RotoRooterGuy - from Ducati.ms said:There were some Duc-MS member who critiqued and members on other boards who harshly criticized the rider in Southern California who posted the crash video on the Web. She said she posted the video as an instructional aid for others. Apparently the video made it around the world on the Net and generated all kinds of comments, reactions, tips, criticisms, etc.
You need to read her thread on the Southern California Riders site. There are 115,000 views on it and she took the time to post thousands of words on the accident. She discusses and responds to all the armchair experts who have said they would have done things differently than her in the 2 seconds she had to respond.
I think everyone needs to read her posts, it's better than a magazine article.
From her posts you will learn:
1. She is a very experienced rider, about 200,000 miles worth. She is a track day instructor
2. She knows exactly what she is doing and was doing. IMHO she is a rider we can only hope to aspire to in terms of ability and experience.
3. She said that she had 2 seconds to react from when the driver first indicated trouble and when she impacted. That is not "plenty of time to swerve," etc.
4. She is a very conscientious rider and member of the community. On the SoCal Riders forum she posted lots of responses and tips so to help others learn from her experience.
Here is a compendium I put together on what she took time to tell us. Yes, it is long, but remember she took the time to write it all:
Thank you for sticking up for me - this is the kind of Sheit that I was worried about. People starting to make up weird stories about what happened. That's why I need your guy's help to help me keep track of all these link and where else it's posted. I have no illusions that I can keep control...but I can try to minimize any potential damage.
So far, I've seen comments about how:
1. I didn't react and basically just let the car hit me.
2. I reacted wrong and should have gone left instead of right.
3. I was wrong for being in the center of the lane instead of to one side or the other.
4. I should have braked instead of turning
5. I didn't brake or turn
6. I staged the whole thing to scam my insurance company
...there is prolly a lot more.
Yes, he was in the carpool lane - and yes, he was alone. One of the guys who stopped told the cops that the driver was driving very aggressively and had cut him off real bad just a few moments earlier.
Actually, I miscalculated on three major points.
1. I didn't know his car was going to keep turning in my direction...just another split second, and I could have squeezed by. But he was still in motion and towards the end, he was coming at me...and I didn't calculate that well.
2. I thought the car on my right would move a lot sooner and a lot more than she did. I seriously think she had no clue until the very end that she was ever in danger. But because she didn't move...I ran out of room as well.
3. I thought too much. I was thinking - "OK - we have trouble - watch and see where he's going to go and then react accordingly." Next time, I will think - but I will get the hell out of there FIRST. There was only 2 seconds from the moment he starts braking to impact. So you can imagine the first second was wasted in inaction due to thoughts of "WTF is that idiot doing?!" then "what a friggin idiot!!" then "ok, watch it, watch it...oh Sheit ".
I only had 2 seconds to react and I wasted most of that in inaction because my first reaction was to think he was an idiot and my second was thinking that I should watch to see what he does and then react accordingly. Well...as you can see....that plan didn't work out that well.
I think everyone should watch the vid and imagine if that was you - what would you do? Remember, you have limited resources...and less than 2 seconds until impact.
I see that a lot of people are now thinking that my camcorder setup is a great idea...and I'm glad of that. It's a serious commitment though and I'll be happy to help anyone with questions on my setup as well as the entire picture of the commitment they will have to take on in order to make it work. There have been challenges to getting the setup to work just right and I'll share those as well so that others don't have to go through it themselves.
Yes - my Full Leather Suit is a Custom Suit from Z-Custom Leathers. My back protector is built in and it's custom made to be double thick from regular back protectors. It's not as heavy duty as my full blown Race Suit/Race Back Protector - but it's a hell of a lot better than any regular ol' back protector.
My gear protected me perfectly - but what it can't 100% protect against is blunt force trauma...and I think the vid shows that quite a bit of impact was present.
I kinda flew over the downed vehicles. Look at where I landed. If I had just fallen over to the side, I would have been squished by cager, or at least stayed by my bike.
