A combination of little things - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
Never let your guard down This forum is for discussions on close calls and other safety issues.

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post #1 of 11 Old 08-11-2010, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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A combination of little things

It was a nice group ride with 10 people doing on and off road areas in southern ohio. Caught a ride down with a friend in his pickup to try and save some tire life of 100 miles each way. We had completed the first off road area and gone about ten miles towards the next area on road when the group started to get broken up. Rule #1 always make sure the rider behind you is there. So I was doing my best to lag behind to keep the riders behind me in sight, those in front were not following this rule. So when the riders behind me started to catch back up I speed up to try and regain ground with the group. I finally caught up with the rider ahead of me. Rule number two, always recognize the limitations of other riders and their bikes. He was on an illegally plated dr400 with no break lights. The leader of th group finally realized things weren't right and turned around to see where everyone was.
At this point the rider ahead of me and I were coming down a freshly chip and sealed road at about 40 mph. The leader rounded the corner and the two stopped hard in the middle of the road. I applied the breaks hard to try and avoid a collision with the two riders now stopped in the center of the road and started skidding on the rear. I got the speed down and released the rear and front to stere around them, but the rear never recovered and I low sided on the lose gravel and tar.


I was in full off road gear and had no road rash, but my left foot was trapped under the bike as I low sided and was spit out under me as I laid it down twisting my ankle. At first I though nothing was wrong minus a badly twisted ankle. It was enough that I knew the ride was over for me. Several friends helped me limp the bike back to my friends truck and load it up. He drove me home and we unloaded it and parked it in the garage.
I tended to my ankle and decided to have it x-rayed the next day.
Long story short I had fractured my fibula, and torn ligaments between my tib and fib requiring this.

Bike is fine, boots look fine but rider is down till Nov when I can start walking on it again. Like I said it was a combination of little things, but resulted in lots of medical expenses.
What would I do different next time? Since no one factor caused the accident I can't point to one thing I'd change. Sometimes it's all the little things that add up.

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-11-2010, 11:35 AM
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Sorry you're down and glad it wasn't worse.

Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.

Tom

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-11-2010, 12:45 PM
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Heal fast.

As I get older, I am more apprehensive about group rides for the very reasons you described. Gratefully, I have not personally experienced much pain or loss, however, I have been on the rescuing end more times than I care to remember, and far more than I would ever want to repeat. I'd sure encourage you to discuss this at greater length, in hopes that a better understanding of "group riding etiquette" could be established. If one person can avoid what you are going through, it would be effort well spent.

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-11-2010, 02:45 PM
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What a bummer. Really sorry to hear this, man. I'll echo...get better and try and think about all the great rides you'll go on in the future. Take care of yourself.

Dan




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post #5 of 11 Old 08-14-2010, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vatrader View Post
Heal fast.

I'd sure encourage you to discuss this at greater length, in hopes that a better understanding of "group riding etiquette" could be established. If one person can avoid what you are going through, it would be effort well spent.
Thanks, we're working on the recovery.

If I had to numerate some personal good rules for group riding off road, I'd be a terrible person if I didn't give credit where it's due. The group I normally ride with, Caveman riders, has long asked and talked about just this. On road riding has it's own issues and is best discussed seperatly.
1. Have your bike in good condition for the ride and practice basic repair skills in the garage with the tools on the bike so you know what works and what doesn't.
2. Know the conditions of the trails/roads you intend to ride, if you don't know the trails, ask others who live near or ride that area what their experience is. Photos and video really help here.
3. Know your riding limitations, be ready to try new stuff but don't try things that you know you are not ready for or are obviously too dangerous. I'd rather be the guy at the bottom of a bad hill than the rider tumbling down it.
4. Find riders who share your comfort level, riding style prefrances, and speed. Nothing more stressful than unfamiliar trails and people who are seemingly always stopping and waiting for you. (This is not to discourage anyone from pushing the envelope of comfort or riding with better riders to gain experience and knowledge. Just make sure you all know the skill level of the ride and pace the group intends to keep.)
5. For a ride leader:
A. Make sure the riders know the skill level of the ride and intended pace.
B. Allow time in the ride for the unexpected
C. Be aware of group size and the limitations of a large group.
D. Make sure you have several other riders in the group who know the route, have emergency tools, and are capable experienced riders. Having a gps route to share is also a good stop gap when you don't have others familiar with the route.
E. Be aware at all times of the riders with you and if anyone is struggling to keep up, keep the group together and have a designated last rider to play clean up. Stop often to make sure the last rider is there and has not had to stop to help another rider.
F. Keep the pace fun but remember large group rides go slower and require longer time to cover the same distance as a smaller group.
G. At each turn allow the last rider to arrive before you continue.
H. Let each rider know that they are responsible for the rider behind them, not keeping up with the rider ahead of them.
I. Let other riders know before entering difficult or hazardous areas, and watch for other groups, vehicles, and obsticals ahead.
J. Have easily identified hand signals for vehicle approaching, stop, ground obsticals, low fuel and and a signal that isn't turned off after a turn.
6. As a rider be aware of your own physical condition on the ride. Summer heat is an obvious problem and getting heat exhaustion can cause slower reaction times and bad decisions. Take frequent breaks when tackling hard trails.
7. Gear!!! ATGATT. Spend the time to find the right gear, make sure it fits and use it all the time. Misfortune strikes without warning.

I hope most of this is obvious to people and common sense rules the experiences of our rides. Nothing will protect you from every danger motorcycling presents, but being aware and ready can improve the odds you have greatly of making riding in groups fun and safe.
I continue to try to analyze what issues contributed to my accident. It still appears to be no one issue, but a combination of several that have only become apparent in hind site. I will ride again, a bit wiser, a bit smarter and hopefully safer, for myself and those whom I ride with. I wanna be riding with my friends for many years to come on and off road.

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Last edited by Buildit; 08-14-2010 at 12:41 AM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-14-2010, 07:27 AM
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Thanks for putting that together. Group riding can be fun, provided everyone plays their part. I understand the tendency to want to "ride your own ride", but I hope what happened to Buildit magnifies the effect that might have on a group ride.

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-14-2010, 12:33 PM
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Sorry to hear of the spill,,,glad your here to talk about it!! What I notice about group riding is the tendency for 2 bikes to ride next to one another,,,with some poor soul right next to the yellow center marker of lanes. I cant believe that some people feel "safe" 2 feet away from a 2 ton projectile going in the opposite direction of there travel!!! If I group ride,, I tend to hug the "inside" of any given lane ,,and I will not ride side by side with another bike,,,not enough room to safely react to something that might happen,,,,,buts thats just me. I'm sure there are other views on this,,,and thats OK.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-14-2010, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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As I said road riding tends to employ different dangers than off road riding. But one thing I always think about when on road is my rides are dual sport bikes allowing me the option to leave the road if necessary to avoid danger.
As for other riders I agree it is always best to keep manuvering and stopping space.

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-14-2010, 09:44 PM
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Buildit,

Sorry for your accident. Glad it wasn't worse. I'll be praying for a quick and complete recovery. Here's to the proper gear!

Heal fast!

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post #10 of 11 Old 08-16-2010, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Azulmule, I'll take all prayers I can get after the trouble I had with blood clots. Thankfully they seem to be going away and real healing is taking place in my ankle.

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