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Almost crashed: two in one night special
November 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm #2389
So I had the extreme displeasure of almost crashing TWICE last night, thanks to the chuckleheads here who think the street is their living room or something. The first near miss happened about 50 blocks from my apartment. I was crusing down Central Park West at around 40mph or so, when this jaywalking douchebag sees me coming and STOPS in the middle of the street. Naturally, I slowed down before I passed him, but as soon as I’m around 10 feet away he starts WALKING again right into my path!! I couldn’t really swerve as I thought he might decide to go back the way he came or something so I ended up locking up the rear brake and doing a little wiggle. He mumbled some kind of apology and walked off and I continued on my way to H and H bagels. Then around 40 blocks further downtown a white stretch limo decides to cut me off, then slowed way the fuck down to like 20mph right in front of me. There were cars on my right and parked cars on my left, so I had no choice but to lock up the brakes FOR THE SECOND TIME that night. This time was much, much worse though and my bike actually started to fishtail and weave so badly that it felt like I was in a slalom course or something. Weirdly enough I wasn’t panicked, I just kind of matter of factly thought, “I’m going to go down now”. Luckily I held my grip on the brakes until the bike leveled out (after 10 agonizing fucking seconds) and the fucktard limo driver switched into another lane. I really wanted to kick his door in for almost killing me, but I ended up just giving him the finger as I passed. I pulled off to get some tea (a valium would have been nicer) and as the adrenalin wore off, the fear kicked in. If I had gone down on 7th avenue I could have easily been hit by a car, destroyed my bike (and possibly done some damage to a parked car or god forbid a pedestrian), When I got back on the bike I felt really uncomfortable and paranoid. It seemed like all the confidence I had built up in the past few weeks had withered away to nothing and I was back to feeling like I did that first awkward week on the bike. I thought about calling it a night and going home, but I knew that I would feel defeated and that feeling would be there tomorrow as well. So I kept riding. I started to feel a bit more comfortable again, but was acutely aware of the dangers of city traffic now. Thinking back on my rides over the past few weeks I decided that I had been a bit overconfident in traffic to compensate for the fear and that I NEEDED to stop riding like I was invincible, and start paying attention more to what’s going on around me. Hopefully I’ll find a happy medium soon.
I’m also buying a full face helmet (I’ve been riding with an open face Arai with a face shield), Icon Field Armor Knee and shin guards, boots (been riding in sneakers), riding pants, and an armored shirt like the Alpine Stars Bionic 2 under high quality leather.November 30, 2008 at 5:30 pm #15081MunchParticipant
Sorry to hear about that. However…..welcome back to reality. Just a reminder that WE ARE INVISIBLE….not invincible. Good job on saddling back up. Even better job on staying on that back break til stopping. As long as you stay centered…that wiggle will be the most you get throw the weight a lil….. down ya go. Just like bicycles and dirt bikes.
I know the frustration part myself. Thanksgiving day on my lil road trip I was coming down a “highway” and had to turn off into a neighborhood to get to the scenic part of my travel… had plenty of room behind me to the next vehicle to make the turn safely … atleast SHOULD have been enough. The side we were on is 2 lanes…ofcourse I am in the right hand….. the turn is at the bottom of a hill. I turn on my signal at the top of the hill to let the Pick up a 1/4 mile back have plenty of time to see. Get to the bottom of the hill and I swear the bastid sped up to try and catch me…. I dive into the turn when I see the loose gravel in the middle of the turn…. in the split second Oh Shit moment I can remember three thoughts….. The bikes gonna lay down, IF the bike lays down I am walking that Ford Ranger down and making a widow outta some woman and final thought was….. don’t put foot down straighten up. Luckily the last part kicked in and won the coin toss.
Greatfully the rest of the ride was gorgeous and calming and most importantly…..nothing went down but my blood pressure.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hNovember 30, 2008 at 5:51 pm #15082JimParticipant
Can’t imagine riding a bike in Manhattan traffic dude. Hey did you say you lived in Phillipines or Thailand?November 30, 2008 at 6:26 pm #15083eonParticipant
Glad you survived your incidents without any damage to yourself or the bike, and I’m glad you are now getting serious about your gear. I guess I will be the first to state the obvious, you need to practice your emergency stops. That limo may have cut you off but you were the one who almost lost control of the bike. If you hadn’t hit the rear brake too hard would this incident been anything other than an annoyance?
Don’t mean to dump on you, I appreciate you posting your experiences on here. We can all learn from situations like this. Speaking of which, I think I will go practice my braking. Something I don’t really do enough of.November 30, 2008 at 6:37 pm #15084
I do need to get my skills up a bit on emergency braking…but I am pretty sure if I didn’t lock the wheel I would have hit the limo. As it was I was only about 4 feet behind the limo when I was wiggling. Luckily I had both brakes going and not just the front as I would have definitely highsided without the rear.November 30, 2008 at 6:55 pm #15085
I actually think riding in Manhattan is much, much safer than riding in most suburbs or in the country.
I feel LESS safe when I am riding in Brooklyn or the suburbs.
Think about it:
It’s very well lit.
