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Old 12-12-2014, 09:05 AM   #1
evermore OP
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Earthquakes on motorcycles: anyone actually experience this and what to do...

So as a recent survivor of #Stormageddon (#wewillrebuild) and having just watched the trailer for the San Andreas earthquake disaster movie, I am wondering if anyone has experienced an earthquake while riding and learned anything worth sharing?

My other question then is what is the proper course of action when the ground starts shaking:

- if you to stop: Upside? No running into stopped cars, avoid broken pavement or gaps that may have opened up. On the other hand, you lose the gyroscopic effect of the wheels spinning and keeping the bike upright when stopped while the the ground is still be going any which way seems a guaranteed way to drop the bike and trap yourself under it.

- If you keep going: pretty much inverse dangers of when stopping. I am not sure how the stability of the bike is affected by the ground moving underneath. Can an earthquake cause you to lose balance and crash from the shifting ground in touch with your tires alone?
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:21 AM   #2
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I was driving when the Loma Prieta hit San Francisco in '89.

Driving my old 79 Honda Station Wagon at slow speeds on the 17, I though I had broken/dropped a CV joint as the steering wheel was thrashed from side to side by the rolling waves.

I don't know if you could keep some bikes upright if stopped or moving, the road bed was going up and down by 2+ feet.
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgconner View Post
I was driving when the Loma Prieta hit San Francisco in '89.

Driving my old 79 Honda Station Wagon at slow speeds on the 17, I though I had broken/dropped a CV joint as the steering wheel was thrashed from side to side by the rolling waves.

I don't know if you could keep some bikes upright if stopped or moving, the road bed was going up and down by 2+ feet.
oof that doesn't sound like fun. Being stopped and keeping the bike upright I think is clearly impossible but I'm not sure if continuing to ride even at low speeds is a workable proposition either. Maybe it is akin to offroading on a heavy bike? Perhaps I should submit this question to the mythbusters to test ;)
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:13 AM   #4
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I think there have been a few discussions on BARF about this - for obvious reasons.

One thing people say a lot is that it's like suddenly having 2 flat tires.
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaara View Post
I think there have been a few discussions on BARF about this - for obvious reasons.

One thing people say a lot is that it's like suddenly having 2 flat tires.
there's one post worth quoting:

"Originally Posted by louemc
No...You also have to know...the intensity of the quake, depends on where You are. That was clearly demonstrated with the Loma Prieta. (everyone knows where the structures failed).

I was (going East direction) just about half way up the climb, towards the high spot on the San Mateo Bridge.

First sensation (this will rapidly escalate) was, rear tire feels like a flat, then both tires must have gone flat, then Holy Crap, who has a frame snap in two, and at that time the bike (totally out of control, now I'm not even trying for control, just wondering how it will go) is being tossed with ever increasing degrees of lean, from one side to the other. Bike going straight, but leaning like I've never leaned before while cornering.
Tires (while the lean is maxed) are howling loud. The bike is, although pointed straight sliding from side to side, about a lane and a half.
I'm starting to be very concerned that I might get launched over the rail.

I was the only one in my field of vision, but just before it stopped, I heard car tires howling behind me. Then It stopped, and I stopped, felt the bridge move a couple small moves, then I started riding again.

The greatest thrill ride of my life. No damage done. And just the memory of something that can only be experienced in a quake that moves the road.

Oh and the bike traveled, from the half way up, on over the top of the rise, and to the bottom where your down going flat with the water, part...in the time the quake was going. "
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:55 AM   #6
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only in a car. on a freeway over pass.

It felt like a number of people standing on my car rocking it up and down. you defintely want to coast to a stop on a bike
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for bringing this up. Being a new transplant to the west coast I had wondered how it felt and what to do. Just hoping I don't become an expert.
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:35 PM   #8
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I was a passenger on one in a M5 earthquake. My dad thought i was shaking th bike. We were stopped at a light at the time. Light pole adjacent was quite wobbly.
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Old 12-12-2014, 05:27 PM   #9
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I was in a car,felt like a flat tire or two!.
looked out to see some cows, hauling ass up a hill in a cloud of dust.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:00 PM   #10
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Just lay 'er down and all will be fine.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:20 PM   #11
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On 24 Aug 2011, my wife and I were out riding our motorcycles when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Culpeper, VA. We were about five miles from the epicenter. I had just passed through a four-way stop sign on a rural road and was accelerating when it struck.

I felt a mild shimmy in my front end. My thought was... oh great, what's going on with my motorcycle? I immediately backed off the throttle and began slowing (not braking) and started to assess what might be happening. Almost as quickly as the shimmy began, it quit.

I tried to duplicate what I felt via light acceleration and mild maneurvering. When the shimmy didn't return and I couldn't replicate it, I chalked it up to an anomalous road surface and didn't give it further thought. About on hour and a half later, my wife and I returned home. Our daughter dashed outside and asked if we felt the earthquake earlier?

Ah Ha!!! I now knew what had caused the shimmy.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgconner View Post
I was driving when the Loma Prieta hit San Francisco in '89.

Driving my old 79 Honda Station Wagon at slow speeds on the 17, I though I had broken/dropped a CV joint as the steering wheel was thrashed from side to side by the rolling waves.

I don't know if you could keep some bikes upright if stopped or moving, the road bed was going up and down by 2+ feet.

I once was loading a bike onto the back of a pickup truck with weak springs, shaking and shuddering and remember thinking to myself "I hope I am never riding in an earthquake of any significance"
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:44 AM   #13
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Happened once in NZ, not a 'big one', all I noticed was the power lines wiggling. Probably more of an issue in a car with 4 wheels on the ground, a dual sport bike, unless a chasm opens beneath you or similar, not an issue.


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Old Yesterday, 12:39 PM   #14
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Loma Prieta Quake in Monterey. I wasn't riding or driving. I stepped out of my office front door and locked it. As I turned to face the parking lot, I saw a series of large waves rippling through the parked cars like it was a disaster movie. I unlocked the door and shouted for everybody to get out. They all came running. All the power went out at the same time. No phones either. As it was dusk, the ride home to check on my home and family was a bit of a struggle with no traffic lights and such.

All of us had been through countless earthquakes, but this one was big enough that I would pull right over and stop if I was on a motorcycle. The guy who related his San Mateo Bridge story summed up what I would expect. Then of course, having sections of the Bay Bridge and a long stretch of the Nimitz collapsing presents a whole new series of problems.

Fortunately, those big quakes are pretty rare. People don't really worry about them much. Those that do probably move east.
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Old Yesterday, 01:23 PM   #15
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Be aware of road conditions following a quake.


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