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Not-so-Fatboy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it was an extremely small, almost medium sized dog, size deer. I saw him poke his head from the side of the road and before I knew it, the little bastard darted in front of me. I broke hard and missed him, but had he hesitated at all, he would have been a gonner. Now, my question is this. If I was going to hit something this size, what route should I have taken? If there had been room and time, I would have just swerved around him. But in a spit second decision like that, was is recommended? Do i hit it, square on and hope to make it over? To I swerve to miss it and hope I only get it with the crash bar? What? I am curious. Thanks for taking the time to help.

Ride safe!
 
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Straight up (no swerve or lean). Get your focus up off the hazard and down the road (easier said than done, I know), and finally off the brakes a moment before impact, so as to allow all of the traction available to be commited to your forward path.

After impact come to a controlled stop and carefully check for damage.

Harris
 

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Not-so-Fatboy
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1,115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Harris. My instincts were correct. Though the nice hard braking I did helped give the little fella a chance to get out of my way. It still didnt keep me from almost pissing my pants though!

Thanks for the words of wisdom.
 
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Yes, to clarify, maximum combination braking to get rid of as much speed as possible, then release at the last moment before impact so that if the obstacle goes under a wheel you don't end up with a locked wheel.

Harris
 

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Ridin' & Glidin'
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With small critters just stay straight with very little evasion and hope that by the time you get to where it was standing it will have moved.
It is like leading birds with a shotgun, if you aim at where the bird is you will miss the bird.

If it is a bigger critter do the same but get as small as you can under the handle bars because more than likely the animal will come over the top of the bike and you don't want it to knock you off the back of the bike.
 

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Harris said:
Straight up (no swerve or lean). Get your focus up off the hazard and down the road (easier said than done, I know), and finally off the brakes a moment before impact, so as to allow all of the traction available to be commited to your forward path.

After impact come to a controlled stop and carefully check for damage.

Harris
Wow. Harris, I've read a lot of your stuff and consider you a Guru of sorts.

Straight up? No leaning?

I've told my wife that if I encounter an elk or bear or deer, we ride it out and go sideways. We more or less "eat" the animal.

I think I'd dump the scoot and skid it out. Am I missing something here?
 
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You are never better off on the side than on the tires. You can generate more friction by braking, than by sliding on the side. More friction equals either a shorter stopping distance, or more speed removed before impact.

A very common motorcycle accident is one in which the motorcycle and the animal never came into contact, but the down motor slid through the area where the animal (or other moving obstacle such as a pedestrian or vehicle) WAS. The point is that had the rider applied proper braking techniques, there would have been no accident, and no damage.

Every time someone tells you they "dumped the bike to avoid an accident" what they are saying is I had an accident to avoid an accident. In investigating a motorcycle accident, the proper follow-up questions to that statement are: 1) "At what specific point did you realize the motorcycle would be better off on its side, and why?" and 2) "What specific steps did you deliberately initiate to get the motorcycle off it's wheels?". Invariably the rider cannot provide an answer to either. My point being that there is a specific method to putting a motorcycle down deliberately. The people who crash and then claim they did so to avoid an accident invariably do so because of improper braking, not by application of that method. While improper braking will put the motorcycle on its side, the rider has no control over where this will occur, and thus cannot claim this was a valid tactic for avoiding or reducing a hazard.

To summarize: 1) Always strive to retain control of your motor. 2) You have no control of a motor sliding on its side.

Harris
 

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re Harris' "method of putting down a motorcycle deliberately"

Hope that never happens again, but how does one put down a "motor" correctly. Also, what are conditions that call for the put down?

A "few" years ago, I was faced with the unpleasent choice of hitting a tall stockade fence or "just" laying to the side and getting off the bike. I choose getting off and taking my chances rather then the certainty of the fence. The bike bounced off the fence (as I bounced off the concrete) spinning and hit me in the leg with the license plate. The only thing that stopped the license plate from cutting into my thigh and possibly severing my femoral artery was a dime that now looks like a V. I had one hell of a bruise, but that was all. That dime is kept as a lucky coin and reminder to never show off...no matter how good looking she is!!! A license plate frame is a VERY good idea on any motorcycle!

From that day on I always wondered the proper way to get off the bike if needed. This is why I am so grateful to Harris for letting all of us use his lessons to be able to avoid choices such as this, deer and whatever else!

