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Old 10-03-2020, 11:29 PM   #16
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While there are no absolutes in these situations, it's often true that swerving is an easier option than trying to stop in time. Getting the bike to move laterally 8 feet or so over the available distance to the other vehicle is typically more realistic than stopping in the same distance. This does assume there is an opening to steer toward.

In a scenario like this, if you steer to the left while the truck is crossing your path from left to right, both vehicles are creating space. If you steer to the right, the two of you are still converging.

We can have a kind of mental inertia, where we remain kind of committed to our original intended path of travel. It can be helpful to rehearse a slow swerve to the left when left turners turn with plenty of space to spare. The more you engrain that response even slowly in a non-emergency, the more likely you are to seize that option when taken by surprise.

The above measure is useful if taken by surprise but of course the best scenario is not to be taken by surprise. You've said you don't recall some of the details, so it may not be fair to ask what your attention was on as the truck began its turn. If you do happen to remember that, this is really where the "what would you do differently" lives.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:41 AM   #17
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That's a bad intersection, made worse by the tendency of the downhill driver/rider to be going a bit fast as the previous section is not residential. And then you come around the corner and there it is.

Glad you're relatively ok. That's one of those ones where it could go either way.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:20 PM   #18
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I like the mental inertia concept. Someone once told me it's OK to be fast, but not OK to be in a hurry. The reason is that being in a hurry f*cks up your situational awareness.

I think a correlation would be "we are always where we are." In other words, the path we are on is an intended destination. But our minds should be open to other paths if the need arises.
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Old 10-04-2020, 02:30 PM   #19
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Sometimes I will flash it at people to get their attention, but even that can backfire.

In some driving cultures, that literally means "go."
Yeah, I never flash the lights for exactly the reason you stated. Too many people will think you are signaling them to pull out from the side, or turn left in front of you.

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Another tactic to help the other driver see you is the SMIDSY weave. When you're still some distance away--well before an emergency maneuver might be required--weave gently from side to side in your lane. Just once. You're trying to break "motion camouflage", which makes a motorcycle moving straight toward an observer look like a stationary object.

Once you get to a point where, if the truck begins to move you must act NOW, forget about being seen. It's time to prepare. Slow down, move laterally away from the threat, cover the brake, and focus on the vehicle's left front tire so you can tell if it begins to roll.
I've seen that SMIDSY weave video. That's what I do on a regular basis.
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Old 10-07-2020, 08:40 AM   #20
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Given the limited sight lines in this location others have pointed out due to the crest/hill in the road, and the fact that you say you were doing about 20 mph when you hit the truck, I had the following questions/thoughts:
1. The speed limit there is 30 mph, so you were only able to scrub off 10 mph before you hit the truck? Or were you perhaps going a big faster than the posted speed limit?
2. Is this your first motorcycle? How much riding experience do you have?
3. Do you recall whether you established eye contact with the driver of the truck before you hit him?

The first two are related. It’s easy to misjudge your speed on a motorcycle and end up going a lot faster than you normally would in a car/truck/suv. In a situation where there is limited sight distance (hill crest in this case), the truck may not have seen you coming as he evaluated his situation and made his decision to turn.

Add to that the smaller frontal size of a bike and 10-20 mph or more over the posted speed and you end up with the “he came out of nowhere” phenomena that so many drivers report after colliding with a moto.

As for eye contact, it’s something I always try to establish as I approach left turners. It doesn’t mean 100% for sure they won’t still turn in front of me, but it helps me gauge whether they might. Also, if they start their turn and realize their mistake, it gives me the chance to indicate with my head where I’m going, and therefore what they should do. Without that input, they freeze - “is he going to try to go around the front of me, or cut in the back?”

I literally will turn my head and look in the direction I intend to go to avoid them. This gives them a visual cue as to my intentions, and therefore what they should do to help me. This move probably saved my life in one incident in particular.

There’s a lot of psychology and cognitive science involved in riding. We need all the help we can get when it comes to surviving out there.
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Old 10-07-2020, 01:38 PM   #21
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Oh, I have a good one!

It has to do with deer.

Someone once told me that if you can miss a deer, at least aim for the their butts. The idea is that they MIGHT move our of your way. And if you aim for the front, they would have to move their whole body to get out of your way.

I once used this BTW and went right between two deers at 80MPH. Long time ago.

I kind of do the same thing with cars and trucks now - always aim for the back. Luckily I have been pretty good so far intuiting when they will get in front of me.
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Old 10-07-2020, 02:35 PM   #22
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...aim for the their butts. The idea is that they MIGHT move our of your way. And if you aim for the front, they would have to move their whole body to get out of your way.
I grew up in Wisconsin and started my roadracing there. They actually had a flag for deer on the track - a green and yellow John Deere flag. Honestly.

