Monday, March 9, 2015

Ironically, This Makes It Better...

A friend posted this video on Facebook, with a comment that this sort of thing was the reason he prefers a car.

The first time I watched, I only made it about a quarter of the way through the video, it was so painful. It wasn't so much the crashes, but that nearly all of them were absolutely avoidable. There were certainly a few where the motorcyclist was doing everything right and safe and got hit, and I genuinely feel bad for them. What makes this especially ironic is I watched this video after I got back from a quick motorcycle ride (I have ridden at least once every month since I've been in VA with my bike).

But the VAST majority, the motorcyclists were going WAY too fast, lane-splitting, passing on the right, or otherwise acting in a manner that contributed to the crash. I went so far as to watch the video very carefully, and broke down the first ten crashes:

1. Hard to tell, but the bike comes flying in from the left side of the screen, across the car with the camera into the minivan.
2. Yes, the car turned left in front of the bike, but the bike was going WAAAAAY to
o fast - the car with the camera had plenty of time to react without incident.
3. Again, yes, the truck cut across the lane, but look at the bike disintegrate. WAY too fast for a city street.
4. Lane splitting at high speed and hits a pedestrian.
5. *****WAAAAAAYYYYY***** too fast and hit a kid in a crosswalk. I hope he went down hard.

Note: Yes, the kids came out into the crosswalk kind of fast, but he absolutely should have seen them coming. Rule #1 on a motorcycle is that you are ALWAYS scanning for things that can come running out from the side. It's one of the nice things about riding on highways. 
6. Bike turned left into oncoming traffic. Bad move when outmassed 10:1...
7. Car turning left VERY slowly, stopped at times, and bike comes FLYING in. Bike actually drives THROUGH a crowd of pedestrians.
8. Bike going, again, WAY too fast and can't react to the car turning. AGAIN, we see the car with the dashcam NOT having to slam on their brakes for the turning vehicle, indicating that the bike's extreme speed caused the crash.
9. Bike PLOWS into the back of the car. Duh.
10. Bike going what really appears to be the WRONG WAY around a rotary.

Excessive speed, lane splitting, and just plain not paying attention. This repeats throughout the video. It's even hard to fault the cars that turned left in front of some of these bikes, because the bikes were going so fast.  Look, I've *had* people turn left in front of me. I avoided crashing because I was paying attention and watching them long before they actually made the turn. Yes, it can and does happen that someone on a bike is just riding along when some jack@$$ in a car blithely turns in front of them. There were precious few of that sort of wreck in this video.

Bottom line, don't play stupid games and you stand a good chance of not winning stupid prizes...

That is all.


AndyN said...

I understand why your friend would prefer a car, but I think this kind of video argues in favor of encouraging more people to ride motorcycles. How many of the riders in those wrecks do you think operate a car any more safely than they do a motorcycle? Isn't it better for everyone else involved if they're using the type of motor vehicle likely to do the least damage to others when they're acting the fool?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Purely anecdotal, but in my ~18 years in EMS, the only "bad" motorcycle wrecks I've seen or heard about have been the ones where the rider was doing something stupid. The ones where they were doing everything right and some other idiot was at fault might have ended up with a broken bone or two, but escaped without permanent or even long-term injury.

Crotalus said...

The one I liked the best is where the biker is pounding on a driver's window, and when they moved, the driver plowed the biker down. Nothing against bikers, but that one was acting like an asshole.

Bram said...

In my teens I rode dirt bikes - fast off-road. I crashed all the time! So I never had any desire to ride street bikes.

Old NFO said...

Stupidity on two wheels... Ego and they're bulletproof until...

Will said...

The bicycle riders? Idiots, mostly. I see that, even in other countries, they have an "I own the road" mentality.

Lots of crashes due to overbraking. Obviously, most of them do not practice "emergency" or "maximum performance" stopping.

Lots of crashes due to underbraking. Again, riders don't know what their bike is capable of doing.

When dealing with traffic, you cannot be looking at the scenery, looking behind you, etc. Things happen too fast.

Open your door to block a bike? Assault, possibly w/deadly weapon. The car that hit the biker pounding on the hood/fender? Definitely a booking offense.

Splitting lanes? Safest place to be in heavy traffic, when they are stopped or barely moving. Passing on the shoulder? That's not splitting lanes, and tends to be unsafe, because you are giving the cars a place to move into. May or may not be considered assault, depends on the situation.

I saw a number of cases where the vehicle deliberately hit, or tried to hit, a bike.

