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Old 03-07-2019, 02:21 PM   #1
Leftbrain
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Cut off in light rain trying to cross Market St (SF)

So, my Versys 650 is new to me, having just stepped up from my Piaggio BV 250 that I've been commuting and trekking on for the last 3 years. It's definitely a different riding experience and I'm looking forward to an upcoming IRC so I can get some guidance on my new bike.

Unfortunately, I already took a spill - I left downtown SF after work to drive into SOMA and the rain started just after I got on the road. I was crossing Market on Hyde St and just as the light turned yellow at the intersection (I was safe to go through), a minivan from the next lane pulls out in front of me to get around a stopped vehicle in her lane, and then I guess she saw the yellow light and slammed on her brakes. I hit my brakes, but I'm not sure I managed to get any rear brake applied before the front wheel locked up - I wasn't traveling fast but I slid on the wet surface and then down hard on my left side. I think I had felt the rear end coming around to my right a bit and I maybe leaned left to counter it and that caused me to go down in that direction, but it happened very quickly. I fractured my foot and bruised my hip, but the rest of me and the bike are ok.

Not sure what to take away from it other than avoiding riding in the rain. I think I have a lot to learn about how the new bike handles, especially while braking. With the BV, I could kind of push my weight around when I needed to make some urgent maneuvers, but the Versys doesn't give much in that way - I need to be a better rider.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:33 PM   #2
ScottRNelson
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If you were presented with the exact same situation again, would you be able to identify the possibility of the driver swerving into your lane? I'm always looking for potential threats and trying to identify them while I can still do something to reduce the hazard.

I would also recommend some parking lot practice on braking. Make repeated stops from 25 mph and measure your stopping distance to see how good you can get and how consistent you can be. You'll learn about 90% of all you need to know about braking from 25 mph. Once you get good at it, do it again on wet pavement to help you with this issue you had in this incident.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:38 AM   #3
Gary856
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There are two components of dealing with traffic - road craft, and bike handling skills.

You've commuted on a scooter for the last 3 years. Do you feel you've developed good road craft - the ability to spot potential trouble early, maneuver for space cushion, position for escape route, cover the brakes, etc.? Weather and traction are parts of the equation, of course. This mental aspect of riding is independent of the bike you ride.

Skill-wise, sounds like you're not proficient with handling a heavier, taller bike with clutch. You can have excellent road craft but if you can't execute what you intend to do, the results are predictable.

Pointing these out to help you analyze what went wrong, and what you need to improve.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:22 PM   #4
295566
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Sounds like you're not used to the stronger brakes of an actual moto if you locked the front wheel up. I'll second the advice of Scott, you really should go to a parking lot and practice your emergency braking, swerving, and low speed skills.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:04 PM   #5
Leftbrain
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Originally Posted by ScottRNelson View Post
If you were presented with the exact same situation again, would you be able to identify the possibility of the driver swerving into your lane? I'm always looking for potential threats and trying to identify them while I can still do something to reduce the hazard.
I saw the potential cut off situation before it happened, but because the road we were on was turning to the left just before the intersection, it wasn't totally apparent to me until right before. Still, I was able to react quickly to avoid the cut off, but what surprised me was that she then decided to come to a full stop anyway. I assumed she was cutting me off (pulling out from behind a vehicle in front of her) in order to get through the intersection like the rest of us, not to then suddenly stop anyway. Between the odd intersection, the somewhat unpredictable behavior of the driver, and the slightly wet road conditions, it was a bit of a perfect storm. More experience with the bike - or even taller, heavier bikes in general - would've made a big difference though.

The advice on practicing braking and general accident avoidance is all well-received. I'm also looking forward to an Intermediate Rider Course in the near future - this month or next.
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:12 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about your get-off.

That intersection is a shit show. Depending on the time of day, the first block of 8th street has merging lanes, tech-bro buses stopping in the right lane, Uber and Lyft stopping in the left lane and a parade of bicyclists coming in from Grove street. Everyone jockeying for position to get down 8th and across Mission can really make a bad scene, and in your case, they were probably starting to make their moves before Market.

It seems perhaps you were taken off guard by the stopping car and the new to you, perhaps more powerful brakes of the bike? As mentioned by a previous post, practicing your braking in a parking lot doesn't hurt. If they're more powerful than your last bike, maybe just using two-fingers can be a solution too. I know MSF frowns on that, but it's a good technique to keep you from grabbing too much.

The chosen road craft, knowing what we know about that intersection could be to slow down on a stale light and wait for the next green. The lanes are wide on Hyde at Market and generally there is plenty of room to split up to the front, opening the options for lane choice on 8th Street, once the green light comes around again.
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leftbrain View Post
Between the odd intersection, the somewhat unpredictable behavior of the driver, and the slightly wet road conditions, it was a bit of a perfect storm.
That's often how crashes are. Five or six different things all going the wrong way at once. The last time I crashed, in 2003, it was like that. If any one of half a dozen things were slightly different it wouldn't have happened.

Still, our goal as safe riders is to find a way to eliminate as many hazards as possible to reduce the odds of everything going in the wrong direction at once and resulting is us going down. In your case, more practice and taking a rider course should help that.
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:46 AM   #8
Twisted007
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Hey there, as someone who also made the move from a scooter, to an 80s motorcycle, to a modern bike (09 Versys 650, so hello there) you just need to spend some time practicing and becoming more acclimated to your new ride and how it brakes/handles. It definitely sounds like the perfect storm of f@ckery put you in an awkward position but that's is totally why we practice, so when something pops up you don't have to think about reacting you just react. Also try not to let this incident come to equate rain riding to dangerous riding in your mind. Rain riding = slower riding or at least allowing more space/time to stop.

+1 to more parking lot practice and learning to practice stops (emergency and normal) with just 2-3 fingers, or whatever is comfortable to your hand. Eventually you're not blinding grabbing but instead finding more nuance to your brake capabilities and giving it only as much brake as you need instead of panic grabbing. I even practice emergency stops when i'm just riding through my neighborhood coming to stop signs. Just make sure to double check your mirrors first so you don't surprise the person behind you and get rear-ended

All that said, I'm happy you're okay. You got a really great bike just in time for spring so if you've already survived this incident you could potentially have a really great year. Just get out there, practice, and watch out for those cagers!
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:03 PM   #9
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I only recently got a bike with ABS and I've had to use my front ABS in the city already...

Not sure I'd ever own a bike without it going forwards... it is 2019.
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