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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a very rural area and I actually have never taken my bike into a truly urban environment. I live in the country and teach at a rural school in a small rural community and have just gone back and forth between the school, my house, and the rural fire department where I am a reserve.

Anyway, day before yesterday I was on a two lane road that had walnut orchards on both sides with a tractor coming the opposite direction. There was a small car (I think it was a Ford Focus) behind the tractor. I was doing probably close to 65 but eased off a bit and moved over to the right side of the road a bit because something in the back of my mind told me to look out. Sure enough when I was about 75-100' (really just a rough estimate) from the tractor The car with an idiot talking on the phone punched it and whipped out into my lane to pass the tractor. Now I have a bright headlight and the top have of my jacket is high viz so I have no idea how this idiot did not see me even being on the phone but as I have been told, "always assume you are invisible."

I slammed on the brakes and actually locked up the rear for a split second which caused me to fishtail a bit. I swerved to the right. I was probably down to 35-40 mph when I left the pavement. I got one hell of a wobble when I hit the dirt. From this point on I have no idea if what I did was correct but here goes. Somehow I had the presence of mind though I really do not consciously remember doing this to drop two gears to third. After letting go of the clutch I goosed it a bit (I do remember letting go of the clutch and giving it gas). I do not know if it was clutching it to shift or giving it the gas but most of the wobble straightened out. I am amazed I did not drop when I left the pavement.

Now I had a new problem, I was headed straight for a walnut tree. Somehow I managed to miss it and straighten out in the orchard where the rows ran parallel to the road. When I made the turn in the orchard I think I was going too fast or something because it sure felt like the bike was going to slide out from under me. I got smacked by a couple branches but held on, maintained relative control, and made it to the end of the orchard where there was a drive that went back to the road.

I looked to the left and saw that the car had kept going but the guy on the tractor had stopped and was walking towards the orchard assumingly to check on me. I waved to him and took back off. I was a little shaky but proud of myself for getting out of it. I have no idea if my actions were correct or if I should have done something differently. Heck, some of the specifics are a little fuzzy (speeds, when I gave it gas or brake) because it happened so fast but it is pretty close if not exact. I only have about 500 miles/1.5 months of experience. It has not deterred me. I have ridden two more times since and have no intention of stopping. I am trying to join the 300 mile club on this tank though I may not because most of the tank I have been riding with the Tusk large panniers on it. I am at 259 miles and I have not hit reserve yet...

Anyway thanks for reading. Stay safe out there.
 

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Glad that went your way. Keep your head in the game and keep watching for idiots on cell phones -always good advice.

One caveat, after the ohh-sh!t moment has past, I find it's best to take 10-15 to chill-ax. High stress fight/flight causes your brain to dump tons of adrenaline into your system and it takes a while for the white-knuckled energy to burn off and your system to calm down and be able to refocus. That relaxing and taking time to process the events helps clear the chemical and emotional fog.

Jump back into traffic too soon and you risk jitters and or may be prone to poor decisions or stupid choices because your weren't on point.

Just one opinion.

Again, glad you came through that! :doublethumb:
 

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moved over to the right side of the road a bit because something in the back of my mind told me to look out
Glad everything worked out, and you've done a lot of smart things.

In general, I suggest staying toward the left of your lane. I aim for the right side of the left tire groove, so to speak. Claim and defend your lane (to a point). Your headlight will be more visible with the open road as a backdrop as opposed to roadside clutter.
 

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Good work. Farm equipment always makes me slow as much as I can. You never know what others are going to do. down shifting is smart too and usually slows you under control .

I just installed Hi vis on my first gear jacket too. safe riding is good. thanks for sharing the story. walnut trees usually win.

line6
 

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That was a close one. It sounds like you have good instincts and reflexes. You must have done many things correctly because your still upright.
We as motorcyclists are responsible for our safety but we mustn’t let that concern stop us from enjoying our sport. Glad you’re okay!
 

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I debated whether to post on this, as what I usually have to say is often not well received.

This particular case is one that I often run into. When I see a farm vehicle on moving along the side of the road I immediately slow to match its speed, which is probably 15-20mph. I know that whatever is behind it (and I may not be able to see what's behind it) is probably frustrated. Frustrated drivers do weird shit. Normally I ride to the left of the lane. As I slow I move to the right. I do that because my moving headlight can attract attention and the following vehicle(s) line of sight to me is improved. This I do for all approaching traffic, but the most important element when approaching slow traffic in the opposite lane (or stopped traffic/work) is to slow down. Slow way the **** down.

