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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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Glad to hear your OK. ATGATT+1 :yesnod: 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, :jawdrop: How does your Son feel about you riding, if I may ask?
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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!:yikes:

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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.

Sincerely,

Jeff
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
Well. . . my wife rocks!!! We talked things through and agree that you can't stop living because of what "might" happen. Don't get me wrong, I realize (as we all do) that riding a motorcycle has increased risk. I do all I can (ATGATT, practice, defensive driving, etc.) to minimize that risk and then just trust God with the rest.

That being said, I still would like input on drills, techniques, or skills that would help me keep from locking up the front brake in a true panic stop. I would love to trade up to a ABS wee, but I don't think funds will permit me to do that just yet. . .

Thanks for your collective wisdom!
 

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Well. . . my wife rocks!!! We talked things through and agree that you can't stop living because of what "might" happen. Don't get me wrong, I realize (as we all do) that riding a motorcycle has increased risk. I do all I can (ATGATT, practice, defensive driving, etc.) to minimize that risk and then just trust God with the rest.

That being said, I still would like input on drills, techniques, or skills that would help me keep from locking up the front brake in a true panic stop. I would love to trade up to a ABS wee, but I don't think funds will permit me to do that just yet. . .

Thanks for your collective wisdom!
I'm glad your wife is so understanding. Before I read you last post I was prepared to suggest that you could replace your bike with an ABS-equipped one to mollify her. Actually, you still could.

A couple weeks ago I was two bikes behind a rider who grabbed too much front brake at a considerably higher speed. It wasn't pretty watching the rider and bike tumble down the road. ABS would almost certainly have prevented it.

Congratulations to you and your wife for having such a good relationship. Best wishes for your whole family, especially Josh.
 

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Well. . . my wife rocks!!! We talked things through and agree that you can't stop living because of what "might" happen.

That being said, I still would like input on drills, techniques, or skills that would help me keep from locking up the front brake in a true panic stop. I would love to trade up to a ABS wee, but I don't think funds will permit me to do that just yet. . .

Thanks for your collective wisdom!
Nicely put. All I had to do to 'sell' ABS to the better half was to show her this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zv3Sacl7JQ
 

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Hi,
Sorry about your spill.

Let me recap this in order to analyze it (motorcycle collision factors are my thesis subject):
- A dog ran across the street in front of you.
- You panicked and went hard for the brakes, and locked the front.
- You did not release in time and went down.

Yup, this is exactly the reason why ABS should be a mandatory safety feature on all motorcycles.

Ironically, just like in almost every other such crash scenario, had you been looking elsewhere, you would not have seen the dog, not reacted, and not hit the dog or the pavement.

I used to have a bike with really grabby front brakes, and knew that eventually I'd lock the front long enough to drop the bike (major reason why I got the wee instead of the Vee)

My philosophy/advice on braking is the following:

- In an emergency, one must take the time time to find an alternative to braking and decide whether it's better than braking or not (like maybe swerving).
- If there is no time to find an alternate solution to the problem, then it is already too late to brake.

That last statement comes from the study of thousands of car collisions. In all but two of the cases I looked at where the vehicle operator was conscious and not impaired, they were braking at the time of impact.
97% of these collisions had a better solution than braking (sometimes as simple as honking).
72% of these collisions had two or more solutions other than braking
2% of these collisions had "do absolutely nothing" as their best solution
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sounds like you are WAY more informed than me, so I will take your word for it. Still, I was looking, I did react on instinct, and despite my practice on staged braking . . . I was on the ground before I knew what happened. So how do you train yourself to take the time to evaluate vs. the survival instinct to grab the brakes?

Seems like this might finally be a useful way to use those crazy video game machines. . . sort of a cycle-simulator like they use for pilots.
 

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Hi,
97% of these collisions had a better solution than braking (sometimes as simple as honking).
72% of these collisions had two or more solutions other than braking
2% of these collisions had "do absolutely nothing" as their best solution
Hard to get my mind around some of these statistics. I would have to see the actual scenarios to see why it would appear you are better off in most situations to not even attempt to brake in an emergency situation, but rather do something else.:confused:

None-the-less, in the BRC, as I recall, two main avoidance strategies are taught - swerving and braking. I would put accelerating in there also as a useful avoidance strategy at times. (If I was a crusty old Harley rider I might put "laying it down" as another.:var_48:) If I'm in a situation where a collision is possible, or even imminent, I want to brake and be going as slow as possible when or if that collision takes place, that's why I think it is never too late to brake. The braking may come too late to avoid the collision, but it may lessen its severity.

Not trying to be confrontational, just curious about all these other "better solutions" and the situations surrounding them.
 

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I've run over dogs with cars, farm tractors and bikes. Some dogs are so stupid they will run right into you (don't get me started on deer). My experience with dogs and advise from experienced riders led me to ABS. I think of it as another layer of ATGATT.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't see your comments as confrontational at all! :thumbup:

Looking back. I think the only options were:

1. Do nothing . . . and I am pretty sure we would have collided. Or to put on the brakes to avoid. Now. . . If I had hit the dog, given the size of a lab, I may or may not have gone down. But at least I "might" have stayed up.

2. Controlled braking. Since I didn't hit the dog with my inefficient "lock-up" I would have most likely missed the dog and stayed upright with effective braking technique.

