StromTrooper banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well for the first time I went down on pavement while moving, barely. Just a skinned knee and sprained big toe (must of got caught and twisted under the bike) and a little rash on the crash bar.

I was entering a parking lot from the street (too fast, I know) while turning when a car started backing out. I hit the brakes (not hard) and went down on the low side. I was barely moving went I landed. The tires never skidded (I don't think).

So what happened? I was leaning into the turn into the parking lot when I hit the brakes. I am guessing that my speed quickly dropped to the point that the centrifugal force couldn't balance my lean, my body and steering couldn't adjust quick enough and I went down.

Any other thoughts?

There probably was enough time and space to straighten out before braking, but that would have to happen by automatic reflex and I didn't have that skill.

David
 

·
FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
Joined
·
38,103 Posts
That's what happened. With more practice, you'd let the braking action assist in getting the bike to vertical. If the bike is leaning more than a few degrees without sufficient forward turning motion to compensate, it's going down.
 

·
FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
Joined
·
38,103 Posts
Could you elaborate on this?
An object moving in a circle has to have a force applied to keep it there. Inertia wants a moving mass to go in a straight line. Leaning a bike uses gravity to provide the counteracting force toward the center. Applying the brakes adds another force at the tire contact patches, as low as a force can get. It makes the bike want to high side unless a steering correction is added. Trip a person's ankles running in a circle and they'll fall head first outside the circle.

Hard braking a turning motorcycle levers it up and out. The process is to brake enough to stand it upright and straighten its line, then get on the brakes hard. Do it wrong and the tires will either lose traction, slip out and low side or grab and high side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,442 Posts
I hit the brakes (not hard) and went down on the low side.
Mainly front brake? This makes things worse when going slowly. In a current thread about very slow speed turns, several posters made the point of using only rear brake and avoiding the front brake at these speeds.

What GW said is right on the mark, and the actions must be very subtle. There are some spots where there is just no room to do things right. More often, there may be room to do things just right, and no room to do things almost right. Wear all your protective gear all the time.
 

·
FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
Joined
·
38,103 Posts
I should have added this case was a low speed one, unlike hard braking in a turn as I described in reply #4. The original situation was probably a case of not getting the bike vertical in time. Braking and steering to get the bike upright first was needed. Practice braking carefully in turns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
I was entering a parking lot from the street (too fast, I know) while turning when a car started backing out. I hit the brakes (not hard) and went down on the low side. I was barely moving went I landed. The tires never skidded (I don't think).

Any other thoughts?

There probably was enough time and space to straighten out before braking, but that would have to happen by automatic reflex and I didn't have that skill.
David
Thanks for posting that djmarchand.
I do not know your level of skill, but I am not a track-day polished master of roadcraft. I therefore have no choice but to use preemptive measures to make it appear as if I can truly handle the bike.
My outlook on this incident is NOT that one should have been more masterful of the geometry of the bike at that particular moment in time, It is that one should have seen the possibility of such a scenario coming.
And yes, I do understand that coming in extremely slow would have prevented the fall but then again, it may have caused you to get rear-ended by street traffic, (a much worse situation).

There was probably a fine line of safety that would have prevented the drop:
Approach fast enough to not create an obstruction to street traffic, yet slow enough to avoid the unexpected backing car situation. A fine line indeed.
On a positive note; since fate is rather hard to predict, you may have actually gotten the better end of the deal by dropping the bike in the lot and NOT pausing out in the street.

Reading posts like yours helps me to keep thinking out-loud as I ride.
Thank you for posting your story. It helps.

Hope you and the bike are back to 100% very soon.
Regards,
-Ej-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
After several close tipover calls, I constantly remind myself that bikes are not as flickable/maneuverable at parking lot speeds. I find this mental kick is most needed after riding at speed for a while and feeling "in the groove."

Glad you made it through relatively unscathed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
The slower you are going when front braking with the front wheel turned the greater the force towards the low side. I think every honest rider will admit to dropping a bike this way.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,199 Posts
Well for the first time I went down on pavement while moving, barely. Just a skinned knee and sprained big toe (must of got caught and twisted under the bike) and a little rash on the crash bar.

I was entering a parking lot from the street (too fast, I know) while turning when a car started backing out. I hit the brakes (not hard) and went down on the low side. I was barely moving went I landed. The tires never skidded (I don't think).

So what happened? I was leaning into the turn into the parking lot when I hit the brakes. I am guessing that my speed quickly dropped to the point that the centrifugal force couldn't balance my lean, my body and steering couldn't adjust quick enough and I went down.

Any other thoughts?

There probably was enough time and space to straighten out before braking, but that would have to happen by automatic reflex and I didn't have that skill.

David
This is usually referred to as "tucking the front end." Racers tuck the front in other even more exciting ways, but the you got the low speed version.

At parking lot speeds you are using a lot more bar input than countersteering. If the bars are cranked ot one side and you apply the brakes hard enough (which isn't very hard, as you've learned!) the front tire will skid and apply torque to the bars. The result is that the bars twist even further, the front tire skids out even more luridly, and the bike lowsides. Quickly - quickly enough for you to think "Did that just happen?"

This often shoots you straight onto the ground. Hurts like hell. DDT.

Try it in a parking lot and you'll feel the bars pull.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
I think it should be mentioned that sometimes we find ourselves in situations where--due to proximity--there aren't many good options.

I was absolutely sure of my ability to stop my bike quickly until I faced a Camry crossing my path at 90 degrees from behind pickup trucks. At a range of 20 feet. With a fair amount of gravel in the parking lot.

