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Discussion Starter #1
I'm out last night ridin' the back roads near my house. As usual its pretty quiet. I see a car way ahead of me pull off to the right side of the road but leave his lights on - always shady. As I approach him I slow down considerably. I get just about up on him and I see the driver turn and look behind him to his right - I'm on his left about to pass him. He looks forward all of sudden and starts to flip a bitch (pull a u-turn in Philly speak). He pulls RIGHT in front of me! I squeeze both brakes and as my head lamp beems in his side window he slams on his. I quickly apply more and more break because now I'm closing fast heading right for the driver's side door. My rear tire locks up and the back of the bike slowly drifts to the right as it comes to rest. I put my feet down, down shift into first then up to neutral and take my hands off the bars. As I lift my visor his window comes down, "Are you alright, I'm so sorry, you came out of nowhere!" I wanted to say, "I wouldn't have come out of nowhere if you had looked before flippin a bitch!" but I didn't. I said I was fine and asked that he move. He finished his u-turn and off I went.

Once I got back home and debreifed with myself I realized that if he had just kept going, I would have still hit the breaks pretty hard but he would have cleared the way faster and I could've kept going. The fact he actually saw me and slammed on his breaks made the situation more dangerous. If he remained oblivious it would have been better. I don't even know why he pulled over in the first place, he was only there maybe a minute. It was almost like he was aiming for me. Anyway I believe the lesson here was: if there's a car pulled over to the side, especially with the lights still on, slow down considerably and approach with extreme caution. Whew, close one...
 

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Love My Baby
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Glad you guys didn't go bump in the night! It's a natural instinct to slam on the breaks when you see someone coming straight at you. Don't know why because it is more dangerous, as you noted. Makes for an instant road block right in your path.
 

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Love My Baby
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Re: Born again Christian

Hey LibertyPilot, your post reminds me that I need to practice emergency braking a bit. Hate to hear how your rear brake locked up and caused you to swerve a bit. We should all be proficient on emergency braking, without locking the brakes.

HERE'S A LINK that Knifemaker provided a while back (thanks, KM) about motorcycle braking. Interesting to read.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I actually didn't slam on the brakes. Going against everything I wanted to do, I started by squeezing a little hard, like the bike and me definitely pitched forward a bit. As I closed in on the car I squeezed harder and harder. I could feel my front wheel really biting the road. No doubt a testament to making sure your tires are in good shape. At the last second I pressed SO hard on the right pedal, my back tire locked up but only for a second until the bike came to a complete stop. Now that I think about it, I remember leaning a little to the left as the rear tire slid. That way I wasn't thrown off the bike when it stopped. Admitedly I didn't do that on purpose, I was just trying to move with the bike as it came to a hard stop. Instincts maybe, I dunno.

Thanks for the link, I actually read that when KM posted it. Some real good info there...
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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Hey LP, maybe it`s time to hang a Stebel Nautilus Compact air horn on "Sable", so she can give voice before attemping a pass. A blast of that horn when the driver was looking over his right shoulder prior to starting the U-turn, may have gotten his attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hey LP, maybe it`s time to hang a Stebel Nautilus Compact air horn on "Sable", so she can give voice before attemping a pass. A blast of that horn when the driver was looking over his right shoulder prior to starting the U-turn, may have gotten his attention.
Do you happen to know if the Stebel is louder than the V&H pipes? Actually, now that you mention it, I could have goosed the throttle as I approached. The clutch was in and I was decelerating anyway, that probably would have worked too. Maybe I should think more about being heard when I'm out there as well as being seen. Its why I got the V&H in the first place. Real good point Hoss, thank you. :smiley_th
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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I don`t know how loud the pipes would sound inside a car, with the windows up and 50-100 yards in front of you. They would probably bark pretty good to anyone behind you though. I would think the Stebel mounted close to the front would more likely get a cagers attention, especially if it was paired with a Fiamm Freeway Blaster Lo-tone.

