getting knocked out of your limits

Discussion in 'Bay Area Bikers' started by Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    I've been riding my big R1100GS for about nine years now. I've tried to
    ride conservatively, but I've also practiced fast maneuvers with things
    like making snappy lane changes on otherwise empty roads. Years ago I
    took one of HWMNBN's dirt riding classes, and that did add something to
    my traction-control skills. About a year ago I replaced the shocks on my
    bike, and then rode a similar loaner with flabby stockers and I could
    tell the difference, which says something about how well I sense what
    the bike does.

    And while not riding, I've thought about riding and discussed it
    occasionally on these newsgroups. (There's also that FAQ thing I
    maintain.) I'm not an expert, but I'm ... pretty good, maybe. Much of
    the discussion is about riding within your limits. Tonight I got pushed
    past my limits, and I live to tell the tale.

    For the past month or so I've been riding a long commute to work on that
    road from hell, 101 in the SF Bay Area, and getting a lot of
    lanesplitting practice in. Yesterday was a weird day: headwinds the
    whole way and plenty of people doing maybe 60 in the left lane,
    oblivious to the traffic they're blocking. Today was weird, too; more
    than the usual number of people not permitting lanesplitters.

    One car had been signalling to change lanes right from 1 to 2, but there
    was no place to go, so I passed anyway. Did I sense the car steering
    toward me? I dunno; maybe I accelerated, but it ended up trying to do
    that cop maneuver on me: hit my left saddlebag, pushing me into the #2
    lane. Unfortunately, the front of the bike kissed a pickup truck in the
    #2 lane, which pushed my front wheel to the left. So my bike was going
    in all kinds of directions; I don't remember the details. I was way the
    hell out of my comfortable limits. I felt out of control, but I managed
    to keep it upright. It was one of those Zen moments like when I'm
    playing hockey and exactly the right movement happens without conscious
    thought and I make the save. I made the save on this one...

    I signalled left, pulled into the breakdown lane, and put the bike on
    its side stand. The offending car followed me and parked. No one was
    hurt and we agreed to exchange information. I'll inspect the bike fully
    in daylight tomorrow.

    I was taught that a turn signal is a request for permission to change
    lanes. In this case it was a signal of intent to change lanes, so get
    out of the way! Do I allow someone who's got their signal on for a while
    to prevent me passing? Probably a toot of the horn or a flash of the
    brights would have been appropriate.

    But the fact remains that the car hit the back end of my bike with its
    front fender. Clearly she did not look when making the change. Sigh.
    Gotta watch out for the idiots.

    (It will be interesting to read the responses from the "Skill alone will
    save me from unforeseen events" crowd. I do not consider myself a highly
    skilled rider. I'm pretty good ... maybe.)
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
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  2. Timberwoof

    oasysco Guest

    Your years of experience and training obviously paid off. There's no
    other way to explain it when unconscious acitvities take over and save
    your axx, unless of course, your a bible-believing man and would care
    to join the discussion on abortion in that other thread :)-

    Living where lane splitting brings a reckless driving charge, I'd
    probably have been a statistic if I were in your shoes.

    Anyway, good post to remind us of the importance of practice for those
    times when there's no time for conscious thought and the only thing
    that matters is reflexes.

    oasysco, Oct 27, 2007
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  3. Timberwoof

    oasysco Guest

    Oh yeah, I just wanted to add... I'll bet you just increased your
    limit tonight.

    oasysco, Oct 27, 2007
  4. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    Heh. Well, maybe I know now that my limit is further out than I thought
    it was, which is a good thing... but but the cop fender-push maneuver is
    still outside my limits. Safeword! Safeword! Where's the DM?! Safeword!
    }: ) ;-)
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  5. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    I just tell them I'm gay and then they change their mind about
    abortions ... retroactive ones, anyway.
    Well, maybe not. The same thing coulda happened to a bike not
    lanesplitting if some doof made a very bad lane change.
    Yep ... and that mindfulness on the task at hand matters in setting up
    for those kinds of situations. I shoudla...
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  6. Timberwoof

    Bike Guy Joe Guest

    Glad you and the "adventure" bike made it out relatively unscathed.
    Adventure comes in all forms on all roads.

    From what you've stated, she thought she had the right to put on the
    signal and force the turn. However, if that was the case, she could
    have waited until you were clear at least....I'm guessing she thought
    you were a "clear space" in traffic and never saw you.

    Maybe you should uncork that exhaust. ;^)
    Bike Guy Joe, Oct 27, 2007
  7. Timberwoof

    barb Guest

    Heh, reminds me of a similar thing in downtown SD. Guy merged into my
    lane without looking, so I hit the horn and he swerved back. At the
    light, he yelled, "You didn't have to honk at me, I didn't SEE you!"

