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Discussion Starter #1
I was in the left turn lane behind a large panel van waiting for the left-turn-green to turn on to the freeway.

The light turned green and we both proceeded into the intersection.

An 18 year old kid in a Honda runs the red light in the oncoming direction, and the van stops just in time.

I don't.

The bike skids on the slippery concrete that they pave the roads here in SoCal with, and I crash into the rear door van in a combination of skid and low-side fall. I would estimate my speed at time of impact at under 15 mph.

The front of the fairing (the beak underneath the headlights) and the fender are cracked. The impact on the front of the fairing popped all the seams around the fairing so that nothing is flush or fits like it used to anymore. I have a broken turn signal and broken clutch lever.

I got right up after the fall, feeling no pain. I didn't hit the van any harder than I used to get hit in football practice -- I don't recall if my helmet made contact with the van or not, but I remember everything else about the crash, so I assume it was just my arms that hit the van.

Of course now that the adrenaline has worn off, I'm feeling little aches and pains everywhere.

The van chased down the guy who ran the red light, so I have the kid's insurance information.

After all information was exchanged I hopped back on the bike and rode it the rest of the way to work.

Later, at Starbucks, I ran into a cop and asked him for his take. Had we not gotten the kid's info, he says, I would have been at fault. However, the kid is at fault and since we have his info, we can pin it on him.

How do I ensure that the insurance appraiser doesn't overlook anything mechanically wrong with the bike? Could I have bent my forks or front rim without realizing it? What squidlike behavior on my part might have contributed to this accident?
 

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Glad to hear you are OK and the bike is not too bad off either. As far as hidden damage to the bike - inspect it carefully - maybe have some friends help. I suppose you could take it to a shop, but I am not so sure I trust their judgement in general.

As far as "squidlike behaviour" - my advice is to always look to see if the oncoming (for left turns) or cross traffic ( for going straight) has seen the red light and has stopped. I have seen and testified (for the "victims) for numerous accidents where people don't stop right after the light has changed. This is a very common event. The light goes red and people don't stop. You have to expect this at all times. I have had to stop and wait for "light runners" to shoot thru the intersection several times - otherwise I would not be here to write this message. Once, a "runner" waved at me - he didn't give a hoot that he was running the light and could have killed somebody (me and my wife)!

The complication in your situation was that the truck was in front of you - makes it hard to take in the scene and do the right thing.
 

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Glad to hear it wasn't worse. Good luck with recouping damages.
 

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First of all, thanks for posting your accident here. As has been discussed in other threads, we all learn from the discussion that grows out of these 'events'. I would also say to brace yourself as well and try to not get discouraged over any criticism that inevitably will come your way. In fact here comes one now, but please take it it the spirit of constructive criticism...

Nearly any time you hit another vehicle from behind, you have done something wrong. Wether pulling away from a light/stop sign, or just following another vehicle down the highway you need to leave room for yourself to stop in case the vehicle in front makes a sudden stop for any reason even if it is to avoid a car running a red. The need to let the intersection clear seems even more important when the vehicle in front of you is large enough to totally block anyone elses view of traffic behind it. It may be uncomfortable to sit for a moment with traffic waiting to roll behind you, you may even get a honk from an impatient driver but the idea is to make it through the intersection alive, or at least without breaking any plastic.
I would be surprised (unless California has some different laws than my home state) if you are not at legally at fault at least for a portion of your loss if not all of it.
To me, hitting a vehicle from behind is breaking the 'basic rule'. IMHO
Hope your repairs and recovery go smoothly.
Ride safe.

Ok fellow Troopers, be gentle. ;)
 

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Gentle? Of course I'll be gentle.

Zac79,

Okay, now you know the concrete is slippery and your vision is of the roadway is hampered by the large van in front of you. However it sounds like you might also have been in a rush to make the left hand turn onto the freeway. Instead of keeping a 2 second following distance between you and the van, you were probably right on his rear bumper.

While a motorcycle can normally stop quicker that any 2 track vehicle (car, truck, SUV) there can be some things that the 2 track vehicle does not have to worry about - balance is one that immediately comes to mind.

That 2 second following distance becomes very apparent when you are encountering an anomoly called "Leaping Potholes". This happens when you are following too closely to the vehicle in front of you. It seems that the potholes literally leap out from under the rear of the vehicle in front of you. If you are not prepared, you might easily bend a wheel - which is quite costly.

Give yourself the time to ride safely - keep a 2 second distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Since you referred to football practice, I am going to assume you are quite young. Trust me, it's hard to be patient, but the rewards are well worth the effort!

Ride safe and enjoy that V-Strom!
 

