Your Crash - Could You Have Avoided It?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by mikem9, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

    Oct 6, 2007
    North Georgia
    If you've crashed on your motorcycle, looking back, could you have avoided it? Not asking about whose fault it was legally - but that would be interesting to know also. But, knowing what you know now, could you have avoided it?

    Yes/No/Maybe & why and how?
  2. scoon66

    scoon66 Who is the Coon?

    Jun 10, 2007
    Conway, AR
    Definitely, target fixated. If I'd just looked through the turn id've been fine.
  3. Meriden

    Meriden Yea whatever

    Oct 26, 2010
    In the garden behind the dacha
    1 Yes, not street racing as a teenager
    2 Yes, not riding with an inexperienced pillion
    3 Yes, yes, yes... not riding off road. Like they say about the Bahamas: If you're not hitting bottom, you're not going anywhere worth seeing.
  4. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    I have gone down four times while road riding. All four were due to road contaminates. All four were in turns. No drama… just a fast gravity induced body/bike slam to the pavement. No real injuries to me or the bikes. (ATGATT & Crash bars)

    Could I have prevented it? No. Not at the time.

    Can I prevent it from happening again? Possibly, as I now look for diesel spills and ice.
  5. Autocracy

    Autocracy KLR = Trials bike?

    Mar 16, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Four front-end losses in 3 years, 30,000+ miles. The first two were in the first year... inexperience made me choose to straighten the bike up when approaching sand instead of leaning it over harder before I got there. I hit the sand and went down anyway. On a Ninja 250. Cost me a turn signal.

    The second one was almost by choice. I decided that despite the clear risk, going MotoGP up a wet 180 degree hairpin turn was worth the adrenaline. I hit the paint on the inside line as I apexed, and down I went. The same Ninja 250. Scuffed up a textile saddlebag and cost me a turn signal.

    #3 was at the end of September... banking it hard off an off-ramp, I got to the bottom and discovered the seam between the new and old asphalt. All the oil from the new stuff was sitting on top of the old stuff. That one sucked... My six month old Concours went across five lanes and everything plastic on the right side was messed up courtesy of a raised concrete median that the bike ignored.

    #4 was just upsetting. Cold tires and a hard turn at very slow speed with tons of room to spare. Out it went, down I went. Did some damage to the rear fairing of my girlfriend's Ninja 250, and my pride. I later rode it home in a snowstorm, and didn't crash despite it being so slick I turned the bike fully sideways. Go figure.

    All of them could have been avoided. Some of them were worth it :evil
  6. Wingfixer

    Wingfixer Watch this...

    Nov 24, 2008
    Baltimore, MD (hon)
    Most yes, some no.

    Yes for all the reasons stated above: Riding too fast or too tired, target fixation, etc.

    No for a few: Deer jumps out of the woods in front of me, idiot does an unexpected u-turn from in front of a row of parked cars, etc. Well, I guess those could have been avoided by not riding at all but that kinda defeats the purpose.
  7. King_Panther13

    King_Panther13 Been here awhile

    May 20, 2010
    Winter Haven, Fl
    Quoted for truth! I took a curve too hot on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The only reason I was riding so fast is because I did the entire parkway a few weeks earlier, and I was trying to pace a sports bike that I let pass me earlier. Dragged a peg for the first time ever, and immediately straightened it up and tried to stop, which has saved me in the past with obstacles etc....but I was going too fast for my crappy CX500 brakes to stop me and then I saw the hill....and thought "Oh no, I'm going to hit that hill" and stared it down until I was in it. If I would have just looked back into the curve I would have been fine.

    I don't regret it too much though because I had an epic experience with ADVriders taking care of me and putting the bike back together so I could make it back home to Failada.
  8. cliffy109

    cliffy109 Long timer

    May 11, 2009
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Avoided it? Well, yeah. I could have been riding the speed limit. I was doing 60 into a corner that had a cautionary speed of 25 and a limit of 35. Had I been at the speed limit, there would have been no crash so in that respect, yes, it was totally avoidable.

    Now, taking for granted that I was speeding and having a hell of a good time doing it,, no it was not avoidable. I was at 80-90% of my skill level, hanging off the side of the bike on a section of road that I knew like the back of my hand. When a driver decided to make a u-turn in front of me without looking, there were few options and none that involved staying on two wheels.

