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Old 10th February 2020, 20:08   #1
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Default My first accident and what I learnt from it

I have bought my first bike about a month back. I have been driving for more than 24 years but never knew how to ride, so at 40 years I thought I would buy a bike and learn how to ride it. I had also posted a thread in team bhp and members helped me to select my first bike, which is Yamaha FZS V3 BS VI.

Today I had an accident. I was trying to overtake a tempo traveller who did not give space, and opposite another vehicle was coming, I overtook the TT, swerved left to avoid the oncoming car, and there was gravel, and I fell down. I was immediately taken to hospital. Luckily it was all deep bruises in my knee, both hands and lip and chin. They did X Ray but everything seemed to be fine. I was discharged with bandages.

I am writing this experience thinking it would help fellow members who are in the same state as I am.

1. Overconfidence - I think I was riding more than my skills would allow me to. Normally I try to keep the speed below 40 kmph but not today. I have been driving for long and regularly drive more than 1200 kms a day in highway. I have driven in multiple continents, many solo trips. But I have less than 1000 kms riding experience. I concluded that since I know driving, I can use the same knowledge for riding too, forgetting that bikes behave in a different way. This attempt was risky but doable in car, and cars don't skid in gravel. I would have easily made it in my XUV. But Bikes don't work the same way.

2. Following - Never follow. I had a colleague who rides well, has way more experience and skills. We were late for a meeting, she was riding fast and I just wanted to follow not realizing my skills are not enough.

I had this incident long back in my initial driving days as well. It was night, and I was following one bolero. I was on my safari driving through pothole ridden two lane road. In between the road was passing through a village. In one such intersection the bolero went through, and i tried to follow, only to realize that a cycle has gotten into my path. It was a very low speed impact, nobody was hurt, but it was a mistake to follow without checking.

3. Half Knowledge - I never knew how bikes behave, I just assumed. And I thought since the rear tires of my bike was pretty wide at 140 mm, it won't skid. How wrong I was. Never ride or drive or do anything for that matter, with half knowledge.

4. Riding Gears - I can't stress how important this is. Even if you are going to buy groceries. I had this accident just outside my office complex. My head was unhurt as I was wearing helmet. My chin was hurt because even though I had a full face helmet I was wearing it half face. But because of the helmet elevation, my chin did not scrape badly. If I was wearing the helmet full face I would have been unhurt. I also had a riding jacket which I did not wear.. if I was wearing it, my bicep muscles would have been saved. And I had biker gloves and knee protection which I did not wear again. Had I been wearing it, My hands and knees would have been safe too.

I was extremely lucky to walk out kind of unhurt after hitting the pavement. But it does not happen every day. Hope the above observations will be of help to some new riders.

Ride safe.

Last edited by Sheel : 11th February 2020 at 09:09.
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Old 10th February 2020, 21:36   #2
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So unfortunate. God's grace you survived with minimal injuries. Wish you get well soon.

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Never ride or drive or do anything for that matter, with half knowledge.
Many a times such knowledge cannot be learnt without failing/falling. Thanks for sharing your experience, would be certainly helpful to new riders.

I will add below a list of some of my misadventures and the enlightenment.

1. Dynamics with pillion rider is different, even braking distance changes.
2. Dynamics of scooter is VERY different than a regular bike. For example you cannot take a turn at the same velocity as a regular bike. I have swiped the floor generously and offered free road cleaning.
3. Gravel or thin sand layers that form on roadsides are more lethal than head on collisions.
4. Water spillages on road such as from tankers are more dangerous than rain, because the oil gets washed away during rain but it doesn't in spillages. Instead it emulsifies.
5. Short turning radius vehicles such as Auto rickshaws are the most dreaded ghosts you need to watch out.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 10th February 2020 at 21:42.
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Old 10th February 2020, 23:22   #3
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Default re: My first accident and what I learnt from it

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This attempt was risky but doable in car, and cars don't skid in gravel. I would have easily made it in my XUV.
Please take this as well-intentioned but the move being risky but doable in a car still doesn't mean one should do so in a car. Overtaking should only be done when there is absolutely zero doubt.

In India, a lot of overtakers force the oncoming vehicle to slow down or move left to make space. This is just playing with fire and there is bound to be a day when these people crash. Don't let it be you!
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Old 11th February 2020, 02:58   #4
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Default re: My first accident and what I learnt from it

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I am writing this experience thinking it would help fellow members who are in the same state as I am.
1. Overconfidence -
2. Following -
3. Half Knowledge -
4. Riding Gears - .
You have an excellent attitude to acknowledge the shortcomings that led to the crash. You could have stood there and criticized the govt. for not providing clean roads.