I have determined (at least in my own twisted little brain) that swerving would have been risky. I was riding in the left side of the left lane with a concrete island/curb next to me, so a left swerve would have thrown me into a curb, and possibly oncoming traffic. :jawdrop: A right swerve would have put me into the path of a car on my right side and still may have caused a collision with the dog as he was running in that direction. But then again, I probably didn't swerve because as a car driver, we are pounded into the "don't swerve to miss a deer" mindset here in the northwoods. At least with cars, high speed swerve to miss the animal maneuvers generally cause more accidents than they avoid. It is hard to accurately swerve to account for an object moving perpendicular to your own trajectory.

But honestly, it feels like ABS would have been my best friend. It all happened so quickly that my responses were all reactions, rather than thought out process. I wish there was a safe way to be thrown into panic situations so that I could learn a different response. . . I do great panic stops when I am practicing :thumbup: It is just that my training failed me when it was real panic as opposed to simulated panic.
 

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Sorry about your crash, I had the same type accident just a few weeks ago except wasn't quite as Lucky in the injury department. Got a broken wrist that required a plate and six pins, bruised ribs, sprains etc... Bike was totaled.

Been riding for over 25 years, this is my first wreck ever!:furious: I was riding my bike minding my own business when out of nowhere a car jumped some lane dividers swerved right into my lane. I had about 1/2 a second to react, I swerved just enough to just clip his back left side.

In my case I didn't panic brake per se but I do remember my back tire locking up for that fraction of a second before I hit. I think if I had ABS it may have slowed me maybe just enough to maybe not have clipped him, but you can always look back and second guess a million things you could have done different.

You have thr right train of thought though, try and learn what you can from your wreck, ABS would be your friend, practice practice practice!
 

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Hard to get my mind around some of these statistics. I would have to see the actual scenarios to see why it would appear you are better off in most situations to not even attempt to brake in an emergency situation, but rather do something else.:confused:
Here's the most spectacular example:
42 car pileup: driver # 6 changed lanes to avoid the impact and ended up calling it in (the left lane was free during the entire event); the 35 drivers behind him had the same option (change lanes) open to them, but apparently only driver 43 thought of it. Everyone else went for the brakes and/or swerved right. That paticular crash killed 8 people.

The problem is that we are taught wrong, we are told "speed kills" which is false. The truth is that it is "the sudden stop of your brain against the inside of your skull" which kills.

We also have instincts going against us: we know 100 km/h is way faster than we can comprehend; we're not used to looking far ahead enough to compensate for the speed (we evolved looking ahead at walking speed).

The normal reaction when combining instinct and the "speed kills" brainwashing is to reduce speed instead of wondering whether avoiding the impact altogether is possible.

The third factor that plays into this is target fixation: we're very good at predicting the point of impact and (for evolutionary reasons) tend to keep our central vision fixated on that point. I bet that if you observed yourself braking, you'll find yourself looking down even though every advanced driving/riding course will teach you to keep looing up/far and to use your peripheral vision for obstacle detection.


I have determined (at least in my own twisted little brain) that swerving would have been risky. I was riding in the left side of the left lane with a concrete island/curb next to me, so a left swerve would have thrown me into a curb, and possibly oncoming traffic. :jawdrop: A right swerve would have put me into the path of a car on my right side and still may have caused a collision with the dog as he was running in that direction. [...]

But honestly, it feels like ABS would have been my best friend.
Yes, ABS would have been your best friend, like I said, it should be mandatory on all bikes, and I'm a hardcore anti-abs sort of guy on cars (I race), but cars don't fall down.

I have a comment to make about your lane position, and I hope you'll adopt my advice:
- generally, when in the right lane, ride in the left portion of your lane
- generally, when in the left lane, ride in the right portion of your lane

This offers you five advantages:
- You get the best vision (from close to the dotted line, you can see farthest in both lanes).
- You are most visible to traffic in both lanes.
- You are more easily detectable by oncoming traffic that may turn left across your path.
- You prevent people from passing you in your lane.
- in case of a collision ahead of you, you have a choice of escape routes.


You are right that swerving right would have probably hit the dog; when avoiding an object moving across your path, always swerve to where it came from, never to where it is going (another instinct we have to fight).

However, had you been in the right portion of the left lane (as per my advice above, which they should have taught in motorcycle school), you might have had room to swerve left and avoid the dog.

You wish there was a safe environment where you can learn this, and there is: it's called a driving simulator. There are a few good ones for cars, and as far as I know, Honda has a decent one. The problem is they are expensive.

The problem with driving/riding schools is not so much that they are too cheap to provide adequate training, but (and I'm about to get really cynical here) that they (the basic ones at least) only exist so that you, the rider, may be deemed educated and therefore responsible for your actions (from a legal perspective, and this might be only true of north-america).

Some of you may wish to tear into me for that statement, but if Harry Hurt were still here, he could tell you a bundle about it, and he was even more cynical than me in his old age.

Cynicism is the only realistic attitude when you've devoted your life to improving traffic safety. You start to wonder why nothing ever changes, and if you dig deep enough for the answer, you end up seeing the ugly truth. Somehow, we keep trudging on...

Interesting topic. I apologize for the hijack.
 
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