Instead of jumping - I braked hard one last time to scrub as much speed down right before impact. Then when impact started - I let go of the handlebars, tucked up my legs and tucked in my arms - relaxed everything and just prepared for the ejection. This is why my tank bag came with me - I basically tucked into a ball around the bag. Letting go of the handlebars so I wouldn't suffer injuries to my wrist, thumb, arms from head-on impact - and tucking up my legs to pull them away from danger of getting squished by cars. Relaxing for the ejection, because being relaxed will suffer a lot less damage than if you tense up.
Hey...I know how to crash. Relaxing is a huge factor in how much damage you take on.
A lot of people are amazed that I'm not more hurt than I am...well...it's not out of luck either, it's because I did what I was supposed to do.
I believe in action rather than inaction. I believe in "preparing for the worst and expecting the best". I believe that "Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity". How many times have things happened to you and it became a "he said/she said" situation and you just wished you had recorded it so you had proof? Well, I have had those moments and instead of just whining about it - I did something about it.
Plus, I am an instructor/control rider for 2 track day orgs. I use this setup to record people on track and then give them feedback on their riding. I was looking into a bike mount for instructional purposes and the helmet mount for commute purposes - but haven't quite gotten to the bike mount setup yet.
This setup served me well at the last MTC track day where I recorded a rider making a big mistake and ended up running off the track. He didn't go down because he had a motard and just rode it in the dirt, and came back on track. I hunted him down and was able to show him exactly what line he took - why that line was wrong, and how he could have corrected a few things to recover from that mistake and not ended up in the dirt. It was great because a lot of times I try to tell people what they did and why it was wrong and their response is often "Oh, NO - I didn't do THAT!!!". This way, I can show them - "Yes, yes it is." Denial doesn't make for a more improved rider. Seeing and accepting your faults and then making the effort to correct them - that's how you improve.
I swerved and reduced speed the best I could.
I know a lot of people say that I could have out braked the Honda - but it's not a good idea to out brake in heavy traffic for many reasons - one of which is, you run the risk of the people behind you not being able to brake and running over you. Not only that - but there was no way for me to know what he was going to do - so I just tried to get out of the way...I didn't anticipate he would come at me on the fwy...
As you can see in the vid - I swerved and then headed for an opening - if you go to my other thread with the pictures - you can see I almost made it through - but the Honda was continuing his 180 spin in my direction and T-boned me - cutting me off.
Just wanted to know if you were braking and swerving at the same time or swearing w/o braking or whatever:
This is not a simple question to answer. We all should know that your traction is a limited resource - so say it's 100%. If you brake at 60%, you can only swerve 40%. There are people that think you can brake at full power (100%) and swerve at (100%) at the same time. This is a physical and mathematical impossibility.
So keeping that basic concept in mind. I was, for the most part, swerving at 85% and braking 15%. I had to continue to scrub speed because the Honda was scrubbing speed - but I also had to swerve because the Honda was swerving. The difficulty is that the Honda is completely out of control, completely unpredictable and has 4 wheels - therefore, it's able to maneuver in manners that my bike and I cannot - seeing that we're not out of control and only on 2 wheels.
At the very, very last moment, when I knew I wasn't going to make it - I stopped swerving and braked 100% as a last desperate attempt to scrub off more speed, before letting go of the handlebars completely and going into a protective tuck.
All of this was in mind of "never give up - always put up a good fight" and "if plan A (don't crash) fails - go to plan B - which is to minimize damage".
Wow...there are a few guys on that thread that really need to get their head examined. They have a really poor interpretation of the video and their attitude really sucks.
I think I did good in this incident. Considering that usually when you hear about a car losing control on the freeway like this and striking a motorcyclist - the motorcyclist dies.