There is a quote that goes something like "Smart people do stupid things. Stupid people don't learn from them"

The important thing here is that riding a motorcycle is inherently risky. A key component in managing this risk is skill and training. One of the things taught in Motorcycle safety training is panic braking, braking on gravel, and jumping across an obstacle. I would say, work on the things you have identified in a controlled environment/quiet road. You probably have a network of local good riders who are eager to help you out. The biker brotherhood is for real!
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
...
Today I had an accident. I was trying to overtake a tempo traveller who did not give space, and opposite another vehicle was coming, I overtook the TT, swerved left to avoid the oncoming car, and there was gravel, and I fell down.
..

Don't be so harsh on yourself.


I have been riding a two wheeler for the past 28 years. I have never had an accident. Had my first fall 2 weeks ago. Like you, was lucky to get away with some deep bruises.


It was a well surfaced road. A lady in front of me was going slowly when the signal ahead was open. I gathered speed, overtook her, only to fall in a pothole, and drag on with the scooter fallen over my leg for around 10 feet. Have a deep bruise on my wrist and leg (despite the shoe). Rest were well protected by helmet/jacket/jeans.


Now, there were lot of good Samaritans who came, lifted me up and the bike. The school there gave me water/dettol etc and directed me to the hospital.
One gentleman even said "nodkond hogbeku saar" (you should be watchful sir).


Not a single person said, damn the authorities, they just plonked a pothole in the middle of a good tarmac. THIS is the problem with our country. We always lay the blame elsewhere. The culprit goes scott free.
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:42   #6
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Default Re: My first accident and what I learnt from it

Many wrongs there Suman but you acknowledging them shows your positive attitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
Today I had an accident. I was trying to overtake a tempo traveller who did not give space, and opposite another vehicle was coming, I overtook the TT, swerved left to avoid the oncoming car, and there was gravel, and I fell down.
If the tempo traveler driver did not give you space, you should have braked and canceled the overtaking maneuver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I was immediately taken to hospital. Luckily it was all deep bruises in my knee, both hands and lip and chin. They did X Ray but everything seemed to be fine. I was discharged with bandages.
I am glad that nothing happened apart from scars. Welcome to riding world, we riders have few scars or the other somewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I am writing this experience thinking it would help fellow members who are in the same state as I am.
It sure will, either you had a crash or are waiting for one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
1. Overconfidence - I think I was riding more than my skills would allow me to. Normally I try to keep the speed below 40 kmph but not today. I have been driving for long and regularly drive more than 1200 kms a day in highway. I have driven in multiple continents, many solo trips. But I have less than 1000 kms riding experience. I concluded that since I know driving, I can use the same knowledge for riding too, forgetting that bikes behave in a different way. This attempt was risky but doable in car, and cars don't skid in gravel. I would have easily made it in my XUV. But Bikes don't work the same way.
While we travel on the same roads, riding and driving are poles apart.

You are at risk, you have no airbags or all around disc brakes with 185mm to 265mm of rubber [for normal cars]. You are vulnerable, you just have a thin contact patch of 100 to 120 section in the front to brake. Rear brake has many usage, stopping the bike is not one of them, bike's entire braking is solely dependent on front [please do not quote me on this, if 70 % front or whatever ratio works for you, please continue to use it, I let my front brakes do 100% braking].

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
2. Following - Never follow. I had a colleague who rides well, has way more experience and skills. We were late for a meeting, she was riding fast and I just wanted to follow not realizing my skills are not enough.
Year 2005, I was following a riding buddy, he overtook a state transport corporation bus on a culvert and while I was ascending, I spotted an Indica to my right and I was overtaking the bus, well, to cut a long story short, I had a bent rim and a frigging body-ache etc and nothing else.

Follow, but if you don't see the coast clear, don't go.

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Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I had this incident long back in my initial driving days as well. It was night, and I was following one bolero. I was on my safari driving through pothole ridden two lane road. In between the road was passing through a village. In one such intersection the bolero went through, and i tried to follow, only to realize that a cycle has gotten into my path. It was a very low speed impact, nobody was hurt, but it was a mistake to follow without checking.
Pretty similar to what I came across.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
3. Half Knowledge - I never knew how bikes behave, I just assumed. And I thought since the rear tires of my bike was pretty wide at 140 mm, it won't skid. How wrong I was. Never ride or drive or do anything for that matter, with half knowledge.
Riding is an art .

But I am unsure as to why the FZ skidded, did you brake or tried to do something with your handlebar?

