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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I figured it would still be good to post this. It's sort of a reminder/wake up call to me that even when I think I'm being careful and everything seems safe things can popup that could be very dangerous.

On Monday I was riding my 2012 Suzuki VStrom 1000 in the Catskills. I was using a GPS track that I downloaded. I didn't pay much attention to how my GPS was routing it. I was just enjoying the day. It was bright and sunny, no traffic and a perfect day to be riding. I was heading east/north on 214 and unknown to me my GPS had routed me onto this very short 1/4 mile or so branch called Rion Rd. 214 is rolling hills at this point and constant curves so you can't see very far. My GPS was telling me to turn left at the next intersection which I couldn't see very well and I wasn't comfortable coming to a stop on the road. When I saw the intersection I slowed down and turned left. The turn was slightly tighter than I thought and Rion Rd is really one lane so it is much narrower than I thought. As I turned in I realized I had to turn tighter and go slower. There was gravel on the turn in and I locked up my rear tire slightly. Correcting for that was enough to send me on a trajectory that took me off the right edge of Rion road, which is a small drainage ditch. I managed to come to a stop upright and zero damage, but quite displeased with myself that this had happened. I was also glad that my bike and I were unharmed. There are many places that I had already gone that if this had happened the consequences would have been much more severe. Fortunately the mail box and signs that are in the picture are no longer there. It looks like I'm not the only one that has wandered into the ditch there.

Some things that I've learned are:

1. If following a route on a GPS (even if you don't care), pay attention to see if it has routed you off the main road that you are following. A moments confusion is all it takes to put you over the edge.

2. No matter how safe and careful you think you are understand that the slightest thing can put you over the edge.

3. Maybe after 45 years of riding I should consider ABS on my next bike. Time to upgrade my Vee?
 

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I believe the GPS is capable of sending the user down the wrong path. One can always overshoot a turn and make a U turn and come back.
I like a paper map back up when I'm going places I've not familiar with.
 

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4th of July weekend in PA my trusty Garmin took us up a dirt road to the top of Mt Davis, highest point in the state. Wouldn't have been bad on the VStrom, but we were 2 up on the Goldwing that day. :jawdrop:

Next time I will check the paper map too. :mrgreen:
 

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I've heard a lot of horror stories from the Michigan Upper Peninsula where riders were following a rugged abandoned logging road only to come upon someone in a minivan stuck in a sand pit. The gps led them down a road that should only be attempted in an off road capable 4x4, or a strom.
 

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hand written directions from paper maps rule-for me. i like to see/study the route and have a picture of it in my head. gps units have there place (i guess) but its leads us the wrong direction or a more complicated way, several times where i pretty much hate them.
 

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I'm glad you came out of this all right!

I don't know that this is what you are suggesting but I don't see how your near-crash can be even remotely blamed of the gps.

I use a gps every single day and do both little hops, commutes, and plan multi-day rides using the gps. I have done my share of bad roads as a results of blindly following the gps. Ultimately It is just a moving map that gives suggestions as to how to go. You never HAVE to follow the route it suggests and it is always our fault if we follow its suggestions when there is something wrong with doing so.

I would say that the moral of the story is that we have to always be alert to road conditions and ride accordingly.

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm glad you came out of this all right!

I don't know that this is what you are suggesting but I don't see how your near-crash can be even remotely blamed of the gps.

I use a gps every single day and do both little hops, commutes, and plan multi-day rides using the gps. I have done my share of bad roads as a results of blindly following the gps. Ultimately It is just a moving map that gives suggestions as to how to go. You never HAVE to follow the route it suggests and it is always our fault if we follow its suggestions when there is something wrong with doing so.

I would say that the moral of the story is that we have to always be alert to road conditions and ride accordingly.

..Tom
I'm not blaming the GPS. I thought I was clear in my first post what I'm suggesting. It boils down to the fact that even if you are being alert and think you are being safe and leaving margins, little things can build up to put you over the edge.

In the future I will not blindly follow an unfamiliar route on a GPS. I will be familiar with what roads I should be on. If I am confused I will stop on the side of the road in a safe place or in a parking lot and figure it out, rather than ponder in the moment.

My incident was at a slow speed, on a slow road, while I thought I was being extremely careful and I still ended up at 101% of my capabilities.

It's just a reminder that you can't be too safe or too careful.
 

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In the future I will not blindly follow an unfamiliar route on a GPS.
I'm no Keith Code or nutin' but I think this is common sense no? With all do respect, you misjudged a turn. We do it all the time. All of us. Usually, its a non-event, sometimes it is serious business. In all cases, it is our fault. Not the GPS, not the road, not the road sign. Following the road you live on "blindly" can be deadly on a bike. GPS or no GPS, you should be treating every turn like theres a pile of gravel on the other side.
 

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using a GPS

I ride all over the US and Canada and rely on my Garmin Zumo 550. Ya sometimes I end up going on an unplanned GPS inspired adventure; but I don't get lost often. Sometimes I know that I do baffle other riders who are following me.
I love and do use paper maps and GoogleEarth to plan routes ( just go anyplace where GoogleEarth has lots of posted pictures because it's a neat place).
But I think the real feature of a GPS, one that gives directions to helmet speakers, is that it is a safer way to ride. I don't worry about missing turns or being in the wrong lane and my passenger, also with speakers, knows what turns are coming.
Not having to be concerned about navigating I can pay more attention to riding safely. I do believe that a good GPS, designed for use on a motorcycle, is an underrated safety device and worth the expense.
In Canada, checkout gpscentral.ca to compare units and prices.
 

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I use a GPS to tell me where I AM. Not where I am going...no problems.... any distraction while riding can cause what happened to you .
 

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Ha! I was riding with another guy and we were looking for a river ford - North Fork of the Malheur in Oregon. I came to an intersection and there was a little sign with an arrow pointing left that said "Malheur River." I waited, and the other guy went right past me, squinting at his GPS, down the wrong road... I'm not sure he even saw me sitting there.

I think people get distracted looking at their GPS...
 
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