The people that say I didn't react don't bother me because they can't even interpret a video clearing presenting the evidence. All you have to do is expand the video to full screen and watch my shadow and lane position to see that I did exactly what I've outlined in this thread that I did. I swerved and at the last moment, I stood the bike back up and braked hard. It's all there on tape.
Those who say I didn't react properly...well, until they have video proof that they can go through what I've gone through and come out of it as well as I have...I don't think they have much grounds upon which to talk. Yeah...we all wish we could do better...but when you're actually in it - that's the true test...and I've seen that those who have the biggest mouths usually fail most miserably. I came out of this better than most people would have, so I don't know what their judgement is based off of.
Everyone can agree that this incident occurred very quickly, very unpredictably, and could have been fatal. Yet I came out of this better than anyone would have ever hoped and with video proof of my innocence. Everything that I *could* have controlled in this case - I did control. And that's why this is not a thread about "Honda loses control and kills motorcyclist on freeway", or a thread about me whining about how the guy is lying, I have no proof, he has no insurance, and now I'm gonna get screwed...oh bwawawaa...life is so unfair.
And I think I've addressed the whole "Lucky" issue.... Shiet...I'm not lucky. I've been put through more hardships and tests than anyone else I know. I'm not special in any way, I'm just the average person - and I'm definitely not lucky! I just try to learn from my mistakes - mistakes that I make plenty of...and be prepared to never make them again. Like I said before - Luck is what happens when Preparation Meets Opportunity. It wasn't luck that I was wearing all my gear. It wasn't luck that I have video proof. It wasn't luck that I'm not dead or maimed. A lot of hard work was put into making all of this possible...and if it can work for me, it can work for anyone.
I posted this vid to hopefully shed some light to fellow motorcyclists and motorists of the very real dangers out there on the road. It is said that smart people learn from their mistakes, wise ones learn from others mistakes. I hope to pass my mistake along to others in hopes that you all can learn from it without ever having to face a situation like this yourselves...but if you do...maybe this experience shares will enable you to fare better than I.
In all my experience - I've never had a car lose control like this and place me in this kind of danger. I was inexperienced in this area and this led to some mistakes - I'll share my thoughts in hopes it will help others.
I think my biggest mistake was thinking that I could "watch to see what the car would do and then react accordingly". This is my typical response in a dangerous situation - I analyze the situation and make a decision accordingly. In this case, I think now, I should have just gotten the hell out of there. Once the situation proved to be VERY bad - I didn't have enough time to make it to my exit. Some people criticize that I didn't give myself enough exits - bullshit. Take another look at the vid - I had plenty of room between myself and everyone else around me. I had plenty of exits - but when the Sheit hit the fan, those exits were taken away faster than I thought they would be.
Some criticize that I was not aware of my surroundings...take another look at the vid - I backed off the throttle BEFORE anything ever happened that could be seen. This is due to "instinct" or a "feeling of forewarning"...whatever it was - I recognized it for what it was and listened.
Some say that I *obviously* should have gone Left instead of Right. I'd say ask yourself these questions:
Did you know which way the car was going to go? And once it was apparent the car was going to the right, did you KNOW the car would not be going Left again? Did you know exactly the rate at which he'd be spinning his car around? Do you really want direct your momentum towards the center median of a freeway with the chance that you could get hit and thrown onto the other side of the freeway - to be hit by oncoming freeway traffic traveling at full speed? When danger is identified - do you automatically think to go towards the danger or away from it?
If after answering all these questions - your answer is still "I'd have gone Left" - then ok...now I'll know the answer to the question- "Why'd that rider turn left right into the car going out of control?!!"
Some say that I obviously should have just braked hard and come to a stop - I have an R1 that has incredible braking power - why didn't I use it?
Yes, the R1 has incredible braking power - and I have the experience to use it...but I knew I was only about 10 car lengths in front of the cars behind me. At the beginning of the vid, you hear me accelerate - this is because I had just broken away from a pack of stop-n-go traffic and had hit a little clearing. I was accelerating to put space between me and the pack behind me, but I knew that whole pack would be accelerating as well as soon as they hit that clearing as well.
