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Thread: Crash Chronicles (Crashes and Near Misses)

  1. #1
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA

    Exclamation Crash Chronicles (Crashes and Near Misses)

    One of our members - Tim Bro - sent a PM to me suggesting that we consider a new subforum for crash reports, and advice on avoiding crashes. While an excellent idea - the moderator team is hesitant to create too many subforums since that tends to fragment information, making it less likely to be spotted by our members. We decided to try making a sticky in "Just Riding" - and see if there is enough interest and input to it that would justify making a subforum for this rather specific topic. So - this is that sticky thread.

    Here is TimBro's description:

    Quote Originally Posted by TimBro
    Motorcycling = FUN - Risk

    Each of us use the above formula to define our motorcycling experiences. To maximize the fun, we take measures to reduce the risk, i.e. ATGATT, Experienced Rider Course, ABS equipped bikes etc.

    Each of you also has a wealth of mental risk aversion knowledge accumulated over years of motorcycling that were formulated after crashing or experiencing a near miss on your motorcycle.

    This sticky is designed to share the invaluable strategies members have learned from crashes or near misses. The overriding goal is to share a learned strategy with the group that can be assimilated and hopefully prevent other members from crashing and minimize the number of near misses.

    If even one crash is prevented after learning from the mistakes/experiences of other members, this sticky will be well worth the time, effort and consideration you took to post.

    It's all about looking out for our fellow members.
    Please join in this thread in the spirit that it was suggested and created in - helping other riders to improve their possibilities of avoiding road incidents! Negative, razzing or nagging postings will be summarily deleted - but I really don't expect we'll have any of those to concern ourselves with.

    Enjoy! And safe riding!
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  2. #2
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    OK, Ill go first
    I change driving styles in certain cities I know have a senior citizen heavy driving population or a tourist destination for that age group. I also try to avoid passing thru them at certain hours I know they are headed to doctors appointments . For some of these drivers, it's the only driving they do each week or two. I have had neighbors fitting this profile in the last two places I have lived so it is not a presumption. Leaving even more room between vehicles and having all available lights on as well as tapping brake lights even more when slowing to activate the flashing mode on my LED's. It turns into a video game of watching for "snipers" more than what I consider to be normal technique.

    The reason is I have had two serious near misses recently to reinforce what I have been aware of for years. Not picking on the older folks...I'll be there one day, but the skill sets are declining for most. My late dad did this same move I am describing years ago when he lost some lumber from his did not end well, luckily no injuries other than vehicles. He stopped driving a short time later.

    In the most recent about a week ago, I was in a local retirement mecca leaving extra room in front of me as I could not see the driver in the Lincoln ahead of me in the right lane of a four lane- no center lane main street drag. The left inside lane was in a constant left lane prep mode for turns. My senses told me they were address/parking spot hunting in the car ahead of me and I increased the gap . Just as I expected, the car hit the brakes and immediately hit reverse without regards to surroundings to get that parking spot. I had enough time to lane split the Lincoln to the left while I had the car next to me in my field of vision at a stop due to a left turning vehicle. Had I not been in gear and already on alert I would have been backed over in spite of the car and a half gap I had made. I believe being on the left side of the right lane also gave me time to get the heck out of the way...there was no room to swing out right. Typically, Helen is staggered behind would have ended differently if she or other riders had been along. As I passed (or as she passed me going backwards) within inches ,the tiny lady never even slowed or acknowledged anything occurred. I didn't honk as I figured that might have caused her to swerve. The truck that was behind me by a car length did honk...a long time! She stopped at his grill guard
    I often put the bike in neutral in a lot of conditions when I do not feel a threat when sitting at a long sequenced signal. In high density areas, I almost always keep it in gear and watching/listening to everything in my space cushion.

    Branson ,MO is another one of those places Blind spot awareness is key in that locale! Have had several lane changes in front or almost on top of me there on all visits during the Blitz to Branson weekends. Even with staying out of the blind just happens.
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and past prez SABMWRA

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  3. #3
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Big Sky Country
    My 91 year old aunt still drives. Guess it's okay because she has fair vision in one eye and fair hearing in one ear. Scares the hell out of me.

