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What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

This

This is why motorcycling is awesome, and especially why lane-splitting is awesome. This is 100-percent legal in the UK. Just think of how much time this dude saves himself. 

If you are in the United States (with the exception of California), think of how much you are missing out because pro-motorcycle groups are wasting all their time and money whining about helmet laws. They are failing to lobby for the legitimate advantages of motorcycling.

Comments

  1. Pretty bad roadcraft from that rider. Barely a sideways glance in 8 mins of footage. He is mostly staring dead-ahead looking only at the space he has available. To be filtering legally in the UK, the onus is on the rider to show that they are doing it safely with due care and attention. That rider showed little attention to anything other than whatever gap he could squeeze into in front. He didn't seem to be taking in the vehicles merging on the left, the section of roadworks, vehicles changing lanes, vehicles drifting within their lanes, riding on slippy white lines, mindfulness of stopping distances etc. It happens like that a lot, but it doesn't make it right. 100% legal? Yes when done safely, but there are still many grey areas.

    Ride safe! Filtering gives me the shits! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think you've watched the video I posted. The video is not 8 minutes long, there are no roadworks and there is no point where traffic has to merge from the left. The weather is dry, so the white lines aren't relevant. Additionally, I think you're underestimating how much this rider can see -- remember that the camera points at one place but his eyes can take in a much greater spectrum.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, 4 mins. My typo.

      Traffic joining on the left at 1:38. Empty space of road immediately ahead of the rider is an ideal place for a car to dart into from the left too. No sign of any caution from the rider.

      Roadworks sign at 2:05. See all the cones at the side of the road at 3:21? You can't see them? It appears that there is nothing much happening, but as a viewer I don't know that until I watch the footage further. I'd be cautious.

      Bikers are taught about a "lifesaver" shoulder check whenever changing lanes, joining roads, turning corners etc. Peripheral vision is one thing, a lifesaver shoulder check is another. This rider not perform even one "lifesaver" shoulder check. If he rides like that all the time, then his clock is ticking!

      Filtering is legal, but it's a grey area. In stopped, or very slow moving traffic, then go for it carefully. But at what point does slow moving become "not slow moving"? 10mph? 20mph? 50mph? Then you are in the area of performing illegal undertaking manoeuvres and you risk the wrath of the feds. Calculate your risks, make carefully considered decisions, and be confident in your decisions and ability to ride safely.

      Ride safe! :-)

      Delete
  2. *tongue firmly in cheek*
    But, like, helmets are dorky and stuff... And I can barely handle my bike when I have the entire road to myself, there's no way I'm trying to split lanes.
    *tongue removed from cheek*

    It should be legal - the whole reason it's legal* in California is for the safety of the motorcycle police. It's safer to split lanes than to be a sitting duck stopped in traffic...


    *technically speaking, it's "not illegal." However, "not illegal" means it's legal. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's legal for motorcycle police in Minnesota to split lanes, as far as I'm aware. In recent months the CHP has been more open about the fact that it's legal in California and have even issued some guidelines for riders. It really should be legal in MN. People piss and moan about wearing a helmet but they have no problem with being robbed of one of the greatest advantages to motorcycling. What?

      Delete
  3. I don't believe it should be. I know I'm in the minority here but lane splitting, IMHO, just opens up the rider to more danger. A driver answers his phone and takes his eyes off the road for a moment letting the car drift. A extended mirror. Someone decides to throw trash out of an open window. Someone grows angry sitting in traffic and decides to take it out on a biker.

    I've seen some pretty idiotic things done by bikers, and frankly just because you can do it does not mean you should do it. In my opinion why add to the possible danger that a motorcyclist already faces?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The drivers in the US will eventually try and kill the motorcyclist for doing this. It looks like cheating to them and they know nothing will happen to them if they take you out.

    ReplyDelete

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