Now considering the skill level of the average driver and the average car out there - how much do you want to bet that if I had used the full braking power of my R1 - that the pack of cars behind me would have been able to stop in time as well and not just run me over?
Also - when does it become apparent to you that you need to STOP on the freeway? Just because a car locks up his brakes does not necessarily mean it's going to spin 180 in your lane. I've seen MANY cars lock up their brakes - and usually, they just skid in their own lane. No big deal - and everyone else just keeps going. If that was the case and you had chosen to immediately STOP - you could very well be the only one - and probably get run over too for your trouble.
I swerved and scrubbed off speed, heading to the right, away from the danger. I saw an opening and went for it - and got t-boned for my effort. I think if my immediate reaction would have been to just get away for no other reason that what I now know *could* happen, I would have fared better. Instead, I tried to remain calm and analyze the situation rationally. Next time, I'll still remain calm and rational - I always am - but I just won't try to analyze and predict a situation that I now know could very possibly be one that is so out of control to be impossible to analyze and predict.
Well, those are my thoughts on what I've learnt from this experience. Please feel free to comment as you will. I do want others to learn from all this. I do want everyone out there to be as safe as possible...and I hope this helps.
Of course not. Everything will be ok. They say that God never gives you more than you can handle. So it could be that this happened to me because I could handle it, I could survive it, and I could share this experience to the world...and save hundreds of people the pain of having to learn from experiencing something like this for themselves. Even if it's to convince some to start wearing their gear, or to get a camcorder setup...or just to get people thinking. That kind of preparation is what is interpreted as "luck" later on...and we could all use a little more "luck" in this dangerous world.
My gear faired perfectly. I always wear top of the line Arai, Shoei, or AGV, Full Custom Leathers, Sidi Race Vertebra boots, and Teknic full gauntlet gloves. I don't really have a recommendation on gear other than buy the best. To me - what I have is the best, although, excessive in most people's eyes. To me...when it's my skin and life on the line, there is no such thing as "excessive protective gear". Now I'm not saying that what I have is the ONLY acceptable gear, I'm just saying it's the only acceptable gear for me. I know plenty of people who wear gear, but not full leathers - and have fared fine in the crashes they've had. So it's a very personal choice...
Would you have done any thing different?
I've thought about this a lot and consulted a lot of other people about this and we've all come to the same conclusion
- what I did was the safest and most feasible option. Now, the people I've consulted are AMA racers, expert WSMC racers, and other very experienced riders/racers - all with WAAAY more experience and skill than I. ...and they're not saying that to be nice to me - believe me, these people helped train me and they'll tell me if I was a retard to my face without hesitation.
Take a look at this thread I've created on my personal site - see if this answers your questions -
One thing I WILL maintain no matter what anyone says is that I would still have gone right - not braking, not going left.
The biggest arguments for not going left is because
1. it would have been the longest route to safety since I was in the #1 lane and the Honda was in the HOV lane.
2. all he had to do to stop locking his wheels is just let off the brake - how difficult is that?
3. if he was swerving to actually avoid something - do you really want to go towards whatever it was he was swerving to avoid?
4. if you're full blown set on going to the left, you better JAM on it to make it...and if he had completed his 180 sooner and hit you - you would most likely go flying in the direction your bike was heading. In other words...your body would be carried, through momentum, to the other side of the freeway. Now, I'm pretty tough - but there's no way my body would survive getting hit by oncoming traffic at full freeway speeds like that.
5. It's truly not likely to even work - he's swerving and rotating to the right - if you swerve to the left...chances are very likely for a head on collision.
6. There are even less outs to the left than to the right. Going to the left, you have one lane (HOV), a tiny shoulder, a cement wall, and the other side of the freeway. To the right, you have several lanes and exits off the freeway - there are just more options. In THIS case, a car on the right blocked that off for me...but the theory still applies.
