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  (#1)
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Join Date: October 1, 2002
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July 18, 2003, 01:18 PM

On my way home from B&N last night I was riding down Georgetown Pike behind a cage and a near incident with road kill got me thinking. Thought I'd share my thoughts and get some others.

The road has one lane in each direction (undivided) and I was riding in the middle of the lane behind a car, when all of a sudden, I notice a giant dead raccoon emerge from under the back bumper of the car. I have never made such a quick manuever on a bike ever, but somehow manage to throw my bike around the road kill. After that little incident I started thinking about what happened and how I could have avoided the situation all together.

First, I realized that I was only keeping a 2 second margin between me and the car in front of me. It seemed like plenty of room, but when you think about how long it will take you to see something and make the bike move to avoid it, it really is not a lot of time. Second, I realized that the car in front of me is much more likely to straddle road kill than run over it with it's wheels, so I thought it would make a little bit of sense to stay in the cars wheel tracks, rather than riding the center of the lane.

One thing that I have a habit of doing when riding at night (which I think is probably a good thing) is, I tend to try to look at the road in front of the car in front of me when taking a turn. Taking advantage of that car's headlights usually lets me see more of the road and let's me see road hazards sooner. Not to mention, it forces me to look through the turn. This habit wouldn't have helped me with this roadkill since it was on a straight away, but I thought I'd was a good idea, and wondered what others thought.

The thing that really amazed me is how quickly I flicked the bike around the huge lump of roadkill. I often practice this, but never quite as quickly as I did it this time. Honestly, it was total instinct that took over. There was no thinking, it was simple reaction, and afterwards I was thinking to myself "How the hell did I do that?" I started experimenting and realized that I either just quickly flicked the bars to the left (to lean the bike right) and then back to the right while keeping my body upright or perhaps even throwing my body left a little, allowing the wheels to pass the road kill on the left. In other words, flicking the bike to the right but not committing my body to a right turn forced the wheels out to the left and around the raccoon. It is also possible that I did a very slight and quick flick of the bars to the right first just to get some momentum built up in one direction to increase the effect in the other direction.

I am not doing a very good job of explaining this, but I would recommend getting out there and practicing evasive maneuvers like this so that when you need it, it's there without thinking.

Please feel free to share your thoughts. I'm won't be upset if what I have said is wrong or you disagree, I'd really like to hear others ideas, thoughts, opinions.

Cheers!

[Edited on 7/18/2003 by rddy]
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July 18, 2003, 01:21 PM

great advice


nicey
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July 18, 2003, 01:33 PM

I saw the same groundhog on my way back. Luckly for me, I saw it coming.

I tend to always follow in the left wheel tack of the car in front of me. It's instict for drivers to straddle road kill and potholes. They don't want to hit them anymore than we do, so as long as you're not riding their taillights you should be well prepared to miss most road hazards.

I'm always watching for deer and having a car in front of you greatly increases the chance of seeing them. Don't forget that your bike has highbeams too, just be considerate to those around you.

As for swerving, I find quick countersteering works bests. This will dip the bike quickly and if you are comfortable on your bike, your instincts will take over, your body will compensate and before you know it you'll be past the obsticle wondering what just happened.

$0.02


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July 18, 2003, 02:01 PM

Dave,

good advice and good point

I also follow the cars left tire ...not only because of this reason but mainly because i know the cagers are more likely to see me in their left mirror and their rear view if I am in this position behind them, that AND i can see around them to the cagers and/or road infront of them ..

as far as practicing..i have been tooling around going at a pretty high rate of speed and just imagining something in the road and flicking the bike around it..or making sure no cars are around on a long straight road and dodging the white dotted lines...slalom

ofcourse i ONLY do this if there is NO traffic on a secluded road


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July 18, 2003, 02:04 PM

Quote:
as far as practicing..i have been tooling around going at a pretty high rate of speed and just imagining something in the road and flicking the bike around it..or making sure no cars are around on a long straight road and dodging the white dotted lines...slalom

ofcourse i ONLY do this if there is NO traffic on a secluded road
Good, them I'm not the only one!:laugh:
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July 18, 2003, 02:12 PM

I do that little flicking thing a lot for potholes and manhole and gas covers.

