This is my first year back in the saddle after a 10 year break. After some fiddling around I finally got my 81 kz750H on the road in June.
The second week of riding I picked my daughter up from school. On our way home a woman pulled out of an intersection without even looking for traffic. I was watching and pretty much anticipated it so I had already had a plan in mind.
The second semi-close call was on a 4 lane street. I was in the center lane and a cop pulled out of a side street turning left. He saw me and hit the brakes hard. He was only halfway into the outer lane and I could see him mouthing “sorry”. I waved and kept going.
Last Thursday was the closest call yet. Again on a 4 lane street, I was in the center lane and a woman in a hurry did a lane change without looking or signaling. I hit the brakes hard, the front end dove way down. Thankfully the cop following me wasn’t too close. She instantly hit the lights and siren. I pulled off to the side of the road and the woman that cut me off was pulled over. As a rode by the police Officer gave me a thumbs up. I didn’t stick around but on my return trip 10 minutes later, the woman was just pulling away. She was definitely ticketed for the incident.
There's one decent twisty road a ways from here.
The last curve has road tar that oozes to the surface.
Front wheel skidded sideways maybe a few inches.
I immediately straightened the bike upright, then leaned back into the curve after crossing the center line.
very exciting & kind of lucky a car wasn't coming, but that road doesn't have traffic. just maybe 1 car every now n then.
ps: I don't take anyone along. the average passenger doesn't have a clue how dangerous motorcycles can be. ...
One warm summer overcast morning around 7:30AM I fired up my 78 kz650 and was heading to work. I had been staying at my sister's while she and her husband were away. They lived in Pound Ridge, NY and I needed to get to Greenwich, CT by 8:00.
No earthly reason to rush at all. It's a great ride with twists and turns and hills galore and because on any given morning I may or may not be fully awake I tend to take it easy. Crossing the NY line into CT traffic was almost non existent but a little up ahead the few cars that were coming at me I noticed were wet.
Further down there is a long sweeper that hides the fork across the road that leads to the reservoir. The reservoir was low because of little rain and nothing to look at so I'd not take that route.
A bit before this, the road is now wet and I'm sitting bolt upright with my hands tensed in the bars --I'm now fully awake. With maximum sensitivity on, I round the bend to see 3 cars stopped at the intersection and two coming the other way towards me. The first in line is signaling for a left hand turn and the ones behind him are set out to the right almost cutting off the shoulder that goes down into a little rain gully. They want to get that millisecond edge to get on their way -- it's a common tactic.
I apply the brakes but the rear slides out so I let off. I try again, same. No way to stop now.
The bike had the original Bridgestone tires if memory serves me. Prolly not the best rain tires in the world and when rain starts falling, especially after a dry spell, it can get quite slick.
I decided to shoot the hole up the middle. That last upcoming car was preventing the left hand turn off the lead driver in my lane. With windshield wipers going and headlights on nobody knew I was there. I sped up and as I was passing that lead car I could see his front end raise up a bit and his tire start to roll.
I had a guy pull out on me turning left from a side street, he was more interested in the cars coming the other way , at the last second when he was half way in my lane he looked my way and saw us sliding sideways towards him , he stopped and left me a 4 foot window to squeeze through between him and a on coming car.
up to that point I was aiming for the drivers door.
The road I was on is a posted 55mph, I saw that he wasn't looking for me so I was off the gas and on the brakes , my only mistake was not realizing sooner that with my wife on the back and a full backpack that we had another 175 lbs +- on board and we weren't stopping quick.
I would have gotten it slowed down enough to stay up right and put a nice crease in his door but I'm glad it didn't come to that.
My wife was impressed and I was very thankful.
Deer are always a problem especially around dusk or rut.
I feel pretty confident about recognizing trouble from the front and sides, we have a lot of people blow through stop signs out in the country and its usually at highway speeds.
It's the assholes coming up from behind that make me nervous!
This is slmjim.
I have one more that might offer a takeaway to other Riders in hopes of preventing injury or worse.
This happened about 15 yrs. ago.
The day was warm & sunny. I was by myself on Z1BEBE's '75 Z1-B, northbound on a 2-lane US highway in south-central Indiana. It's a a rural area of farms, forest and the occasional roadside small business. The road is good, straight & flat. I'm following behind a car by about 50 yards at 55 ~ 60 mph.