What would we all do without Harris?
 
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mr. breeze said:
Hope that never happens again, but how does one put down a "motor" correctly. Also, what are conditions that call for the put down?
For our purposes, there is never such a condition (unless you get that dream job as a stunt double on CHiPs). Keeping the motor on its wheels is you're only hope to retain control.

Harris
 

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mr. breeze said:
Hope that never happens again, but how does one put down a "motor" correctly. Also, what are conditions that call for the put down?QUOTE]

I agree with and respect Harris' knowledge, but actually did intentionally lay a bike down once in order to avoid an accident. Basically: I locked up the rear wheel, let the rear come around to my right and with bike moving in the direction I was originally heading - stepped off on my left foot and let the bike go -- just like a kid on a bicycle coming to a sideways, skid-stop - only I got off. The bike went on its side and continued at a slight angle to the right, but more or less straight. I slid along feet-first in the same direction I'd been travelling and came to an unevenful stop.

A vehicle had turned left in front of me and stopped. I was doing 35 - 40 and boxed in with traffic, had no where to go and didn't think I could stop in time. I just reacted. Neither I nor the bike hit the vehicle because it moved ahead enough so that I cleared it. It was a long time ago and the bike was a 305 Honda Super Hawk.

Haven't thought about it in a many years and Harris' comment gives pause for thought. Maybe I could have stopped. Given that the vehicle pulled forward enough so that I didn't hit it while sliding - maybe, had I stayed up I could have swerved. I know I did not think I could stop at that moment and I conciously decided to lay the bike down rather that t-bone the vehicle. Besides minor scrapes and slightly bent bars, the bike was okay and so was I.

FWIW, I always wear a good helmet, jeans, solid boots and at least a Levi jacket - generally a leather. That day, it was leather.
 
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FXDRYDR said:
I locked up the rear wheel, let the rear come around to my right and with bike moving in the direction I was originally heading - stepped off on my left foot and let the bike go -- just like a kid on a bicycle coming to a sideways, skid-stop - only I got off. The bike went on its side and continued at a slight angle to the right, but more or less straight. I slid along feet-first in the same direction I'd been travelling and came to an unevenful stop.

A vehicle had turned left in front of me and stopped. I was doing 35 - 40 and boxed in with traffic, had no where to go and didn't think I could stop in time. I just reacted. Neither I nor the bike hit the vehicle because it moved ahead enough so that I cleared it.

Haven't thought about it in a many years and Harris' comment gives pause for thought. Maybe I could have stopped. Given that the vehicle pulled forward enough so that I didn't hit it while sliding - maybe, had I stayed up I could have swerved. I know I did not think I could stop at that moment and I conciously decided to lay the bike down rather that t-bone the vehicle. Besides minor scrapes and slightly bent bars, the bike was okay and so was I.
FXDRYDR,

I took the liberty of editing and emphasizing your post, as it illustrates important posts.

If you were able to get off the bike and remain standing, you had certainly gotten rid of most of your 35 to 40 MPH that you started with.

Because of the lower coefficient of friction of a motor on its side, than one on its tires being braked properly, the motor on its side will travel further to a stop, than the one being braked. So if your machine slid distance X from the point it went on its side; had you braked properly it would have stopped in X minus the factor of the increased coefficient of friction.

From your description, I will still disagree that you decided to intentionally lay the motorcycle down, so much as you realized the locked rear wheel was going to cause you to go down, and you decided to make the best of it by stepping off. Locking the rear wheel is a recipe for a high-side, which would certainly not be what you'd want.

I absolutely do not mean any of this as criticism. Your sharing your experience, and your own realization that you would not have had an accident had the bike remained upright, are immensly helpful to others. Many riders hear people talking about having "laid down the bke to avoid a wreck", and come to believe it's a valid tactic. Your case helps illustrate why it's not, thankfully there was only property damage in your case.

Had you been asked my two questions at the time ("At what specific point did you realize the motorcycle would be better off on its side, and why?" and "What specific steps did you deliberately initiate to get the motorcycle off it's wheels?") you would have had difficulty with the first, since there was no impact other than that between your motor and the ground, and with the second since locking the rear wheel is not one of the steps in deliberately putting a motor on its side.