    She lives in NJ... careful Don.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  4. #4
    Registered User WalterK75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Mississauga, Ontario
    This was a self-inflicted bike drop. I was making an almost U-turn in two driveways. They were separated by about a yard of grass. I intended to ride up the minimal incline to the sidewalk, turn on the flat sidewalk and ride out the other driveway. It basically amounted to a wide U-turn and actually didn't require a lot of lean to the bike. I went in from the street in one driveway, turned and began to exit the other driveway. Suddenly the bike felt top heavy and was leaning too much. I stuck out my foot and realized it was hopeless, so I did a head first somersault off the bike to the side, landing on the grass and rolled safely out of the way. The bike went down with damage to the fairing and a broken mirror.

    If I had remembered my riding class and accelerated the bike instead of sticking my foot out, it would have stood up and I wouldn't have had to practice my forward roll, which I learned years ago in judo class.

    "Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under."
    H. L. Mencken

  5. #5
    From MARS

    After Effects

    On my way to work one Spring morning down in Mobile, AL, I had my first "real" accident. Years later, a similiar situation appeared to be unfolding, and I reacted........... maybe over-reacted.

    The road surface was damp with dew, and I was riding my 750 Virago accordingly at the speed limit of 35mph. Traffic was minimal going South down Dauphin Island Parkway (DIP) in Mobile, but the Northbound lanes were pretty full. The part of DIP I was riding is a divided 4-lane, and I was riding in the southbound lanes when a pickup pulls up to a stop sign on my right about 1/2 block ahead. I watched his head turn towards me and then rapidly turn away to look for an opening in the northbound lanes. I "knew" he hadn't seen me and was going to pull out; so I rolled off the throttle. He pulled out, but instead of going all the way into the esplanade, he stopped blocking both lanes. I grabbed the brakes, but it soon became clear that I wasn't going to stop in time. I remember thinking about where to hit him....the front, the door, the back? I chose the door since I didn't want to fly over the hood or halfway across the bed of his pickup. I had on my winter gear, helmet, boots, and gloves. Just before we made contact, I raised my butt several inches off the seat to protect the important parts which I knew could be damaged by striking the tank and instruments when I went over the event which I knew was coming. He saw me when I was about 10' from his door; the look on his face was priceless! When we hit, I was down to about 15mph, but my momentum carried me over the bars and into his door. I was able to roll my right shoulder down just like my old football coach had taught me to tackle bigger runners. The helmet and gear did their job. The only injury I had was on top of my left foot where I had a nice bruise; the result of having hit the fuel petcock on my way over the bars. The bike was totaled. I felt that I had dodged a bullet.

    Ten years later. I'm riding my K75C through a small town in East Texas when a guy in a pickup pulls up to a stop sign and starts pulling out towards the main road. In my mind, I was right back in Mobile and this SOB was going to block my lane. So, I clamped down on the binders, no ABS. The rear tire locked up. Now, either he had already seen me and was just easing out getting ready to pull out behind me or the sound of my tire sliding got his attention, I don't know, but he stopped with plenty of room for me to pass. At this point I did something stupid; I released the rear brake and promptly high-sided. Once again, the gear did good as I slid down the road alongside the bike and yet, I didn't have a scratch. The bike needed some new plastic parts, but I was able to ride it 80 miles home..........after I quit shaking!

    Now I'm 20 years older, and probably don't bounce as well as I used to so I ride a little wiser. The 12 sec. rule is used all the time. If I can't see or predict what is going to happen 12 sec ahead, I slow down, look for "outs", and create as much space around me as I can.


  6. #6
    Registered User robday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Los Angeles

    Cars turning left

    Ok, I've had this happen twice now.

    The first time was back in 1983 on a Suzuki GS450T, less than a month old, my first brand-new bike. This was as much my fault as the other driver's. I was young at the time, and not very experienced, and full of adrenaline.
    As I approached an intersection, the light turned yellow. Instead of slowing to a stop, I did the inexcusable and punched it to get through. There was a car in the intersection waiting to make a left, and he also punched it. But when he saw me coming he hit the brakes (instead of continuing through). In the meantime, I had seen the impending doom approaching and locked the back wheel in an effort to lay down the bike and slide around his backside. But when he stopped, my rear wheel hit his rear bumper, and I (along with my passenger) was launched through the air. I came down and slid, my passenger AND my pretty new bike rode the whole thing out on top of me. No broken bones, but plenty of deep road rash. My passenger only had a small scrape on his ankle, but I was a bloody mess. The bike suffered lots of cosmetic damage and was repaired by insurance.

