Struck by a car- a scenario I hadn't thought of

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by brownricer, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. brownricer

    brownricer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Oddometer:
    430
    Location:
    Shenandoah, PA
    I've been riding about 5 years now, mostly for commuting, and I've racked up about 100,000 miles. I've had many close calls: the left-turners, the over-the-line-in-a-blind-curve folks. the sudden lane-changers, and the drunks/sleepyheads/texters/ragers. And of course deer, turkeys, bears, foxes, porcupines, vultures, dogs, skunks and recently a wolverine (not a close call but worth a mention, LOL). Potholes, oil, sand, gravel, furniture, tools, carpets, cinderblocks, scrap metal, wire, glass, etc. etc., I've avoided hitting or being hit by many, many things in the last 5 years. I learned early on to maintain high situational awareness, and always check my six as I come to a stop for a light or sign (or whatever).
    But this morning I was totally taken unawares by a driver who had stopped behind me at a red light, then proceeded to go when the left-turn signal for the lane to our left went green (main intersection light remained red).
    I don't think that even if I'd been watching in my mirror, I could have pulled ahead in time, but it still annoys me to realize I never thought of this before.
    In all fairness to this driver, I have to admit that when I saw the green, I instinctively cracked the throttle...so I can't judge her too harshly. But I caught my mistake before I released the clutch. She did not. A second later, as she began to move forward, the nose of her Civic buried itself under the very strong Markland trunk extender on the GL500, lifting the rear wheel slightly off the ground as the car's bumper struck the rear tire and the part of the subframe below the signal lights and license plate.
    I had my left foot down, and as the bike bucked me off before falling on its right side, my shin barked the left footpeg, leaving a welt and a small but nasty scrape. I landed unsteadily on my right foot, then let my momentum carry me into a roll onto my right shoulder. I am proud that I didn't stick my hands out as I fell- that could have been bad. I also remembered not to try to hang on. There was nothing over to the right to hurt me, fortunately. I got to my feet and shut off the bike.
    As I confirmed I was OK and started looking after my bike, a big dude half my age and about a foot taller than me appeared out of nowhere and picked up the bike. I thanked him. "Be safe" he said as he walked away. "I'm tryin', brother", I told him. The driver approached me... she was pretty upset, and ready to accept all blame.
    "Why didn't you stop?" I asked.
    "I DID stop! The green arrow... it was... confusing..."
    I frowned, then I remembered that I'd watched in the mirror as she stopped. And I remembered that I'd blipped my throttle at that sight of green. I was a block from my destination and had been eager to arrive at work on time.
    We both felt foolish... her more so, of course.
    Anyway... subframe bent slightly, part of the plastic fender cracked/chewed away, slightly bent right engine guard, and more damage to the right pannier, which has seen better days. The stressed-member engine (to which the engine guard is bolted partially), the structural frame of the bike and the sturdy Prolink swingarm never felt it, apparently. After work, it took a few minutes curbside to make sure the fender wouldn't rub the wheel anymore, and that all lights, etc. worked. There's a bolt-on crossbar that runs between the light brackets; I unbolted it, turned it around so it was now bowed out instead of in, and that relaxed the tension on the fender. No funny noises from the final drive or transmission, no wobbling. The rear wheel, AFAIK by just riding home on it, is fine.

    She'd asked if I wanted to report it, but since I am unhurt except for a scratch, I have spares for all affected parts, I can easily do the work myself, and the 37-yr-old bike with over 100,000 miles on it is worth very little to an insurance company (and I didn't want to deal with the down-time while all that got sorted out), I accepted her token of $100 cash instead. I thought for a heartbeat about squeezing her for more (and probably could have done so easily), but it didn't seem right, under the circumstances.

    Her civic is probably gonna cost some serious bucks to fix. Hood deeply dented and gouged (thank you, Markland!), plastic fascia and bumper, too. The little chromed plastic "H" fell off; I picked it up and handed it to her, with some satisfaction. Sure, she won't get her premium raised, but she didn't get away without paying for her mistake.
    #1
  2. Kamala

    Kamala Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,580
    Location:
    Nashoba Valley
    Glad you are fairly unscathed and that the bike was operative. I hope you got her name and address just in case some unfelt injury shows itself. Wolverine?? Cool!
    #2
  3. OConnor

    OConnor Bad juju

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,318
    Location:
    Midwest
    Good to hear you were mostly unhurt.
    I've always heard it's a good idea to report these things just in case something develops later on once the adrenaline has worn off or other liabilities we don't think of right after an accident.
    #3
  4. mminob

    mminob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    755
    Location:
    Ocean Beach,California
    Yes, situational awareness is a lost art nowadays at intersections, with all the distracted drivers using all their wonderful electronic devices... What usually happens is the dummies come to a stop, hopefully , and than stare, and or fumble, with their device... look up, look down... Then they see or hear you creep forward and that means to them, oh , I guess it's time to floor it...

    You sure showed some restraint on your emotions after the cager knocked you down... I would have been so angry... the left turn arrow, false alarm from the other turn lane , is a real common mistake if your are not thinking or paying attention to your surroundings and flow of traffic... they are distracted...