Finally anyone (still interested enough to have read this far :) ) should consider this:

If we went to a practice area, and I painted a 10-foot square on the pavement, with the instruction to a group of riders to get their speed up to 40 MPH, and begin braking 125 feet from the square and come to a stop so that, when the motor stops moving it is entirely within the square, the group would be able to do this very easily, with just a little practice. Now imagine that the group was given the instruction to deliberately put the machine on its side, from 40 MPH, and have it come to a stop entirely within the square. I would submit the motor would likely not end up entirely within the square once in 100 tries. My point is that the operator has no control over the motor sliding on its side.

The next point people will make is "I don't care about the motorcycle, I was protecting myself from danger by getting off the machine". Alas, this is poor security. If there is the forward momentum, the body has force, and it will continue to move in the direction it is going until acted upon by another force. If you've seen motorcycle road races where a rider wrecks you have seen how much control a person has over their course when they're sliding at speed. Again, the coefficient of friction of a properly braked motor is higher than a human body sliding or rolling on the road, so you are not slowing as quickly off the machine as you were on it; and you're still headed straight toward whatever hazard was presented in the first place.

Finally, in this particular case you mention ending up on your feet, and it worked. However, from your description you clearly put a foot down while the machine was still moving. This is a common route to a broken ankle. It is critical that feet remain on the boards/pegs. Again, clearly you successfully ended up on your feet, but I want others to recognize the hazard.

Again, anyone who shares an experience of an accident on this forum, knowing it will be picked apart, is doing the entire group a tremendous service. They are sharing an unpleasant experience, and subjecting themselves to "Monday morning quarterbacking" when they could certainly just keep quiet.

Thank you very much,

Harris
 

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Harris,

No problem at all with your editing or comments. I am glad you responded and thankful for your thoughtful analysis. Hopefully, it might be helpful to anyone reading it. Toward that end, let me add a few details, some clarification and also admit that this happened very quickly and a long time ago, so I may not be remembering things exactly as they were.


Harris said:
FXDRYDR,

I took the liberty of editing and emphasizing your post, as it illustrates important posts.

If you were able to get off the bike and remain standing, you had certainly gotten rid of most of your 35 to 40 MPH that you started with. I didn't remain standing, I slid along feet-first on my side and back.
Because of the lower coefficient of friction of a motor on its side, than one on its tires being braked properly, the motor on its side will travel further to a stop, than the one being braked. So if your machine slid distance X from the point it went on its side; had you braked properly it would have stopped in X minus the factor of the increased coefficient of friction.

From your description, I will still disagree that you decided to intentionally lay the motorcycle down, so much as you realized the locked rear wheel was going to cause you to go down, and you decided to make the best of it by stepping off. Locking the rear wheel is a recipe for a high-side, which would certainly not be what you'd want. Actually, the pavement was wet and it was quite easy to do. I had done some off-road riding, was a strong kid and the 305 was not hard to man-handle.

I absolutely do not mean any of this as criticism. Your sharing your experience, and your own realization that you would not have had an accident had the bike remained upright, are immensly helpful to others. Many riders hear people talking about having "laid down the bke to avoid a wreck", and come to believe it's a valid tactic. Your case helps illustrate why it's not, thankfully there was only property damage in your case. You know a lot more about bike dynamics and emergency maneuvers than I do. You have probably dissected numerous accidents and talked with a lot of people to figure out what they were thinking and/or trying to do in the time leading up to the accident. My recollection of a personal incident from more than 30 years ago cannot be as precise as your more timely investigations, nor as detached as the observations you are in a better position to make... and then there is your greater knowledge. So, my personal tale is offered up simply for consideration of what it is. This is not meant as an argument or validation. That said - it happened fast and I didn't do much analysis. I realized I couldn't stop or swerve. The choice was T-bone or slide. I slid. I wasn't trying to avoid the accident, I was trying to limit injury.
Had you been asked my two questions at the time ("At what specific point did you realize the motorcycle would be better off on its side, and why?" and "What specific steps did you deliberately initiate to get the motorcycle off it's wheels?") you would have had difficulty with the first, since there was no impact other than that between your motor and the ground, and with the second since locking the rear wheel is not one of the steps in deliberately putting a motor on its side. We agree on the first. I don't know if I even thought about the bike, but on the second - it was easy. Again, just like as a kid coming to a skidding, sideways stop on a bicycle.

