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Safety Standown - A plea and request


Firefight911

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Firefight911

Of late, it appears that there have been several posts concerning riders that have gone down.

 

Hopefully, we all look at these posts with a vulnerable ear to the fact it could be me, you, us that the particular incident happens to.

 

I want to open this thread to all who have a tale to share that either caused an accident or prevented one.

 

In my industry as a firefighter, training is paramount. In our roles as motorcyclist, I hope we all take the same attitude that training is paramount.

 

Motorcycling has inherent dangers. Life has inherent dangers. It is how we prepare ourselves to manage these dangers and risks and subsequently respond to them that makes the difference.

 

I draw attention to my choice of words here. Respond NOT react. A reaction is an involuntary action caused by an outside force. A response is a thought out plan, executed, with the intent of changing the outcome of an impending event.

 

Post your pearls of wisdom. Share that which could make the difference.

 

But more than just sharing your wisdom here, let’s ALL take some time to read, learn, and internalize those pearls.

 

I would like to call it a Safety Standdown. Take a day out of your normal riding to make a conscious effort to train like you play. To learn a new skill. To actually check your bike before a ride. Take a day to make a deliberate action toward being a student of the sport.

 

Look in the mirror. You are not as good as you think you are. If you think you can not learn something new about motorcycling today then I propose that today be the day you post your bike for sale and end your career as a rider or motorcyclist.

 

Let’s all help each other out. Maybe we can all settle on a particular weekend in our areas of the world, collect some friends, and go to the parking lot to practice a skill. Maybe it is a day spent learning a bit about your bike that makes it safer or makes you better able to understand its operation.

 

Let’s all do our part to be able to make it to the next UN, Torrey, Mayhem, El Paseo, Tech Daze, birthday party, retirement, dinner with family, graduation ceremony, marriage, etc.

 

It is truly up to us, you, and me.

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NoLongeraK1200RSRider

Phil.. absolutely great advice as we can ALL learn something each day. smile.gif Being an older (read s l o w e r) rider I have had to come to grips with the fact that I am not as good as I once thought I was. frown.gif I have had some close encounters that should have been "no big deal", due to a lack of focus.. confused.gif less faith in my skills than I should have had. blush.gif It has actually gotten so bad I am giving some serious thought to selling my K12RS and either getting something "less spirited" to ride or getting off bikes for good. With more than 2 million miles on 2 wheels and a few miles on one wheel (giggle) It is still up in the air.. but stirring around. dopeslap.giflurker.gif

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Firefight911

And therein lies our first pearl!!

 

Know yourself. If you are tired, realize it and do something to manage the risk. If you are sick, do something to manage the risk. If the task exceeds the capabilities; mental, physical or otherwise, do something to manage the risk.

 

Thanks Larry!!! thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

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I ride a 14 mile stretch of Mulholland Drive almost daily to work. It is filled with dozens (I will count them next time) of completely blind, off camber and just plain weird tight turns. I know that stretch pretty intimately: pot holes, crumbly areas, sandy spots, tar patches, driveways, etc.

Yesterday, as I was rounding a corner of one of these intimate friends of mine, I discovered a metal plate, about 2" thick and maybe 12 feet deep and it was spanning the width of the road.

And it's in the apex of the turn, and its wet.

The surrounding road is wet. A pipe burst? Who knows.

Nice. It wasnt there that morning.

Had I been riding these corners like I KNEW them, I'm not sure what would have happened.

But that road, BECAUSE of all of the weird hazards on it, has over time made me a better street rider;

by teaching me the unpredictability of the familiar.

Ride every road, especially the ones you know intimately, like you've never been on them.

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The UK police riders training manual, Roadcraft, talks of the golden rule: You should always be able to stop safely, under control, in your own lane, in the distance that you can see. I try to stick to this though I may slip from time to time.

 

Road positioning: Try to ride so you can see a long way - track the outside of a curve until you can see the inside of the road running away from the curve.

 

In traffic, when approaching intersections or if you see vehicles waiting to join, MOVE, move out to the centre of the road for joiners - it gives you more room and it makes you easier to see. Never sit centrally behind a vehicle - get yourself where other road users have a chance to see you - then assume they didn't.

 

Practice emergency braking - find an empty parking lot and build up from gentle to full on brakeing.