Please recall and I am sure you would realize why you fell.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
4. Riding Gears - I can't stress how important this is. Even if you are going to buy groceries. I had this accident just outside my office complex. My head was unhurt as I was wearing helmet. My chin was hurt because even though I had a full face helmet I was wearing it half face. But because of the helmet elevation, my chin did not scrape badly. If I was wearing the helmet full face I would have been unhurt. I also had a riding jacket which I did not wear.. if I was wearing it, my bicep muscles would have been saved. And I had biker gloves and knee protection which I did not wear again. Had I been wearing it, My hands and knees would have been safe too.
I have [almost] stopped riding to commute nowadays, so I am always ATGATT. In-fact, I in next few months would retire my Joe Rocket riding gears as they are now ~10 years old. Never ever had a fall and have replaced its protectors.

Please wear full face helmet, always. For commuting, try wearing a street friendly riding boots which you can wear over your chinos / Jeans as well.

One of my friend had made a denim jacket as his daily wear riding jacket for commuting by inserting protectors at the back and in the elbow area, you may try something similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I was extremely lucky to walk out kind of unhurt after hitting the pavement. But it does not happen every day. Hope the above observations will be of help to some new riders.
Will request you to continue riding post you recover. If you stop, you will face more confidence issue / hiccup while getting back on the saddle.

There are wonderful You Tube videos on safe riding, how to brake etc. Please watch at leisure while you recover, you should be good. Will also suggest to wear good riding gears for next time.

Last edited by Sheel : 11th February 2020 at 09:44.
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Old 11th February 2020, 10:53   #7
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I am just like you, had a very hard time learning bike. Bought my first bike hoping I could master it after riding few thousand kms. Had atleast 3 falls, nothing major though, my anxiety levels multiplied when I have to ride the bike. Finally sold the bike with a great loss moneterily.

Now I ride a scooter, it's fun and enjoy the ride, even though I fell from the scooter one time as I was following a car and the car crossed a big pothole between the tires and I had no space or time to avoid and had a hard fall though no major injuries. Learnt a lesson that day never follow a 4 wheeler.

In complete contrast I learnt my car driving with less than 50kms help from uncle, never had a slightest accident.
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Old 11th February 2020, 11:38   #8
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Too many biking falls for BHPians in last one month, including myself. I have also been riding for more than 18 years and had my first proper fall last to last week.

The worst thing is, I just didnt see it coming and understood the meaning of "Accident" in real terms. I used to earlier scoff at people for not avoiding an accident, because I had managed to do that on a few instances in my younger days. Had warmer blood and much better reflexes back then I guess.

My access gave me no chance to recover from the situation whatsoever, actually i realized I had fallen AFTER I had fallen and could take no preventive actions.

I still ride, but dont have confidence on the scooter segment. A bike with a rear box can do the same tasks I guess.

Last edited by 2000rpm : 11th February 2020 at 11:55.
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Old 11th February 2020, 12:01   #9
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Thank you for being candid about the incident and sharing your learnings.

While many of us enthusiasts here love driving on ghat roads, ghats are the only place that I'm scared while driving. Ghats (like the western ghats on the way to Goa) are full of blind turns on narrow roads. What scares me is the way people drive on those narrow curved roads as if they're driving on a straight wide highway. They'll overtake a fast vehicle even if they can't see ahead. That's reckless. I never overtake if I can't see enough of the road ahead.

I learnt this lesson the hard way when I was in school. There were two sets of parallel roads that crossed each other on a hill in a residential area and I had this (stupid) idea to play tag (chor police) on our bicycles around it. I rounded the corner really fast and saw a bike coming towards me. Fortunately, I knew the limits of my cycle. If I'd turn harder, I knew the bike would fall and would injure me. But If I didn't, I'd hit the bike at a high speed which would again injure me. There wasn't enough distance to brake. So I turned harder and let the cycle fall and rode on top of the fallen bike like a skateboard. My cycle's pedal was destroyed but I ended up without a scratch with equal parts of fear and excitement.

I decided never to put myself in that situation again.
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Old 11th February 2020, 12:19   #10
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Glad to read that you were able to walk out relatively unhurt after the incident. Hats off to your courage to acknowledge your mistake and share your experience on the forum for the benefit of others.

We, riders, are more vulnerable on the roads than we think we are. Please donít try to do maneuvers on a bike that you might try on the 4 wheelers. Also, did you hit the back brakes after competing overtaking? Since you are new to riding, Iím sure you might have used back brake to control the bike which could have caused the bike to slide.

Also, one more thing to note. I think I shared it on some other thread talking about riding in the rains. In case of a skid, please donít try to hold on to the bike as it would cause more harm. Let the bike go and free your hand. Youíd come out which much fewer scars and bruises. One of the most stupid mistakes we do is to hold on to the bike trying to prevent it from falling. Let it go. Getting the bike repaired is much more feasible and sensible. Please donít take these personally. These are general ideas that can help any rider.

