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Diesel Spill 1, Rider 0, Bike (- 10)


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That was the score after this morning's little tumble. frown.gif


I was riding off to lead our local "Advanced Rider" bike group's Sunday run and had already noted the greasy road conditions. Oddly enough the problem was predominantly on roads heavily salted following recent snow (long gone). The local country roads I was proposing to lead our group down were dry and beautifully clean. A wise choice of route I thought. smirk.gif


Nearing the meeting point I came to one of those little suburban roundabouts and backed right off speed to go straight on. I entered the roundabout.


Suddenly I was on my bum and the bike was disappearing away from me. blush.gif The autocom disconnected, as did the heated jacket lead (it wasn't on but what else do you do with a lead but plug it in anyway). The bike slid away from me on its cylinder head, rear indicator and rear drive, but sadly it spun right round before hitting the kerb with the front indicator housing and the top box taking the full force of the impact.


The damage I can see includes:


Offside front indicator housing and mirror destroyed with damage to the sub-frame so the entire headlight/screen assembly is now at a jaunty angle.


Offside cylinder head badly scuffed and engine protector destroyed


Offside rider footrest broken off (I assume that happened when the bike started to slide tank and seat first.


Final drive unit scraped


Offside rear indicator destroyed


Top-box damaged beyond repair


There is damage to the main offside fairing where a lug that supports the upper fairing has broken. I took the upper fairing off to photograph the damage but could not get it back on.


Closer inspection of the road revealed a thin and seemingly insignificant trail of diesel and that appears to have been the cause and start of all the misery to come... frown.gif


Incidentally, I wasn't even bruised and my BMW Streetguard kit was dirtied but otherwise undamaged. What amazed me is the damage to the bike caused in such a low speed spill.


Looking on the bright side, I'm OK, no other vehicle or property was involved. BMW Emergency Service are recovering the bike and the insurers are dealing with it.


Now I am trying to convince myself that it wasn't my fault, I couldn't have avoided it, couldn't have even seen the spill..... I am not doing too well at that... wondering what I could have done differently. confused.gif




As I was picking up the bike from the roadside, amidst scattered debris, I was approached by a young Chinese girl who must have seen the whole debacle. She asked me in very poor English where the nearest telephone was - so I paused and directed her. A minute or so later she reappeared as I was surveying my broken bike - "Where was airport" - she asked. So I put the bits of bike down and told her, ended up getting out a map to show her the way on that. Oh thanks she said and walked off..... never asked how I was.....


Surreal or what?

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Doesn't sound like it's your fault.... that is unless if you want to blame yourself for going out for a ride. From your description it appears that you had zero opportunity to react to the change in traction and your statement "upon closer inspection" appears to indicate that the fuel spill may not have been visible while in motion. Glad your gear did the trick...bike fixes up better than your body.


Oh....and the Chinese gal... sounds like you was self absorbed...maybe she was somewhat lost and in her own state of panic?

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good to hear you came through unscathed, let's hear it for good gear!!


Sorry to hear about your ride, I have never known a bike to enjoy sliding across any type of asphalt.


I live in DC, and unlike most of the US, DC has roundabouts (traffic circles to yanks). A pleasant distraction from the normal stop-and-go traffic. Personally I have not yet encountered any of the bad substances that can cause a bike to suddenly lay down on the ground in a traffic circle, but several friends have with varied results.


As much as I like riding in the winter, all of the bad stuff (oil, diesel, etc..) that two wheelers hate is a little thicker and a little more dangerous in the cold. Summer pavement temperatures in DC can easily top 110 degrees F, either evaporating diesel in a few minutes or causing oil to thin out and seep into the road. A cold road is fine place for hydro-carbons to hang out in an icky viscous state. With the residual salt and other dirt to hide behind, I cannot imagine how even the most alert rider could detect and compensate for this winter danger. Short of stowing my bike for the winter, which I refuse to do, I expect this will eventually happen to me too.

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Glad you're OK.

Yep, anytime there is a description in such detail of the damage to the bike, one knows that the rider can't have more than a couple broken arms or legs... tongue.gif

The Chinese gal might have just poured the diesel and needed to make her getaway... tongue.gif

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Quote "Oh....and the Chinese gal... sounds like you was self absorbed...maybe she was somewhat lost and in her own state of panic?"


Too true I was self-absorbed but Ed you are absolutely right. It is only a hunk of metal after all and now the shock has worn off I wish I had been able to do more to help her than just show her a map...


That the great thing about this forum, sometimes you just need someone else to put things in perspective.





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Good to hear were unhurt.

Diesel is a real problem to see, sometimes you get lucky and smell it in time. A dark line is often present where car tyres have slid on it and deposited some rubber, but not when it is fresh.