This thread may be of interest...

https://www.klrforum.com/never-let-your-guard-down/70917-i-agree-guy.html
 
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All kinds of shit can go wrong with slow-moving farm implements on public highways. Glad you survived that one.

Good point brought up by foo. For some reason there's always seems to be the urge to just quickly get back on your way after a close call but it's probably a good idea to just chill out for awhile.

When it comes to headlights and hi-viz, you never know what is directly behind you when you're in in somebody else's line of sight so you might not "pop out" from the background as much as you think you do.

It's just a personal theory of mine with no facts to back it up, but I maintain that so many people everywhere are wearing the standard neon green/yellow hi-viz stuff that folks are starting to become kind of desensitized to it, or at least I am. If you're old enough, remember the very first time you saw a road crew wearing it? It was novel and you thought "Damn that's bright!" I drive by outdoor workers wearing hi-viz now and it just seems to me like they're wearing regular clothing. Maybe it's time for riders to start transitioning to the pink hi-viz........

As Schmitz noted, lateral movement is always good if you can do it and I also believe that your best defense is constantly analyzing what the drivers around you might do.

I appreciate you posting this. Maybe it will pop into somebody else's mind one of these days when they approach a similar situation.
 

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Good post Tom, why might a safety message be "not well recieved"??

I rear ended a guy in traffic as a high schooler. Long story - some one came close to pulling out in front of me, I swerve and found out the line of traffic stopped - too late. went over the bars and did a texas roll off the trunk of the chevy impala in front of me. 73 Yamaha forks were never the same. oh - No helmet.

looking to enjoy retirement, Ill do my best to ride safely. line6
 

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Because I usually tell people "Whatever happened, it was your fault."
Ut Oh, Now I'm the one who is going to suffer that wrath.

I will suggest that by pulling to the RH side of his lane, Ranger295 may have accidentally encouraged the idiot to pass the tractor. Possibly thinking that Ranger295 was purposely attempting to share his lane.

As cfestings said, "Claim and defend your lane (to a point). Your headlight will be more visible with the open road as a backdrop as opposed to roadside clutter."
Many cage drivers will try to share a motorcyclists lane, if we allow it.

Glad that you and your bike are alright Ranger295. You did the best you could and it was good enough. Ride Safe.
 

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...I will suggest that by pulling to the RH side of his lane, Ranger295 may have accidentally encouraged the idiot to pass the tractor...
That may well be true. Had he slowed to 20mph as he moved to the right, the whole event would have been a non-event. Pulling to the fog line at speed created an avoidable bumpy run through the orchard.

Defend your lane? OK, to a small extent, but f=ma and Ke=1/2mv^2. A Ford Focus has eight times the mass of a KLR. A motorist can "not see" a motorcyclist if the motorcyclist is in his visual blind spot, is obscured by a sun flare on the windscreen, or simply blends into the background. That collision is gonna be just about like a potato bug hitting your windshield.
 

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Two pluses of a motorcycle. They've more maneuverable than other vehicles and they can scrub off speed very, very quickly, damned near instantaneously if you know what you're doing. Those are tools in your box.

Well, maybe not instantaneously, but you know what I mean..............
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for all of your replies.

Glad that went your way. Keep your head in the game and keep watching for idiots on cell phones -always good advice.

One caveat, after the ohh-sh!t moment has past, I find it's best to take 10-15 to chill-ax. High stress fight/flight causes your brain to dump tons of adrenaline into your system and it takes a while for the white-knuckled energy to burn off and your system to calm down and be able to refocus. That relaxing and taking time to process the events helps clear the chemical and emotional fog.

Jump back into traffic too soon and you risk jitters and or may be prone to poor decisions or stupid choices because your weren't on point.

Just one opinion.

Again, glad you came through that! :doublethumb:
Good point about the jitters. I was a little shook up but not to the point of shaking. The ride through the orchard was a bit of a cool off anyway. I am used to working in dangerous situations and under pressure too but just stopping to sit for a couple minutes would not have hurt.