 

Practice braking in turns - start gentle - turns and brakes - and build up. The most likely scenario for oh Sh!! braking is part way through a turn.

 

Keep thinking about the ride.

 

Andy

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Pete Darby

My three rules of MC riding

1. What bends a fender, kills a motorcycle rider so vigiliance pays off, especially at slow speeds.

2. Someone is on the road today who is going to try to kill you. So ride like it is the car nearest you.

3. However fast you think you can safely go. Go 10 MPH slower.

I ride to work almost every day year round in DC and have been riding for over 35 years with only on wreck and she had to work hard to get me that time.

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Besides not getting complacent with roads you think you know, (they're roads not tracks and hazards are always changing), recognizing your personal limits, etc. that have already been mentioned, I'll add that my take is that the quote below is a little off base.

 

 

Respond NOT react. A reaction is an involuntary action caused by an outside force. A response is a thought out plan, executed, with the intent of changing the outcome of an impending event.

 

You need to practice your responses regularly to the point that they become reactions. The difference between thinking out a plan and executing it versus instinctually doing the right thing is often the difference an accident and a near miss.

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Lineareagle

As one who has recently 'gone down', survived but am suffering the consequences as I write, I am calling this the "LOST SUMMER of 2007!" I have many reflections on why and how.

 

One such reflection,

Plan long trips to be shorter than the time you have to accomplish them.

In other words, if you have seven days of vacation your ride should be a comfortable five days.

My biggest mistake was putting together a ride that did not allow for much in the way of off time, thus several things occurred on the trip which were negative.

No time to spend with new friends.

No time to explore interesting side lights.

No time to take photos of scenic views and interesting sites.

No time to enjoy leisurely meals aka time outs.

No time to, you get the point.

Guess what?

Now I have nothing but TIME.

Another 4 - 6 weeks of leg in the air time!

Did my pushy sched have something to do with the accident?

Not directly.

Can you ride full days 650 - 850 mile days safely?

Sure.

The point is the schedule I set out was very ambitious, it left little room for outing and it did end in an accident.

So obviously it was not a good plan on my part.

 

Enjoy the ride not the miles.

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What follows is an excerpt from an article I wrote for one of the Army safety publications after crashing my K1100LT in 2003. It was 23 degrees when I left the house that morning, unusually cold for southwest Georgia.

 

After riding for about 30 minutes, I got on an exit ramp doing about 50 mph—well within the speed limit. I used the ramp all the time, so I didn’t expect anything unusual. However, as the ramp turned to the right, I noticed something in the road, but I was so cold I couldn’t react in time and rolled right through it. That “something” was diesel fuel—not the kind of thing you want to hit in the middle of a curve at 50! As the bike started a low-side slide, I thought, "This won’t be too bad.” However, the bike suddenly got traction and high-sided. I vaguely remember flying through the air, but that was it. The next thing I can remember is sitting in the back of an ambulance and talking to a police officer. It wasn’t that I’d lost consciousness, I’d just blocked out part of the crash. When the police arrived minutes after the crash, they said I’d already gotten up and moved the bike to the shoulder of the road.

 

I crashed because I was complacent about the cold weather and overrated my ability to react quickly when half-frozen. Fortunately, I was wearing motorcycle gear designed to protect me and lessen my injuries. I can tell you from experience that when you’re sliding down the road, it’s nice to have something between your hide and the highway.

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As one who has recently 'gone down', survived but am suffering the consequences as I write, I am calling this the "LOST SUMMER of 2007!" I have many reflections on why and how.

 

Mine was the LOST SEASON OF 2002. I couldn't ride from February 15 to October 27.

 

I've had some reflections on my incident. Although I considered it something out of my control it really wasn't.

 

I was working for a new dealership putting the first 15 test miles on a new R, assembled by new mechanics for the new dealership. I went about 50ft. and slammed to the pavement shattering my right elbow and breaking my left wrist.

 

What could I have done to prevent this? Listened to my gut....that's what. I didn't. When the bike didn't start at first attempt it was like a sign and my gut told me to let someone else take the bike out. My mistake and now I have a right arm that doesn't fully extend nor fully flex.

 

Lesson here......even if it's just a GUT FEELING, go with it.

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Great Spring timing for a great idea Phil. clap.gif

 

I didn't make these up but belive in them 105%.