7. HOV was the fastest moving lane, to the right are the slower to slowest moving lanes...which do you think is better to go towards?
...I just feel there were a lot more reasons to not go left than to go right...you make your own choice.
Actually, a LOT of people say to go left. That's why I keep stressing here to not go left - and for the reasons listed. Those who maintain that I should have gone left say so for the sole reason that "you should head where the car was at".
I think they just see the vid, see that the car never goes back left, and then jump to that conclusion. I don't think they've thought through all the points that I have...which is why I state here the reasons...and then say - you make the choice.
There are actually a ton of criticisms posted up in response to my vid. A lot of people have been saying things ranging from I'm basically an imbecile, have no reaction at all, made all the wrong choices, was going too fast for conditions, was oblivious of my surroundings, etc. . It's been disheartening to see those responses because I wanted this vid to help...and it can be such a GREAT source of help...but only to those who are willing to be open to it.
As for what my mistake was, even with all my experience, all my skill, all my gear, a wonderful bike, etc...I still went down. I know that the largest room in the world is the room for improvement - and there's still a lot I am working to improve upon. I just think that if I'd only been better, faster, quicker, smarter...whatever...that I would have been able to prevail. I'm a doer - not a whiner.
So when I'm in this situation where I have to face that I went down - I have to figure out why and do something about it...so I sit here and I analyze everything trying to figure it out. One part of me has come to the conclusion that I did my very best...and the calculated chances of me making it even if I were 10 times better than I am now - is still slim to none. Another part of me is still fighting it and going - damnit...there has to be *something* I could have done better and avoided it completely!!!
Well...saw some more rumors and erroneous interpretations of the vid that I thought I'd address. (I'm paraphrasing their comments)
She didn't react at all, must have froze:
Actually, if you watch the vid in slow mo, feel free to play with the Play/Pause button. You see that I am observing the car up until he swerves into my lane - when he swerves, watch my shadow - I swerve. The reason I didn't swerve immediately when his tires began to smoke is because at that point, I had no clue what direction the car would go next. It's reasonable to think that he can regain at least some control of the vehicle. I've seen plenty of cars lock their wheels around me, a brake here, a swerve there have served me in the past. I had no reason to assume he would pull a 180 and swerve across into 2 other lanes.
Her reaction sucks:
Actually, I've been told by those better than myself that I reacted better than most. Count the seconds from when you realize what's going to happen to impact. Different people have counted anywhere from 1-4 seconds. Now see what you can get accomplished in that time. An ex-AMA racer said that 1.5 seconds is considered good to average time it takes for a person to see, process, assess, and react to danger.
Traffic up ahead was stopped:
Actually it wasn't and the white car never hit his brakes. The Honda was the one who sped up for no reason at all and then slammed on his brakes. Traffic was moving along.
She was going too fast for conditions - she's passing all the cars on her right:
Ummm...I'm also following at a safe distance the flow of traffic in my lane. I'm not aware that I'm supposed to travel at the speeds of the lanes that I'm not in.
You should always have outs:
True...and when I was riding along - I had plenty of outs.
I read her thread and she's talking about all these thoughts on the crash - bullshit, there's no way all that went through her head at the moment, she just panicked:
No, actually, I didn't panic. But you're right, I didn't think all this through in the milliseconds I had to react at the time of the crash - these posts of mine are called "Post-Crash Analysis" - but the reasoning behind it all still applies to why I did what I did.
The reasons stem from training and experience. I actually have avoided more crashes than I have incurred...and my reaction and the reasons behind them have always been in my head and body. My actions shown in the vid is evidence of that - not of blind panic. I will say that as I was watching to see what the car was going to do - I was analyzing the situation and I was considering what I would do - so the thoughts of "left" vs. "right" did come into play...and I've already gone into detail why I went to the right. I'm just posting the reasons "out loud" here so people can get a feel for what was in my head for making me do what I did.