I usually ride lane-left. I spot a pickup stopped in the oncoming lane with it's turn signal on, waiting to turn left into a parking lot ahead on my right. The pickup's front wheels are turned to it's left, so any forward movement will direct it into my lane. As the car ahead of me passes the waiting pickup I move lane-right as is my habit in that situation, and make eye contact with the pickup driver. I'm satisfied that he sees me. At almost the same time I notice a SUV too close behind the pickup, and barely have time to see that the SUV is in a seriously nose-down attitude. In the instant that I realize what seriously-nose-down implies, the SUV rear-ends the pickup HARD, launching it into my lane. As if in slow motion I can only watch as the left front corner of the pickup comes at me. It passes behind me by maybe..., maybe 3 ft. and a tiny fraction of a second in time. I probably could've reached out & touched it. A split second later I pass through a shower of antifreeze and a hail of hard bits of debris liberated from the now-crushed front end of the SUV. Partially blinded by the antifreeze coating my face shield, I roll off the gas, pop the shield up and stop on the right shoulder. Looking back, I see the pickup stopped at an odd angle about 25 yards into the parking lot it was waiting to turn into. The SUV that hit the pickup was just rolling to a stop about 50 yards out into fallow a cornfield on the other side of the road.
It takes much longer to read it than it took for the entire incident to happen. From the first instant I noticed the SUV nose-down, to passing through the shower of antifreeze and debris, I'd estimate no more than five seconds elapsed.
The inattentive SUV driver was seriously injured. The pickup driver was not seriously hurt.
Every street Ridin' training class me & Z1BEBE have ever attended has stressed the importance of lane positioning as a means to mitigate risk. Whether used to increase conspicuity or as a method to distance a Rider from a perceived threat, lane positioning is one of the most valuable survival tools a Rider has while on the road.
Had I stayed lane-left upon first noticing the pickup I'm sure we would have collided head on. Moving lane-right bought me that fraction of a second needed to survive unscathed. If a Rider reading this has no other takeaway from this event, let it be the importance of lane positioning as a means of reducing risk based on the Riders' predictive cognition.
Of perhaps equal importance, the episode made me think of Ridin' more like a chess game. I now scan as far into traffic (as many moves ahead) as is practical in order to identify developing situations and their possible outcomes as early as possible.
I nearly hung up my helmet that day.
A biker looks at your engine and chrome.
A Rider looks at your odometer and tags.
Had to log in to thank you personally for this. I didn't see the this season line and recounted a time past. Past is present and present is past and all we really have is shared experience. If we were alone in this world that might be different and entirely not worth living. This is the type of real world event that helps a new rider, of a kz, a gs, or an fz. What's really in a few letters? It's basically two wheels, inches from the ground and the downside is usually severe.
I always look at the tires of a vehicle that is turning in front of me, isn't that one of the first things that they teach you ( not to turn your tires until it's time to go)?
If they are turned I start looking at everything else that could go wrong, slow down and get ready to make a move.
I ride this old section of Highway 96, a nice twisty , hilly, old 2 lane that isn't used much except for the people that live on it and riders of motorized and non motorized bikes. Beautiful old tree cover on lots of it. At the end is a biker favorite hang out, Puckett's grocery in Leiper's Fork. I've ridden it hundreds of times.
I'm descending a hill that has a blind left turn at the bottom and there's a line of bicyclists riding up the hill going the opposite way so I slow down and move to the middle right side of my lane as I approach the blind corner. Just before I'm in the corner a little red Miata with a couple young kids in it come around the curve, into my lane to pass two of the bicyclists riding abreast. He's fully halfway into my lane in the middle of the curve. I have about a second to move all the way to the right side of my lane and miss him by about a foot.
If I hadn't anticipated and made the first move to the right, I would have collided head on in the middle of the curve. It was over before I had a chance to fill my britches.
As someone posted earlier, LANE POSITION. Learn to anticipate and take those blind corners wide.
Stay safe out there gentlemen.
Many years ago (around 1978) I was travelling along the Trans Canada Highway around the north side of Lake Superior. Coming down a hill I noticed about 500 yards in front of me three moose, a bull, a cow and a calf. They were crossing the highway as I watched, so I didn't bother to slow down much, as they were gone into the bush by the time I got to their crossing point. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw the bull come charging back across the highway right in front of me. One of his hind hoofs clipped my windscreen, but did not damage it. I learned a good lesson that day....never trust an animal on the highway to do what you think it's going to do. Slow down and stay alive!
I have a couple of Z1B's restored, an '80 KZ1000LTD restored, a 1981 KZ550 restored and a 2008 KLR 650 for off road fun. My wife has a 2019 Suzuki DR 650 for on and off road.
