Concours Owners Group (COG) Forum

Motorcycle Talk => Motorcycle Safety => Topic started by: Capn' Kirk on January 10, 2018, 06:06:15 pm

Title: Close calls
Post by: Capn' Kirk on January 10, 2018, 06:06:15 pm
They always say (whoever they are) that when you ride a motorcycle it's not a matter of "if" but "when." What are your close call stories, and if you can, share what you did to avoid catastrophe.

I've had four incidents that I've walked away from:

1995, Spokane, WA - Honda GL500 Silverwing: I was stopped at a traffic light and the guy rolling up behind wasn't paying enough attention and crashed into me. Thankfully I saw him approaching in my mirrors, realized he wasn't stopping fast enough, and was able to jump up and to the left right in time. No injury, and the bike was mostly okay.

2004, Albany, OR - Honda VTX1300: I got tapped and knocked over in a parking lot. Again, I saw it coming and was able to step off the bike.

2014, just outside of Bakersfield, CA - Yamaha FJR1300: I was on a state highway doing about 65 around a right-sweeping bend and rolled up on a large object in the road. I went around the object to the left but went too far, obliterated one of the plastic 1/10-mile markers, and drifted into the gravel, dangerously close to the barrier. I thought for sure I was going down but managed to keep it together, slow down, and come to a stop. That was far scarier than getting rear-ended.

2016, Oakland, CA - Triumph Trophy SE 1200: This may be hard to describe. At most freeway off-ramps there's a small zone between the road you were on and where the ramp curves off, and usually it's just blacktop with paint stripes delineating the road and ramp. Early one morning (still dark) I took a wrong exit and thought that I could just sweep across that zone and back onto the freeway, but it turned out that zone wasn't flat pavement - it was all curbed off and the empty space was filled with rocks and brush. I banked left to "sweep across," banged up and over the curb that I didn't know was there, bounced my way over all the rocks and crap, over the curb on the other side and into the breakdown lane of the freeway I was originally on. Once again I somehow managed to stay upright, though I had to stop, let the adrenaline rush fade, and catch my breath.

I really should have crashed that last time, but didn't, and I really hope that was the last of it.

Edit: added motorcycles to the descriptions.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: SATXRIDER on January 10, 2018, 06:38:46 pm
Ok, I'll share.  I doubt there is a guy on this forum who does not have several of his own stories.

Was raining and I was following an 18 wheeler.  It was of course throwing off a tremendous amount of dirty road mist.    I backed off some but was not looking forward to following this guy.  So I finally see an opening and start to pass him.  I was about even with him when I applied a full handful of throttle to get by him.  Bad move, as the rear tire broke loose and I started to fishtail dangerously close to the rig.  Almost went down.  Thankfully, I stayed up.  So moral of story, respect the Connies power on wet roads.

Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Capn' Kirk on January 10, 2018, 07:21:55 pm

So moral of story, respect the Connies power on wet roads.


Amen to that. I won't ride in the rain on purpose, but if I get caught in it, I go into Granny Mode.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Kelly E on January 10, 2018, 08:42:21 pm
June 1982 Lewiston Id. I was chasing my friend down the grade at about 100mph on my 2 week old V45 Sabre with it loaded up with a tank bag, saddlebags and camping gear. When I was coming out of the last sweeping right I got hit in the side by a huge gust of wind. My handlebars were a blur and all I could was try to hang on and try to dampen the death wobble. :-\ I managed to ride it out and made it to Effie's where I sat on the curb for 10 minutes before I went in for a burger and a beer.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Capn' Kirk on January 10, 2018, 09:09:22 pm about 100mph on my 2 week old V45 Sabre.

Break in period? What break in period?  ;D

Man, that must have been scary. Pucker Factor: 100
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Kelly E on January 10, 2018, 10:34:08 pm about 100mph on my 2 week old V45 Sabre.