Finally anyone (still interested enough to have read this far :) ) should consider this:

If we went to a practice area, and I painted a 10-foot square on the pavement, with the instruction to a group of riders to get their speed up to 40 MPH, and begin braking 125 feet from the square and come to a stop so that, when the motor stops moving it is entirely within the square, the group would be able to do this very easily, with just a little practice. Now imagine that the group was given the instruction to deliberately put the machine on its side, from 40 MPH, and have it come to a stop entirely within the square. I would submit the motor would likely not end up entirely within the square once in 100 tries. My point is that the operator has no control over the motor sliding on its side.

The next point people will make is "I don't care about the motorcycle, I was protecting myself from danger by getting off the machine". Alas, this is poor security. If there is the forward momentum, the body has force, and it will continue to move in the direction it is going until acted upon by another force. If you've seen motorcycle road races where a rider wrecks you have seen how much control a person has over their course when they're sliding at speed. Again, the coefficient of friction of a properly braked motor is higher than a human body sliding or rolling on the road, so you are not slowing as quickly off the machine as you were on it; and you're still headed straight toward whatever hazard was presented in the first place. All true. I can only offer that in my snap judgement, I believed I could not have stopped and would have t-boned the car and been seriously hurt. I intentionally laid that bike down and put myself into a nice, easy slide. I don't recall what I was thinking - if I thought I could somehow use my feet to lessen the impact, slide under the rear of the car - or what. At this time, I honestly don't know what I thought I could do. I just recall it was "t-bone or slide."
Finally, in this particular case you mention ending up on your feet, and it worked. However, from your description you clearly put a foot down while the machine was still moving. This is a common route to a broken ankle. It is critical that feet remain on the boards/pegs. Again, clearly you successfully ended up on your feet, but I want others to recognize the hazard. To clarify, I slid along on my back and side. When I stopped sliding, I got up and was okay. Jeans were torn, boots scuffed, jacket was road-rashed and and I'm sure I had miscellaneous scrapes - but I was unhurt and very lucky.
Again, anyone who shares an experience of an accident on this forum, knowing it will be picked apart, is doing the entire group a tremendous service. They are sharing an unpleasant experience, and subjecting themselves to "Monday morning quarterbacking" when they could certainly just keep quiet.

Thank you very much,

Harris
Again, Harris - this is my best recollection and offered for consideration only, in response to the initial post. Thanks for your input!
 
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And thanks to you sir. I know a lot of people learn from posts like this, and you never know which of the people who reads this tonight will be in a similar situation tomorrow. You've probably saved someone from injury or worse.

Harris
 

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Good post!!!! I have taken the ABATE safety classes, and don't remember them going into the stay on the bike "at all costs" or why... I have many times wondered about "getting off" a bike in an emergency. The closest I've been to being in an accident was hard braking & swerving to avoid a cager that pulled out in front of me. I remember feeling the back end of the bike get loose, just as I was clear of the cage... I let up on the brakes, SLOWLY rolled into some throttle, and it all worked out for me.
Again, thanks for the information!!!!!
 

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In my younger years, twice I had the misfortune to hit a car. Both times I only had enough time to brake just prior to impact and then ride the bike straight into the car. The impacts launched me up off the bike and over the car. I landed on the trunk of one and the other I rolled over the car and landed on my feet. Even though the bikes were a mess, I didn't get a scratch. Had I laid the bike down or slid sideways either time my body could have taken the same impact with the cars as my bike and I might have been seriously injured.
I hadn't thought too much about it since, but after reading Harris' posts it makes a lot of sense.
Thanks for getting this thread going.
 

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ORIGINAL DOOF BABE
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FXDRYDR - Thanks for sharing your experience and not copping an attitude with Harris for giving his thoughts and recommendations.

Every time I read something of this sort it helps to reinforce what I SHOULD and SHOULD NOT do in an emergency situation. Then I think about these things when I'm riding, so HOPEFULLY if/when I end up in an emergency situation, I'll respond in the correct manner.

Thanks again to you, Harris and everyone else who posts info that may help keep one of us alive. I'm OUT of here - have a great weekend everyone and ride safely!
 
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