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Zac79,

zac79 said:
What squidlike behavior on my part might have contributed to this accident?
I think it's a great sign that you're even asking this question in the first place, obviously wanting to learn. Enough's already been said about what you might have personally contributed to the accident, so I won't go there. Just know that we have all, every one of us on this board, done exactly what you did, at one point or another, even if it didn't result in a crash.

Thanks for your post; it's a great reminder to all of us to be better drivers out there; to remember the fundamentals and not be in a rush.
 

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First and foremost is that you're OK. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say and I'm sure you've beat yourself up far worse than the accident did with "What if." The point is, there is not one of us that has been in an accident that looking back can't think of at least one thing we could have done to lessen or avoid it completely. Squidlike behavior is when you come away from something like this and DON'T ask yourself or others. Kudos to you for posting this. You're a better rider already.
 

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See what I mean? In hindsight, I should have read Scubadvr's comment before posting damn near the same thing! LOL.
 

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Sorry...

I was in the left turn lane behind a large panel van waiting for the left-turn-green to turn on to the freeway.

The light turned green and we both proceeded into the intersection.

An 18 year old kid in a Honda runs the red light in the oncoming direction, and the van stops just in time.

I don't.

The bike skids on the slippery concrete that they pave the roads here in SoCal with, and I crash into the rear door van in a combination of skid and low-side fall. I would estimate my speed at time of impact at under 15 mph.

The front of the fairing (the beak underneath the headlights) and the fender are cracked. The impact on the front of the fairing popped all the seams around the fairing so that nothing is flush or fits like it used to anymore. I have a broken turn signal and broken clutch lever.

I got right up after the fall, feeling no pain. I didn't hit the van any harder than I used to get hit in football practice -- I don't recall if my helmet made contact with the van or not, but I remember everything else about the crash, so I assume it was just my arms that hit the van.

Of course now that the adrenaline has worn off, I'm feeling little aches and pains everywhere.

The van chased down the guy who ran the red light, so I have the kid's insurance information.

After all information was exchanged I hopped back on the bike and rode it the rest of the way to work.

Later, at Starbucks, I ran into a cop and asked him for his take. Had we not gotten the kid's info, he says, I would have been at fault. However, the kid is at fault and since we have his info, we can pin it on him.

How do I ensure that the insurance appraiser doesn't overlook anything mechanically wrong with the bike? Could I have bent my forks or front rim without realizing it? What squidlike behavior on my part might have contributed to this accident?
But I'm fairly certain the cop gave you some bad info- no way is the kid at fault for your hitting the back of another vehicle. Sorry- but this one's on you. I did it before so I'm not casting stones or trying to be a jerk, but years ago returning from Bike Week I hit the back of a tractor trailer on the interstate when he locked it up for no apparent reason other than to attempt to cause me to do just what I did. At first I was pissed and blamed him, but after awhile I was able to see it was my fault for following too closely. I was also ticketed for just that.
 

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I agree with all the posts to date. I to did what you did in a rusted out Grand Am about 10 years ago. I was late to my wifes ultra sound with the second kid, was tail gating an older Ford LTD. She stopped at a merge location. Not even a yield sign for her. I bumped her and broke a plastic license plat bracket on the the Grand Am, only scratches to the LTD.

I got a call from an attorney the next day. The LTD rear end was suddenly very crumpled and smashed. My insurance carrier settled for $10,000. I was very surprised by the damage in the photos of the other car. It appeared that they found a truck dock and backed into it at full speed.

I still find myself occasionally driving to aggressively.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Now that some of the anger, shock and adrenaline has worn off, I can certainly see what I did wrong.

When you're in a lane with a dedicated light, ie a left turn lane with a left turn light, its all too easy to just imagine that you're in a tunnel going where you want to go and be oblivioius to potential threats from outside the tunnel.

So ... lesson learned, I will try to get some money from the kids insurer to buy some new plastic, but I taped up the broken stuff today and may just ride it around like that for a while in case I drop it again.

I think the doorlatch on the van is busted up, I wonder if I'm gonna get stuck with the bill to fix that.

EDIT:

1) Just to confirm what I think, it would have taken way more than a 10mph impact to damage the gigantic bearing in the center of the triple clamp, correct? (My plastic is cracked and warped, but the crash didn't even crack the headlight lenses, so I can't imagine how the bearing could have been damaged.)

2) If my forks were bent, I would know right? (As far as I can tell, the bike rides just like it did before the crash)
 

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I agree with all the posts to date. I to did what you did in a rusted out Grand Am about 10 years ago. I was late to my wifes ultra sound with the second kid, was tail gating an older Ford LTD. She stopped at a merge location. Not even a yield sign for her. I bumped her and broke a plastic license plat bracket on the the Grand Am, only scratches to the LTD.