    Fast forward to last year. On the way home from work, waiting at a light. In this case, there are two right-turn lanes and I was in the right-most with a pickup also turning right in the next lane over. At this intersection you are not allowed to make a right turn on a red, so we were both waiting for the green. The light changed and we went. Within 50 feet, there was a car traveling the opposite direction trying to make a left across our lanes to access the gas station on the corner. My culpability here was taking off a bit hot (I had just purchased this K1200GT a moth before this and was still getting used to it). I saw her coming and hit the brakes as hard as humanly possible, and was beginning to stand on the front wheel. Unfortunately, the driver panicked and stomped the gas. She slammed into me just forward of my left leg (thankfully) and threw the bike across the remaining lanes and up onto the sidewalk. I flew through the air and plopped onto the pavement, knocked out. I was extremely lucky. After an ambulance ride to the ER, I basically walked away with some bruises and a concussion. The bike AND the car were totaled. The girl driving was devastated, she was crying and apologizing. I actually felt bad for her. Insurance covered everything and I replaced the '06 GT with an '08. And since then I have been practicing my ultra-careful Los Angeles surface street riding style, which is basically to go nice and slow and act as if I'm invisible, and every car out there is trying to find me so they can kill me.
    '92 K75S, all black...
    '08 K1200GT, silver...
    '06 R1200GS, silver...
    '63 R50/2, black...

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orono, MN

    2009 Crash in the round-a-bout (rotary)

    April 2009:

    I was picking up my serviced 1985 K100RT from my dealer in Monticello, MN when the service manager told me the same thing he had told me dozens of times before: "Be careful on that new front tire."

    I nodded and thanked him with the sage look of a motorcycle veteran I thought I was. I started the bike and started the trip back home. Outside temperature was 40 degrees F and the roads were dry.

    About a mile away from the dealership, I came upon the new roundabout that had just been installed the previous fall. This one was made of concrete; nice, smooth, new, concrete.

    Traffic was light, and I love to blast through these roundabouts doing the weave to the right and back to the left. My speed was 25-30 MPH.

    I made the weave to the right, on the asphault approach but when I made the weave to the left on concrete to set up my exit, my bike went down amazingly hard and fast on the left side. It happened so quick, I swore I had hit a patch of ice.

    They say that it takes a healthy adult 3/4 of a second to react to a situation in front of them. The bike must have gone down much quicker than that because I did not have a chance to even ponder the thought of going down. Reflexes took over, I did a combat roll on my left shoulder and landed upright on my feet.

    I then watched in slow-motion agony as the K100 slowly rotated 360 degrees on her left side and then crashed into the curb around the perimeter of the roundabout, fairing first.

    The left side mirror popped off and the curb inflicted a 3 inch diameter bruise/crack on the fiberglass fairing. A passing motorist graciously stopped and helped me right the K100.

    I then headed back to the dealership to drop off my bike to have them perform a post crash inspection and service.

    What I did right: Due to the low ambient temperatures, I was wearing my First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket and pants, boots, full face helment and gloves. Injury was a sore shoulder that took a couple months for all the pain to go away.

    What I did wrong: (Stupidity broken down into the following 3 points)
    1. Totally forgetting that I had a new motorcycle tire on the front of my bike. New motorcycle tires are very slippery, (ride with care for first 100 miles).
    2. Not exercising caution on cold motorcyle tires, also very slippery until they warm up, which will take a very long time on a 40 degree F day.
    3. Riding too fast for conditions through a newly constructed, (very smooth surface) roundabout.

    It is amazing in the weeks following that crash how alert and careful I was when riding. With that crash in my memory I was on "red alert" for the next month or so, continually analyzing potential threats and taking corrective actions. It was like I was experiencing a partial, continuous adrenalin rush each time I rode in the weeks following the crash.

    Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, crash memories fade over time and while I am still careful, most of the time, that adrenalin rush feeling is gone.

