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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not five minutes into my ride, a truck turning left hit me. Overall, it wasn't too bad but here's my story.

Some background. This was my first bike, 07 GSX-R600. I started riding in January of last year, so I only have over a year of experience and 13.5k mi.

The forecasted blizzard yesterday in Colorado turned out to be a fluke of just 4 in. of snow. Today, it was around 32 degrees and the roads were dry and snow-free, so I decided to go on a ride - like I do every ridable day. I had on all my gear: helmet, jacket, a second jacket, gloves and liner, full race boots, knee guards, & kelvar jeans. I then headed out onto the main road next to my neighborhood.

I reached this intersection and was hit by a trucking making a left turn.

I live near this intersection, so I know never to make a left turn here because of the non-stop traffic. You really have to wait a long time for the right-of-way. So, I was heading east and was focusing on another car about to make a left turn into the shopping center (like the white car in the photo). That car stopped after noticing me. Suddenly, another left-hand turner, the truck coming out of the shopping center made his left turn. This I was not expecting because his right-of-way was after me and the first left-hand turner. I didn't even look that way.

Well, he came out to the intersection and stopped on my lane. I braked but was not able to stop in time; the right-front of my bike hit his bumper, and I dropped the bike on the left side. During my emergency braking, I did lock up the rear - man, that didn't take much. I don't know if it was me, but I felt there was a little gravel on the road during my stop. Also, it didn't feel like I used enough front brakes (had always put off my e-braking practice).

Here's a photo of my zip-tie.

Can somebody comment regarding whether I used enough front brakes because this is the only thing that bothers me - whether I could have stopped in time. Whether I used enough front brakes or not, I couldn't really tell at time. I can tell you one thing, it was difficult to consider going around the truck on the left side when the truck was still creeping and you don't know if it was going to stop. If I had done that, the result would have been a head-on with the other left-turner that had stopped, so stopping was my only option.

The driver was a nice dude with his wife. He's a rider and even he said what everybody else says in such situations - I didn't see you. I didn't get angry and just laughed it off. He was insured and admitted fault. Also, I got the information of an eyewitness who saw everything. Damages to the bike aren't bad. Only injury was my right middle finger.

Before:

After:



The Shogun frame slider and spool really minimized the cosmetic damages on the left side, but there were still some small scratches on the fairing and scuffs on the mirror.



Only injury:


The riding season for me never really ended, but now I will be out of commission for a while. Depending on the insurance settlement, I might rebuild, track it, or look at the V-Strom.
 

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Well, that really is about the best outcome from a bad situation. Glad to hear you're relatively okay, that the guy admitted fault, and that there was an eye-witness. All very good things.

What was the zip tie there for? Was that just for you to see how far your front forks compressed?

I don't really have much useful advice for you concerning whether or not you applied enough brake. I'm sure someone with more experience than me will chime in and provide a better answer.

How fast were you going before you started emergency braking? How fast do estimate you were going when you hit him (because I'm sure you had plenty of time to look down at the speedometer before impact, right? :eek:nfloor)?
 

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As far as the braking, it is hard to tell. I would say yes, but that also depends on how your suspension is set up for you as a rider, if the front is too soft then you may not have been able to brake as hard as you possibly could. Either way, based on suspension travel, I'd say you probably did a pretty good job.

You say you felt like there may have been gravel? Was that feedback from the front or the rear? The reason I ask is because, as you pointed out, the rear locked up relatively easy. While braking, this transfers weight to the front and lightens the load on the rear tire, which makes the rear much easier to lock up. Did the rear seem to feel like it was skipping a little bit? If so, then this is more likely due to very light load on the rear rather than gravel because gravel would have also influenced the front tire under such heavy braking situations.