    Looking back, there were four possibilities: 1. Lay it down in an intentional low side. 2. Mash the brakes and see if I could survive the high-side that would throw me into the woods. 3. Stay with the corner and hit the back of the car. 4. Stop leaning, get the bike upright, attempt to scrub off speed and hope for the best when I hit the gravel on the side of the road.

    I took option #4 but honestly, didn't have a lot to do with that decision. Instincts told me that hitting the brake was a bad idea. It did cross my mind but I knew it was a bad idea. I didn't think of doing a low side. I really wanted to avoid the car so I looked for an escape route. In doing this, I rode directly where I looked and that was off the road. This was done while stopping the lean and trying to scrub off speed. None of it mattered. I hit the gravel, flew off the bike, tumbled into the woods and the bike tumbled after me, finally landing on my back and pinning be badly.

    If I could do it again, I would opt for the lay-r-down low side. A crash was inevitable due to the actions of another driver and my excessive speed. A low-side would have hurt less.
  9. gmiguy

    gmiguy You rode a what to where?

    Oct 17, 2006
    Western NC

    As it turns out, when an MSF instructor says "Don't worry about leaning over too far, you can drag the pegs on these bikes all day and not fall over" he's just trying to give the newbies in the class some confidence so they'll start leaning a little bit.

    He does not mean that you should actually try to deliberately drag a peg on a shagged-out CB125 that is older than you are, with square profile rock-hard tires.

    Which is what I did. The back end let go long before the peg touched down.

    So, in retrospect, the lesson was to not take corners hot on a state-owned poorly maintained cyclette.
  10. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

    Feb 11, 2010
    SE PA

    Slow the fuck down. I was scraping my right floorboard when I hit a bad expansion joint (speedbump size) on the on-ramp to the Van Wyck Expressway and the bike went out from under me. Going way too fast in a curve at 2 in the morning (recommended speed was 20 mph, I was easily doing twice that. If you know what the pavement surface is like in New York Shitty, you'd know that that is a bad idea).

    Bike was totaled, I had a small scrape on my knee where the pavement ate through the leather overpants I was wearing (no knee armor on those).
  11. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Dec 1, 2005
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    The question was: "But, knowing what you know now, could you have avoided it?"

    So, I'll say "YES" for him. :D

    FWIW, the people that review moto crashes in Oregon figure 85% of rider crashes were preventable; the rider had enough traction and ground clearance, just not quite enough clue.
  12. duck

    duck Banned

    Mar 19, 2004
    Seattle (Berkeley with rain)
    #1 - Yes. I wouldn't have fallen asleep if I didn't have a massive hangover. (Older and wiser now. Don't drink as much as I did back then and wouldn't think of riding hung over.)

    #2 - Not sure but don't think so. Hit some sand in the last foot of a casual downhill stop at a stop sign and the bike went down in a flash when the front washed out. The sand was a light dusting exactly same color as the pavement and virtually impossible to see.

    #3 - Not sure. Was riding some really slippery pavement (ground up wet cedar bark with moss on the pavement - shady area on Pacific Northwet logging road) and taking it very easy because I knew it would be slippery but the rear still locked a little. I let off to regain traction and straighten up the bike before initiating the turn but had run out of pavement. I'm pretty sure that I target fixated on the ditch instead of looking through the turn. Not sure but I THINK I might have made it if I hadn't target fixated.
  13. Schickmeister

    Schickmeister Youngin'

    Mar 31, 2009
    Your Mom's House
    Black a turn...

    Prevented? Not really was well above freezing and every other road was dry...turns out there was a leaking water pipe below that turn...
  14. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

    Jan 22, 2008
    Good damn question.

    In my case, it's hard to tell how avoidable it was. I hit a large patch of spilled cooking grease, lowsided, and busted my femur on the curb. Owie. (Yes, I was ATGATT.)

    The grease was pretty much invisible at the time, so I had no idea WTF was on the road. We stopped by a few days later after I got out of the hospital and by then enough dirt had stuck to the grease to see the spill clearly -- we followed a trail of slippery drips and splashes for a couple of miles.

