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Urban Squid
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991 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was reading other threads and was interested to see some others berating the old drop the bike and slide away trick rather than doing a Christopher Reeves move. The idea is that staying on the bike and emergency braking and maneouvering are key. I have to disagree and I want to see what others think. My situation about 1.5 years ago on a GSX400RR:

Driving along a windy, twisty single lane village road (other country) with no outdoor lamps and the surface isn't the grippiest asphalt out there. It's late night and I'm doing abot 85 km/h, nothing spectacular, nowhere near knee dragging. Oncoming traffic likes to keep it's high beams on all the time and it's a bitch because there are absolutely no markings on the road. I would slow down to 60 km/h while completely blinded and then get back on it whenst past the glare. On one such occasions as soon as the bus goes by me and my sight returns, I see a midsize truck parked in the middle of my lane, with absolutely no lights or reflective signs about. By midsize truck, I don't mean a dinky little pickup, I mean a small Coca Cola truck going to 7-11 size. Anyways at my rate of speed I was about 2.5 seconds away from a head on impact with the rear end. Taking into consideration the fact that the asphalt is slippery to the point where hard braking simply locks up the front tire (endos not possible) there was no way any amount of emergency braking was going to save me. I could have slowed down some, but I'd still hit the truck head on. Steering around wasn't much of an option due to the closeness of the truck, the fact that the right side of the road was a muddy ditch full of onimous electric and fence posts, the fact that the bus stayed in the middle of the road when it drove by me so I was too far over to the right to make the left pass, the fact that I was close enough to the truck that the left side was blind and I could easily steer into an oncoming vehicle. My choice? I jumped off the bike to the left and slid it under the truck while I slid next to it. I managed to stop before going to far underneath (not the bike though). This saved me alot of pain, just had to limp for a few days and keep the bike in a shop for a few weeks rather than superman into the solid steel back of a truck. Let me reiterate; in this country the bigger your vehicle, the more you stay in the middle of the road and force smaller vehicles to the side. When a big bus is heading towrds you with it's highbeams on, there is no way you can see past it for a good solid 12 seconds. So, anti-sliders/droppers. What would you have done?
 

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Bird Tamer
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351 Posts
you did what you did. there is no going back. it is always easy to think about a situation after the fact, when you have the time to go over all your options.

what you have to do is train your natural reactions for the time when you don't have the time to think.

i have come across simular situations many times on logging roads when you are going too fast to stop and find yourself face to face with the grill of a large vehicle coming your way. i have always found it better to not hit the brakes as this just slides you out into the path of the oncoming vehicle. i tend to roll on the gas, look at the open space and you will drive around the obsticle blocking your path. rolling on the gas gives you traction, and looking where you want to go lets your body instinctively drive to the open space.

in all my experience laying down the bike eliminates your options and gives you up to the mercy of the last tragectory you were sliding.

now i have only been riding street, racing and riding dirt for 30 years, so i am sure that there are situations that i have not come across yet, but staying on the bike and riding out the situation has served me well.
 

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Bitey things are niceless
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342 Posts
I'm a big fan of the idea of riding it out if you can, but the key phrase there is "if you can." Not every situation is the same, in your case, you probably stopped just as quick sliding on your @$$ as you would skidding on your tires, so for you in that situation it was probably the right decision. When that moron made the left turn in front of me and then stalled his truck, I know I wouldn't have stopped in time using my leathers as brakes, but the rubber on the road gave me more than enough friction to scrub off more than enough speed to avoid hitting his passenger door. Following that, because I kept the bike up, when I heard the squeeling of tires behind me I was able to pop the clutch and get out of harm's way.
You and I were in two very different situations. We're here talking about it now, so obviously we both made the right decisions in our avoidance tactics. Why does one have to be right or wrong?
 

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es ist orange und bellt
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1,784 Posts
I come from a pure racing back ground where I'm programmed to ride it out to the end and make the Holy Sh** stop of all stops!!!!! If I can't brake, steer and avoid I'm going to hit it....and that's usually because the situation at hand has left me no time to make any decisions.
 

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Fast Pack Slow Guy
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4,722 Posts
ABS saved me from three such occassions this summer. Just grab a fucking fist full of front brake and let the computer do the work.

I think a lot of riders who say "I had to lay it down" are making excuses for when they lose control and the bike washes out from under them. In my mind if there's enough time to formulate a plan to drop the bike on purpose and let your friction charged ass slow you down at the mercy of whatever trajectory you were last pointed in, then there's enough time to scrub speed and plot an escape route while keeping the painted side up and the rubbery side down.

That said, the big trick is to avoid putting yourself in unsafe situations such as the one you described. A lot of 'rider down', 'I had to lay it down' threads on this board start with 'so I was getting my knee down in bumper to bumper traffic in a snow storm at 300kph...'
 

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Three hour tour guide
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8,750 Posts
I think a lot of riders who say "I had to lay it down" are making excuses for when they lose control and the bike washes out from under them.
BINGO ...
 