    My hope is that I will not be experiencing that adrenalin rush while riding anytime soon.

    Tim Bro

    '85 K100RT; '90 K75RT; '91 K75RT; 2005 R1200GS

  8. #8
    Registered User bob814u's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Eula, Texas

    Cell Phone User

    I was riding along at the pace of the traffic on a two lane "access" road beside a semi-truck. I look up just in time to see a woman with her cellphone blocking her view pull out in front of me. I had a Texas duelly to close behind me so I decided the only way to live was to white line it. Thank God the trucker saw what was happening and gave me two extra feet as I stuck my shoulder under his trailer while driving at 45 MPH. I still get goose bumps when I think about if I had hit a reflector wrong and gone under his back axles. The woman didn't even look up or over. gggggggggg ( me goose bumpin). I pulled over at Starbucks to check my pants. I was shaking so much I couldn't even hold my coffee. "Straw Please!!"
    Steve Ayers
    # 146297
    1995 R1100R
    NRA Life Member

  9. #9
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    SW Ohio
    Wiped out turning into my driveway. Front end just washed out. Turns out my neighbor had thrown out her aquarium, and the trashmen had spilled the sand all over the street. It was invisible but acted like millions of tiny ball bearings. Anyone got any ideas on how you avoid that?

    Another classic, rainy day, pulled up to a stoplight, put right foot down, foot keeps going down into a pothole cleverly disguised as a puddle. Bike gracefully falls over, gas cap pops open, tailpack pops open, yuch.

    And the usual. Hit a deer once(or it hit me) Hit an oily spot in an intersection. Had a car back out of a driveway in front of me, got a bee in my helmet (no crash but bad panic attack) hit a bird (again kept it upright) Then there's the times I just dropped it somehow in the garage...
    Last edited by 35634; 03-12-2011 at 04:08 AM.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  10. #10
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    B.C. Canada

    Accident on Beartooth Pass

    I was on my way to the 2008 national MOA rally in Gillette when my K75RS (lovely mod by the previous owner) bought the farm. If you don't know the road, it is over 100 miles long, narrow, twisty, but on this day abolutely free of potholes or gravel and with ONLY ONE passing. When I crested the hill and saw those two lanes approaching me I also had another lane appear to my right for a pull-off spot.

    What got my attention though was the sight of another motorcycle rounding a curve in the passing lane (yes, it started on a curve) and his back tire sliding into my lane. What I did was aim for the right side of my lane, brake hard, and then glance back at the bike. His back tire swung back into his own lane, hooked up, and he came shooting into my lane. We had both slowed by then but the left cylinder of his GS was so close that, on a parallel course, the left cylinder of his GS hit my radiator before deflecting to the crash bar. We both went over on our right sides, bikes no more than 10 feet apart on the ground. Body damage was limited to a couple sprained fingers for him and sore leg for me that took months to quit hurting.

    The actual cause of the accident was a thin layer of winter sand (almost invisible) which covered ONLY THE PASSING LANE. While the other guy's insurance thankfully covered most of my cost, there is no way I blame him for the accident. We shared a rental car ride to Montana and a motel room before we caught our flights home and had lots of time to to talk. An experienced rider with dirt bike experience, he held a steady throttle when his tire slid, countersteered, and would have been OK if his back tire hadn't contacted some bare pavement at exactly the wrong moment. Neither of us were speeding.

    If it had been a motorhome rather than my bike approaching, he would be dead. The cop who finally responded to this call, hauled us into the nearest town, and arranged for the tow of our bikes was great. Then. When I tried numerous times to contact him by phone or email to find out who was responsible for the sand removal on this stretch of road - no response. I finally let it go. And prayed someone really did clean up this "accident waiting to happen again."

    So what could I have done differently? Spent many hours asking myself that question. Hindsight tells me the only thing I could have done WORSE was braking a little harder in the same line. (Head-on collision.) Probably should have swerved to that new lane open to my right and then braked hard. If the original slideout became a lowside, I should have stopped before it. I've forgiven myself.