That was a close one. It sounds like you have good instincts and reflexes. You must have done many things correctly because your still upright.
We as motorcyclists are responsible for our safety but we mustn’t let that concern stop us from enjoying our sport. Glad you’re okay!
I have developed instincts and reflexes over the years. In late high school/early college I raced mountain bikes. Around the same same timeframe I was a climbing instructor and did search and rescue. Fast forward almost 20 years, I am a reserve firefighter. On my department I get sent into some of the more dangerous situations because I am known for working well under pressure. I have been inside burning buildings, on the roofs of burning buildings, cut cars open... Every year we have a training drill where we fill a building with smoke (from a smoke machine), the training officers make all kinds of obstacles and entanglements and we have to complete various "missions". I almost always done the best out of anyone on my department in these drills. I can make the air in my SCBA last longer than anyone else on my department because I stay so calm. This has saved my life more than once. I can make and execute snap decisions. Now ask me to make a decision I have time to think about and I am a basket case.

I debated whether to post on this, as what I usually have to say is often not well received.

This particular case is one that I often run into. When I see a farm vehicle on moving along the side of the road I immediately slow to match its speed, which is probably 15-20mph. I know that whatever is behind it (and I may not be able to see what's behind it) is probably frustrated. Frustrated drivers do weird shit. Normally I ride to the left of the lane. As I slow I move to the right. I do that because my moving headlight can attract attention and the following vehicle(s) line of sight to me is improved. This I do for all approaching traffic, but the most important element when approaching slow traffic in the opposite lane (or stopped traffic/work) is to slow down. Slow way the **** down.

This thread may be of interest...

https://www.klrforum.com/never-let-your-guard-down/70917-i-agree-guy.html
You make a lot of good points. If I had slowed way down it would have been fine or at least I would have been able to pull off the road and stop. I run into farm equipment every day pretty much in my area so I will approach them differently in the future. I moved over I think because I have seen equipment bounce around, drop dirt clods, and all kinds of other unpredictable. You are right about frustrated drivers. I have been the guy on the tractor many times and seen so many close calls because the frustrated people behind me. If you are that frustrated, stay in town and enjoy the food and fiber we provide you.

I will check out the thread as soon as I finish this reply

All kinds of shit can go wrong with slow-moving farm implements on public highways. Glad you survived that one.

Good point brought up by foo. For some reason there's always seems to be the urge to just quickly get back on your way after a close call but it's probably a good idea to just chill out for awhile.

When it comes to headlights and hi-viz, you never know what is directly behind you when you're in in somebody else's line of sight so you might not "pop out" from the background as much as you think you do.

It's just a personal theory of mine with no facts to back it up, but I maintain that so many people everywhere are wearing the standard neon green/yellow hi-viz stuff that folks are starting to become kind of desensitized to it, or at least I am. If you're old enough, remember the very first time you saw a road crew wearing it? It was novel and you thought "Damn that's bright!" I drive by outdoor workers wearing hi-viz now and it just seems to me like they're wearing regular clothing. Maybe it's time for riders to start transitioning to the pink hi-viz........

As Schmitz noted, lateral movement is always good if you can do it and I also believe that your best defense is constantly analyzing what the drivers around you might do.

I appreciate you posting this. Maybe it will pop into somebody else's mind one of these days when they approach a similar situation.
Interesting thought on the high viz. Mine is the high lighter yellow. Maybe I should paint my bike blaze orange rather than the army green I chose :laugh3: You do not see as much blaze orange and I have no idea what it could possibly blend into.

Because I usually tell people "Whatever happened, it was your fault."
You will never offend me with this type of a response. Especially when it is coming from a point of constructive criticism. I know I am a rookie with a lot to learn. It is like me chewing out one of my students for doing something unsafe in the shop or one of the probie firefighters assigned to my unit. It is for their own good. As I tell these young guys, you are responsible for your own safety. You have to watch for those around you.

Two pluses of a motorcycle. They've more maneuverable than other vehicles and they can scrub off speed very, very quickly, damned near instantaneously if you know what you're doing. Those are tools in your box.

Well, maybe not instantaneously, but you know what I mean..............
I know what you mean. Even with the crappy gen 1 brakes, I can stop way faster on the bike than in my 4 door long bed F350.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
... Being dead right is still being dead. ...
This is a partial quote from you in the thread you linked. It is very close to something an instructor said in a Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety class I took when I was 16 (21 years ago). He said, "You may have the right of way but don't be dead right." I have said that many times to my students and the young firefighters. It definitely applies here.
 