Glad to see you came out of it alright and that it doesn't seem like it was your fault. Sounds like you kept a pretty level head, and I hope you get the bike fixed up and rideable fast! Remember, in colder weather people definitely are not expecting motorcycles to be out, so ride more cautiously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You say you felt like there may have been gravel? Was that feedback from the front or the rear? The reason I ask is because, as you pointed out, the rear locked up relatively easy. While braking, this transfers weight to the front and lightens the load on the rear tire, which makes the rear much easier to lock up. Did the rear seem to feel like it was skipping a little bit? If so, then this is more likely due to very light load on the rear rather than gravel because gravel would have also influenced the front tire under such heavy braking situations.
That was feedback from the rear, don't recall with the front except I didn't feel too much compression. You're definitely correct with the lightened load on the rear making it easy to lock up. Will probably start to forget about it and focus completely on the front next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What was the zip tie there for? Was that just for you to see how far your front forks compressed?

How fast were you going before you started emergency braking? How fast do estimate you were going when you hit him (because I'm sure you had plenty of time to look down at the speedometer before impact, right? :eek:nfloor)?
Yes, too see how much compression I'm getting out of them. I was definitely traveling the speed limit at 40 because I usually slow down there while looking at the first left-turner.
 

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Basically, if the rear wheel didn't come off the ground, or the front tire lock up, you didn't use all the front brake you could.

You see the problem with the rear brake under emergency braking - you have a whole lot of other things going on in that moment, and it is giving you less and less help as you stop harder and harder.

Glad you're pretty much ok!

KeS
 

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Just my 2-cents as to what to do with the bike, if his insuance is going to total your bike(might be likely because cosmetic damage adds up and they price how much it will cost to make your bike perfect again) have them take your bike and give you the cash value.

My roommate got hit in a similar situation and the driver admitted fault. The other drivers insurance company valued his bike based on what it would cost from a dealership + the added fees for tax title and license + an adjustment for mileage accumulation. His bike was a 2006 or 07 ninja 250r and they gave him about $4k for it. It was allstate insurance btw.

Take pics of your damaged gear and print out the retail value from an online retailer, so they can replace that. Send pics of your finger and any medical forms from the er or whatever, as they will reimburse you for your copays and give you pain and suffering money. Also document any work you have to miss, because they should pay you for that.

Glad to hear you are ok, but make sure your are compensated fairly, because itll take awhile to get everything back (the whole process took my roommate about a month). Stay safe man
 

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You didnt use enough front brake. This time of the year is a bad idea to not be practicing safe riding, the roads are not as "clear" as you think. In my area they use a chemicle compound to keep the roads from icing over and sand. Very scary to put yourself in an emergency braking situation, because traction is very unpredictable. You may really benefit from assuming that all vehicles will pull across you and always be on the defense.
 

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Of course, they're always going to say they didn't see you because if they say they did see you, then they're effectively admitting to purposely causing the accident.
 
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I think we should be careful about perpetuating this idea of the rear wheel coming off the ground. Without proper practice (which should be done anyways), it can be difficult to predict how much braking this is vs how much is too much. I know I'd rather have someone else's insurance pay out rather than taking a claim myself from flipping over the handlebars.
 
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There are many situations where the front wheel will slide before the rear wheel comes off the ground, and that is, if that bike can actually do that. I know for a fact my XT660R and XJR1300 won't lift the rear wheel under any circumstance, the front will slide way before that. The SV1Ks will do, as well as the XT660X, but depending on the pavement and traction, sometimes the front wheel will slide.

And forget about the rear brake, in emergency situations it just trouble.
 

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If you're keeping the bike make sure you get the triples clamps, forks and wheel checked to see if they're still straight.



I think we should be careful about perpetuating this idea of the rear wheel coming off the ground. Without proper practice (which should be done anyways), it can be difficult to predict how much braking this is vs how much is too much. I know I'd rather have someone else's insurance pay out rather than taking a claim myself from flipping over the handlebars.
That, and a less experienced person will grab the lever harder. Getting on the brakes too quick disrupts the balance and lifts the rear way faster. I guarentee a more experienced rider can brake harder without upsetting the chassis
 

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There are many situations where the front wheel will slide before the rear wheel comes off the ground, and that is, if that bike can actually do that. I know for a fact my XT660R and XJR1300 won't lift the rear wheel under any circumstance, the front will slide way before that. The SV1Ks will do, as well as the XT660X, but depending on the pavement and traction, sometimes the front wheel will slide.