In your description of the incident, you don`t mention whether you turned on the High Beam headlight. When the whole inside of the car lights up, that usually gets MY attention! Also, the more I read about making a bike more visible to the front, the more I become convinced that a bike needs a pair of driving lights. Mounted up level with the headlight gives some indication of width to those drivers in the 11:00- 1:00 o`clock position in front of the bike, who are statisticlly most likely to turn in front of a bike.

The best light configuration is as much separation of the headlight and driving lights as you can manage, in a large triangle such as you see on a railway locomotive. Ideally that would have the driving lights mounted down close to the front axle. Vibration and road humps, bumps and flying debris may dictate a compromise of mounting them at the top of the hydralic shock portion of the fork, closer to the tire and fender. Even that configuration is a big improvement, as it has the driving lights about a foot and a half below the headlight.

Even after improving our odds of been noticed by adding driving lights and a horn that can actually be heard, it is still not 100% fool proof. Every year there are still a few drivers who miss seeing a locomotive bearing down on a crossing from half a block away, with lights separated by 6 or 8 feet and blowing an air horn. Be conspicuous, but be ready too.
 

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Horns and bright lights are not for reacting to emergencies. They are for preventing emergencies or speaking your mind after a emergencies. As the events leading to an emergency unfold, there comes a point when you only have time for braking, steering, and swearing. You need that thumb for hanging on.
If you think you should have done this, or wish you could have done that, you probably didn't have time to do either.
One day I will have the presence of mind to tell one of these morons, "Nobody comes out of no where!"
 

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Columbus, Ohio
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On a related note, is there any way to have your horn and bright light interconnected?
That would be way cool.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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I was refering to going to HI beam as soon as the car pulled over and stopped, and your "Spidey senses go off", then giving a short blast of the horn as a warning you are about to pass, before it is an emergency.

I agree 100%, once you are are in the "quick stop required situation", there is no time or concentration to spare for lights or horn.
 

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The only thing I would have done differently, is slow down a lot more, and keep both brakes covered, expecting him to do exactly what he did. That would have given me time to stop safely. If it turned out to be for nothing, as it SOMETIMES does, at least I wouldn't have been in that situation. I've had a lot of close calls, and I've learned to keep my radar on every second I'm on the bike, constantly looking for anything that might be even a little bit out of place, and planning an escape route ahead of time. Many times there will be more than one unusual something going on at once. IMO, if you are not totally paranoid while riding, you are in serious danger. Jerry.
 

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Love My Baby
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One of the best ways to avoid a crash is to practice emergency braking. I've only done this a few times since I took my riders course years back, but last week I had new tires installed, and I drove about 60 miles mostly highway that day, before getting the tires changed. I took the oppertunity to see how fast and safe I could stop from 75 mph with nobody behind me. Did it six times, four of them while going straight and two while in a slight turn. Figured I was tossing the tires anyway.

Just so happened that I had recently re-read a post originally from Knifemaker about emergency braking. Here's THE LINK. Practiced it just as they said to: Release the throttle and apply the rear brake, straighten your position, simulataneously activate both the clutch and the front brake, and re-adjust the brakes as needed (especially the rear brake when you feel it start to slide). Here's an exerpt from the link:

IDEAL BRAKING
The rider observes a situation that demands emergency braking.
1 Deceleration: He completely closes the throttle and applies the rear brake.
2 Equilibrium stage: He stabilizes the assemblage of rider/passenger with the motorcycle so as to ensure that all are in equilibrium and perfectly vertical while travelling in a straight line. In this very short space of time the rider may lightly adjust his steering. If the motorcycle is moving in a straight path just before braking, this step may be very short. Simultaneously, he straightens his torso and head if he has been crouched and braces his arms, adjusts the position of his fingers and hands, places more load on the footrests and applies pressure to the rear brake pedal. If there is any straightening of the torso, wind pressure in itself will produce deceleration, accentuated by the rider’s release of the accelerator. Pressure of the right foot on the rear brake pedal will slow the rear wheel, which will have the effect of compressing the rear suspension and thereby slightly lowering the centre of gravity of the whole. At this stage, before the majority of the weight bearing on the rear wheel is transferred to the front, the rear brake has its greatest effect which is soon to diminish.
3 Braking: Simultaneously, the rider squeezes the front brake lever with the appropriate pressure and pulls the clutch lever completely in. He concentrates primarily on the front brake lever pressure and secondarily on the rear brake pedal pressure.
4 Adjustment: The rider adjusts the intensity of braking while concentrating on the front lever pressure.

I got a lot more confidence from doing this. More certain now that I wouldn't loose control from a high speed brake. However I'm paranoidily aware that I could still get creamed in an accident even if I brake perfectly. Much better to be aware of every moron on the road and avoid potential collisions.
 

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I constantly practice braking. I don't wear heavy gloves or boots, so I have a very good feel for the controls. Many times I have practiced maximum braking from 100 mph all the way to a dead stop, holding the wheels right on the verge of lock up all the way to a dead stop.

After my front brake modification, where I removed the right side rotor, caliper, and hose, I went out to a deserted section of road, and spent several hours practicing braking, always holding the wheels on the verge of lockup. What I found, was that with only one front disc, my stopping distances were unaffected, because it was still possible to lock the front wheel, and the brake was a lot easier to modulate, and a lot less touchy.

This modification has now been completely proven, during over 25,000 miles of riding in all conditions. Putting all the load on one brake disc did not result in more brake fade, nor did it result in more than normal wear. It has WAY more brakes than my '01 KLR650.

It confirmed my suspicion that Kawasaki probably put 2 front discs on the VN750 for the same reason they put a lot of other things on it that newer bikes don't have, just to add extra features. Most of it's other features are useful, but IMO, the dual discs were just a bit touchy. And no, I am NOT recommending anyone else do this.

After recognizing a hazard, many riders waste a lot of time before they actually start to deal with it. I have been a drag racer since I was a teenager, and have developed a very good reaction time.

Distracted riding is, IMO, also dangerous. I find it hard to believe that many riders listen to music or use cell phones while riding. When I ride, I put everything I have into riding.


Another thing is it is always better to be safe than sorry. It is always better to put a little effort into over reacting to a potential hazard, than under reacting. If you see something that doesn't look right, react to it, even if it turns out to be unnecessary. As you gain more experience, you will find it easier to be aware of what is going on around you, and start to notice things you didn't notice before.

I credit all this, and a lot of just plain luck, with the fact that I have not crashed in over 400,000 miles riding on the street. Jerry.
 

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Love My Baby
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the insight. To clarify (and sorry for not doing this earlier) I was in 'ready break' mode as I approached the guy. The clutch lever was in and both breaks were being applied though not strongly, I only needed to slow down a little as I wasn't going that fast to begin with. With how sudden this dude whipped around, that's the only way I could have stopped in time. I thought about flashing my highbeam at him but around here that means go. Do you mean I could've put the highbeam on and left it on until I passed him? Yeah, I probably could have done that. Thankfully the 'coulda woulda shouldas' are over and both me and Sable live to ride another day...
 

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Main thing is you didn't hit the idiot. I tend to tip toe around things like that. A car parked beside the road, day or night, catches my attention like a neon sign. At least they're easier to see and deal with than some moron pulling out in front of you from a long line of parked cars. When driving down a street with parked cars, I keep a keen eye out for brake lights. I've had a LOT of these mentally deficient cagers pull out in front of me, even when I'm driving a car, or even a 1 ton truck. I haven't hit one yet, but it's been tempting, especially in the truck. Jerry.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
^ Hey Jer, if you decide to clip one in the truck, try to make it one that's flippin a bitch. I'll owe ya one...
 
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