    BTW, it was at least a half hour after we had hauled the bikes to the side of the road before I wondered if I had conked my head. Yep. Schuberth ruined. Head just fine.
    1992 K100RS

  11. #11
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Camas Valley Oregon

    2006 rt

    Late May 2010 on vacation with wife and loaded bags and topcase. Heading for Santa Fe New Mexico from SW Oregon. We had cleared Crater Lake and were on 140 between Denio Junction and Winnemucca Nevada crossing the Sheldon Antelope preserve. Raining hard, around noon at a steady seventy miles per hour on a flat straight two lane asphalt highway. Suddenly a brown blur came from the left road edge crossing in front of me. A small herd of Antelope. They were moving fast across the highway and I grabbed a large handful of brake and dove to my left hoping to cross behind them. I hit the last one in the rump with my right engine guard driving it back and crushing the driving light (Hella FF50) and blood and hair all over the highway peg on the guard. We didn't go down, then. We rode on for another few miles and I decided to stop and examine the bike. No traffic at all. We could see for miles in both directions and we were alone. Gradually stopped the bike and on putting my foot down we fell over. No damage. I found the bike seemed ok to continue so we went on into Winnemucca where we spent the night. I had a pretty good scab on my right leg where a hoof or something got me. Wife was fine. I don't know that I learned anything from this. Just good to be lucky I guess.
    Last edited by MPMARTY; 04-05-2011 at 08:06 PM. Reason: spelling
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  12. #12
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Jacksonville, FL


    Beware of cars in FL where you can only see the headrest but not the driver. Give these vehicles a very wide berth. I have had them make unexpected (no turn signals) turns and sudden stops on freeway entrance ramps. The drivers can be young or old with the younger drivers usually talking on a cell phone, the older drivers looking only straight ahead. Awareness of your enviorment along with having an "exit" plan is key to not having an accident. Prime areas for extra vigilance are retirement communities along the Gulf Coast, I-4, I-75, I-95, and other highways where speeds vary from 55>80+mph. These are nice roads but many drivers are distracted and lose focus.
    Cave Contents: 1980 R100RT/Ural Sidecar, 2004 R1200CLC, 2006 HD FSXTI
    Ride Safe

  13. #13
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Chestnut Hill, MA

    Unhappy RT Rider Trying to Become a Statistic...

    I got the shock of the day today (5/7) when a guy riding an R1200RT (NY Plate hard luggage), came zooming along lanesplitting on I-95 in Wellesley, MA. Heavy thunderstorm was underway at the time, plenty of lightning, thunder and a road covered with lots and lots of water and bumper-to-bumper traffic. He was between my pickup and a gigantic Wal-Mart Semi. Makes you wonder...
    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison 2018-Present
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    MOA #153274
    "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo-via Walt Kelly

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Unhappy Colorado bike crash

    From our local TV (KRDO) channel website this morning:

    EL PASO, Colo. -- Two people were injured Saturday night when a motorcycle crashed in El Paso County, officials said.

    According to the Colorado State Patrol, a motor cycle crashed on Goldfield Road, just east of the Fountain Valley Road intersection.

    The driver was unable to negotiate a turn on Goldfield Road and rolled, him and passenger from the bike, officials said.

    Driver and passenger were taken to Memorial Hospital with serious head and facial injuries, officials said.

    Neither wore helmets, officials said. State patrol said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.
    '95 R1100RS "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian!" Henry Ford

  15. #15
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Southern Tier of New York

    close call in Quebec

    Riding my RT on route 132 in Quebec, heading to the end of the Gaspe Peninsula, I was just east of Cap Chat. There are scores of giant windmills on the ridges along the road. I was on a 4-lane section. I was in the passing lane, behind a car. A car was in the right lane. The pavement was wet, with a light rain falling. Suddenly, the car in the right lane stops dead in the road. The driver of the car in front of me, seeing that car stop, jacks on the brakes and stops dead. Keep in mind, I can see over both cars and there is nothing but empty road ahead. Never mind, I've got both lanes suddenly stopped in front of me for no reason whatsover. Also keep in mind, I'm looking at the windmills, too.

    Thank God and BMW for anti-lock brakes. In that moment, I appreciated the luxury of being able to get every bit of braking out of the RT.

    It had a happy ending, with just a close call.

    Maintain a good space cushion at all times, and increase it in scenic areas.

    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

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