And forget about the rear brake, in emergency situations it just trouble.
Very good point as well. This is why it is important to practice: unless you know what your bike can do you are just hoping it will when the possible situation comes! Also agree on the rear brake, unless someone has a lot of practice with it, it isn't going to help much in an emergency situation and can actually do more harm than good. If you are someone who can practice and does, then that is different. But we know 95% of riders aren't practicing it up in parking lots.


If you're keeping the bike make sure you get the triples clamps, forks and wheel checked to see if they're still straight.

That, and a less experienced person will grab the lever harder. Getting on the brakes too quick disrupts the balance and lifts the rear way faster. I guarentee a more experienced rider can brake harder without upsetting the chassis
Even experienced riders make this mistake. I did this last year at the track which resulted in a really bad crash for me. But an experienced rider is less likely to make that mistake. For anyone reading, I'd suggest moving your weight forward, to help load the front tire, and gently getting on the brakes, then you can progressively brake harder. I guarantee this will make you be able to stop faster because you aren't disrupting the chassis, suspension, and also allowing the front tire to properly handle the weight. Practice this stuff in a parking lot!
 

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I think we should be careful about perpetuating this idea of the rear wheel coming off the ground. Without proper practice (which should be done anyways), it can be difficult to predict how much braking this is vs how much is too much. I know I'd rather have someone else's insurance pay out rather than taking a claim myself from flipping over the handlebars.
I'm not sure of your point. The OP was asking if he could have braked harder and stopped quicker. The answer was that if the rear didn't lift or the front slide, he could have. That's straightforward and unequivocal physics.

You seem to be suggesting that in some cases it's better to go ahead and run into someone rather than risk crashing yourself by endoing. That's opening a huge can of worms about riding behavior and tactics, is that where you intended to go?

Or are you suggesting another way for riders to know when they are doing max braking, like trailing the rear slightly so they can feel it lock rather than wait for the rear to come up? (I actually do this.)

KeS
 

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Glad to hear that your first off was not too too horrible. Psychologically ones first accident on a bike can be pretty off putting. It makes you aware in an experential sense how dangerous riding is and how exposed one is to the stupidty and ignorance of other vehicle drivers.

I can say wholeheartedly, that when you get thrown off the horse, it is important to get back on. So get back on.

Regards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There are many situations where the front wheel will slide before the rear wheel comes off the ground, and that is, if that bike can actually do that. I know for a fact my XT660R and XJR1300 won't lift the rear wheel under any circumstance, the front will slide way before that. The SV1Ks will do, as well as the XT660X, but depending on the pavement and traction, sometimes the front wheel will slide.

And forget about the rear brake, in emergency situations it just trouble.
In my mind it felt like the front wasn't gripping that well. It was 32 degrees, the tires weren't warmed up, maybe some gravel in the intersection from the snow in recent days, but I'm just making excuses right now.

I didn't used enough front brakes b/c I should have gotten the rear to life up if I did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Glad to hear that your first off was not too too horrible. Psychologically ones first accident on a bike can be pretty off putting. It makes you aware in an experential sense how dangerous riding is and how exposed one is to the stupidty and ignorance of other vehicle drivers.

I can say wholeheartedly, that when you get thrown off the horse, it is important to get back on. So get back on.

Regards.
I'm glad my first wasn't a major one too. Will definitely be back on soon with a new appreciation of the risks.
 

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Yep. You can imagine getting hit by or hitting a car - but actually doing it can set you back mentally (not to mention physically).
 

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In my mind it felt like the front wasn't gripping that well. It was 32 degrees, the tires weren't warmed up, maybe some gravel in the intersection from the snow in recent days, but I'm just making excuses right now.

I didn't used enough front brakes b/c I should have gotten the rear to life up if I did.
Or slide - in which case you would have probably fallen over. Why did it feel the front wasn't gripping?

KeS
 
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