    What I have been doing at intersection stop lights on my motos lately , is pull over to the side of the lane, right quarter or left quarter , and never directly behind the car ahead, if you are sandwiched...

    That way if they roll forward you might have a chance to avoid the hit... might ? Your GL500 is getting on in age , have you thought of a more modern bike to enjoy and experience ? Good luck brother :thumb
    #4
    lnewqban likes this.
  5. portalespeanut

    portalespeanut nEARLY nORMAL

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Desert southwest
    I had something similar but the driver managed to stop short before bumping me. I'm glad You're ok...be careful out there.
    #5
  6. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,803
    And sometimes I was her. I’ve blown it at intersections too.
    #6
    Dale402 and flei like this.
  7. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,558
    Location:
    Here, but lost. Am I lost if i know i'm here?
    I do two things to alleviate this.

    I stop a much longer distance from the vehicle in front of me than most. Probably a car length and a half. Maybe. Once the car behind me has stopped i creep forward just a little bit to create some space between us. (they always want to creep up with you!)
    I also point my bike slightly between the cars. In case I need to escape.

    however, what you've posted has made me rethink a lil bit. Once the car behind me has stopped i tend to ignore them as a threat. gonna have to stay vigilant when stopped too.
    #7
    lnewqban, Motor7, CVAN and 1 other person like this.
  8. PA1018

    PA1018 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    Beautiful Trenton NJ
    Glad you are unhurt. I would have made sure the driver had a consequence for being inattentive via a claim against her insurance.
    #8
  9. Sibhod

    Sibhod Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    USA-Nor Cal
    The ONE time I did not pay attention to cars behind me I got hit by a drunk driver that did not stop in time. The impact shot my bike forward hitting my friends son riding her brand new Harley Springer.
    Fortunately no one was injured but, lesson learned, always watch your six.
    #9
    neanderthal likes this.
  10. zaxrex

    zaxrex Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2018
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    Frederick, MD, USA
    This makes me nervous... I think about this every single time I'm stopped at a light. No joke.

    Also the people that are on their phones and continuing to creep forward, I've almost been hit several times that way. Wouldn't be much force, but could still trap a leg under a car.
    #10
    neanderthal likes this.
  11. Merfman

    Merfman Cape truster... Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,015
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Had the exact scenario happen to me about 2 years ago... got knocked about 12' and $7000 worth of damage to the bike...

    Glad you had less damage!
    #11
  12. Sibhod

    Sibhod Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    USA-Nor Cal
    My VFR was totaled, the Harley had about $3,000 worth of damage, mostly because the paint was custom.... No damage to my body that Tequila couldn't take care of.
    #12
  13. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,780
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    This happened to me years ago early one morning (like 6am - not 3am early). I was on a rented KLR and stopped first in line at a traffic light. Truck pulled up and stopped behind me. Thirty seconds later the bike sort of jumped out from under me and rolled/fell into the intersection. Like you I just let it go, and I was lucky enough to end up still standing. The driver behind had simply let their foot slip off the brake pedal - oops.

    Similar damage to the bike but zero damage to the truck or to me. Glad you’re ok!
    #13
  14. jjustj

    jjustj Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,988
    Location:
    Olympia WA 95 feet
    Having a dct..I cant blip the throttle. Glad you are ok!
    #14
    Sibhod and neanderthal like this.
  15. JJaafar

    JJaafar Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,359
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Same thing happened to me, but at an intersection, not at the traffic lights. Difference is, I broke my left leg in that incident...:lol3

    Glad you turn out okay.
    #15
    Sibhod likes this.
  16. Khantahr

    Khantahr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Oregon
    Glad you weren't hurt more!

    People creep forward here all the time, drives me crazy. They don't seem to do it when a motorcycle is stopped in front of them for some reason though.
    #16
    Sibhod likes this.
  17. falcn

    falcn Squidless Soul Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    Los Altos, CA
    Glad you are not hurt!

    Was this a two lane in one direction of travel road or a single lane with a left turn arrow?
    #17
  18. 51%

    51% ReadyToRide

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    490
    Location:
    Somewhere in North America. Probably.
    Not saying this would have saved someone in your shoes, but I’ll say I have a habit if positioning myself at the edge of the lane as others have stated, plus I tend to watch behind until a stack of two or three has stopped. I’m a bit concerned about the second car behind me rear ended the first and pushing them into me.

    Lane position at the left edge facilitates watching traffic approaching behind that adjacent rear vehicle.
    #18
    TexasAggie2008 and neanderthal like this.
  19. Sibhod

    Sibhod Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    USA-Nor Cal
    I always position myself on the edge of the lane now, that's great advice. I was with 5 other riders that evening and got lazy about looking behind me because I though no one could miss ALL of our tail lights. Dumb.
    #19
  20. Rider2

    Rider2 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2014
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Delaware
    Keep an eye on the car behind the car behind you, too. Once I have two cars behind me, I can relax. Easier to do that if I'm not centered in the lane (too many cars/trucks can't be seen through any more) and can look alongside the vehicle behind to see what's coming.
    #20
    DirtPoorOverland likes this.