Speed limit is 30mph, people do maybe 50mph on the avenues, 60mph or so on the West Side Highway/FDR
There are stop lights at every intersection.
I never have to worry about some yahoo pulling out of a driveway or parking lot.
Most Manhattan drivers are either very skilled (cabbies) or very cautious(bridge and tunnel crowd) and very few inexperienced drivers
There are cops everywhere
Compare that to the suburbs:
Speed limits outside of small towns are usually over 30
There are parking lots and driveways EVERYWHERE
Stop signs instead of Stoplights
There are more little old ladies/kids driving
Of course, our traffic is way, way more chaotic and there are a lot more cars, which can be more dangerous at times, but as long as you maintain your position and use your SONAR (aka the horn) it can be quite safe.
I was only in Thailand for 2 months. One month on a scooter but out in the country, never in Bangkok. You have to be a Buddhist or a masochist to drive in BK!December 1, 2008 at 2:29 am #15089dcJohnParticipant
Glad you’re ok! I was in NYC over the weekend, walking around with the family, and I thought of you and learning to ride on those city streets. DC and Baltimore have their own flavors of traffic insanity, but neither reach the bad behavior and idiocy I saw by drivers and pedestrians in NYC. I’d say the move to a full-face helmet is a very good idea.December 1, 2008 at 2:42 am #15090boulevardboyParticipant
Just made a long-ish post and then lost it – so here goes again!
Glad you and your bike are both OK and thanks for the post as it is a good reminder to go out there and practise those all important stopping skills in the safety of a parking lot. I know that I should go out there and do it before too long.
I think that the good thing about ridning a motorcycle is that it can up your attention while you are in the car as well though.December 1, 2008 at 6:49 pm #15100AnonymousGuest
If you used your front brake to its full potential, you would not have locked your rear wheel. You said it lasted for around 10 seconds. Expert driver can stop the bike from 60 to 0 in somewhat more than 3 seconds. The average one should not need more than 5. So fast were you going? Or was it that you weren’t using your brakes even close to their potential?
Didn’t mean to come on to you, just to point that there’s always need for practice.December 1, 2008 at 10:18 pm #15103eonParticipant
By locking the wheel you increased your stopping distance. The shortest way to stop is to brake just up to the point you lose traction (which is what ABS systems are designed to do).December 2, 2008 at 12:48 am #15104
Thanks. It can be a bit intimidating, but I try not to think about it too much and just ride. I’ve been primarily riding late at night when the traffic is much, much lighter…of course visibility does become an issue, but I feel like I am building confidence and skills on the bike at night so I will be a bit better prepared for the gnarly stuff during the day. I’m also learning pretty quickly what streets to avoid. Broadway for example seems appealing because it’s only 2 lanes, but there’s a median with trees that blocks visibility. Also, TONS of double parked cars and people trying to dart out between them. Ditto for Park Avenue, a shame because it’s such a lovely avenue when traffic is light. The 4 lane avenues, 1st, 10th, 11th, seem more intimidating at first, but I’ve come to realize they are in fact safer in some respects because you have great visibility, and there are almost no peds brave enough to jaywalk through4 lanes of traffic. Luckily, I live only a few blocks to Riverside drive, which is only 2 lanes, but bordered by Riverside park to the West so no left turners! A lovely bendy road too with some amazing sights.December 3, 2008 at 9:14 pm #15120RabParticipant
Been there, done that. Last week was the last time actually.
Riding along 101 through South San Francisco in the dark at ~75 mph in the fast lane when this idiot in a big van decides to pull out from the suddenly slowed middle lane, into my path at about 5-10 mph.
Shit !!! Full on with the brakes, I hear the rubber screeching and feel the back end slide out a little and that van’s getting very, very close.
I’m going to hit it, no doubt in my mind (like you, not scared, just resigned to it). Fortunately, the back wheel came back in line at which point, auto-pilot kicked-in and without thinking, I swerved around him on the left side (between the van and the concrete wall).
Lesson learned, slow down when you’re in a clear lane and the lane next to you is slow or stopped as they won’t be able to resist coming into your clear lane and will (a) not look properly (or at all) to see if the lane is clear before moving in (b) see you and underestimate your speed or (c) see you and not give a shit ‘coz they’re in a big safe SUV or truck.
I’m a fairly experienced rider now and commute year round by motorcycle. I don’t know it all, but I know that although we can learn to ride defensively (although not many of us do in my experience of watching others), there is always the possibility of some stupid shit trying to kill you and there may be nothing you can do about avoiding such experiences.
Fortunately, I’ve only been in that situation a handful of times, and the more experience I get, the fewer surprises I get.
For the motorcycle commuters amongst us out there, be safe, not fast, you’re only going to work after all…December 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm #15121megaspazParticipant
Being safe and being fast are not mutually exclusive, imo.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…December 3, 2008 at 10:27 pm #15122RabParticipant
“Being safe and being fast are not mutually exclusive, imo”.
Not mutually exclusive, but more of the latter reduces the former; no doubt about it.December 4, 2008 at 5:23 am #15126megaspazParticipant
only if the latter is excessive for the given the given rider’s skill level and road conditions… yes, i kinda feel like arguing…
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…
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