It really is all the the handle bars, letting the bike come out from under you on one side and the obstacle bass right under you. You stay in the same relative position to the road.

That way, when you take pressure of the handle bars, the bike almost automatically comes back.
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July 18, 2003, 02:28 PM

Quote:

so I thought it would make a little bit of sense to stay in the cars wheel tracks, rather than riding the center of the lane.

One thing that I have a habit of doing when riding at night (which I think is probably a good thing) is, I tend to try to look at the road in front of the car in front of me when taking a turn. Taking advantage of that car's headlights usually lets me see more of the road and let's me see road hazards sooner. Not to mention, it forces me to look through the turn.
[Edited on 7/18/2003 by rddy]
These things you've listed above just above sums it up for me. A car would usually tap on their brakes/turn the wheel before running over something and of course if they do run over something, you'll see it and these things give me the necessary fraction of a second more to react to the situation.



[Edited on 18/7/2003 by f4irider]


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July 19, 2003, 02:01 PM

Quote:
One thing that I have a habit of doing when riding at night .. is, I tend to try to look at the road in front of the car in front of me ...
This is a good thing to do during the daytime, too.

How do you think most rear endings happen? The person in back is "zoning" and only watching the car directly in front of him and is probably following too closely. You're much more prepared to react to things when you notice that the cars 2 or 3 in front of you are swerving, braking, whatever.

I also don't ride dead center of the lane. My lane position depends on the road setup. I do try to pick the most visible place. I don't care if the person in front of me sees me riding behind him/her (unless they're hogging the HOV lane ) I care more about the person next to me seeing me... or the person waiting to turn left across my lane... or the person waiting to turn into my lane. Also, the center of the lane tends to be where most of the oily nasty crap gets dropped from vehicles. Would not want to have to do an emergency stop in the center of a lane. The tire tracks tend to be clearer of debris since the debris tends to get thrown out of the way.

For the record... I HATE riding at night. I have poor night vision to begin with and since having the laser surgery, I've discovered it's worse. Plus it doesn't help having a scraped up visor.

I do feel much better riding behind a car at night tho, because the car's lights help illuminate better and because if there is a deer jumping out... it'll take out the car and not me (or so I hope).


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  (#9)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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July 23, 2003, 11:53 AM

add pivot steering to your flick and youll be able to dodge a refrigerator with that 2 second buffer
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July 27, 2003, 05:13 AM

Dave, I'm 100% with ya on that....I do the same thing...sometimes not fast enough though (remember that $470 pot hole? AKA- rear-rim-killa)....then again, sometimes it's just easier to teach the stupid dead animal a leason.....sucka :laugh:


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  (#11)
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August 7, 2003, 08:21 AM

Gracias amigo!!!!


R1 , 2001
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April 30, 2005, 10:55 AM

I know this is an old post, but its good to go over posts that are worth while to remind you of the simple things we sometimes take for granted. Especially since we ALL are consistently learning.


RICO

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  (#13)
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April 30, 2005, 11:23 AM

Yep. Here's a video of a similar incident (me on the beltway near the 270 split) ... but I'm not so lucky.

http://home.comcast.net/~tflanders3/Jerk.wmv

So ...

- If you leave the "proper" distance in front of you ... people cut in. So I don't think that's a good approach.

- Riding on the left side of the lane is best (I think).

- Riding on the right side of the lane is second best ... esp if you are gonna be changing lanes a lot.


- Rat

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April 30, 2005, 12:21 PM

Your name wouldn't be... Dick... would it???



Damn - sorry Pat - a squirrel did that to me in Feb. Was only going about 40 though.

Nice vid though...


04 600RR - SOLD

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  (#15)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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December 6, 2005, 09:33 AM

Many times Iíll shift tire lanes behind a vehicle, but I generally path the cagers left wheel lane; so my light is hitting two mirrors and Iím riding over a (generally) cleared path. I'll also try and stay 3-4 seconds behind, or just so my headlamp beam rides the road just under their vehicles (as to see any hazards they will straddle over with their 4 wheels), then they will also usually do a slight swerve to avoid road kill anyway so that clues me in as well to an upcoming hazard.

Sometimes I'll just do a flick of high-beam if I think the cager in front is becoming inattentive of me in the rear.

But hard counter-steers are the essence to avoiding those things that just pop out.


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