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This is a partial quote from you in the thread you linked. It is very close to something an instructor said in a Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety class I took when I was 16 (21 years ago). He said, "You may have the right of way but don't be dead right." I have said that many times to my students and the young firefighters. It definitely applies here.
Good way of putting that.
 

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...I run into farm equipment every day pretty much in my area so I will approach them differently in the future. I moved over I think because I have seen equipment bounce around, drop dirt clods, and all kinds of other unpredictable...
Even though I live in southern California most of my riding is in northern California because it's just better up there. I grew up in rural areas, too. I have seen farm equipment do all of those things, including making left turns across the road to enter a field. I expect them to do all of these sorts of things because they are bouncing around in the cab of a tractor and can't see shit anyway, and add to that the idea that a sun flare across their windshield or mirror will obscure motorcyclists, as well as the motorcyclist being hidden behind a cab pillar or in the optical blindspot of the driver. They have only a few seconds where they look and that's all it takes to be invisible.

Last week I was coming out of Woodland and headed for Chester up at Lake Almanor. I was riding on County 102 and Rt 113 to take 99 up Chico way before heading out on 32/36. It was like a parade for most of the way up 113. I think every farmer and field hand was changing fields. It's a good thing that I enjoy riding in ag country!
 

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Not to beat a safety related dead horse, I am going to dovetail off of Tom's - "whatever happened - you're at fault" comment. I very much agree, having told my 73 Yamaha Enduro story back a page (no helmet, etc)
Part of that story was an encroaching car almost pulling out in front of me, making me swerve around him. Not my fault - right?? If you don't have the mindset that part of enjoying the privilege of riding motorcycle is that you are automatically at a disadvantage from a safety standpoint and thus if things go wrong - you personally failed to properly foresee dangers and failed to mitigate the risks of your situation and surroundings. This is what you sign up for when riding on two wheels. It could be argued.... if that viewpoint offends you, you should perhaps choose a different hobby.

A nephew who will go unnamed many years ago like to ride hard, and was an inherent thrill seeker in the Jeremy McGrath years. I know he got busted up on a 125cc dirt bike. Got his licence. a year later, Bought a 600cc crotch rocket. making a left turn, oncoming traffic makes a wide right, whacks him, he lays it down, and luckily only got scraped up. days later at a family gathering - my two brothers, cousins, dad, all were avid motorcycle riders, wanted to find out what had happened in the nephew's accident. I will never forget- first words out of his mouth. Well I was riding, making a turn and I got hit "so it wasn't my fault". I thought to myself - well that explains alot.

I let him know, sternly, (to be polite) that if you sign up for riding motorcycle, and you have an accident - it is your fault. That is the price you paid when you signed up for this activity.

That kid eventually wrapped an ATV around a tree, busted up numerous sleds, put his Harley sportster in the ditch, spent a week in the hospital with busted bones. and the list goes on. Still rides, but I dont know if I would ride with him to this day if he asked me.

thank god he never had kids.

off my high horse now, have fun, ride safe.

Line6distortion
 

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"Fortunately," I guess, most of the agricultural equipment around here has become so immense that passing them on a 2-lane road isn't even an option for anybody. You just have to follow them until they turn off.

You also see a lot more of them than you used to because there are a lot less farmers who own a lot more land and they have to highway their stuff from acreage to acreage. I would add to Tom's notes above that planting and harvesting are busy times for these folks and who knows what kind of mental/physical shape they're in when they're out on the road. They could have just spent the whole previous night operating the machinery in a field and decided they wanted to move on to the next field before getting some rest.

The old threat (countered by the "slow moving vehicle" triangle) was that people wouldn't see them and run into the back of them. Nowadays, they're festooned with fold-out booms with flashing lights and high-inensity lights in general all over the place to the point they look like low-flying UFO's from a distance. You can't say they're hard to see anymore.

I once spent two days hauling hay bales about 5 miles from a field to a barn travelling on both gravel roads and highways using an ancient International truck that had no brakes at all and all three of us in the cab were drunk for most of those trips. It took a lot of forethought and timely shifting to slow down enough to make some of those turns. "It was a long time ago and things were different back then........."

I only share this story to plant the seed of pausing to consider "Who's driving that thing?" before deciding to pass a farm truck..........
 

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The "off road" ability of the KLR can come in handy when you have to take an unexpected "exit ramp".
 
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