Escape Routes - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Escape Routes

If I'm on the highway and in the far left or far right lane, the shoulder is almost always my escape route. If I'm not in either of those lanes and the highway is moving but crowded, I periodically find myself without an escape route. Do you guys have an escape route 100% percent of the time when riding? If I'm in the left lane passing a semi and there's no left shoulder, where's my escape route?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 12:26 PM
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100% of the time.

I just got finished posting about how I don't wear gear. This is a combination of confidence in my skill, and willingness to accept the consequences if my skill isn't enough. I have been driving since I was 8. I have taken defensive and offensive driving training and have been put in some quite tense situations while riding a bike and driving a cage. Skill is only one component to the equation. Also, as a rider, I hit the road with the expectation that every driver of every car/truck/etc that I encounter is out to prevent me from enjoying my ride or making it home. This forces me to constantly survey the situation and have multiple routes for all occasions.

In the scenario you cited, I have used the lines of the road. If it's a matter of getting out of harms way, and there are no other options, I'm not above dropping a gear and riding right between the traffic that blocks me. Please understand I would never do this just "for fun" and would not condone the action unless as an absolute last resort.

There are definitely going to be those situations where there truly just is NO escape. That's when we'll start a 'get well soon, 'glad you're ok', or 'you will be missed' thread, but for someone who is constantly on the defensive and prepared to use offense as a defense, there is rarely a time when that happens.

Ride safe, ride hard, and have fun. Without these, what's the point?


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 12:29 PM
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Sometimes there is no good escape route. Every day I ride, I cross a four lane bridge built in the 1930s. The lanes are narrow by today's standards and there is a lot of traffic. There is a 12" concrete curb on the right lane that separates it from the elevated pedestrian walkway. When I'm stopped in traffic there, I point the bike toward the widest opening, usually the curb side, knowing the entire bike can't fit into it. I hope if I'm rear ended, they will contact the vehicle(s) I'm trying to get around/squeeze between and stop before I'm crushed. But it's not a situation I'm comfortable with.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 01:15 PM
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By definition, "always' and "100%" of the time are very difficult standards to maintain with respect to anything to do with riding, especially maintaining an escape route. But we have to strive for 100% awareness, and be constantly thinking where is my escape route? As soon as we become aware that our 2 or 3 second "safety bubble" is shrinking, we need to take whatever steps are neccesary to re-establish it as quickly as possible.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 08:02 PM
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The word "escape" kinda makes it sound as though you have a safe path out of a bad situation, when really , picking an "escape route" many times means picking the lesser of two evils.

If you are in the far left lane and there is no shoulder or paved areas before a nasty guadrail median and you are concerned about the car next to you pulling over on you ...your "escape route" might not really exsist, your only option was to first situate your self just far enough in front of that car so the driver knows you are there, or to slow down and fall behind them so you have more time if they pull into your lane.

An escape route might mean passing on between cars or jumping a curb....instead of hitting something solid...but many times means making a choice to just reposition yourself to avoid being trapped in the first place.

So in fact you are using your "escape route" before the event even happens, making it more of a "pre-emptive escape route" . And I would have to admit I rarely have "escape routes" to my escape the idea of having an alternate plan for every nano second you are on the road , is impossible. Many times I am in the process of using my 'escape route' just to defuse a potential problem....and if I find myself in a situation where I can not envisoin an alternate stratgy if something goes wrong...I try to alter my position so I have one. Again, "escape route" is not always a literal concept...

It really merely means to play the "what if " game as constantly as you can. What if the car in front stops suddenly? What if that guy runs the stop sign? What if the car to the left moves into my lane? And to formulate contingency plans according to the threat....or altering the circumstances if you can so options are available.

And if you are in the left lane with no shoulder passing a semi your escape route is merely to pass the trucker as fast as you possibly can ,to flash your lights, and honk your horn to make sure the driver knows your coming.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 08:59 PM
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Some times there is no safe way out of a space if things start to go wrong. The fact that you are aware when this occurs is a benefit of your experience. When I notice this I tend to back off speed to open more distance in front of me if possible. It helps me gain time to make decisions while riding.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 09:30 PM
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I picked the lesser of 2 evils when the kid ran a stop sign . I swerved right and went across the front end of his car. If I would have just locked down and stayed straight and T boned him I think I would have died . I always look ahead for any problems that might develop but sometimes you are just trapped with no escape
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LibertyPilot View Post
If I'm on the highway and in the far left or far right lane, the shoulder is almost always my escape route. If I'm not in either of those lanes and the highway is moving but crowded, I periodically find myself without an escape route. Do you guys have an escape route 100% percent of the time when riding? If I'm in the left lane passing a semi and there's no left shoulder, where's my escape route?

Sorry Mike...couldn't resist.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by VoIP Doc View Post

Sorry Mike...couldn't resist.
LOL!!! That's clever. Actually that's what made me think of this post. I was in the heli and thought to myself, 'if I absolutely have to be in a sticky situation, I'd rather it be in this than on the bike. I know I can land this even with the engines cut.' Lets be honest, there's WAY more ground traffic then there is air traffic. Even when I'm flying I'm contantly looking down thinking, 'could I land there if I had to - or there?' It's just what ya do, its training.

I never thought of an escape route as being the lesser of 2 evils. I guess it really is though. I always thought you either had one or ya didn't. So its more a matter of quality of escape route. You might not be in love with the one available but its better than kickin' the bucket. I'm good enough at reading the road that I can usually sense something about to be amiss. Slowing down usually follows just after.

This one time I was rounding a bend while on an on ramp going from one highway to another. I was in the left lane and there was a person following closely to another person in the right. I was approaching them but as soon as I saw it I slowed considerably remaining behind them but in the left lane. The guy following threw a hand up in frustration, checked his mirror for a nanosecond, threw on his left turn signal, and broke into my lane really fast. He was all pissed off. I was really glad I slowed.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 09:58 AM
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I credit my Father for instiling my constant scanning of everything around me while driving a vehicle. That ingrained mentality has served me very well over the years, and has saved my butt numerous times both in my cage and on the bike. It's amazing how often you can predict what another driver is going to do based on the vehicles body language. Almost every driver gives subtle hints as to what they are about to do. So for that I say thanks Dad for teaching me a simple skill that has helped keep me alive.
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