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Old 15th November 2009, 19:08   #1
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Default Riders: When did you first kiss the tarmac?

I have recently joined Team-BHP, and almost daily look at the Motorcycles section of the forum.I notice that very few posts concern themselves with motorcycle riding safety. I would like to start one such thread, dealing with our personal experiences with accidents and near-accidents, and lessons we have learnt from them which may benefit other Team-BHP forum readers.

A little bit about myself: to-date I have ridden around 10,000km, of which 8000km were on my RE TBTS 2009 and, earlier, 2000 km on a standard RE 350 which belonged to my cousin. Most of this was on touring and joy-rides, as I don't commute on the motorbike.

I want to relate an occasion on which I crashed with the TBTS.

I was on a good (but undivided) road doing around 40-50kmph, when a cyclist, who was about 6 meters ahead of me and 1.5 m to my left and going in the same direction, decided to make a sudden right turn and cut straight into my path. I swerved and braked hard simultaneously and again found myself flat face-down on the road in the line of the oncoming traffic with my bike beside me. As I found out later, I had avoided a direct hit on the cyclist but had struck his cycle a glancing blow with my crash-guard. He fell down, but was otherwise unhurt.

I was lucky enough to walk away from the crash and then pick up the bike and ride home.I had on my full riding kit (as I had just been to Lucknow and was on my way back). The gear saved me in several ways, which I will mention below:

1. Head slammed against the road, but because of the full-face helmet (Studds) I had on, I received only some minor facial abrasions (the visor was up). Without the helmet there would have been a, possibly fatal, concussion.

2. I had on a Cramster riding jacket. The asphalt tore a hole in the arm of the jacket. But because the sleeve was pushed up by the friction against the road surface, the fore-arm and elbow armour rode up my arm and did not do a good job of protection, and I received significant abrasions ("road-rash") on my outer right forearm. I think riding jackets should have a way of tying down the forearm-elbow protectors in place to prevent them from shifting during an accident.

3. I landed heavily on my right knee (with my bike initially falling on top of me, and then separating). I was wearing rollerblade knee protectors under a thick pair of jeans. My right knee-cap would probably have been smashed without the protector. The jeans prevented abrasions better than the riding jacket did.

4. My right foot was caught briefly under the falling bike and was twisted in the process. I was wearing heavy military-style boots, with extra ankle protection, and all I received was a sprained foot. Without the boots I possibly would have had a broken ankle. The right foot-peg, which cracked on the impact, possibly prevented my foot from taking the full weight of the bike.The exterior of the boot was also severely abraded, which shows what else might have happened if I hadn't been wearing it.

5. The Bike's crash-guard prevented the bike from falling fully on my leg, and also prevented any major scratches/damage to the bike. The crash-guard itself was heavily dented and warped.

Despite all of the above, I was actually very lucky that there there was no car immediately behind or ahead of me when I fell on the road (otherwise you would'nt be reading this ).

What did I learn from this accident? Obviously, that we should wear whatever protection we can.

But what else? Here I am unsure:

It is most likely that I had locked my front wheel (the TBTS has a very powerful disc front brake which needs to be handled with extreme care). Even previous to this accident I used to practice emergency braking (see: Motorcycle Braking: 15 Questions and Answers - webBikeWorld ) just to avoid such problems. However, it is obvious that it is extremely likely that you will lock your front wheel (and fall) in emergency braking. Are the new RE bikes are particularly prone to this? Their front disc brakes seem always stiff and grabby, and with over-pressure will lock the wheel. Falling under a 182kg bike is no joke.

ON second thoughts, I could just have concentrated on swerving to avoid the cyclist. Swerving is a dangerous move, as you can hit someone/something else during it, and most people on heavy bikes instinctively prefer to stop rather than swerve. But in this case, I could never have stopped in time to avoid hitting the cyclist by braking [the best possible stopping distance on a non-racing bike on a good road surface is approximately given by d= square(V)/200, where d is the stopping distance in meters, and V is the speed in kmph, so a bike at 100kmph will take at least 50m to stop (for normal riders add 15% + reaction time distance to this). In this case, the best stopping distance for 50kmph was 12.5 m, while the cyclist was just 6m ahead]. The heavy RE bikes are not naturals at swerving, but I think some practice with counter-steering may help prepare for those occasions where braking will not help.

What do you think?

