A Lab put ME down. . . - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Duluth, MN
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A Lab put ME down. . .

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.
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post #2 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 11:28 AM
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Best wishes to your son for his continued progress. Sounds like a determined young fella.

Sorry about your off. Animals are unpredictable...and that includes us. Keep practicing your 'panic' stops. It helps to practice but they're not really 'panic' stops until your ass is clinched tight because sombebody (or a dog) does something to put you in a bad spot.

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post #3 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 11:45 AM
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This is a occasion where ABS may have actully helped so Ia assume you don't have it idea.

but hey hitting the dog may also have ended up with you on the ground sliding as well to be honest. We will never know what would have happened.
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post #4 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 11:51 AM
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Glad to hear your OK. ATGATT+1 Your wife has used the first rule in risk management, (eliminate the risk) can't say as I blame her. Time heals. There is no way to avoid some incidents but keep practicing for, and being aware of, the others. I would say that the risk of your accident occurring once is one in a billion, How does your Son feel about you riding, if I may ask?

ADVENTURE, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
The destination, can be the journey! Honest Bob
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post #5 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 11:53 AM
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These are the kind of scenarios that convinced me to get ABS. That and washing out the front on sand going about 10mph- still hurt like hell.

2005 DL650 (sold) | 2009 DL650A (sold) | 2008 Tiger 1050 ABS | 2012 WR250R | 2008 CRF100F
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post #6 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Duluth, MN
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Interestingly. . . my son is not bothered by it at all. He is a pretty amazing kid. I know that I am biased, but he is an astounding young man with a strong faith and a powerful inner stength.

My own confidence is probably as shaken as anyone's!

Just for giggles, how much (as in hours per week or something like that) do you guys drill on your panic stops. I am trying to assess whether more practice will develop my skills to the point where I won't lock up the front, or if it is just a "personality" thing and I now know that in a very reactionary scenario, I will grab a fist-full of front brakes no matter what I do.

If that is the case, I should probably either give up the bike altogether or at least back off until I can save for ABS.
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post #7 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 12:08 PM
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Location: Toronto - way way way too much traffic
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Wow! Josh's website is quite illuminating. We'll add our prayers to yours.

As for the bike vs lab crash, you've trained yourself as much as you could (I was trained to push and pull - pull with both hands and push with both feet - which accomplishes full braking, disengagment of the clutch, and the transmission one gear down) and it still happened. Fortunately I haven't done one of those since a dog did the same thing to me back in highschool - I was on a moped, wearing a $25 open face helmet and wearing a nylon jacket - yowch. I think you've answered your own question about ABS, and given me pause to think about trading my 04 Wee for a newer one with ABS.

And, if you'd hit the dog without braking, you still might have gone down, and now regretting hurting the dog.

Sit down one day with your wife and Josh to talk about riding. I love riding, but in the end, I love my family more, and if they're so opposed to me riding, for whatever reason, I think I'd have to give serious thought to parking it.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #8 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 12:10 PM
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You can certainly practice. The problem is the amount of road surface traction you have.

The specific thing that convinced me to get ABS was riding downhill in the rain in traffic. If you leave a large enough gap, cars fill it. So if anything happens you have a choice of clamping down (and maybe washing out) or running into what's in front of you.

I've invoked the rear on the track a few times, any one of those could have potentially been a high-side.

2005 DL650 (sold) | 2009 DL650A (sold) | 2008 Tiger 1050 ABS | 2012 WR250R | 2008 CRF100F
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post #9 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 12:51 PM
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Location: Issaquah, WA
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LAB STrike

No one here can try to undertand the pain your wife and yourself has from your son. Does the bike give you some comfort and release to remain strong working with your family? It might possibly be your way of helping yourself internally of dealing with everything.

As for the wreck, as an MSF Instructor all I can say is practice on the S.E.E.
S = Search
E = Evaluate
E = Execute

I try to think of things coming into my lane all of the time, and what I would do in the sequence as noted above. By thinking of the situations all the time in my head, i train my thoughts to be in that order and fast. Just because someone ahead of me slams on the brakes, I am not going to do the same, but rather look at what is going on and the deceleration rate before i apply my own brakes.

Once you perform one of those before the other you run a Higher risk of incident. The small amount of distance you had made it super accelerated time to process all of these. I think it is almost best to not instantly react, but rather process first with a slow yet quick reaction. (I know it sounds counter productive)

I have experienced this once with a 70mph accident where the bike suddenly went out from under me on a straight highway. I felt it get squirly, thought what was going on, then knew my hands needed to stay on handlebars, and feet on the pegs for a safe ride during deceleration to prevent a HIGH-SIDE. The bike did go down across 2 lanes of highway, but left me without even a single bruise after the bike hit the guardrail. It worked, but all situations are not perfect.

I am sad to hear of your family situation, and just feel your pleasure you get when you can ride, although it creates friction at home with the Mrs.



Jeff Haar
Issaquah, WA
Yamaha XTZ1200
Super Tenere


Last edited by hoebster; 04-06-2010 at 12:54 PM.
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post #10 of 24 Old 04-06-2010, 01:52 PM
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I am one of those that believes as prepared as one can be , things still happen. It sounds like your family biking adventures have been difficult to say the least. I tend to agree with your wife, and would probably hang it up. Some times uncertainty for whatever reason plays a bigger role and things happen, who knows why.
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