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That was close!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by cejay, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. Had an interesting encounter tonight with a car that might serve as a reminder to the newer riders to be extra vigilant when in traffic.

    Going down Fitzroy St to meet my beautiful date I was approaching the intersection which has a right hand turn lane and a straight ahead lane. I was in the right hand lane some distance before it is marked as a turning lane. The traffic lights for straight lane ahead are green and the car in the left lane is dithering about turning left or nabbing a parking spot. I was always intending to go straight ahead and to filter into the LH lane closer to the junction. Due to the ditherer, the LH lane is completely free so I move into it and lightly accelerate into the intersection (it's a 40kmh zone). As I draw level with an Astra he decides he no longer wants to wait for the RH turn light to go green and moves swiftly into my lane. I was not expecting this. A push on the left bar sees me veer sharply to my left and grab for the front brake. After a little skid and a left food down to steady the bike I am level with the car and stopped. He is extremely apologetic and we get on with our lives.

    Why am I retelling this? Well, it'd be easy to lay the blame on the car driver and think I did nothing wrong. Which would lose the opportunity to learn.

    1.) I assumed the cars queuing would stay in their lane.
    2.) The driver had looked and noticed the car that was to his left was no longer there. It was replaced with me, which he was not expecting.
    3.) I countersteered. Good. I braked. Bad. If I had actually fallen off it would not have been from the collision, but from a front wheel lock up. Bad.

    The last point is open to debate, I really was to the guys left as he turned and I don't know that I would ever be able to train out of me the desire to brake, but in a perfect World I would have just countersteered around him.

    Ride safe, be vigilant and don't get complacent.
  2. Great post cejay. I felt like I was living the moment (as Ive done before) and making the same decisions (as I've done before). It's a spade, calling a spade a spade description of how quickly things can go wrong when something unexpected happens. Well done. :)

    Did you try to counter swerve left then brake as you tried to go right, or did you swerve left then brake straight? That would be the only factor I can see leading to debate. But yes, I agree it's important for us to resist the urge to stop the bike in situations where our brains know turning works better. Nonetheless, a bit of a skid and brown undies is the only damage so you can't have gone too far wrong. :wink: Glad you came out on top mate. :grin: I'm also pleased the driver looked apologetic cause they usually just shout something along the lines of "fcuking bikes! " and drive off. That's at least one more person who'll head check in future. :)

    FWIW, (this is merely a reflection on my experience and in no way a criticism as all people and situations have different reactions and best judgments) in those situations I tend to drop the hammer and risk a ticket. Comes I assume, from a history of riding bikes with lousy brakes and riding on dirt but it's now an entrenched habit when stuff comes at me. Couple of hundred bucks and points is cheaper than the bike but it's not an easy decision. :)
  3. This is a good post reminding people that we are not easily seen.

    My three "rules" of traffic riding are:

    Ride like you are invisible
    NEVER ride beside a car
    Pass FAST and wide.

    Following these simple rules, I have avoided many near misses in the manic Sydney traffic.

    I often wonder that if you didn't position yourself properly in the traffic ,and all those countless near misses that happen when cars change lanes would simply disappear into a "stupid cage didn't see me and I had an off, so I am stopping riding" thought and riding is dangerous.

    Positioning in traffic (laned traffic in particular) is vital!

  4. Great post Cejay.

    Many thanks,

  5. Agreed.

    I had a cager in a blue ute get annoyed when i was splitting through traffic. He high beamed me when i cut into his lane so i thought he might just be a bit annoyed that i cut it that close but about a kilometre down the road when i was slowing down at the lights (well ahead of traffic) I saw a car coming up behind me incredibly fast, just as it got behind me, cut across two lanes and pulled up in front of a 16 wheeler. If I had put my brakes on, he would have hit me. anyway, after that he pulled off from the lights really hard and cut off another ute causing him to swerve and then the ute cut him off and nearly caused the blue ute to career into a pole. The white ute then drove off and the blue ute jetted after him.

    I know I was not being the safest rider that night but for god's sake, why the hell would you try to run someone off the road just because they drove in front of you. I guess its a reminder that we need to be concious of other drivers as we never know if they're concious of us or in my case, viciously concious of us. Although he might have just been having a very bad day and me and the other driver probably pushed him over the edge. I often make the mistake of assuming that other drivers have the same mindset as me and intend to avoid an accident but hey there's some crazy's in this world.
  6. Good postin' Cejay

    I always assume if there's a free lane every f*cker will want it as bad as I do. I try to watch the heads of the drivers in the queue, they'll usually headcheck before making a stupid move like that.
  7. Mmm, he was in a right turn lane, indicating right in a line of cars doing the same. He never indicated left. He did check, but I think it was just his mirrors. He was about 2 or 3 cars in front of the rear most car, so his head moves were difficult to pick out anyway. Incidentally, he did turn right but just a little way down.