Speed was a factor in lots of them, but inattention (lack of situational awareness) was very common, and might be the single most common factor in the crashes.

If you are going to be "stunting" on public roads, you should already be competent. Even when it is done well, it reflects poorly on bikers. Bad PR.
Although I am reminded of the story about Gary Nixon (I think) who got stopped for doing a wheelie, and when he got in front of the judge and was asked who he thought he was, he responded that he had just won the #1 plate as the Grand National Motorcycle Racing Champion in the USA (late 60's-early 70's). Case dismissed.

Siege said...

As I ponder the purchase of a traditional motorcycle, the engineer in me is ever contemplating the statistics. Most of these fellows are the epitome of what would be called "Confounding Variables". Is motorcycling incredibly dangerous, or just prone to attracting reckless people who get themselves killed disproportionately relative to actual danger? It makes it hard to measure the actual risk involved when you have people like this mucking up the statistics.

On the other hand, statistics that we DO have (at least up in WI), indicate 40% of deaths come from people without licenses, and 60% involve alcohol. Given that I have a license and don't drink, official stats are probably at least half listed based on actual risk.

LCB said...

Will is right, of course. The only times I've crossed the line on a curve is when I haven't been paying enough attention and go in to the curve too fast.

But try as we might, there is NO WAY to always be 100% ON 100% of the time. Practicing emergency stops is a good way to get muscle memory in place, just like practicing drawing from concealment.

Every year it takes me two or three weeks to feel back up to "normal" on my bike after the winter. Supposed to be 60 tomorrow afternoon and sunny! Time to start learning all over again. :-)

Borepatch said...

+1 on Jake's comment. That was my experience.

Jay G said...


A couple points. I suspect we're more or less in agreement...

Biker pounding on the hood? *YES*, the car was wrong. Yes the driver should be prosecuted for assault with a deadly weapon.

That still doesn't mean the biker wasn't being a stupid asshole who could have kept his own anger in check, his hands to himself, and his bike and body in one piece...

Splitting lanes - when done under the appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner - can be safer than sitting in a line of traffic waiting for someone to plow into you because they don't see you there.

Problem is, it is rarely done correctly. And ain't NONE of the folks shown in this video doing it safely.

NO, of course, cars don't have the right to open doors, make sudden lane changes, etc. It doesn't mean some jackass won't, and it behooves the biker to pay attention and ride within his abilities so that he can act accordingly.

As for stunting, well, I'd be okay for it being a "pile on" offense as in if you screw up and wreck, the powers-that-be can add "stunt riding" as an additional offense. Problem is, it's damn subjective as to what could be an immediate danger vs. what's just going to lead to a lot of road rash if the biker f**ks up...


If you take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, buy a quality motorcycle, and ride within your abilities you should be fine.

I think what happens is that you get people that have NO business on a powerful sportbike getting ahold of them - brand new, you can get a Kawasaki Ninja 1000 for $12K. You can't find a decent used Corvette for that much, and the Ninja will run RINGS around most 'Vettes.

Used? You can pick up a 3-4 year old Ninja 1000 for maybe $8K. You can get a LOT of motorcycle for less than a stripped econobox.

Bradley said...

I posted this with my comment for two reasons.

1> i am a speed junky, and I drive way to fast, as proven by my triple digit speeding tickets when i was on a a bike.

2> with a cage around me, and something like 7 air bags around me, when i screw up badly, I am more likely to walk away, vs the more then i would like to admit ambulance rides i got after putting my bike down hard.

Anonymous said...


A buddy of mine when I was active duty Air Force bought a 'Busa as his SECOND ever motorcycle. The inevitable spectacular crash happened. He's lucky the rocks caught him. There was a better than fifty foot drop if they hadn't. He came through that over with fused ankle, fused cervical vertebrae, and a trashed knee. The fused ankle is from the foot peg mailing his left leg to the ground.

At that time I had a VStar 1100, way less power, and had been riding different motorcycles for a minimum of 15 years. Hell, I wouldn't have bought a Busa even then!

Regards and love the blog,

Long time lurker and reader,

Jeremy in UT

Jay G said...


There's a good reason I drive a big, heavy Harley bagger rather than a CBR900RR. I know *me*. I know how much I would be tempted to push the CBR to its limits...


I've had my motorcycle endorsement for 20 years. I know I'm not ready for a Hayabusa...

That said, the Honda Valkyrie is about the only bike that's ever really frightened me, and that's only because it was just so *willing* to open up all six cylinders...

Even the Boss Hoss with the Chevy 350 didn't scare me like the Valk...