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I had a freak accident last week. I was riding on I-90, keeping up with the traffic, not slower and not faster than the cars traveling at 70-80 mph. I was in lane 3 of 4. Suddenly, the big SUV in front of me swerved violently, almost overturning, and moved to the lane on the right. I saw a stopped car in front of me. Not having much time to think, my survival instincts took over. I guess my subconsciousness weighed the options: (1) try to stop and risk being crushed by the car following me, or not be able to stop and smash into the stopped car, (2) move to left or right and be swept by the car there, and (3) try to squeeze between the stopped car and the adjacent lane, and chose option 3. Most of me and the bike made it, but our mirrors connected. Crack, smash, pain in the arm. I am not sure whether I was hit by the car's mirror, or my mirror, when it broke off the stem, hit me, but I have a nice bruise. Nothing broken, thanks to tight leather sleeve and a good elbow/arm padding. Mirror is already replaced and I am back riding. The couple of days of down time were an opportunity to give the bike a thorough cleaning and lubing.

After the accident, I pulled over, and stayed on the side to catch my breath and examine the damage to the bike and my body. The cops arrived, and pushed the car out to the breakdown lane. One of them, a young fellow, took my information. When he returned, he said: "You know, I could have ticketed you for not avoiding the collision, but I won't. Drive more carefully". To which I replied "How can I anticipate a parked car in the middle of the highway? I had enough time to slow down or stop if the car I was following stopped or slowed down".

My question to you guys: how do you prevent a situation like this. If it happens, how would you hope to react? Whose fault it is? Is there a fault? I cannot blame the guy whose car stalled, unless he knew there was a problem and didn't fix it, or didn't make enough effort to pull to the side. I don't think I am to blame, because I was following the car in front at a safe distance. If anyone is to blame, it would be the car in front of me for not swerving early enough. My guess is he was distracted.
 

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I had a freak accident last week. I was riding on I-90, keeping up with the traffic, not slower and not faster than the cars traveling at 70-80 mph. I was in lane 3 of 4. Suddenly, the big SUV in front of me swerved violently, almost overturning, and moved to the lane on the right. I saw a stopped car in front of me. Not having much time to think, my survival instincts took over. I guess my subconsciousness weighed the options: (1) try to stop and risk being crushed by the car following me, or not be able to stop and smash into the stopped car, (2) move to left or right and be swept by the car there, and (3) try to squeeze between the stopped car and the adjacent lane, and chose option 3. Most of me and the bike made it, but our mirrors connected. Crack, smash, pain in the arm. I am not sure whether I was hit by the car's mirror, or my mirror, when it broke off the stem, hit me, but I have a nice bruise. Nothing broken, thanks to tight leather sleeve and a good elbow/arm padding. Mirror is already replaced and I am back riding. The couple of days of down time were an opportunity to give the bike a thorough cleaning and lubing.

After the accident, I pulled over, and stayed on the side to catch my breath and examine the damage to the bike and my body. The cops arrived, and pushed the car out to the breakdown lane. One of them, a young fellow, took my information. When he returned, he said: "You know, I could have ticketed you for not avoiding the collision, but I won't. Drive more carefully". To which I replied "How can I anticipate a parked car in the middle of the highway? I had enough time to slow down or stop if the car I was following stopped or slowed down".

My question to you guys: how do you prevent a situation like this. If it happens, how would you hope to react? Whose fault it is? Is there a fault? I cannot blame the guy whose car stalled, unless he knew there was a problem and didn't fix it, or didn't make enough effort to pull to the side. I don't think I am to blame, because I was following the car in front at a safe distance. If anyone is to blame, it would be the car in front of me for not swerving early enough. My guess is he was distracted.
Glad you're safe and escaped with a bruise. I think given the options and how good your focus was on the road and peripheral vision, and how fast your brain was able to process the variables and pick the best option, and you could execute the action, this seems like the very best outcome. Not sure how it could be bettered. I'd be very happy if this was how I reacted in the same situation.
 

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I guess the cops thinking is that we are supposed to be following far enough behind to be able to see these hazards and have ample time to avoid.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I guess the cops thinking is that we are supposed to be following far enough behind to be able to see these hazards and have ample time to avoid.
I agree. I always try to have a view of what is in front at least 2-3 cars ahead, but sometimes, on a straight road, with a big vehicle in front, it is not possible so see ahead of it.
 

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I agree. I always try to have a view of what is in front at least 2-3 cars ahead, but sometimes, on a straight road, with a big vehicle in front, it is not possible so see ahead of it.


It is also a problem when we leave enough of a stopping distance but cagers take that to mean they can cut in front of us to occupy the unused space. I have often felt empathy towards tractor trailer drivers who have to constantly deal with this situation especially in city traffic.
 

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This is why I always ride out of phase with traffic, go either slightly faster, or slightly slower (though I'd suggest faster), than the traffic around you, it gives you a different perspective on the situation ahead, and if you're going faster it mitigates risks from behind somewhat. Don't just follow the person ahead of you. Does this reasoning make sense to anyone else? Glad you're ok though.
 

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Glad you were not injured. How is the bike?

This happens all the time. Last month a car was stalled on left side on a two-lane express way. I barely had enough time to brake ontime and I still swerved to shoulder to ensure car behind me does not run me over.

On the street I avoid riding next to cars, always have a way out whether moving or not, and stick to having gaps next to me.