 

1. Attitude is 80% of safety. I put on my attitude when I put on my helmet.

 

2. Skills are 20% of safety. If my attitude has allowed me to get into trouble, practiced skills get me out...god willing.

 

3. Gear is 5% of safety. If I'm relying on gear, the shit has hit the fan. That said, go MOTGMOTT.

 

Peace out and ride!

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What follows is an excerpt from an article I wrote for one of the Army safety publications after crashing my K1100LT in 2003. It was 23 degrees when I left the house that morning, unusually cold for southwest Georgia.

 

After riding for about 30 minutes, I got on an exit ramp doing about 50 mph—well within the speed limit. I used the ramp all the time, so I didn’t expect anything unusual. However, as the ramp turned to the right, I noticed something in the road, but I was so cold I couldn’t react in time and rolled right through it. That “something” was diesel fuel—not the kind of thing you want to hit in the middle of a curve at 50! As the bike started a low-side slide, I thought, "This won’t be too bad.” However, the bike suddenly got traction and high-sided. I vaguely remember flying through the air, but that was it. The next thing I can remember is sitting in the back of an ambulance and talking to a police officer. It wasn’t that I’d lost consciousness, I’d just blocked out part of the crash. When the police arrived minutes after the crash, they said I’d already gotten up and moved the bike to the shoulder of the road.

 

I crashed because I was complacent about the cold weather and overrated my ability to react quickly when half-frozen. Fortunately, I was wearing motorcycle gear designed to protect me and lessen my injuries. I can tell you from experience that when you’re sliding down the road, it’s nice to have something between your hide and the highway.

 

Mike, your post here brings up a (won’t say rule but more an observation) & long standing policy of mine.. I almost always exit a free-way or other hi-way as far to the inside of the exit curve as possible… Just about anything that falls off a truck or car from gravel to liquids tends to run or slide to the outside of the exit curve road.. Not saying there couldn’t be something on the inside but there is a better chance there won’t be.. Lots or trucks spill liquids on the exit ramp (especially if the ramp is short & curvy).. If it’s a banked exit watch for liquid to flow to the low side of the banking though..

 

Twisty

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SteveHebert

This is something that we support 100% in the Amry, and specifically here at Fort Rucker. Twice a year we take a day out of training and every student and instructor sits in various venues to discuss safety related topics in hopes that we will prevent the next accident from occuring. Due to the recent rash of incidents, Steve Foote and I have been discussing this and have decided to present the First Responder forum that Jamie did a couple of years ago and continues to do. I will ask for volunteers from those that will attend the event to help put this together.

 

Great topic.

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KrazyHorse

Thanks for sharing that info about exit ramps! Most of what has been said so far in this thread is stuff I have read or been taught in some form (not that it isn't great to read it again) but entering an off ramp to the inside and why has never been explained to me.

 

Betcha' I read that for a reason that will reveal itself to me sometime soon. (life's funny that way) Thanks in advance. thumbsup.gif

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markgoodrich

This isn't quite "something that prevented" an accident, but it's sure something I learned the hard way. On a track bike, on the track, I went over the front...operator error...wearing a good set of leathers with excellent, CE-approved armor. I was dazed but uninjured, as far as no broken bones. BUT, the hard edges of the knee pads dug into the soft tissue of my quadriceps muscles, just above the kneecaps, and, while not sending me to the hospital or putting me on crutches, still cause pain in both legs, coming on two years later. I'll never buy hard-edged gear again. Right now I'm wearing a Rukka suit, but I worry about the flexible CE armor's protection; next time I buy a suit it will be with something like T-Pro armor, no hard edges, more padding than the Rukka stuff...in fact, I think I'll see if the T-Pro will fit the Rukka suit's pockets.

 

Look at your armor; if it's hard on the edges, they're going to dig very, very deeply into your muscles.

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What could I have done to prevent this? Listened to my gut....that's what. I didn't.

 

Another who recently has gone down, and of all the things that went wrong for my accident to happen, this was the thing I should have done most.

 

I really didn't want to go, it was too cold, I had too much else to do and I was riding with a group that I had never rode with before. I knew that they were agressive riders, but I never intended to keep up the entire time.