Any of you more experienced riders can share your thoughts on emergency
braking and other safety measures?
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Old 17th November 2009, 14:52   #2
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Hey Rollin,

Let me share my experience with you.I have an Rx 135.And prior to this event,I used to ride real fast.The rear tyre in my bike was the normal 3x18 MRF Nylogrip.Didnt have much grip as it was almost bald.It was drizzling and I was on my way to a club.There was a turn,and although I slowed down,I guess it mustnt have been enough.There was this scorpio just ahead of me.Without giving any signal,it took to its extreme right,almost where I was riding.I wasnt panicky,however,I ended up using the front brakes,at the same time trying to go towards my right to save myself from banging into the Scorpio head on and also going towards my right so as to save myself from the same.I ended skidding badly.I wasnt wearing a helmet.I landed on my left knee and hand ,went skidding for some distance.I had bad bruises on my hand and leg.Had liggle cut marks on my face.My left leg didnt hurt but it wasnt supporting me properly.
I had broken the soft bone near my Knee.And the cuts and the bruises were pretty much expected.

1) What I learnt was,Never trust RX with balance.The balance is bad and it has a tendency to skid.

2) Everybody knows not to use front brakes.Now I try using both the brakes simultaneously which reduces the chances of skidding.

3) One must have a front guard/bars in the bike.It really helps.

4) Always ensure that your bike has the best tyres.It makes real difference.I use 3.25x16 Ceat Secura and its really good.

I had a similar accident 3 months back when I skidded trying to save a dog which came running on the road and then got scared and just froze.I landed on my right side this time.Got bad bruises this time and a hurt right knee.I guess my left wrist has a hairline fracture because it still hurts.
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:04   #3
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Originally Posted by gypsy1989 View Post
Hey Rollin,

I had a similar accident 3 months back when I skidded trying to save a dog which came running on the road and then got scared and just froze.I landed on my right side this time.Got bad bruises this time and a hurt right knee.I guess my left wrist has a hairline fracture because it still hurts.
It's 3 months and you do not know whether there is a hairline fracture or not. Why don't you see a doctor?

DIid you wear a helmet during the 2nd accident?
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:05   #4
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Dudes- what to tell.Just pity your instances. I had one big accident near the mekhri circle(bangaloreans will be knowing). I came from a ramp(from hebbal side) and on the bridge there is a signal. I wanted to take right(towards IISc) and when the crossed the signal it showed yellow and suddenly from the right side(from IISc) side all the vehicles started and i was in the centre of the road. I just came to 4th gear and gave full acceleration(which obviously saved me as it helped to pull ouside the coming traffic),but one biker who was hiding behind an oncoming auto hit me( if it was just 1 sec later i would have taken full right turn). I just jumped from my Pulsar and it skided almost 15-20ft. But the guy who dashed aganist me got all the brusing and his yamaha vehicle had damaged to max extent. The front wheel had a bent,the fork has gone and he couldn't pull the vehicle also. For me it was just the leg guard(costed me 800/-) and some small scratches on my hand( the front guard saved my leg,knee etc). So one thing to be sure is the front guard and be careful near the signals and if you are the last one passing the signal it is better to stop rather than to cross in a hurry(if the light is about to turn into yellow)

Last edited by shishir_bn : 17th November 2009 at 15:19.
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:12   #5
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nice thread,

I ride a 78 350 standard bull, I love to take her for long rides. This is my learning from one of those.

I was planning a 1 day Mumbai - Shirdi - Mumbai. We started@4. a.m reached Shirdi by 11, finished the darshan by 12, then my friend suggested we even visit shani shinga pur, which is around 75 km from there, so i calcuated 75 km 1 way means a 150 km trip, avg speed of 75 kmph, so 1 hour going and 1 hour coming back and 30 mins for darshan.

But calculations went wrong, i took around 2 hours to reach, 1 hour for the darshan and 2 hours to comeback, and while coming back the roads were so bad, 16 of my bulls spokes gave way.

Found a mechanic who would repair them, by the time he was done and my bike was ready it was around 7 P.M. And then we had to take a decision whether to stay back or to move on...I decided to move on.

Rode non stop all the way upto Manas resorts, but just after manas resorts i could not stay awake and i slept on the bike, got off road and fell.

The bike fell on the left side, My pillion rider was safe, but my leg got stuck to the silencer, and guys who ride bulls know how hot a bull silencer gets when its been on for around 4 hours.

Got a very bad burn on the right calf. So what are lessons learnt :
  1. Always ride with proper gear: I normally wear a) thick jeans b) military boots c) jacket, but on that day i was in 3/4ths and a tee.
  2. Stop when tired. I rode on continously for 4 hours, dis-regarding my body. I learn't it the hard way to stop.
  3. Be practical. The decision to move on @ 7 in the evening was a stupid one.
  4. Ride in a group: I was alone, with just my pillion. (not sure i can stick to that one though )
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:29   #6
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Nice thread. I always used to wear a helmet, but avoided it once when I was going to a place 2kms from my house. Had an accident, dont know how, I did not remember how it happened when I finally became conscious two days later.