    I was in the correct lane, my biggest mistake was putting myself in that lane close to the car on my right. Due to the time I changed lane, I was still in the process of moving further left, so was very much in the RH wheel track, somewhere I never go when driving past cars in the RH lane.

    I could say that my superior skills, honed after 24yrs of riding, coupled with Hart 9/10 and SBK School I/II/III and countless track days* saved me, but it was just a only just little of the above, a fair amount of luck and the fact that I was doing <40kmh that saved the day.

    Make no mistake, if we had had an accident, though technically (and legally able to justify) correct, it would have been in large part my fault, if for no other reason than I should and do know better.

    * I am totally taking the pee here!!!
  8. Nice post mate (as usual :) ) I still believe that that LOUD exhausts when used (i.e rev the bike) properly help alert car drivers when we are in their blind spots and/or they don't bother to look when switching lanes/turning. Ever since I got my new exhaust, it's a heap louder at low speeds and cars DO HEAR ME now as opposed to maybe with the stock exhaust.

    My girlfriend who rides pillion at times and I have discussed this and she has noticed that cars do take notice of us as she doesn't need to "look to survive" unlike me so she actually looks at drivers to see if they have noticed us before we get in to their vision or close enough so the old exhaust was heard. I.e she can tell by their sudden head turns as we get close as opposed to now that they look towards us and/or in mirror when we are "far" away compared to being next to them :)

  9. Screwball thinks I am not so nice :(

    The Akra's are really good. I've found in traffic, even if a car gets in my way (intentionally moves over) I just sit next to their window and the noise annoys them enough that they move pretty quick! Didn't help this time though, but it was a little quick for that.
  10. Good post mate.

    I'm glad it turned out the way it did... coulda been nasty.

    I've had similar experiences which reinforce the similar lessons Jeff posted.

    In traffic, space is your friend!
  11. Much like the time I was in the left lane with good distance to the car in front who was indicating to move off the road and into a driveway. The left lane was wide enough for a parked car and moving vehicles, and this car was well to the left, plenty of room to pass. That is, until the driver decided they wanted the next driveway and moved back out into my path.A quick push on the bars, and a swerve around the tintop, and weak arms for the next couple of mins whilst I thought of what may have been.

    I should have just been riding in the right lane.
  12. nice post... sorry that you have to go through it, but am happy you have a story to tell...

    It's these moments where we all want to get off the bike and go ballistic at the drivers, but at the same time we know that we aren't that huge to be noticeable.

    Had a few of these when I was on my first week on the bike... it's been about 3 and a half weeks now... still loving it and learning, but it's always good to hear from others what they encountered and what they learn from it... passing knowledge... hehe

    thanks for the post.
  13. if you're lucky! :LOL:
  14. I think that every time I have decked a bike it has been from countersteering (good), then grabbing the front brake (bad).
    It has taken me YEARS to try and get that out of my riding, and I STILL have'nt quite mastered it...Occasionally it still happens.
    :shock: :(
  15. Hey Ceejay, echoing others here, great post.

    I always assume that the driver of a car is a dumba$$ and out to get me too, but they can still catch you out sometimes :evil:
  16. Hey Ceejay,

    good thing to share - and good thing for newbies like myself to read.
    We have all experienced this at some point. I experienced something similar this morning.
    The most important thing is to learn from it!


  17. And that was what I trying to achieve. With my experience, in my haste to get to my date (have you seen Liz? You'd rush too!) I placed myself in a road position and scenario that may have ended in tears...
  18. Hey Ceejay,

    Glad that you didnt get hurt.
  19. So just out of curiosity here,

    Say you swerved to avoid a car that hadn't indicated as in your situation. Then you lock the front brakes causing you to bin it and damage your bike and possibly some parked cars. Who is to blame for your accident? Would you have a case against the driver of the car and go through his insurance or would you just have to cop it on your insurance as technically he hasn't hit you?

    Kinda a lil off topic i know but im just curious as to what would happen in that situation should you have been a lesser skilled rider. (like me! :LOL: )
  20. I have a friend in which a similar situation occurred, this time entering a roundabout.

    He just missed a car who had changed lanes without watching and he came off and damaged his bike quite badly, he was okay himself though.

    The car driver, while apologetic at the time of the accident, said she did nothing wrong, and since they never actually collided, he had to cough up under his own insurance, which makes a painful incident, even more painful :(