My wife insists on riding in the left position, she doesn't like riding the shoulders, and we ride a lot of curvy wooded roads.
Every once in a while I have to remind her to come over to my lane on the hard left handers ,cars and bikes cross over the double yellow all the time.
This is why riding the Tail of the Dragon on the weekend should be avoided
A variation of a close call. More like a a slow-motion close call.
This happened while riding my '93 CB750 Nighthawk.
The Lovely Z1BEBE & I was at the 2018 VJMC National Rally close to Mitchell, IN. We'd trailered both of our '93 CB750 Nighthawks there not due to distance from home (only 50 mi.), but because we were traveling on to central Michigan for another VJMC event the following weekend.
I was riding along a two-lane IN state road road that was wet from a passing rain shower. Moving at ~55 mph. Hear a soft "pop", and the rear tire just sorta twitched a tiny amount, but nothing more. Figured I'd just hit an unseen piece of larger gravel a glancing blow. I rode on to my destination about 5 mi. away without further incident.
Next morning the rear tire was flat. Discovered a large nail (more like a spike) in the tread. We were far enough from home to make returning improbable, and it was Sunday morning anyway, so no bike shops were open, or close. We'd committed to being in MI that evening and already had the bikes on the trailer. Stopped by an auto parts store and bought some tire cement and gummy worms, removed the object & plugged the tire. The hole was a clean puncture, center tread on a tire that only had ~3,000 mi. on it. Reamed & wet the hole with cement, inserted the plug and left the tire uninflated for the next 9 hrs. to cure while we drove to MI. Once there I inflated the tire, checked for leak (none) and checked again the following morning. Still no leak.
Over the next few days we rode ~500mi. in MI with my tire plugged. No leaks. Rode another ~150 mi. after returning home before the plug began a slow leak.
From this point on in this post the pics illustrate the tire and rim damage after dismounting the tire at home once the plug began its slow leak. It had been my intent to apply a more permanent vulcanizing plug-patch (mushroom patch) from the inside. However, upon discovering the additional damage to the tire carcass I decided to document the damage & just use the opportunity to practice the prep & application of a plug-patch with no intent of placing the tire into service again.
This is what I saw the first time I noticed the spike that Sun. morning away from home. This is taken at home after removing the gummy worm plug & re-inserting the spike to take pics.:
It was difficult to remove the first time. It was quite rusty & had obviously weathered for a long time prior to my encounter with it. Channellocks, much grunting & gnashing of teeth produced something akin to a paraphrase of that battery commercial; it just kept coming... and coming... and coming...:
It's a dual-compound tire. The seam between hard & soft is visible just below the puncture. The spike left a reasonably clean puncture in the meat of the tread:
The offending object; 13 cm. (about 3.5"). Not sure, but I believe it was bent prior to my encounter with it:
Before I ever looked at the inside of the tire, the first thing I noticed after dismounting the tire was the hundreds of "pekker marks" on the inside of the rim. They had to have happened during that 5 mi. after the puncture occurred:
This next thing really spooked me, and will always make me carefully consider the wisdom of plugging a tire:
The tip of the awl is pointing to the deepest damage to the inside of the carcass. It's a hole about 3 mm. deep. This is NOT the puncture made by the spike; that puncture is out of the frame of this pic. The rest of the damage runs between 1~2 mm. deep. Cords in the carcass are obviously cut. Best guess is that the arc was created as the point of the spike swept across the surface each time the spike hit the road. The staining is from dried rubber slickum I used during tire dismount.
I'd ordered a new tire from my favorite home bike shop the Tuesday following our arrival in MI, so I had one to mount this same day I took these pics a few weeks later.
No need to fuss at me for running the punctured tire with a worm. I'm perfectly capable of beating myself up about it and have been doing so on a regular basis. I'm posting this in hopes of making others aware that there may be additional, unseen damage to the inside of a tire resulting from a puncture.
I did apply the plug-patch as practice. If anyone's interested I'll post pics of the process and completed repair. Had the area of the carcass not been damaged by the point of the spike sweeping across it, I would confidently have placed the tire into service again once the plug-patch was applied.
I'm considering cutting a section of the damaged area out of the tire, mounting it on a nice piece of wood complete with spike and having a plaque made, thereby creating a "Rusty Spike Award". It will be to recognize the next VJMC member who experiences a puncture during a VJMC National event.
slmjim & Z1BEBE
A biker looks at your engine and chrome.
A Rider looks at your odometer and tags.