Biggest issue with most riders is vision. You need to look ahead far enough and anticipate things. A stationary object is the least of my concerns. Distracted drivers on phones swerving in/out of traffic and unpredictable drivers are the worst enemy. Another reason I ride much less on the street.
 

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It's always your responsibility to leave enough space to slow down and stop if anything, not matter what, happens in front of you.

I try not to ride behind big vehicles. If I don't see at least two or three vehicles ahead of me, I change lane.
And I try not to ride in the middle of the lane. I ride either right or left.
You did the right thing, Filtering between the cars is the best option if you don't have time to check behind and stop.
 

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The admonition to "always have an escape route" would be applicable here, but I know I don't always plan for that and have been mildly surprised a few times. An acquaintance was riding with his wife (she had her own bike) over a twisty highway hill. A pickup in front of them suddenly swerved to the lane on the right...turns out a stalled vehicle was smack in the middle of the road. Guy saw and avoided, wife's bike went down, she tumbled at high speed, somehow missing the vehicle. Result: Long hospitalization and complete loss of memory. She could not and still does not believe the guy is her husband. He said it's very weird. Not only that, but she was a vegetarian and now is a fanatic for steaks.

Bottom line is: We always need to have our brains thinking, "What could go wrong here?"

Glad you're OK...it could have been FAR worse!
 

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I'm probably repeating what some others have said—maybe in a different way:

If you can't see far enough in front of the vehicle in front of you due to size or proximity, then change your position or lane to allow for that visibility. This changes with increased speed—something that (when we used to take drivers ed. in high school) was emphasized by counting 3 full seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.

I'm glad you're okay–quick reactions due to experienced riding are gold, but so is being cognizant of your surroundings at speed in traffic. But for that officer to tell you what they did is pretty lame. Was this in Washington State?
 

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This is why I always ride out of phase with traffic, go either slightly faster, or slightly slower (though I'd suggest faster), than the traffic around you, it gives you a different perspective on the situation ahead, and if you're going faster it mitigates risks from behind somewhat. Don't just follow the person ahead of you. Does this reasoning make sense to anyone else? Glad you're ok though.
Yes, I do the same thing.

Last time I was pulled over, the LEO asked if I knew how fast I was going? I replied 10 MPH faster than the cars around me. I’ve been riding since I was 6, and that’s why I’m alive today. He laughed and said, you think so huh? Just try and observe the posted limits. I was shocked.

I felt very lucky, (they’re very ticket happy in Oregon) but, I still kept the same pace all the way home... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the comments. I always try to have a slightly different pace than traffic. When I said in my initial post that I wasn't riding slower or faster than the rest of the traffic I mostly meant that I wasn't being a hooligan. As @Topaz said I guess this is the lesson to take home. I try to always have a clear view of what's ahead, but perhaps I can improve. I agree with @z00 in that people on phones are more common and prevalent threat, and that's taking away attention points.

I am thankful for the lesson and that I didn't have to pay a steep price for it.
 

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Scary sh!t happens, glad you're ok!
 

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In some states, you're automatically at fault if you rear end another car. Why? They say alert driver should see hazard ahead. If this car did slow or stop, my guess is cars ahead of you this should have alerted you to do something.
 

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In some states, you're automatically at fault if you rear end another car. Why? They say alert driver should see hazard ahead. If this car did slow or stop, my guess is cars ahead of you this should have alerted you to do something.
CA is one of those states. Better to do what the OP did than get rear ended on a motorcycle on the freeway. I've run two red lights when already stopped to keep from getting hit by the cars skidding with locked brakes that didn't see me. :rolleyes:
 

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CA is one of those states. Better to do what the OP did than get rear ended on a motorcycle on the freeway. I've run two red lights when already stopped to keep from getting hit by the cars skidding with locked brakes that didn't see me. :rolleyes:

I was driving today and remembered what an instructor once told me. This was when a big truck was moving over to my lane and I quickly switched lanes without signaling. Better to get a ticket than crushed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
CA is one of those states. Better to do what the OP did than get rear ended on a motorcycle on the freeway. I've run two red lights when already stopped to keep from getting hit by the cars skidding with locked brakes that didn't see me. :rolleyes:
I've always found is fascinating that people can get out of the way of an incoming car when stopped at a traffic light. To me, it is impossible to react so quick. Good for you!
 

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People pay no attention to what poses no harm to them. A motorcycle is almost the lowest on the food chain when it comes to road accidents. A cyclist is even lower (got me fkd why these clowns think they own the joint). As a motorcycle rider you take 100% responsibility for your actions and safety. I don't care if the car driver was at fault. You are now dead or in hospital so let the cops decide who broke the law. Keep yourself safe at all times. A car diver will see a truck coming towards them and normally would not pull out in front of one for fear of being crushed. A car driver will not see a motorcycle and pull out on one because they either did not see them or they are not in fear if the bike hits them. Its not to say no one cares if they hit or kill a motorcycle rider. It's just that it poses no harm to them therefore you don't care or pay as much attention. Things happen every day to me while riding to work as I don't own a car. I have my music on and I just avoid all of it and when I get cut off or not seen by someone I just keep on riding. No rage or carrying on. I tried that way once and nearly ended up under a car because he was swerving into me. I realised you can't pick fights on the road. You are small, quick and nimble. Just grab a hand full and clear off.
 
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