She's arrogant for saying "it takes more than this to break my bones..."
Unfortunately, that is not arrogance. That's experience and fact. Mostly people don't know what it would take for their bones to break (and different people differ greatly) - but I've actually gone through enough to where I do know. My original statement was not meant to be braggart, it was said "tongue in cheek", lighten the mood a little, and...it's still true.
I wonder if people realize just how fast this all happened. I timed myself today and realized that when just to look down and check my mirror - I take 1-2 seconds away from looking at my surroundings. Now how many seconds did it take for my ride on Fri to go from perfectly fine to immediate danger? This means that if I had been doing anything but on full alert - I would have t-boned the car. No swerving, no attempt to save myself, nada.
I'm not posting my "rebuttals" because I'm trying "defend myself", although it must sound like it. I'm posting these to squelch the rumors and erroneous statements in hopes that the truth will still get out to those who want to see/hear it. I know there are probably more people who are open to learning from this than just sit back, judge, and go "pffft, that was nothing, I could have soooo done better!"...or just chalk it all up to "luck" and think nothing more of it. To those, I offer my responses to all the "rumors".
This way - they have the choice on what they choose to do. Like I said - I have this vid to help others. I present the vid, I'll give you my best opinion, and I'll explain myself so you may understand...but the final choice is yours as to what you will take away from all this.
In the 200,000+ miles on bikes - 2 cars got me. I avoided soooo many more "close calls" by relying on my premonitions/feelings, skills, experience. I can read traffic quite well, I can read cars quite well. I always pride myself on being able to tell that a car is going to change lanes and then watch 2 seconds later, their turn signal come on and they move over. I had this same premonition that day - hence the rolling off the throttle before anything even happened. But you're right - I didn't know the source. This confused me a little. But as you look at the vid, everything seemed just fine. It did help me with my reaction time though because it put me on full alert. Premonition may have bought me precious milliseconds that I could use to react rather than get plowed into at full speed from the left side if I had continued my original course. Premonition is a very valuable asset...now I need to know how to get the upgraded version and get the additional data of what exactly was going to happen next. Nothing that I read in that Honda told me it was going to swerve across 2 other lanes and turn into me. If someone else was able to predict that...please let me know how.
When people ask where I think I erred. I tell them, I erred in my calculations...but I would have done the same thing I did on Fri - maybe just tried to do it better. I think the best way to explain is by comparing it to Blackjack. You get dealt a 9, Dealer get a 10. Do you hit or stay? Ok - QUICK!! MAKE YOUR DECISION IN 2 SECONDS OR YOU GET SLAMMED OVER THE HEAD BY THIS 2X4!!!!. What was your choice? Most people would choose to "Stay" - why? Because of the odds.
So using this example - that's how I view my situation. It was a gamble. It was a decision that needed to be made in a millisecond...I went with the odds. It saved me time and time before in the 200,000 other miles I rode...I didn't know this time the car would spin out across 2 other lanes and turn into me...odds of a person being that incompetent in their vehicle was lower than otherwise. Obviously, I've raised those odds now and have adjusted my calculations accordingly as well.
I never said I was better or more experienced and yes she would definately embarrass me on a track as I've never done a track day and don't intend to, certainly not on the fjr, I was just pointing out my personal observations, thats all. If you notice on the vid, when the car first starts to lose it there is absolutely no breaking from the bike whatsoever? I can't understand that, my first reaction would be to grab a handful even if it meant locking up the front wheel, not on the fjr as it has abs, but on a sports bike you could well be over the bars.She may not be as good at road riding as you, but at 200,000 road miles, she's more experienced than I am.
(and I'll bet she could make me look stupid on a track)
Because most of those people don't have a reflex called fear, or there brain doesn't tell them 'What if'If she is so inept and all of you can out ride and out think her explain to me how some of the most adventureous racers and daredevils end up dead at some place and time?