Break in period? What break in period?  ;D

Man, that must have been scary. Pucker Factor: 100

It was broke in three days after I picked it up. :great: It was one of my highest Pucker Factor incidents so far. :)
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Warwgn on January 11, 2018, 02:03:07 pm
Oh deer! Was riding my GL1500 to work on morning running about 50 down a 2 lane windy I live on and about 2 miles after leaving my house I see two deer pop out and over a fence on the right side, when I say see I mean I see them in time to know I am in trouble. I did not have enough space to slow down no matter what but the first deer was gonna clear me it was the 2nd deer that was trailing behind, I decided I did not want to head on the deer so I throttled into it and made the deer hit me. Turned out to be the right choice, it wobbled me enough to kill the bike, I think the bank angle sensor jolted enough to think the bike got layed over so it shut off. I slowly pulled to the side and turned the key off and kickstand down to walk around and survey the damage, could not see much since it was still zero dark thirty but the deer was nowhere to be seen and the bike appeared ok so got back on and headed off to work. Only minor damage and lost a plastic side cover and some trim molding, on the way home I found the cove but not the trim?

Fast forward a year and a half 2014 on the way home same road running 70 at about 4PM plenty of daylight into a right hand sweeper, I am checking the curve for debris on the inside looking down and not up and as I start to come out of the curve there is a deer that has magically appeared about 3 feet in front of me. Did not even have time to hit the brakes, bike went down left and right I got thrown and rolled about 30 yards or more and finally managed to get flat and slid another 10 before going into the ditch. Luckily I did not end up in a fire ant bed, and I did a quick assessment moving slowly arms then legs then head and finally sat up, all seemed ok so got up and some ladies had stopped and called the LEO's and ambulance. I walked over to the bike turned the radio off got my keys out and my phone, called my wife and told her so she was on the way, then I started picking up fenders and plastics and putting them in a pile by the bike. A buddy happened by in his truck so he pulled in front of me and dropped the tailgate for me to sit on while I had a smoke. Cops show up and ambulance and wife all at the same time, I just want to have the tow truck come get the bike and take it to the house, but wife says no get in ambulance, guess the look on my face told her I was actually hurt more than the minor road rash on my hand (no gloves on that day). Good news is the cops said my buddy could load up the deer since my bike was a 93 and it was opening day for primitive weapons  :D love a cop with a sense of humor. Bad news was had 2 broken ribs, and by the time I got to the hospital and the adrenalin wore off I was starting to feel that.

Other than those I have had a few back wheel lock ups with some minor fishtailing, once on dry road to miss a deer on the connie (we have too many deer where i live) and just a few days ago in a fresh rain with some mud on the road where I needed to drop speed for a car that decided to turn off at the last second, they almost went in the ditch trying to make their turn, and I had to brake very hard to avoid that jackazz.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Rico on January 11, 2018, 02:23:03 pm
I've been on sport bikes for 27 years and do track days and at the beginning rode like every road was a track.....until.....
Anyways, I DON'T DO CLOSE CALLS....I go all the way! LOL
1 bad aciident, 1 (I consider) not too bad.
I would tell you the injuries, but some wonder why I still ride after I tell them the list...mostly non-riders. lol
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Capn' Kirk on January 11, 2018, 02:30:25 pm
Oh deer!

Pesky deer. Primitive weapons!  :)

Forgot all about the time a few years ago I was riding up to Oregon from CA and a deer leapt out onto I5. It was close enough to me I could hear its hooves clacking on the blacktop. Had I been at that spot one second sooner there would have been a collision.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Kelly E on January 11, 2018, 06:09:33 pm
June 1982, later on the same day as the death wobble incident we were down into Oregon and I was leading. I came around a nice right hand sweeper going about 50mph and standing sideways in the middle of the road was a big a** bull. :-\ Luckily there was time to honk the horn and at the last second the bull ran off the road and up the hill. Shortly after that I decided it was to to find a place to camp. :truce:
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: TimR on January 13, 2018, 08:30:33 am
2013..The night before I was to leave for the National in Idaho Falls I found the final on my C14 was leaking. A quick call to the dealer in Idaho Falls pretty much told me they didn't want anything to do with it. So out to borrow a motorcycle. A friend let me borrow his Harley. Nice ride.   

Made for long trek's the highway. I met up with friends for the ride to the Nationals. Second day we where in the mountains and not going exceptionally fast but I wanted to slow a bit for a up coming curve. My mistake was I got on the rear brake which locked up. (I should have just down shifted.) Before I realized what was really happening the rear decided to pass the front. I ended up going for the ditch backwards which was guarded by a guard rail.  Had I been on the C14, there would have not been a reason to slow down.

