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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's a news article about a local crash:
A man was hospitalized Wednesday afternoon after he was thrown from his motorcycle.

He was on a red 2013 Harley Davidson when he drifted onto loose gravel along the side of the road, the State Patrol said.

He lost control, and the motorcycle slid about 5 feet into a guard rail.

Bramer, who was thrown about 2 feet from the bike, was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

He was wearing a helmet, said the State Patrol, which listed the cause of the wreck as Bramer driving too fast for conditions.


"Drifted into loose gravel"--does that mean he wasn't watching where he was going? Or "target fixated," saw the gravel, and ended up aiming for it? Or didn't know how to make his bike turn, or was afraid to make it turn?

"Lost control"--does that mean he stomped the rear brake ('cuz every Harley rider knows that the front brake is dangerous) and skidded? Or the gravel was too deep, he tried to steer out, and the too-sharp steer dumped him? Or once in the gravel he had no chance?

"Thrown from the bike"--we don't know if he low-sided, slid into the rail, the bike stopped, and he didn't, or if it high-sided and flipped him off the bike.

"Wearing a helmet"--they write that whether it is a good helmet, or a half-helmet, or one of the plastic salad bowls with a strap some riders wear. Wear all the other protective gear, also.

"Driving too fast for conditions"--more likely driving too fast for his skill level.

So--
--Look ahead for gravel.
--Enter a turn wide, go deep, get the best sight line for your turn exit and to avoid hazards.
--Turn your head and look through the turn, look where you need to go, look at the turn exit.
--Know how to turn your bike sharper (look through the turn and countersteer harder).
--Know how to brake (both brakes on smoothly, ease off the rear as you increase the front, as the weight transfers off the rear and on to the front)
--Know when not to brake (when leaned over in a turn unless you're an expert trail-braker).
--If the rear skids, don't get off the rear brake and cause a high-side dismount.
--If you're in deep or loose stuff, absolutely no abrupt movements or sharp steering.

---What else?
 

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sounds like he didn't think he could make the turn since he went off the road. Either because he was going to fast or didn't feel like he had the skill level to complete the turn.

One thing I got from the MSF course was to actually let off the brakes.. if you think you are coming in hot for a corner and you jump on the brakes... let off the brakes and try and make the turn again often times you are not going nearly as fast as you think you are and can make the turn no problem.

As a new rider I've been in that situation several times and I let off the brake, pucker up and lean and i've always safely completed the turn and increased my confidence level. Last year when I first started I was having trouble with some turns even at the posted limit... I slowly progressed to now where I am typically going 10-15 over the posted limit through the twists and feel in complete control and very safe.
 

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some sort of mental error

There is too little info to tell what happened to precipitate that crash. But it had to be a mental error of some kind. "Drifted off" probably means "went too wide", but could mean "inattention". Here in Washington State, nearly half of motorcycle fatalities are single vehicle accidents, and most of those are at turns.

It would be educational for Mr. Bramer or other unfortunates to share the whole story, most of valuable of which is the failure of thought or foresight that allowed the accident to happen.

My son had a common accident last year. Due to fatigue, when he suddenly felt he was too hot partway through a turn, he decided to go off onto what looked like maybe flat terrain to the outside. To the question, "Why didn't you just lean further?", he said "I don't know. I've been through that turn faster many times before." So, the mistake was riding too fatigued to exercise judgment and not having thought through the "too hot" scenario well enough to have a rehearsed response."
 

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...

One thing I got from the MSF course was to actually let off the brakes.. if you think you are coming in hot for a corner and you jump on the brakes... let off the brakes and try and make the turn again often times you are not going nearly as fast as you think you are and can make the turn no problem.

As a new rider I've been in that situation several times and I let off the brake, pucker up and lean and i've always safely completed the turn and increased my confidence level. Last year when I first started I was having trouble with some turns even at the posted limit... I slowly progressed to now where I am typically going 10-15 over the posted limit through the twists and feel in complete control and very safe.
This is a very good point that needs to be repeated over and over again.

Usually the bike has much more cornering left and we don't realize it. It's one ofthe reasons track experience can be so helpful.. It shows rides that there is much more cornering ability left than we think there is.

..Tom
 

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I don't think this situation is unique to Harley or cruiser riders in general: most of us stiffen up in unfamiliar situations where traction might be less than we are familiar with.

I suspect the rider saw a situation that was not in his experience and he simply froze and did nothing.

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One other thing we don't know is the model of his bike. Some H-D models are made with lean angles as little as 25 degrees...they cannot corner sharply. And then the rider lowers his ride.... Some riders don't ride, they parade their bikes.

Our tires have more traction than we know. On a dry road or a clean wet road the tires have more traction than we can use. We can scrape our boots after we scrape the pegs, and the tires are still there for us, still gripping the road.
 

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They have these 1-1/2 lane wide backroads around here. Two cars meet, they have a choice, stick one wheel into the gravel or have a head-on collision.

I realized that I had the suspension setup on my bike right when I noticed I was hopping on and off the gravel at - er - insane speeds, not even noticing the gravel.