There was a broken hand, but it was the impact on the head that was potentially more dangerous.

Lesson learned. Short trip or long trip, I put on my helmet if I am on my bike.
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:38   #7
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Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
It's 3 months and you do not know whether there is a hairline fracture or not. Why don't you see a doctor?

DIid you wear a helmet during the 2nd accident?
Thank you sir for your concern.As a matter of fact,I went to show my knee. Since I had broken a bone the last time around near the knee on the left leg,I was really scared. Luckily there was no broken bones. That made me so happy that I forgot all about my wrist.I definitely should be seeing a doctor.
Yes,I have learnt my lesson and wear my helmet at all times. Even if I go to buy bread just across the street!
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:43   #8
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First Crash
On my Shogun,
While coming from alibag ,i saw one bullet crashing in to Padmini and we just slowed down and suddenly from our left the one six seater came and hit on my handle bar and we (me and pillion) felt down resulted in broken clutch liver.luckely no one was hurt,including the bullet walla.
And many times i crashed my bike when i used to forget to unlock the handle as Shogun has that old handle lock near t cone.
One ON my Victor GLX,
the bike was new and i was going to refill,one lady was standing in the middle of the road to cross ,don,t know what went through her mind she changed her plan and suddenly came on my bike and hit hard and suffered some injuries,so we asked the other lady to took her to hospital.
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Old 17th November 2009, 15:43   #9
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Just out of curiosity,do you people think that the definition of a good rider is being able to ride really fast? Being part of something like 'Team BHP',are you supposed to be riding really fast making your way out of impossible traffic?
I'd like to know because I do not advocate rash riding/unnecessarily riding fast.I am ashamed to admit,but I prefer riding safe now.But I do love long rides!
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Old 17th November 2009, 16:07   #10
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Well, Good idea!!!

I'll post my experience in detail once I'm free. But If you stroll down 10-15 years back, you may find many Yamaha Owners posting their experience.
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Old 17th November 2009, 17:17   #11
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Touchwood i never had a major accident . Two minor ones though.
What i shudder to think about is this.
I was riding my Fiero around 4 years ago .Happily around 90kmph in connaught place in Delhi. I was looking straight and there was not any hint on any intersection, crossing, vehicles .Suddenly when i was very close say 30-50mts from hitting i saw traffic moving from right to left .Yes there were traffic lights everywhere now and mine was red .(All these vehicles and traffic lights were hidden from my view due to trees and some kind of brick boundary . Now there were few two wheelers including ( i remember clearly a police bullet) and then cars moving from left to right .I kind o fpanicked knowing fully well i am gone for six .I do not know why i did the action's .I decided to brake .Both tyres were smoking , dipper working and horn working overtime .The bullet wala notices me .I will never know if others did as all were ,moving lazily .I suddenly release the brakes downshift to 3 and give the throttle and lord i went staright between the bikes and front of the cars .The cars literally skidded on my right.I cross safely luckily and my heart skipped so many beats .Hear pounded like a bomb for some minutes .
This incident was scary and i almost pissed in my pants but got out without a scratch .Gives me the shudders even today.

And there was also a funny incident .I was on a redlight .The car in front suddenly decided to slam the brakes in front of me . I pumped the brakes and whoa another stoppie but when i do not get back on ground as my rear tyres is sitting on the bonnet of a OHC .LOL.

And one more i decided to race with a Karizma on Delhi Rohtak highway.On sampla bypass cut there is 90degree curve which has good tarmac on both sides. I was in front of the Karizma that time courtsey of Haryana roadways bus helping in slipstream.And no ways i am gonna give up my lead. i take the turn with the rear wheel barely millimeters from centre divider .Just when i straight up unevenness in road slams my bike in the divider .I leave the bike and jump on the sand barely missing the iron poles erected by NHAI .And i could see the bike rolling in air.
I get up all in dirt and see action replay of the Karizma .Unlucky him as he got injured pretty badly as he couldn't control the turn at the speeds he was coming .Total damage was 32000 rs for a 52000 rs bike.I called up his friends who come in a scorpio and load him up .I waited for few hours before i managed a tempo all the way to Delhi.

Last edited by Trust_In_Thrust : 17th November 2009 at 17:30.
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Old 17th November 2009, 17:19   #12
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Originally Posted by Rollin' Thunda View Post
It is most likely that I had locked my front wheel (the TBTS has a very powerful disc front brake which needs to be handled with extreme care).

I too ride a new TBTS , just a fortnight ago had a fall due to locking of front wheels in a dead corner . it has happened many times in impluse i apply only front brake trying hard to correct myself and save from potentially dangerous situation.