During the pre-race (or trackday) safety briefings, were always told to aim for the flank of a deer - the area behind the rib cage and ahead of the hind legs. This is a soft area and if you were going to hit the beast at speed, your best bet was to hit it there because you'd split it in half.

Don't believe me? Check this out.

youtu.be/BCdvjjyssOk
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Old 10-07-2020, 03:10 PM   #23
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Let’s bring this back to the original topic.
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Old 10-07-2020, 04:45 PM   #24
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During the pre-race (or trackday) safety briefings, were always told to aim for the flank of a deer - the area behind the rib cage and ahead of the hind legs. This is a soft area and if you were going to hit the beast at speed, your best bet was to hit it there because you'd split it in half.
Makes sense!

I wish cars and trucks had soft parts!!!

The OP hasn't come back in. I am curious as to any updates on everything.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:05 PM   #25
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Makes sense!

I wish cars and trucks had soft parts!!!

The OP hasn't come back in. I am curious as to any updates on everything.
I'm around and I follow the thread. No word on the missing bike yet. The full accident report is not available yet but I was able to get the first page which has the truck driver's insurance (Alliance United, subsidiary of Kemper) policy number. I called their claims line and described the accident. From here the case gets passed to a Claims Adjuster, who will contact me within a few days.

When I get back to riding I want to invest in a basic unobtrusive helmet camera. I cannot remember anything except approaching the vehicle, and then being on the ground and getting up.

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Let’s bring this back to the original topic.
As for analysis, there's not a lot more to say. There might be some merit to analysis of proceedings in the aftermath of an accident. I will post updates.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:10 PM   #26
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I'm around and I follow the thread. No word on the missing bike yet. The full accident report is not available yet but I was able to get the first page which has the truck driver's insurance (Alliance United, subsidiary of Kemper) policy number. I called their claims line and described the accident. From here the case gets passed to a Claims Adjuster, who will contact me within a few days.

When I get back to riding I want to invest in a basic unobtrusive helmet camera. I cannot remember anything except approaching the vehicle, and then being on the ground and getting up.


As for analysis, there's not a lot more to say. There might be some merit to analysis of proceedings in the aftermath of an accident. I will post updates.
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Old 10-08-2020, 11:21 AM   #27
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My take on the original crash is that as soon as I saw that intersection my internal red flags went off. An intersection like that typically makes me start covering or even applying the brakes, especially if there is a vehicle in the turning lane.

For left hand turners, swerving is not the most effective because both vehicles are moving at an angle to each other and it leaves too much possibility of them intersecting or the alternative of going into oncoming traffic.

Even going 40-50mph, most bikes can stop extremely fast if the ride is practiced. If a vehicle unexpectedly turned in front of me, I'd aim for a safe spot and maximum brake to try and prevent the collision point (most likely aim to come to a stop in the median area for the intersection depicted).

As usual, vision is the key here. You can't react to a situation until you see it. If you were going so fast that you didn't have time to react at all, then your speed was limiting your vision. If you were able to see it in time to react, then your decision making process comes into play. Being on a bike, we are always at the most risk and so having an immediate reaction of reducing speed and increasing buffer zone should always be your first step.

I'm glad you're relatively alright and sorry you had such a bummer of a day. Hopefully insurance gets you back on another Zero quickly!
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:41 PM   #28
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Even going 40-50mph, most bikes can stop extremely fast if the ride is practiced. If a vehicle unexpectedly turned in front of me, I'd aim for a safe spot and maximum brake to try and prevent the collision point (most likely aim to come to a stop in the median area for the intersection depicted).

. . .

I'm glad you're relatively alright and sorry you had such a bummer of a day. Hopefully insurance gets you back on another Zero quickly!
Amen!

I was just looking up perception+reaction times - and it looks like maybe a combined 1.5 seconds? So that's 45 feet @ 30MPH according to my really bad math.

I was riding a back road this last weekend and rounded a corner and saw a car waiting to turn on to the road. Luckily, they didn't turn - but had they turned, I would not have had enough time to even apply the brake. I was a back road that I travel all the time, and I thought I knew where all the driveways were - but I apparently missed one!!!
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:16 PM   #29
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An easy way to connect perception / reaction and distance traveled in feet per second (fps) is to just remember 1.5

Perception (0.75sec) + reaction (0.75sec) = 1.5

Distance traveled in fps is approximately 1.5 x mph.
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:41 PM   #30
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An easy way to connect perception / reaction and distance traveled in feet per second (fps) is to just remember 1.5

Perception (0.75sec) + reaction (0.75sec) = 1.5

Distance traveled in fps is 1.5 x mph.
Thank you! Yes much easier. I literally took 100 feet, divided it by 2, then multiplied by 1.5.

Eeek!
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