    Which makes me wonder what he thinks horns are audio flipoff?

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my page! (thanks, R. Hill!)
    barb, Oct 27, 2007
  8. Timberwoof

    Ken Abrams Guest

    Several things bother me about this story (some of my assumptions may not
    be correct).

    Lane splitting at 60 mph ??? Maybe legal but not wise or safe.

    Following too close at 60 mph??? Not legal OR safe. Should have been at
    least 3 car lengths in front of you.

    Not "allowing" someone to change lanes in front of you ???? Stupid. What
    are you going to gain by NOT "allowing" it.

    Bottom line is: wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong attitude. Only
    by the Grace of God are you alive today.

    If you seriously think you are completely without fault in this story AND
    you think your riding skill is what saved you, you'd better be sure your
    affairs are in order 'cause you are going to end up being bug-splat sooner
    or later.
    Ken Abrams, Oct 27, 2007
  9. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    There was half a mile or a mile of empty highway in front of these
    clumps of cars and traffic was packed up behind them. Yes, they were
    blocking traffic. Slower traffic is supposed to keep right; people
    aren't supposed to impede the flow of traffic.
    I did not make it clear that "Highway speeds" in this case meant 20 mph.
    I don't split at 60. If I see some biker coming up behind me splitting
    at that speed, I move over so he can pass.
    Maybe you can explain how to slow down from 25 to 60.
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  10. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    I'm going to have to amend my post. This was at night. But all three of
    my bike's headlights were on (low beams).
    I've done that ... but it only works if they see you and pay attention.
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  11. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    Yep. That's where I erred. }: (
    Thanks. :whew:
    Her husband did most of the talking.
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  12. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    The driver said she'd been signaling the turn; I pointed out that she
    should have looked and that since there was no room for her to change
    lanes into, she should not have tried.

    The learned wisdom is to watch out for empty spaces for people will try
    to get into them. I'll emphasize watching out for people who have been
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  13. I sometimes beep the horn while passing those who have obviously overlooked
    leaving their turn signal flashing and have wished for a universally
    understood hand sign I could use instead. I will begin using the one you
    describe and hope that others will, too. Thanks!
    Michael R. Kesti, Oct 27, 2007
  14. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    No. I was not clear in my description. Traffic was moving at ~20 MPH; I
    was doing ~25 mph. I do not lanesplit faster than ~40.

    You misread my question. Let's say it's dense traffic moving at ~20 MPH
    and I'm splitting at ~25. There's a car that wants to get over, but
    there's no gap for it to get into. Should I wait for it to make the lane
    change ... effectively riding between lanes at the same speed as the
    I don't fully agree with you assessment.
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  15. Timberwoof

    Rich Guest

    I've used it for years, but I'd guess that it has worked in less than
    10% of the cases.

    Rich, Urban Biker
    Rich, Oct 27, 2007
  16. Timberwoof

    Ken Abrams Guest

    IIRC, someone else said the California statute regarding lane splitting
    reads something like "when safe to do so". IMHO, any speed above about 5
    mph should be considered unsafe and I've heard that some CHIPs agree and
    ticket for same. Haven't heard if they stick or not.
    As opposed to what? Running up beside them, as you did, and getting KILLED
    Not a prudent choice in my book.
    No surprise there.
    Ken Abrams, Oct 27, 2007
  17. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest


    I don't think they have DSL in the Undiscovered Country.
    Timberwoof, Oct 27, 2007
  18. Timberwoof

    Thumper Guest

    MAN, were you lucky.


    Thumper, Oct 27, 2007
  19. Timberwoof

    Calgary Guest

    First and most important I am glad you are ok. From the sounds of it,
    it could have been much worse.

    I have no experience with lane splitting. It's not legal here, nor is
    it a common practice. I do know if there is a vehicle in the adjacent
    lane I am riding in, signaling an intent to change lanes, I give them
    a pretty wide berth. Without an escape lane or route I wouldn't be
    passing them.

    That said it's too easy to second guess this kind of stuff. I am glad
    you were able to keep it upright and didn't get hurt.
    Calgary, Oct 28, 2007
  20. Timberwoof

    Timberwoof Guest

    There's a lot this stupid redneck doesn't understand, like the
    difference between "yesterday" and "today". I wonder who pissed in his
    Cheerios yesterday and today; he's been unusually vindictive in his
    posts. Maybe he's mad because he's not allowed to lanesplit.
    Timberwoof, Oct 28, 2007
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