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DataDan
Rodent Of Unusual Size



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   Posted 7/18/2010 5:34 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

A variable much greater than neurological differences in reaction time is the instinct to recognize and focus on the threat.

A rider who doesn't consider the guy in the oncoming lane with his left blinker on to be a potential problem might very well need 1.5sec to react if the vehicle begins to turn. But a rider (even an old fart like me) who recognizes the threat and focuses on it won't need anywhere near 1.5sec. He's looking at the left front tire because it's easier to spot rotation than vehicle motion. He's got a plan. And he's probably covering the brake lever. I don't think a half-second is unrealistic for him.

Reaction time will be much longer even for a good rider when something completely off-the-wall happens. Think about Randy Scott of Minnesota, who was cruising at the speed limit through cornfields in South Dakota in 2003 when ex-Congresscritter Wild Bill Janklow crossed from Scott's right, running a stop sign at 70mph. I don't think very many of us would be expecting and preparing for that kind of incursion, so we would be unprepared to react to it.

As to following distance, a rider puts himself behind the eight-ball when he's reacting to the car in front of him. Then he'll probably need that 2 seconds. But if he positions himself for a longer sightline and gets his eyes and brain well down the road, he'll be able to react to an emergency along with--or maybe even before--the driver ahead. With his 176ft margin (2 seconds at 60mph), he won't need maximum braking to avoid rear-ending the guy in front, so he's less likely to lock a wheel and cause his own crash, and less likely to get rear-ended himself.


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

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To The
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   Posted 7/18/2010 7:45 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
..and alcohol adds about a minute and a half to perception and reaction time!

I always cover the brake when riding and am a relatively new rider and pay quite a bit of attention, but still, on a nice day, not a cloud in the sky....lots of things to look at....I was riding to work with an SUV about 3 seconds in front of me. Maybe more. There was no car in front of the SUV and they had no reason to stop. Or so I thought. Just out of a curve, the driver slammed on the brakes. I hit mine hard and was able to stop without sliding, but I bet it took me 2 seconds to hit the brakes. It was almost like I thought "What the hell are they stopping for?" before I grabbed the brake. Turns out they stood on the brakes for a half dozen ducklings crossing the road! Thing that pissed me off was that the ducks were a good 100 feet in front of them on the road AFTER they came to a stop on a road with a 30mph speed limit. They could easily have slowed and stopped without standing on the brakes. If I'd have been closer I would have had a dented fender at least. I thought about swerving around them to the right, but how do I know what they're breaking for? Could have been a kid on a bike. If we had been doing 50 or 60, I very well may have rear-ended them or swerved and took my chances on hitting what they were braking for.
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GeoffG
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   Posted 7/18/2010 7:58 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
To The said...
...they stood on the brakes for a half dozen ducklings crossing the road!

I posted a link somewhere on this board about a recent accident in Quebec, two riders killed when they rear-ended a car that stopped on the highway to let some ducklings cross.
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To The
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   Posted 7/19/2010 1:00 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
We were recently coming home from a trip, on the freeway on a beautiful day, and in the left lane there was a squirrel, run over and only half dead, kicking his little hind squirrel legs. My wife was just horrified about the poor animal suffering. Just down the road in the sunken median was a nice Lincoln Navigator with the front end demolished. It was pretty clear what happened. Not far away from the squirrel there were several "X"-type tire marks, or "crossovers" where the rear tires crossed over the path of the front tires as the truck was going sideways as the driver lost control trying to avoid the squirrel. The Navigator then hit the center barricade and went into the ditch. Two people were standing outside the truck and all I could think of was the insurance commercial with the squirrels who caused a crash. The Navigator got the last laugh at this rodent's expense, but for a price.

I took that as an opportunity to tell my kids: "See that, for a critter the size of a squirrel on the freeway, you don't swerve. That's what happens when you do." I directed it at the kids because I knew my wife would have something to say if I directed it to her. Of course, she did anyway. "I brake when I see a squirrel in the road." As luck would have it, there was a very large Kenworth close behind us hauling steel coils. I asked "The Voice Of Reason" if she'd brake for a rodent with that truck behind us and asked that if she did, that she please do it when she's alone in the car and not with the kids.

Same trip, going through Cleveland my wife sees a dog on the left shoulder of the road. The "shoulder" was about 2 feet wide. There was a guy BACKING UP on the freeway to go rescue the dog. My wife wanted me to go help him! With our kids in the car! I told her she could call the cops but we weren't going to be assisting in any freeway dog rescues at that moment. God bless the guy if he was able to get the dog, but I wasn't about to get involved in that one. With my luck I would have been bitten and the dog would have bounded across 8 lanes of traffic to leave me to my rabies shots.
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Casper
The teddy bear of doom,,,



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   Posted 7/19/2010 1:53 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I tell my BRC students:

"If it'll fit on a dinner platter, hit it. Don't even look at it - head & eyes up, firm grip, steady throttle. The swerve to avoid the squirrel is more dangerous than hitting the squirrel".

Tough day for the squirrel,,, but it's his own fault.  He could'a stayed on the berm playing with his nuts. :-)


The world's a funny place,
full of funny people,
Doing funny things.

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WVJT
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   Posted 1/22/2011 10:29 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for all the braking information. It's one of those things we really don't think enough about and seldom practice. I contend that you're not really "good" on a new bike until you have logged a few thousand on it, even if you're an experienced rider. A new rider may need 5000 or more to become moderately good. The basic MSF nor passing the states test for license does note remotely indicate proficiency.
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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 1/25/2011 7:47 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Also, this is all based on actually having good braking skills, which I contend many riders do not. Very few riders ever go out and purposefully set up a measured braking distance and the practice what they really can achieve, control and repeat. A lot of riders look at this sort of data and never give it much more thought until the day comes that they need to do it!

Last spring I set up a 150' braking lane on a remote straight back road. Then I practiced at least 20 hard stops from 55 to 60 mph. While I thought I was doing pretty good, my average distance was about 140' to come to a complete controlled stop. This I did from a known starting point, with no other distractions, traffic, visual issues, good/clean surface. This coming spring I am going to do it again and see if I can improve my braking skills. But, it takes skills and practice.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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