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th November 2009 at 16:21. Reason: Quote fixed.
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Old 17th November 2009, 17:29   #13
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Originally Posted by jaaz View Post
But If you stroll down 10-15 years back, you may find many Yamaha Owners posting their experience.
Here is one - from a KB owner - 20 years ago.

I had a KB 100 RTZ. Location : Hubli, Club Road about 10 in the morning.
Going to office (Koppikar Road) from Home (Nagashettikoppa).

I was going at about 60 kmph towards the court, when a tractor trailer takes a sudden right turn, without any indication.

Bam! His crash guard (as I learnt later) hit me and my bike.

I am thrown off the bike for a good 10 feet. My full face helmet (Studds) saved my head and my life. I had a normal jacket, so only minor abrasions on my hand.

But right leg broke (into two) because of the impact of the crash guard. The tibia was portruding from the leg and my trousers. Didn't lose my consciousness - because of the helmet, but was bleeding profusely.

A big crowd gathers - nobody is ready to help or lift me up.

Luckily, my colleague was following me and was shocked to see me lying on the road. He came to my assistance. I still remember telling him not to lift me as the leg is broken, but to call an auto.

One good autodriver (we did not even find out who he was!) and my colleague lifted me up and put me in a rick - and to KMC, Hubli. There they got me a stretcher and to the emergency ward.

For about 10 hours I was in the corridor of general ward (I was a bachelor those days, staying alone in Hubli) - refused sedatives, took only pain killer.

I was operated in the night and my leg was put in a cast. No rod - just plain setting and plaster.

My parents could reach Hubli only after two days. I was taken care of by my colleagues those two days.

Bedridden for six months - some people said, I will never walk again. I was adamant - no further operation.

5th month - I could get up and walk with crutches - thanks to my doctor and my physiotherapist.

12 months later - could walk, but there was a limp. Doctor was insisting that it should not be - we take a full body Xray, and found that my hip was also broken, and it had set by itself (!) - but was constricted and restricted movement.

Limping is permanent now - unless I go in another operation. No way!

But, nothing has stopped me from driving (more than 100,000 kms on the same KB - what happened to the bike is totally another story) or climbing Kalsubai Peak (the highest point on the Sahyadri range of hills) - despite my doctor saying don't engage any activity of such kind.

Have done almost 400 kms on a day on the bike (Gladiator)!

Lessons -

1. A two wheeler is most vulnerable object on the road.

2. If you are thrown off, please take a X-ray - of all the parts that pain.

3. There are lot of assorted idiots on the road, who don't know the power of their own vehicle or their own driving skills - be aware and save your skin - even if it means you have to damage your vehicle. After all, you can buy a new car or bike or get them repaired perfectly - but human body - NO WAY!

4. Only those who are blessed with stuff other than brain in their cranium will venture on a two wheeler without a helmet.

5. You spend 50,000 bucks buying a bike - why do you mind spending 2,000 bucks on a good helmet?

6. Accidents are inevitable - may be that is why it is called "accident"! But respect the other users of the road as much as you do yourself.
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Old 17th November 2009, 17:34   #14
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Originally Posted by Trust_In_Thrust View Post
Touchwood i never had a major accident . Two minor ones though.
What i shudder to think about is this.
........................... who come in a scorpio and load him up .I waited for few hours before i managed a tempo all the way to Delhi.
The 3rd incident was a good one for other to laugh and that is because the way you narrated the action replay
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Old 17th November 2009, 17:41   #15
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Interesting to read the insights of others accidents. I have had my series of accidents in early driving days and each one of them have profoundly altered my driving habits.

When my sister got her license, my dad with his infinite wisdom bought her a Bajaj Sunny and a top of the line 18 speed bicycle for me with the promise of me not using her sunny for the tuition runs. But as it happens I started using her sunny after a few months.

Incident 1:The sense of power( what ever little it may be) on shifting from foot powered to fossil fuel power was some thing my brain ( what ever little it may be) could not handle. My driving mode then was digital, throttle full on or full brakes. The first accident I has was a exact ditto of the one the had by Rollin, except here the stranger cutting right without signaling was my friend and the vehicle hitting was sunny instead of TBTS.

Lesson Learnt 1: The road is full of idiots ( including me) and will do foolish things at any point of time, so drive accordingly - defensive driving

Incident 2: When it was time for me to get a bike, I got my dad approve of a Suzuki Shaolin. His criteria was that I get a small bike - reasoning small bike = less power = safe for adolescents. The Shaolin got approved for he thought it to be a Suzuki Samurai with a stickering job. Little did he know that it was a wolf (shogun?) or may be a fox in sheep's clothing.

And the fox bit me on the first week , I skidded and fell while accelerating on a bend in a rainy road.

Lesson 2: With power comes responsibility, always have your horses on check.

Incedent 3 in the next post
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