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Ridin hard n dirty
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4,080 Posts
The moment you are off the tires/bike you no longer have any control as to the direction you will travel. I will always ride out as long as i can. If you are on the brakes until you hit the object every 10th of a second you are braking you are slowing down...If you get off the brakes too early when you hit it would be at the speed you let off the brakes... the difference between say 60 kph and 30 kph may be the deciding factor in surviving.

Years ago I t bone a car that blew through a stop sign....I applied the brakes as hard as i could right up till impact. No time to swerve just grab everything. I would like to think that was the propper thing to do at that time and I survived but would not want to know if i had hit at the speed I was traveling prior to braking.
 

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Not me!!
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971 Posts
My theory.

If you max braked, you would've been able to get down to near 0 Km/h in 2.5 seconds. Even if you were left with a speed of 15 Km/h (just as a guess), the "Superman" into the back of the truck would've been minor.

I think too many people believe you have to get down to a **full stop** to survive. With the right gear and a bit of luck, 30 to 40 Km/h is very much like getting hit in full contact football. You'll spring right up and curse up a storm.
 

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myside.yourside.myside
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2,095 Posts
My theory.

If you max braked, you would've been able to get down to near 0 Km/h in 2.5 seconds. Even if you were left with a speed of 15 Km/h (just as a guess), the "Superman" into the back of the truck would've been minor.

I think too many people thinks you have to get down to a **full stop** to survive. With the right gear and a bit of luck, 30 to 40 Km/h is very much like getting hit in full contact football. You'll spring right up and curse up a storm.
I have to agree with this. It is very easy to overestimate your braking time .. IMHO 9 times out of 10 the bike outperforms your expectations especially in situations that require extra care (wet, slippery, etc). As well, there is no better way to slow down than the rubber on the road with you on it.

At the end of the day, I'm afraid that I just don't buy the "I weighed my options and decided to dump" in that kind of a situation there is NO time to weigh any options-- it's just react basically by instinct. It's either panic brake/swerve or just panic/dump. No offense to anyone intended, I can't say that I have always been in complete control myself or never panicked while riding...

Cory
 

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Not me!!
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971 Posts
I have to agree with this. It is very easy to overestimate your braking time .. IMHO 9 times out of 10 the bike outperforms your expectations especially in situations that require extra care (wet, slippery, etc). As well, there is no better way to slow down than the rubber on the road with you on it.
Adding to your point...

Remember that your 600cc bike will go from 0 to 100 Km/h in 4 seconds. 1000cc will be close to 2.7 seconds. Both numbers are skill-limited, of course. Your brakes will do the reverse *much* faster.
 

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banned user
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6,255 Posts
apparently you did the right thing for you situation. Limping for a few days is nothing. Good job.
 

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Registered
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1,661 Posts
i have come across simular situations many times on logging roads when you are going too fast to stop and find yourself face to face with the grill of a large vehicle coming your way. i have always found it better to not hit the brakes as this just slides you out into the path of the oncoming vehicle. i tend to roll on the gas, look at the open space and you will drive around the obsticle blocking your path. rolling on the gas gives you traction, and looking where you want to go lets your body instinctively drive to the open space.
This is what I remember being taught in riding school, when we were being taught what gear to cruise in, we were told to always be in a gear low enough that when you needed to accelarate to redirect yourself to go around an obstacle, you'd have enough 'get up and go' in the gear that your in and not have to wait for it to pick up. This is how I've ridden and although I don't tailgate cars, there has been the odd time when cars in front of you lock up and you need to try to come to a stop in time or go around and its worked for me. I guess it depends on your reaction as well, if you respond fast enough to go around or if you know your bike well enough to know what its stopping distance is at various speeds.
 

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Premium Member
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11,196 Posts
Holyrain, you laid out a very harsh set of circumstances that lead up to the final moment. Through good luck or good planning it sounds like you may well have picked or had forced on you the best option.

However your particular setup stacked the deck highly in favor of what you did. Take away one or two of the factors against you in this setup and I suspect it would have been better to stay with the bike and find another option.
 

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Registered
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936 Posts
That said, the big trick is to avoid putting yourself in unsafe situations such as the one you described. A lot of 'rider down', 'I had to lay it down' threads on this board start with 'so I was getting my knee down in bumper to bumper traffic in a snow storm at 300kph...'
:thumbup

Defensive riders avoid situations that take very skilled riders to get out of.
 

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Registered
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4,021 Posts
The front brakes of a bike will likely stop it faster than it sliding down the pavement. . . . there are always exceptions to not wanting to stay on the bike though.
 

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rain? whats that!
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5,834 Posts
^ Theres been a few cases about guys jumping off their rides at the last second and over the offending vehicle, avoiding serious injury as a result.

In my crash, I almost avoided a collosion from a lefter by skidding the rear tire to point the nose to the left but alas she was moving SO SLOW that I couldnt veer in time and I ended up supermanning over the trunk.
 
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