The bike got hurt but was still able to be ridden. Not pretty but still went down the road with broken mirror and windshield. The only injury I ended up with was a slightly bruised foot, a now well used jacket and a small spot of paint missing from the helmet. I entered the modified bike contest but didn't win.

I got home and my friend and I sat down in front of the computer with my credit card and ordered parts. Since the HD had done the exact same thing to him, he sold the HD and bought a Can Am Spider. His wife likes the Spider and I got thanked for crashing the Harley.....go figure.  Also when I got home another friend said I could have borrowed his Busa. I wish I could have tried that one out instead. At least I would have been able to keep up with the group when they were passing cars but wouldn't have had comfort and a stereo. 
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Capn' Kirk on January 13, 2018, 01:57:53 pm

My mistake was I got on the rear brake which locked up.

I had that happen to me on my V Star. I was headed out of San Francisco from work, and on the Bay Bridge a bus that was mostly ahead of me started to drift into my lane so I hit the brakes to fall back and stay clear. The rear end locked up and there was a brief moment of scary fishtailing. My bike previous to the V Star was an FJR1300 with ABS, so it makes sense how easily the Star locked up.

Lessons, all of them.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: JD on January 13, 2018, 02:52:29 pm
Few years ago, buzzing along on a V XII about 70 in cruise. Topped a hill and lo and behold, there a Texas Resident Criter right in the middle of my Oklahoma Lane. Whacked dead square in the center. Pieces of Armadillo everywhere! I wobbled real bad, then got back under control as the speed dropped. I spit upholtery for a day or two after.  --JD
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: antibus on January 13, 2018, 10:56:05 pm
2010 Suzuki SV 650. I was riding a very familiar road near dark in a light rain. On a straight away I gave some throttle and I didn't think it was too much at that time. What happened next is why I like traction control on the connie and have a healthy fear of tar strips. While riding directly on top of a wet tar strip the rear wheel broke free, slid to one side of the strip, regained a bit of traction, slid to the other of the strip and repeated. The feel was somewhat like a death wobble but with the back end hopping side to side. I had a death grip on the handlebars and even if it occurred to me to grab the clutch or to throttle down I was too paralyzed with fear to do it. I remember resigning myself to the inevitability of a crash and somehow I didn't. I rode home slowly, laundered my shorts and realized there is a thing or two about riding I just learned.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: SilverConnieRider on January 14, 2018, 06:31:13 pm
I was riding with my GL1200A and had just got on the highway, just getting up to speed - maybe 60mph in a 70 zone.
As I crested the small rise in the highway there was a deer that had just stepped into my lane and then stopped.
This was about 100 ft in front of me - so even going only 60, it didn't give me much time to do anything. I aimed (drifted really)
towards the rear end of the animal and just clipped it's rear legs. I was amazed that I didn't go down and just caught a glimpse
of the deer bolting across the highway.  I have to believe it's leg(s) were broken and must have died later.

After getting the bike home I noticed deer hair in the fender area and a cracked fairing piece and some missing vents.
Then I found out how hard it was to get parts on an over 30 year old bike. That's when I decided if I ever had an
accident with that bike - it would be that last time because parts were becoming non existent for it.

And I did end up having an accident with it again.
It was soon before the 2016 National and I did a big post on that titled - My sad sad news about the National.