    I am proud that as the bike and I were parting ways, I did the right things -- I stayed in the throttle and tried to recover up to the last millisecond.

    The incident gave me spidey-senses for surface contaminants, and I've since successfully avoided many other crashes. In one case in North Carolina, I sensed and avoided an oil spill that took down two of the three guys riding with me. The last guy had no idea what was happening, but he did see me change my line and followed suit, figuring I probably had a good reason.
  15. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

    Apr 6, 2007
    Annapolis, MD
    No - nailed by an owl out of the blue

    No - front blow out in a high speed turn

    Maybe - backed over by a pickup truck in a parking lot

    No - rear ended by drunk driver in the middle lane of a very busy highway

    Yes - too hot for the turn in the rain on knobbies while I was too cold and too tired
  16. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    :lol3 Oopsie. Yes. (or at least likely)

    Thanks dwoodward. :D
  17. IHWillys

    IHWillys Been here awhile

    Nov 18, 2009
    FC CO
    I have no memory of the crash and the driver of the pickup was determined to be at fault but from the circumstances, I'm sure I could have avoided it.

    It was 7:30 AM, nice and sunny June 1994 morning. I was on my way home from my girlfirend's place(later to become my wife). I was in my own neighborhood probably at about 30 mph. This street is very gently curving and undulating in this section. I am NOTG(None Of The Gear) at the time. I'm eastbound and a lady westbound in a pickup has just passed by a garage sale when she decides to pull a u-turn across the double yellow. This results in her hitting me and the bike. I should've seen her intent but did not or atleast I don't think I did or I would've avoided it. I have avoided plenty of other incidents by realizing what was about to happen and taking action.

  18. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    Lots learning to ride on dirt - ignore those.

    Riding with flu, fell off.
    - Could have avoided it by not riding, would probably have died though. (Riding out from a camping trip in really cold weather)

    Hit from behind waiting at a T intersection.
    - No way to avoid that one other than riding into traffic.

    Rear brake lockup, fell off , head run over a by a 4WD.
    - Could have avoided it, ride slower - adjust the damn rear brake.

    Rear brake lockup, rocky descent at low speed.
    - Could have avoided it - adjust the damn rear brake ;).

    So of the 4, one was REALLY avoidable. (Being run over by a 4WD)
    2 of the three could have been avoided by noticing and fixing a mechanical issue - even the one that I'd call fully avoidable.
    One where I'd say riding out was still my best chance of survival - even with the accident.
    Only one that I had no control over what happened.

    And lots and lots of near misses ......

  19. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

    Oct 29, 2009
    Collision with a car that made a u-turn in front of me, not much to do to avoide it. It happened long time ago, '73, so far it's the only one crash i've had, the come off's riding single track dont count, i've had few of them, never hurt myself but. The prang with the car, i hope it wont happen again, dont thing my old bone's would take it!
  20. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

    Sep 14, 2009
    All over, usually Wales or England
    All road-riding:

    Yes - Skidded on huge pile of mud covering the road, when entering an unlit side road at night and didn't see it till too late. I think with current experience, I could have avoided this.

    No - Nailed a deer that ran out (managed to keep the bike up, although deer hitting it damaged the bike).

    No - Guy pulled out on me on a roundabout after I'd committed to exiting, kerb was a foot high with railings at the top so driving over that was not an option.

    No - Riding on ice: A huge (10-15ft long and whole width of the road) sheet of ice on the road had me off. It was literally like an ice rink and I had difficulty even standing up. On that bike, on those tyres, without snow chains/spikes, I don't think anyone could have ridden over it.

    Yes - High speed crash due to braking hard on contaminated surface. I have gotten away with braking far harder, but that I needed to brake this hard was my fault.

    Yes - Riding on snow/ice: A better rider could have saved this. With my increased experience of riding offroad, I probably could now.

    Yes - Clipped the side of a car with my panniers when filtering. Shouldn't have been as fixated with the car on the other side that was moving. Should have stopped when the gap got that narrow.

    Yes - Pulled away on the wrong side of the road when riding abroad.

    So, 4 avoidable, 3 not. I suppose the ice one could be turned to 'avoidable' by refusing to go out when weather is that bad.


    I've never had a crash offroad that a better rider couldn't have avoided.