I reckon the hardest part is going to be the ribbing you get at the next club meeting grin.gif


Cya, Andy

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Ah, so you think that being an IAM member and priding yourself on your riding guarantees you from ever having an accident like that. Rubbish!

You were prioritizing the hazards that you were able to see, namely traffic on the roundabout etc. and didn't spot the diesel. Simple as that.


I'm very glad you weren't hurt and I hope your pride recovers soon. It was altogether a much better deal that making contact with a car as many do!



IAM, RoSPA Silver and definitely expecting to drop my bike on some diesel one day!

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Quote "Oh....and the Chinese gal... sounds like you was self absorbed...maybe she was somewhat lost and in her own state of panic?"


Too true I was self-absorbed but Ed you are absolutely right....


OMG!!!! You let me off the hook but that was actually a bit of a typo on my part!!!! I meant to say that SHE was a little self absorbed!!! Not YOU! I think someone who just wrecked is entitled to be thinking about themselves for a bit... if anything I thought you were very generous to take the time to pull out a map to supply directions/guidance.

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Near intersections with traffic lights, the street is often slimy. The reason: motor oil dripping from cars waiting for the light. You just have to expect slime there, especially when it starts raining.


Roundabouts must be different, since you don't usually wait there. But I don't have much experience with them, so I'm wondering -- is there a reason that diesel is more likely to spill there? Sloshing in the fuel tank as the truck goes around the circle, maybe?


I'm assuming oil wasn't placed there deliberately, as was suggested by the police in Australia after another recent lowside on an oily traffic circle.


BTW, I thought the whole thing about the girl wanting directions sounded like a scene from Monty Python. Especially survived-til-now regretting that he hadn't been more helpful. Seems very British, somehow.

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BTW, I thought the whole thing about the girl wanting directions sounded like a scene from Monty Python. Especially survived-til-now regretting that he hadn't been more helpful. Seems very British, somehow.


Sounds like Survived_til_Now should use a John Cleese image as his avatar. lmao.gif

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Les_is_more said Could your mishap have had anything to do with this?




And cattatoo posted this link




I know I'll have my eyes wide open next time I get to the roundabout near Bear Mountain eek.gif ....



Chris (aka Tender Vittles )

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as ...


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I'm sorry about your bike and very happy that you're okay. Could your mishap have had anything to do with this?


Unfortunately Leslie, Diesel spills on roundabouts are an all to common problem in the UK. The most common cause is over-filled lorry fuel tanks, often with ill fitting or missing filler caps. Warning signs are nearby shipping depots and/or the distinctive smell. It is a fact though, that it is a bit of a lottery in some areas.



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You're a hard man John. Actually at 0910-ish on a Sunday there wasn't any traffic at all just a greasy roundabout - but I'd been round about 10 of those that morning. I am afraid it was down to the little slick of old diesel - i reckon the most likely culprit is a local bus. When it is properly wet you can often follow the tell tale trail round here for miles (Sorry bus company - but its true).


Never mind and thanks to Ed's typo I am now imagining lost Chinese girl searching desperately for a telephone or airport to escape - what! I don't know..... Actually she wouldn't have got much joy at Cambridge airport - it's the largest private airport in the UK but I have an idea that only one small airline operates out of it..... weekdays!!! I could have brought out a spare helmet and offered her a lift - but would you get on a bike with someone who had just demonstrated the art of crashing - I think not!


but that is not why I wrote.....


This drifting thing. i had no idea it happens and if one of the respondents to the thread ( sorry I forgot who) thinks the Audi drifting is worth viewing - check out Google Video Drifting - there's a whole section with presumably Arabs judging by the attire merrily wiping out crowds with ill-judged drifting antics.... With everything else to face on the road - some pillock throwing their car around is the last thing we need in this tiny island.


I think this thread had better get transferred to other topics before we get too carried away........

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I'm glad your ok, its the one thing that hasn't happened to me yet, but I know one day there will be a diesel spill with my name on it.

Are you sure that you wasn't knocked out and you dreamed the Chinese girl grin.gif



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You're a hard man John.


Hey, I'm certainly not a hard man, as Boffin will corroborate!


I was saying that it happens to the best of us, so don't be too tough on yourself.


Like Steve said - I'm sure that somewhere there is a diesel spill with my name on it!


Cheer up - the bike will soon get fixed. You have my sympathies.



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I'm Glad you are okay, I dropped my R1200C last summer on a diesel spill while waiting for a traffic signal to change. The tires became slick while in contact with the diesel.

I did not notice the diesel spill until the mc slid away from me.



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Still working out how to attach pictures...........


This apparently healthy R1200RT is actually suffering £3000 of damage


Note the jaunty angle of the headlight binnacle to the rest of the bike - plus (if you could see them - the other scraped bits......



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