shock him into some semblence of responsible riding.although the owner of the bike may have some additional 'advice'for him.
    how do you stop people getting a 'sudden rush of blood to the head'? you cant - but at least they can have the decency to destroy themselves and leave the rest of us intact.Otherwise bike riders are no better than (inconsiderate) car drivers- and we know that isnt true !
  11. An accident borne of youthful exuberance which was not tempered by road-aware experience. Good on you for stopping and helping out. The lad was very lucky. He will learn from this too. If only everyone could have a few lucky breaks to learn from. Ask most people who have been riding for a long time and they'll tell you at least one or two stories of where fate spared them and how they learned from it. The sad fact is that not everyone gets those lucky breaks.

    I know exactly the corner you're talking about. They resurfaced it, poorly, about 18 months back. The surface just after it was resealed felt like you were riding with flat tyres. Eventually that feeling went away, but the traction provided by the surface has never been of the same grip levels as in the past. That used to be a fantastic corner to fang around on, but now I consider it to be one of the more dangerous corners around due to the treacherous bitumen grip levels.

    This young lad would've hooked into hard, expecting it to hold, but it didn't. Damp roads don't reduce traction that much, but combined with the poor grip quality, that's what did him in. I posted a video a while back, just after it was resurfaced, which showed me getting into quite a nasty rear wheel slide at a moderately quick pace, but certainly not pushing it hard. The problem is that the surface grip right there is significantly lower than all the other roads around that area, including the roads leading into it. The road team screwed the pooch when they resurfaced that section.

    As for "beige brigade", it's quite possible to get about and have fun, but it needs to be tempered with conditional awareness, being constantly mindful to just peg it back a bit from full committment, just to allow for the ability to react to changing conditions. No need to dress entirely in beige to do that at all.
  12. I agree 100%.
    Boris and some others here seem to disagree.......... :evil:
  13. Boris is just hamming it up for the sake of controversy, 'cos that's the spice that gets people emotional and keeps people interested. It's fairly clear that he gets his inspiration for his writing style from the Hunter S. Thompson school of presentation.

    It's deliberately overboard entertainment. I look at it this way. I choose not to view his attacks on "the beige" as having any relevance to me until he's actually been on a ride with me and handed me my arse on a mutually unknown road without frequently running wide and scaring himself shitless. Until that day, it's all just shock-jock hot-air.

    When it comes to communiques online or in the press, you really need to ride with the persons to get a handle on where they're coming from. Until you do that, then that "safety nazi" that you're calling "beige" may just happen to be one of the smoothest road riders around and will happily hand you your arse without even trying. (BTW - I'm not referring to myself when I say that - I mean that there's plenty of "beige safety-nazi" riders on Netrider and other forums who are actually quite decent riders).
  14. Like everything else in life, on this, everyone to the left of YOU is a netrider nanna, and everyone to the right is a raving nutter; it just depends where you stand.

    For myself, I've had riders who's judgement and skills I highly appreciate tell me that I'm quick on roads I know well; I've equally had others who are 'flying under the radar' blow my doors off on those same roads.

    With the Netrider Crashing Season just about upon us, the safety warning is appreciated, Matt :wink:.
  15. Everyone to the left and right of me are riders. Some are jerks and some aren't.

    I hold a libertarian view towards people and society. I can't abide by people telling others how to live their lives, within the limitations that one person's actions doesn't adversely affect others. Consequentially, and IMO, there are only two classes of jerks. Those that tell others how to live their lives, and those that have no regard for other's lives & property. I just see Boris as railing against the first group of self-appointed pompous asshats.

    At the heart of what Boris is getting at though, he does have a very real point. There are those who would apologise to the powers that be on behalf of those of us who are harmlessly expressing what's left of our individual freedoms, while those who are being apologised for don't any need for such apologies. It is those apologists to which Boris refers to as "beige". It is those who would willingly sell-out and discard the freedoms of others in order to make themselves seem more appealing and acceptable to those who have little to no understanding of motorcycling in the first place.

    I reckon that this has largely come about due to the rise and rise of the scooter market. The societal conscience towards motorcycling in general is experiencing awareness growing pains, and Boris is concerned about those who would sell-out our freedoms to the non-riders before critical mass awareness and acceptance is achieved.

    At least, that's my take on the real point that Boris is trying to get across. He wraps it all up in a confrontational writing style that gets people off side, but he actually does have a very real point behind his rantings that concerns all of us who enjoy our riding.

    In some sense this brings us back full-circle to the OP. A road-works team screwed up their sealing process leading to a dangerous and unpredicatble surface that resulted in this rider coming undone due to his youthful exuberance. That this section is dangerous has been documented here before. It's up to each of us to decide to roast the individual and support a greater restriction of our freedoms in response to this incident, or shall we get to the root of the problem that a lack of rider training and a poorly maintained road-surface is what the real issue is here.
  16. Wow Flux, that was almost getting philosophical.
  17. I am 100% with you mate. I wish all the pollys, especially those who are currently running Victoria (not to mention UK, NSW, ...) would understand that their mandate is to protect us from all the jerkoffs we share this wonderful country with, but not to protect us from ourselves.

    Relating back to tragedy mattb witnessed, our wanna-be Aprilia racer has the right to ride as far on the edge as he wishes, as far as it does not impinge Matt and Fee's right to safety and security. Overtaking on the outside of a blind turn is such an infringement of that right inherent to Matt and Fee, in my not so humble opinion.

    No doubt this bloke will receive all the education he needs when the cops do their due diligence and find out he was riding a high-powered motorbike on a probationary license (I get this feeling from the facts) and is refused part or whole of the insurance payout on account of his dad's totalled bike and his bloodied body.
  18. Thanks for the report Matt.

    Good to hear you both werent taken down too. Good also to hear that the guy will have a chance to learn from his mistakes.

    I agree with all said, but I want to keep reminding my son too. Reports like this help me emphasise the importance of safety, riding to the conditions and within your limits to him.

    Need a cooler name than beige brigade though :) !

  19. "Give that man a Darwin award, cause New doesn't go down well with a broken jaw"


    Jokes aside though, thanks for the heads up, I will definitely be referring to this thought next time I feel my adrenal glands swelling up as I pull up to the lights.

    Can't say im too sympathetic of the rider who went down though, self inflicted stupidity. Hopefully he learned his lesson as magic man in the sky might not be feeling quite as sympathetic of his plight if he were to perform the horizontal cha cha again.
  20. hey all, I'm not up with east coast politics and I don't really read bike mags, so please forgive me for asking: who is this Boris you keep talking about?