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Analysis of a Near Hit

  #1  
Old 07-18-2010, 08:33 PM
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Default Analysis of a Near Hit

Closest I've come to a collision to date. Figured I'd describe the situation, what happened, what I did and ask what could have been done.

Situation:
I'm travelling on a 2 lane street about 1/3rd the way down the block. I'm riding in the left part of the right lane, doing the speed limit (35 mph) +-5. 2 cars are ahead of me, both in the left lane, as we approach the intersection. Both cars are doing the speed limit (+-5). There is about 1 - 1 1/2 car lengths separating the cars. No cars are in my lane at all, front and rear. There is about 2 car lengths between me and the trail car. At the intersection, the street expands for a left turn lane. The light is green

What happened:
As we approach the intersection, the lead car begins drifting to the left turn lane. The trail car speeds up to pass when the lane opens. The lead car then begins drifting back to right, back into the (now) middle lane. The trail car begins to slow and drift to my lane. I begin to slow and drift to the right portion of my lane. The lead car then fully merges into the turn lane and slows. The trail car drifts back into the middle lane and speeds up again. I hold speed in the middle of my lane at about 30 mph. And now it gets confusingly ugly...

The lead car suddenly jumps back into the middle lane. The trail car begins to jump into the left turn lane to avoid a collision. The lead car now jumps into the left turn lane (I guess to avoid a collision), dead into the trail car's path. The trail car now jumps from the left turn lane all the way into the far right lane, directly in front of me, at about 1/2 my speed with about 1 - 1/2 car lengths between us. Collision imminent.

What I did
Note: none of my actions were conscious ones. I did not think about any of the actions I took
I immediately grabbed the clutch, disengaging the engine, and went for both brakes. The rear tire locked up as weight transferred forward under the hard front braking. With the rear tire locked, the rear of the bike began fishtailing badly. A collision was still imminent, tho a much less painful one (prolly). I released the brakes (getting tossed a little out of my seat), downshifted from 4th to 2nd, opened the throttle and swerved hard right. I squirted by the trail car in the runoff channel of the street with about 1 foot of clearance from their bumper and inches from the curb.

So what went wrong? What did I do wrong? What could have been done to avoid something that had me off my bike and cussing out the trail car driver at the next light? Any insights?
 
  #2  
Old 07-18-2010, 10:17 PM
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coming from someone with less experience than most on here, i would say if you were in second gear you could have popped a quick downshift to first to add some engine braking to the process. other than that good job on saving the bike!
 
  #3  
Old 07-19-2010, 09:07 AM
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When the rear tire locked, I'm fairly certain engine braking would have been ineffectual or made the situation worse. Locked and already fishtailing, the traction points from the rear are essentially gone. If the tire were to grab suddenly, I'd imagine engine braking combined with rear brake would have caused a violent reaction.

Thanks for the good save part. But seriously it wasn't anything I did intentionally. Just the results of practice. The reason I can remember so much about the situation is because I was focusing on "Wth are they doing? WTF?!? OH SHYTE!!!" By the time I had decided I better do something, it was already done and over
 
  #4  
Old 07-19-2010, 10:19 AM
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Alright, being in the UK and driving on the other side of the road plus our different terminoligies it is hard for me to visualise what was going on exactly here ... but I will say this, when two cars started acting erratically and unpredictably in front of you the only safe course of action is to see it, and slow right down or stop well out of their way ... also despite the fact they were in other lanes two car lengths back is just too close to them ... give car drivers a very wide birth they are out to kill or maim you ...KEEP YOUR DISTANCE!!



Jules
 
  #5  
Old 07-19-2010, 10:50 AM
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Heh, you Brits are all reversed on the road Basically flip everything. I'd have been in the right portion of the outside lane. They woulda been playin around in the inner lane. And the it'd have been a right hand turn lane at the intersection

Yeah, I had started to slow but everything went to pot near instantly. If I had gotten on the brakes harder initially, I probably wouldn't have overbraked the rear when everything went squirrely. Pretty sure I violated the rule about staying on the brake when the rear locked. Not sure of what'd have happened if I did tho

Edit:
Maybe this will help a little to visualize. This is the block where everything went down
Name:  340016f3.png
Views: 4
Size:  288.6 KB
 

Last edited by Kuroshio; 07-19-2010 at 11:18 AM.
  #6  
Old 07-19-2010, 12:37 PM
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To me man sounds like you did everything you could have done, only thing more would have been to give yourself a bigger space cushion to begin with. You handled it well I dont think I could have had the will power of the calm to not confront said driver afterwards, then again after and incident like that I would have just been happy that both I and my bike were intact.
 
  #7  
Old 07-19-2010, 01:51 PM
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as already said, about the only thing you could have done differently is given a bigger cushion between you and the cars. As soon as I see odd behavior, I back off expecting the worse. I am especially cautious when coming into lanes changes and intersections for just this reason. Since you are able to remember the things as they happened, I'm guessing you would have had time to back off some from the odd behavior. Im guessing you just followed too close waiting for your chance to get by the car, as we all do.

I've never been a fan of the idea of leaving the rear brake locked until you stop like is preached by so many. I would have done the same thing you did and unlocked it to regain control of the bike. As long as your upright and not leaning at all, releasing a locked brake is the better idea... at least in my opinion. If you left it locked, you would have skidded into the rear of them. You can't steer when your brake is locked. You did the right thing in my opinion. Of course, if the bike is not straight, you run the risk of highsiding, but this only happens if the bike is not tracking straight, meaning your front and rear wheel lined up with eachother. You can be slightly off, and still be ok. A good majority of the time, at least in my experience, if the bike is upright, its tracking straight enough to release the brake.

just out of curiosity, what rpm are you running at in 4th gear and 35mph? that seems like way too tall of a gear to be able to do any kind of defensive driving. I'd suggest keeping the rpms up a little, especially when your in areas such as that. It will allow you to manenvour the bike much easier.
 

Last edited by justasquid; 07-19-2010 at 01:55 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-19-2010, 02:02 PM
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It was too tall. I kinda indecisive on what I was going to do prior to all this happening. And I was being lazy, letting the engine drag me down instead of braking

I'm very comfortable on 38th street as I ride that road every day to / from work. So I'm not quite in best form there
 
  #9  
Old 07-19-2010, 07:23 PM
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I see cars get squirley like that i generally will pull in the clutch and start slowing down rather rapidly, i'd rather look like an idiot stopping for nothing even if it means pulling off the road than risk it.

Heres something to add to this, what if they had collided, say violently and say the lead car was spun around and heading right in your direction, say the drivers knocked out and the cars out of control? Granted its all theoretical that that were to happen but think of the what if. I think you handled it good and keeping a good control of the bike is what counted here but take into the what ifs, i'd rather be back a long distance going oh good nothing happened or i'm safe if something did happen then be looking at a ford taurus barrelling down at me going crap i shoulda slowed down.
 
  #10  
Old 07-20-2010, 01:01 AM
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i dont really know to much, but i thought it would be better to leave the bike in gear so the engine slightly counter acts the braking, but only enough so it doesnt lock the wheel,

that way, you have both wheels breaking to there full potential instead of putting all the load on the front while the rear is simply sliding along only scrubing only minimal speed simply because of friction

though like i said, i dont really know..it just sounds right in my head at 2 AM
 

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