You might want to thank your stars and the Tempo Traveller driver as well. From what you have described, you seem to have fallen either in front of the TT or beside that. He would have had a shock of his life as well.


Ride Safe,
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Old 11th February 2020, 12:32   #11
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Well, I can share a few points here.

For starters, I have been riding motorcycles for 25 years now. I am very passionate about it and love riding. I have owned 8 motorcycles so far, and have experienced riding a varied range of motorcycles , from puny Bajaj sunny to redlining the beasty Kawasaki Z900 , Yamaha FZ1 and the sexy Yamaha R1.

Even with all the years of experience and skill building, I met with an accident in 2018, while riding an R3. An old man who was riding his classic 350 took his left arm off the handle bar to attend a phone which he had in his shirt's pocket. Distracted, and losing balance, his right arm turned the handlebar abruptly that the bike which was moving forward turned into a sharp right.

There I was, just about to overtake him, at a rather very unsafe 120 kmph. I was too close and I knew I couldn't avoid contact. I leaned to the right as much as possible to lessen the impact of the contact and brushed the classic 350 rather strongly, throwing the bike and myself 150 ft on the tarmac in 2 different trajectories.

The bike was totalled, I got up and walked towards the edge of the road and all I felt was something in my back pushing me down. I sat on the ground, ambulance arrived within a few minutes.

I had deep cuts on my ankles and knees. I had fractured 6 of my ribs, finger in my right arm and dislocated my right delt. All this inspite of wearing a helmet and riding jacket. The helmet had scratches all over, the jacket got torn at the back.

I had to undergo a ICT surgery to remove blood and air around my lungs, was bed ridden for 3 months, had a plastic surgery on my finger and it was all nasty painful. If I hadn't been the massive strong built guy that I was, I wouldn't have survived the fall, that was what the doctors told me. The onlookers were terrified as well were surprised to see me alive, let alone stand up and walk. I was later told by my driver that the shop owner at the accident spot told him that he hasn't seen someone get thrown off like that ever and it was unbelievable to witness. I was lucky.


My first accident and what I learnt from it-screenshot_202002111239183.png

Well, coming to the lesson I learned, no matter how skilled and experienced you are, DONOT make these mistakes I made
- To assume that every one on the road is sensible and will follow rules, and know to ride/drive.
- Never ride fast except the times when the road ahead is completely clear of 2 legged, 4 legged animals and traffic.

Riding gear and Helmet can save you, literally. It saved me!

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 11th February 2020 at 12:59.
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Old 11th February 2020, 12:57   #12
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Default Re: My first accident and what I learnt from it

Other members have added a lot of important info,
all I want to add is:

ATGATT

All the Gear All the Time.

God bless, and speedy recovery Mate
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Old 11th February 2020, 13:18   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Well, coming to the lesson I learned, no matter how skilled and experienced you are, DONOT make these mistakes I made
- To assume that every one on the road is sensible and will follow rules, and know to ride/drive.
- Never ride fast except the times when the road ahead is completely clear of 2 legged, 4 legged animals and traffic.

Riding gear and Helmet can save you, literally. It saved me!
Thank you for sharing. It is a reminder to all riders, experienced and newbies, that you can have a life threatening crash despite not being at fault yourself. I have been riding for almost twenty years, and my takeaway from your shared experience is that I must always assume the worst case scenario, all the time. It will help me remain extra-cautious and avoid any 'safe' risks as much as possible.

Thanks, once again.
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Old 11th February 2020, 13:43   #14
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Default Re: My first accident and what I learnt from it

I can well relate this incident to my accident in 2003, I did not wear a helmet or riding gear, because of my overconfidence, the Bajaj Caliber I rode skid and I still have the stitch marks on my eyebrows and chin. Every time I see the mirror it reminds me about the accident. Still I ride bike for short distances and sometimes to my office. Never I rode without a helmet and to my office for a 23Km ride I will wear a wildcraft jerkin.

Keep your spirits high and keep riding!!
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Old 11th February 2020, 13:52   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_babushka View Post
Thank you for sharing. It is a reminder to all riders, experienced and newbies, that you can have a life threatening crash despite not being at fault yourself. I have been riding for almost twenty years, and my takeaway from your shared experience is that I must always assume the worst case scenario, all the time. It will help me remain extra-cautious and avoid any 'safe' risks as much as possible.

Thanks, once again.

Yes,

Murphy's Law:
Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

There are just too many variables in play when we ride.
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