I did end up selling the crashed bike - it was still rideable - for $150 - So the next owner had his work cut out for him
as I will assume he also found out how hard getting parts was going to be.  Oh well.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Tour1 on January 30, 2018, 01:49:25 pm
I had passed the BRC in October and had a GZ250 in a storage unit for the winter, but it got real warm in January and the snow melted.  I took the bike out for a mid-day practice run, winding my way west towards NYC with no route in mind.  At the Whitestone Expressway I turned north then decided local roads & coffee could be had if I took Linden Ave.  The exit had a pitcher's mound worth of sand blocking the entire lane halfway down.  The front wheel bogged & wobbled but I made it through.  Lesson: winter road hazards are more than just snow & ice.
  Next year I got a Boulevard C50.  Took my only riding vacation so far, an overnight near Binghamton and some roadside geology sightseeing.  It rained like heck but let up the 2nd day as I came home via I-80.  It was 2 lanes of heavy traffic, maybe 50 mph getting out of PA.  I was in the right lane when the car in front of me straddled a chunk of concrete sidewalk near the middle.  I wasn't in the wheel track & got pucker factor swerving to avoid it.  Still feel guilty about not stopping to try to kick it off the road, but that has its own risks.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Staylo on January 30, 2018, 02:32:17 pm
Last year me and my riding buddies were headed home from our annual trip to West Virginia, and I was leading the group on State Highway 29, a forested two-lane road through the mountains. We were cooking along at 70 or better in the middle of a left-hand sweeper.  It was blind due to all of the trees and the hillside. All of a sudden, into view comes a silver minivan going the other way, the driver’s side wheels on the yellow line. The driver’s side front wheel is halfway up in the fender the guy was heeled over so hard in the corner. I was  CERTAIN he was coming across the line into my lane to smash me. We were on each other so fast I had no time to react and nowhere to go but off the road on the right-hand side into the trees anyway. Luckily, he stayed on the yellow line, but the two guys behind me crapped their pants too thinking he wasn’t going to make the corner either. Sometimes I’m thankful that by the time your brain really has time to process what’s going on the event is already over, because sometimes I think if I had time to think about some of these things I would react and do something dumb out of instinct that would make matters worse.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: smithr1 on February 06, 2018, 06:50:49 pm
I was following behind a car on a perfect day not worried about much and not on high alert due to weather and the escort.  I was not to close and that was good.  The car managed to straddle a 4x4 post 4+ feet long barely clearing between his wheels and under his car.   By the time I saw it I had 40 feet or so while going 45 mph to decide if I should try and swerve and miss it, going down for sure if I failed to clear the end of it, or try to square up and hit it str8 on and hope the bike hops it.  What would you do?
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Tour1 on February 07, 2018, 03:43:10 pm
About 2 years ago the NYC bike show was on a really warm saturday in December and I took the connie.  I was on I-495 westbound in the slow lane when I faced a very similar choice.  It was a piece of aluminum extrusion, looked like a door jamb about 8 feet long, maybe the size of a 2 by 4 at most, maybe a 1 by 2, but it was diagonal in the middle of the lane.  At Nassau county traffic density I couldn't swerve or brake, IMHO, so I got up on the pegs, stiffened my grips, and maybe did a pre-jump like you see skiers doing, letting my legs become shock absorbers without getting off the pegs.  I wasn't sure if it was going to have an edge-trap effect when it hit, but I just took the bump.  It didn't bounce up to hit the bike between the wheels.  I think I got some air under both tires at once.  The handlebars jerked some and after my very brief flight I had a mini-tank-slapper, that is, a series of excessive over-corrective inputs that damped out in 5 or 6 wiggles.  God bless the geometry on that bike!
I'd like to get some handlebar risers, I think I have the original 87s, but since that stunt I'm not sure the extra comfort will improve my chances of handling that kind of incident.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Tour1 on February 08, 2018, 03:48:04 pm
Smithr1, I would probably have tried to hop that 4x4 too.  45 mph is about 66 feet per second, maybe there was time to brake and then release for the impact if you had your decision made with 40 feet left.
As a rule I don't react at all to panic situations in fear of making things worse than they already are.
Title: Re: Close calls
Post by: Nosmo on February 09, 2018, 04:36:11 am
I've had several close calls, but one that REALLY got my attention was when I was following an 18-wheeler too closely, and he straddled and passed over a big chunk of retread that had come off the tire of another truck.  By the time I saw it coming underneath his rear trailer axle, it was too late to react any way but to say to myself "Oh, F%&#!!"  The Connie and I together weigh right about 900 pounds and we went straight up about 6 inches or so (seemed like 6 feet), and straight back down, forks and shock bottomed out, and just by dumb luck the wheels were straight, and nothing happened.  All at between 70 - 75 MPH.   :motonoises:

Lesson:  NEVER tailgate anything.