I have been riding for 3 years and more than 20,000 miles with only one minor off-road down. I have to say that I am pretty far over to the cautious side, especially since my son was paralyzed in a skiing accident just 1 year ago. I am generally very aware of what is going on around me and taking all sorts of precautions to avoid trouble.
But last night, I got completely surprised! I was heading down a main artery past our city mall about 8:30 last night when all of a sudden a black lab emerges from oncoming traffic and leaps the concrete median right into my path!
I am not sure of my speed, but I would guess probably about 30 - 35 mph as i had just cleared an intersection where I had slowed from 45. Anyway, the first I saw of him he was in the air about to land about 10 - 15 feet in front of me. It scared the crap out of me and I grabbed a fistfull of front brake . . . and you guessed it . . . front end washed out.
I was down so fast that I don't really remember hitting the ground. I just remember saying "Oh Crap!!!" and then bouncing down the road.
The good news: I was ATGATT. No injuries other than a small bruise on my shin above my left boot. I was wearing a Roadcrafter 1 piece suit that did its job very well with small holes in my right butt cheek, right shoulder and right forearm above my wrist. Helmet shows no scuffs or scratches, so the head must not have hit. Boots and gloves appear to be fine. Other gear worn, but not really tested in this crash included a Pro Sub 4 backpad and Leatt Brace.
The bad news: I am definitely losing spousal support for riding. Before my son's accident that left him a paraplegic (www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshsorvik
), my wife loved to ride with me. She hasn't ridden since and she was not a fan of me riding any more either. After this, it could be a little tricky convincing her I should still take the risk. . . we will see.
The frustrating news: It was dark and the dog was black and he had already managed to miraculously sprint through two lanes of oncoming traffic before he emerged from between cars and jumped the median. I might have faired better if I had not tried to stop and just hit the dog. But here is my real frustration. I regularly practice panic stops to get the muscle memory trained to not do the very thing I did. . . the panic grab! Am I kidding myself that I can train myself to not lock up the front brake in this kind of a situation? I know. . . if i had a bike with ABS perhaps I would not have gone down, but I do not. My human ABS failed me miserably. Shakes the confidence in the skills a bit.