I remember thinking "Gravel!! No front brakes!" (This in hyperspeed mentally):yesnod:

BANG!!

In hindsight I should not have even been traveling at the 15 mph that I was. From the moment I entered that lot I was pretty well screwed. I had a major blind spot about the dangers of parking lots. I am now paranoid in parking lots.

Learn from it and ride!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
I think it should be mentioned that sometimes we find ourselves in situations where--due to proximity--there aren't many good options.

I was absolutely sure of my ability to stop my bike quickly until I faced a Camry crossing my path at 90 degrees from behind pickup trucks. At a range of 20 feet. With a fair amount of gravel in the parking lot.

I remember thinking "Gravel!! No front brakes!" (This in hyperspeed mentally)
BANG!!

In hindsight I should not have even been traveling at the 15 mph that I was. From the moment I entered that lot I was pretty well screwed. I had a major blind spot about the dangers of parking lots. I am now paranoid in parking lots.
Learn from it and ride!
Yeah but what exactly happened?
Did you (or did you not) grab the front brake?
What do you feel was the prime (physical) reason the bike kissed the turf?
Just wondering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
The reason the bike went down is simple--rider error. I was concentrating on where I expected to be in 10 seconds and did not take into account that a car could be moving directly across my path from a blind spot (behind the pickup trucks) that I would encounter in, I would guess, 2 seconds. I did not low side--I made a direct hit into the driver's side door and ended up on the ground with my right leg under the bike.

I did not brake (I do ride with my hand on the brake lever). The thought of gravel caused me to hesitate because I did not want to lock up the front wheel and wipe out. Rear brake might have worked but, again, no time. You can work this out in hindsight but when in real time I had no time.

It's simple, too fast (15 mph!!) for where I was.

The creepy thing is that if I had been going just a bit faster the Camry would have t-boned me instead of vice versa. That outcome could easily have been fatal.

Beware parking lots!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
I'm thinking both of these incidents are due to the rider not being familair with how to handle a bike at the limits of traction - in the OP's case on pavement and in aggripa's case on gravel. I have always recommended that learning to ride on a dirt bike is best. Learn what happens when you loose traction on a small bike in the dirt...

A panic stop, whether in a turn or in a straight line, would always involve both brakes. The trick is to modulate braking pressure front and rear simultaneously to not loose traction much. When riding on dirt you lean to do just that, modulate braking pressure.

Coming from a dirt background, I've been commuting some lately, and it scares the pants off me to go through a parking lot. I creep and assume there is a turbocharged Honda Civic racing out from behind every object. Maybe after I get more experience on the street I will go faster in parking lots and at interstections.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
I've ridden in dirt also and have been in situations where cagers have pulled out in front of me--one time to the point that I had to leave the pavement and take to the dirt shoulder (on my '06 Connie). In that occcasion I used the rear brake to keep control until I could ge back on the road. That particular incident happened at 45-50 mph. Using the rear brake only worked like a charm that time.

I repeat--no time to react in this situation. The only thing that would have prevented the crash was slower speed on my part or being able to see the other vehicle sooner than I did.

Parking lots give me the creeps!!
 

·
FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
Joined
·
38,103 Posts
Some front brake can help in such situations but it's so easy to lock it up. It's one place ABS is nice in the dirt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
It's simple, too fast (15 mph!!) for where I was.

The creepy thing is that if I had been going just a bit faster the Camry would have t-boned me instead of vice versa.
That outcome could easily have been fatal.
Beware parking lots!!
Now I got the picture agrippa1 .
When a situation is thrown in your face at ground-zero like that, it becomes all too obvious that the proper evasive action should have been proactive, not reactive.
Thanks for the detail,
-Ej-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
My pleaure, sort of.:yikes: It is always easy to second guess until you are in the moment.

I have always been an advocate of practicing hard braking. I had the hubris of thinking that I'd prepared myself well for hard stops on the road. Parking lots weren't in my thinking.

The value of forums like this lies in the accumulated and hard earned wisdom of people who have been riding for multiple years and many thousands of miles on motorcycles. I think we tend to misjudge the difference between motorcycle miles and cager miles. Cars have built in advantages (size and visibility) that we do not have. You can drive a cage and listen to music and use your cell phone and survive. That lack of attention will kill you on a bike.

They say that the first ten missions are critical in a fighter pilot's survival--hence Top Gun and Red Flag. I believe that a rider who accumulates 20,000 plus miles on a bike has the same advantage over the many riders who put less than 5000 miles on a bike before selling it. My 'Strom, bought in 2010, was a K6 with 3500 miles on it. The previous owner, unless he was riding another bike more(almost unthinkable), barely spent enough time in the saddle to break it in.

I hope that newer riders will be able to learn the lesson that escaped me since 1974. Parking lots are extremely dangerous places to ride. Period.

Here endeth the lesson. (I love that line from the Untouchables!:mrgreen:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
My pleaure, sort of.:yikes:
It is always easy to second guess until you are in the moment.
Studying the details of other people's bike mishaps (accidents) fascinates me. It's not about some guy pushing the limits of traction while navigating a high speed curve in the twistys, no, its more about busy intersections, parking lots, suburban rush hour traffic, etc...
I could write pages on what wisdom works for me but I'll spare you :mrgreen:

To keep this short I will say that I agree with your comments & statements on this issue 100%. That was a good post and a great follow-up.

I'll be thinking of you the next time I roll into a parking lot too fast and say to myself "easy does it in here!".
Thanks,
-Ej-
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top