I got a call from an attorney the next day. The LTD rear end was suddenly very crumpled and smashed. My insurance carrier settled for $10,000. I was very surprised by the damage in the photos of the other car. It appeared that they found a truck dock and backed into it at full speed.

I still find myself occasionally driving to aggressively.
Man, I think I'd have had to ask a judge to determine how a Grand Am could damage an LTD like that and only break a license plate frame.
 

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Don't want to Hijack his thread, but I had no choice, my insurer just settled. (Period, no explanation).
 

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Every intersection, NO MATTER WHAT, I always look to make sure nobody is going. Just because YOU know YOU have a green light, does NOT mean everyone else does.

When I was 19 and just had gotten my license, I blew a red light on accedent late one night when driving home. A car almost hit me. Fortunatly, he checked the interestion, and saw a big Ford LTD hurtling twards it, and stopped. His alertness saved both of us. Now, thats my job, and its saved my ass many many times. My wife has been hit twice in an intersection because she never looks. She asumes that since she has the green light, its all OK.

My MSF instructor told the class that there is no un-preventable accedent. Its true. If your aware of your situation, it would be very hard to get into an accedent.

Sorry to hear you dinged up your bike, but never let your guard down, even if you have the green. Cagers strike when you least expect it!

P.S. I have also tapped someone in the back like you did, but in my cage. Rainy day in So-Cal, and I was doing a left hand turn in my 88 Jeep Wranger fallowing a Japanese sports car. We both had a left hand turn arrow, but suddenly I hear a fire truck to my right. The Jap-crap slams on his brakes, his ABS kicks in, and I hydroplane into his back bumper. Its all the firetrucks fault! Plus, whoever invented ABS! I also blame god for putting so much water on the road. I blame everyone but me for fallowing too close. Luckly there was little damage, and the guy I hit was very nice. No insurance claim. It would of gone badly for me, since to the letter of the law, I was at fault. Later I got a speeding ticket and went though Traffic School. The instructor said something very interesting. "Its impossible to prove it was someone elses fault in a court of law if you rear-end someone!" If you think about it, its true. You should always have enough space between you and the car your following to safely stop. Ya, it never happens in California, but the courts dont care.
 

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I was in the left turn lane behind a large panel van waiting for the left-turn-green to turn on to the freeway.

The light turned green and we both proceeded into the intersection.

An 18 year old kid in a Honda runs the red light in the oncoming direction, and the van stops just in time.

I don't.

The bike skids on the slippery concrete that they pave the roads here in SoCal with, and I crash into the rear door van in a combination of skid and low-side fall. I would estimate my speed at time of impact at under 15 mph.

The front of the fairing (the beak underneath the headlights) and the fender are cracked. The impact on the front of the fairing popped all the seams around the fairing so that nothing is flush or fits like it used to anymore. I have a broken turn signal and broken clutch lever.

I got right up after the fall, feeling no pain. I didn't hit the van any harder than I used to get hit in football practice -- I don't recall if my helmet made contact with the van or not, but I remember everything else about the crash, so I assume it was just my arms that hit the van.

Of course now that the adrenaline has worn off, I'm feeling little aches and pains everywhere.

The van chased down the guy who ran the red light, so I have the kid's insurance information.

After all information was exchanged I hopped back on the bike and rode it the rest of the way to work.

Later, at Starbucks, I ran into a cop and asked him for his take. Had we not gotten the kid's info, he says, I would have been at fault. However, the kid is at fault and since we have his info, we can pin it on him.

How do I ensure that the insurance appraiser doesn't overlook anything mechanically wrong with the bike? Could I have bent my forks or front rim without realizing it? What squidlike behavior on my part might have contributed to this accident?

Guys,

Like some others here, I have a ton of grey hair and years of riding/racing experience and one thing that came back automatically when I bought my bike is the sense of being completely invisible to anyone! No, this wasn't much of a case of where the guy didn't see you as it seems like he was intent on running that light and thank God you didn't end up being a bad stastistic....but don't trust anyone, even if they make direct eye contact with you...remember their brains are wired to see cars and not us!

I've never had a two vehicle accident.....but have gone down on the road and track and my reaction was always the same....screw the bike, how is my body? Again, yes, you feel like you've been hit by a truck but you aren't REALLY hurt. A guy in my SLK forum is a VP with one of the racing distributers out west and he gave up riding last year when he was struck by a car....and REALLY hurt....he's lucky that he walks today. I keep him and others in mind whenever I ride...just to help me stay safe.

Jeff
 

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These days, I assume that someone is going to run any red light i'm at. Always look every which way before proceeding through an intersection.
 
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