 

My head was not in it, I kept making stupid mistakes all day on tight mountain roads, then went to lead for a while. That lasted no longer than a few miles. Hit some nasty stuff on the road and the "react" part of me took over. Next thing I know I am picking up pieces of the bike. frown.gif

 

I should have listened to myself. The hours leading up to the accident I kept telling myself to pack it in. Sometimes, you need to listen to that voice in your head telling you what you should do, instead of the little demon on your shoulder saying "Go, go, go!"

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I’ve become present in the last year to a couple of things:

 

Always respect the power of your motorcycle.

It’s heavier, faster and more durable that me!!

 

No matter how far you’re going, wear your helmet and protective gear.

I know it’s tempting to “just run to the corner”, and I’m ashamed to say that I have succumbed to the temptation, but I have to remember that most accidents occur close to home.

 

Don’t be a hero.

I’ve heard of iron butts. I admire anyone who can do it but I cannot. I’m good for 1.5 to 2.0 hours on the bike then I have to get off, get a cup of joe or water and let my mind wander for 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Create a plan in case of sleepiness

I have to admit that I get sleepy and must get off the bike when this happens. It’s much better to sleep on the floor at someone’s home then it is to chance an accident.

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wrestleantares

If you are second guessing an action on a motorcycle that you might take, then you are not ready to do it.

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As one who has recently 'gone down', survived but am suffering the consequences as I write, I am calling this the "LOST SUMMER of 2007!" I have many reflections on why and how.

 

One such reflection,

Plan long trips to be shorter than the time you have to accomplish them.

In other words, if you have seven days of vacation your ride should be a comfortable five days.

My biggest mistake was putting together a ride that did not allow for much in the way of off time, thus several things occurred on the trip which were negative.

No time to spend with new friends.

No time to explore interesting side lights.

No time to take photos of scenic views and interesting sites.

No time to enjoy leisurely meals aka time outs.

No time to, you get the point.

Guess what?

Now I have nothing but TIME.

Another 4 - 6 weeks of leg in the air time!

Did my pushy sched have something to do with the accident?

Not directly.

Can you ride full days 650 - 850 mile days safely?

Sure.

The point is the schedule I set out was very ambitious, it left little room for outing and it did end in an accident.

So obviously it was not a good plan on my part.

 

Enjoy the ride not the miles.

 

Well said.

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There are only two kinds of drivers/riders on the road:

 

Idiots and @$$holes. (I don't get accused of being an idiot very often...) grin.gifgrin.gif

 

Drive accordingly.

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Some simple rules:

 

(1) If you are scaring yourself or feeling adrenalized you ARE riding beyond your abilities. Plan on riding at no more than 80% of your maximum skills. Leave the 20% margin as a margin for safety. That 20% margin will save your bacon, don't ask me how I know.

 

(2) Never go faster through a corner than you can see to stop. This is called your sightline. Find a safe place where you can see all the way through a practice corner and practice stopping IN THE CORNER at different speeds up to your 80% riding ability. Practice until this becomes second nature. Decide for yourself what 80% of your skills means. 100% for me means the point at which I either scare myself or I get adrenalized.

 

(3) Ride your own ride. Never violate this rule.

 

(4) If you want to do some site seeing, stop get off the bike remove your helmet, take a couple of deep breaths, break out the camera and just enjoy the moment. Site seeing on a bike is a recipe for disaster.

 

(5) NEVER, NEVER, NEVER try to keep up with someone faster, just let them go.

 

(6) In a group ride when you are not familiar with the leader, ask him/her to identify where the faster riders will wait to regroup with the slower riders. If you are still not comfortable volunteer to ride sweep. If you have a bad gut feeling tell the ride leader you are leaving the ride and go on your own ride or go home.

 

(7) Find a big empty parking lot and practice panic stops at progressively higher speeds until you become completely comfortable (Not adrenalized) with maximum front brake stops.

 

(8) Assume you are invisible and that other drivers don't see you.

 

(9) Assume that everyone in a four or more wheeled vehicle will purposefully try to kill you. Drive accordingly.

 

(10) Maintain your bike properly. Check your tire pressures, oil, coolant, front and rear brake lever and clutch lever for proper levels and adjustment often but at least once a week minimum.

 

Cheers!

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Francois_Dumas

I only have one rule, especially for riding:

 

"... I am not as good as I might think I am, so I'd better be more careful than the next guy ..... ! " wave.gif

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