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Old 11-29-2018, 04:14 AM   #1
zixaq
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Weird corner setup to be careful of

So on my way across the country this summer, everything went swimmingly up until the afternoon after I went through Yellowstone.

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9299...!7i3328!8i1664

I wasn't entirely clear at first that the upcoming turn was mine, and wasn't prepared for the extra lane, so I turned in from wide in the left lane at about 60. Traffic in the area had been doing about 80 and there seemed to be lots of pavement to work with, NBD.

If you walk up onto the intersection a bit, it turns out that in the triangle between the tracks of turning cars and the tracks of cars going straight there was a thick layer of gravel covering the surface that was the same color as the pavement. Not good when leaned over at speed. I rolled for long enough to be able to think about how much I wanted to stop rolling.

Lesson learned, see wonky intersection that I'm not used to, slow down. Discrete turning lanes for cars like that probably also equals gravel pits, particularly in the part of the country where snow is an issue.

Cost me quite a bit of skin on my right knee, one frame slider, all of my gear, and the rest of my trip was done riding in the back seat of a pickup with my bike in the back.
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:38 AM   #2
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Sorry about your crash. Sounds painful, but I'm glad you're alright overall. It sounds like you low sided on the gravel.

You nailed the first issue right off the bat. From the position you linked, that's not an intersection with clear markings and should be approached with caution. It looks like it's supposed to (or once was) a three way stop, but there doesn't appear to be any signs indicating such. Vision is our best weapon against getting caught out, so you probably should have been in the slow lane and slowing way down before that turn. Being in the slow lane probably would have made you set your speed properly and you may have avoided the gravel altogether.

The fact that you cut it from the left lane meant you were trying to carry some speed through the turn, which doesn't always leave a lot of room for error. Were you using any body position in the turn? Being set up properly to the inside of the bike on turns where gravel (or anything else) becomes an issue would allow you to stand the bike up a bit in the turn to reduce slipping and still make it within the lines. I have had a number of slides on gravelly turns where having that extra buffer has caused sliding to be a non-issue.

It's a tough lesson learned, but you will probably now be much more cautious on turns like that. I usually try to stick to path the cars drive as it will be the most clear of debris.
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:52 PM   #3
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Glad you are alright. I've lived in areas that have a lot of those kind of turns. Definitely a gravel trap, and probably a tighter turn than you realized? Slowing down is the best approach, or give up on the turn if it looks wonky and go straight, then turn around when you can.
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Old 11-30-2018, 04:19 AM   #4
zixaq
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Originally Posted by danate View Post
Sorry about your crash. Sounds painful, but I'm glad you're alright overall. It sounds like you low sided on the gravel.

You nailed the first issue right off the bat. From the position you linked, that's not an intersection with clear markings and should be approached with caution. It looks like it's supposed to (or once was) a three way stop, but there doesn't appear to be any signs indicating such. Vision is our best weapon against getting caught out, so you probably should have been in the slow lane and slowing way down before that turn. Being in the slow lane probably would have made you set your speed properly and you may have avoided the gravel altogether.

The fact that you cut it from the left lane meant you were trying to carry some speed through the turn, which doesn't always leave a lot of room for error. Were you using any body position in the turn? Being set up properly to the inside of the bike on turns where gravel (or anything else) becomes an issue would allow you to stand the bike up a bit in the turn to reduce slipping and still make it within the lines. I have had a number of slides on gravelly turns where having that extra buffer has caused sliding to be a non-issue.

It's a tough lesson learned, but you will probably now be much more cautious on turns like that. I usually try to stick to path the cars drive as it will be the most clear of debris.
I guess it wasn't clear from the picture, but there's normally only one lane of travel on that road. The right lane only appears a few hundred feet before the intersection, so the left lane was just the only lane up until the last minute, so I just turned in from where I was. One car a bit in front of me but nobody behind. I had my body positioned to the inside, but the speed I was at was super casual for that turning radius.

But yeah, gravel is much more of a regular issue out in the middle parts of the country, and I go into corners kinda spooked now. Lesson learned. I think I was a bit spoiled by the good bay area roads where gravel is mostly a non issue.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:14 AM   #5
Gary856
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You pointed out 2 issues that are common around the Bay too:

1. Excessive speed entering an unexpected side road -
Two locations that caught me off guard more than once.

- Hwy 1 going north from Davenport, turning right onto Gazos Creek Rd.

- Hwy 92 going uphill from Half Moon Bay, turning right onto 35 Skyline.

Even when I knew the turn-off was coming up, it often felt like it was suddenly there and I was going faster than I should. You just have to make a mental note to slow down enough ahead of time. When you're truly surprised, rather than forcing the turn from high speed like some cagers do at freeway splits, it may be safer to keep straight and make a u-turn to get back on track.

2. The gravel "triangle" at intersections -
I've been caught by unexpected slides (at lower speed, probably around 30-40 mph) due to this at least a half dozen times, a few times at night. Once you start paying attention and look for it, you'd see it everywhere, practically at all intersections. Again, make a mental note to follow the path of typical vehicle traffic to avoid most of it. And when you do get into a slide, it's important to maintain the throttle, stay relaxed (keep looking thru the turn, keep arms loose, make gentle/slow moves to correct steering) and try to ride thru it.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:30 AM   #6
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Scott.

So you were making the right turn in the view?

Hard to tell if 60 was too fast.., but impossible to judge the radius of the turn until you really get there and it does open up. I was not there so really

Bummer on the trip being ended that way. Glad your OK.
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