Harleys suck, sorry but ...

Pete
 

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To me it sounds similar to my experience described here:

http://www.stromtrooper.com/riding-proficiency/211441-gps-misdirect-loose-gravel.html#post2503561

Sometimes the difference between nothing happening and you being pitched over the guard rail is hardly anything at all. He could have been completely over his head or he could have had a couple of tiny things build up to the point he was caught out and in an unlucky place to have that happen.

In my case I didn't fall, but that is more a circumstance of where it happened. I do believe it was because of my experience that I didn't fall, but if it had been a guard rail my experience would have been much different.
 

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When I get wonky in the twisties and seem like I'm going too fast, I look ahead further. It changes the whole perspective and I find myself sailing through the turns more smoothly. Then I scrape the pegs and wear out the sides of the tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I look ahead further. It changes the whole perspective and I find myself sailing through the turns more smoothly.
Great point.
 

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I'm always yelling in my head "TRUST YOUR TIRES, TRUST YOUR TIRES" in one of those "panic" turns. I have Pilot Roads. As has been mentioned above if the road is dry and clean and your tires aren't totally squared off then they will usually out perform our riding capabilities.
 

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I think Twist of the Wrist says as much for going into a corner fast... lean more and give it gas... and think a long, "Phuuuuuuuuk," with sphincter factor 10 :green_lol:
 

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From the miniscule amount of real info, I learned you do not care for Harleys, nor their riders either. And seem pretty proud of your riding abilities.....maybe justifiably so.

:confused:
 

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"and think a long, "Phuuuuuuuuk," with sphincter factor 10"

I did just that up in Kennedy Meadows in the Sierras. The surface turned to dirt in a turn and I fixated on where I wanted to go and drifted out of a scary moment. I think I uttered Phuuuuuck for 100 yards!
 

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IT has been almost 20 yrs since I had a bike with the sport turning capabilities of the Vee... my biggest hurdle in comfort has been taking this tall bike over into what feels like the danger zone...and then I see the 3/4" of "chicken strip" on my tires and realize just how far over it can go...although I don't know if my '86 GS750ES would have stayed stuck with the tires of the time. and now that I am not 20 anymore (lol) ... I seem to get the pucker up factor way sooner... :) .... it is all coming back, albeit slowly, I am also 80lbs heavier than back then and I am well aware of that in how the bike rides....hopefully a rear shock upgrade this winter!!
 

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Saw something like that a couple days ago

Saw that I was out of onions when I started grilling the other day and made a run to the Country Store. A burger's not a burger without onions. We live in the mountains and as I was rounding a corner something caught my eye along side the road. It looked like an elk had been hit and struggling to get up. I turned around and went back and Lo and Behold there was a Harley rider deep in a ditch (we had a bad flood last year and it was deep) trying to extricate himself from under the Harley way down at the bottom of the ditch/culvert.

He was OK, but the bike was badly scratched and bent up a little bit. The gent looked to be in his 70s and was kinda shocky. He had no idea what to do or how to get the bike back up. I helped him get the bike up in a pull off and then his riding buddy came back after he realized he wasn't behind him anymore. His buddy must have been 30 or so and I heard the older gentleman say "You were going too fast for me." It was clear that he was going too fast for the curve, but it had to be the curve before the one he crashed in. The chicken dance he and his bike must have been doing between curves must have been something to see, I'd say he wobbled around for at least 75 yards. He probably did the panic thing and hit the brakes standing the bike up in mid corner.

There but by the grace of God.... I've practiced the emergency counter steering, but deep down I know that's it's going to be almost impossible for me to add throttle when I know I'm in trouble deep into the curve.

Go easy and ride your pace.

Best/RR
 

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MSF, rightly so, always say to look where you are going, especially when it comes to corners. While I do agree with that I always keep a keen eye on the corners right in front of me as well. Up here with all the gravel in spring, when it rains hard, or when someone with a trailer takes the corner too sharp and throws gravel up on the road you never know. Perfectly good pavement when, all of the sudden, there is a 5-7 square foot spot with a ton of gravel on it. I've known too many people that literally slid off the road on spots like that looking after the whole curve and not paying attention to what was directly in front of them. I try to do both the best I can since gravel is not that easy to see on the older roads...:beatnik:
 

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I have to dodge it all on my back-country roads.

In the winter we have road salt and coal cinders...some gravel and mud washing into the road.

In the summer we have grass blown into the road. Lots of horse crap. Sometimes the whole horse and rider. Amish buggies. Copious amounts of road kill. Spilled diesel fuel.

Its a jungle out there boys and girls.
 

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"No psilocybin when I be ridin'"

I did not notice mention of which side of the road the rider encountered the gravel, or in which direction the road was turning where he crashed.

Without that information it is possible to do little but make assertions about assumptions.

My assumption is that he was trying to dodge a unicorn and swerved unrecoverably.

My assertion is to not eat hallucinogenic mushrooms when you are riding.

Lesson learned: "No psilocybin when I be ridin'"
 
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