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My first bike was a Suzuki GS500E that I used as a daily driver in college (maneuvering and parking on campus became SO MUCH easier).

I bought the bike used, knowing absolutely nothing about motorcycles. So I took the MSF course, got my license, and immediately starting daily driving it. At this point I hadn't done any maintenance yet, and I really hadn't inspected the bike very thoroughly.

So this one day, shortly after getting the license, I pull up to the stop sign heading out of my neighborhood and I get ready to make my right turn out onto the road. As I make the turn, the rear wheel slips out from under me and suddenly the bike is almost all the way down on it's side. Now this was a sport bike, with pretty decent ground clearance, and it was far enough over that the foot peg was folded up pinning my boot. As this is happening, literally the only thought going through my head is that I REALLY didn't want to lay down the bike. So instead of getting myself clear to avoid injury, like any sane person might have, I did my best to get the bike back up. I shifted myself as upright as possible, and gave the bike as much throttle as I could. Somehow the rear end caught traction for a moment, the bike jumped upright, lurched forward, and then the rear end lost traction again and fishtailed back and forth like you wouldn't believe. So now I'm heading down a narrow 2-lane road, with deep ditches on either side, with oncoming traffic in the other lane, and with my rear end sliding back and forth threatening to high side and launch me into an oncoming camaro. By the grace of God, the rear wheel caught traction while parallel to the front and all at once I was speeding down the road like nothing had happened.

As soon as I could pull over, I parked at a gas station and inspected my tires. I don't know if the previous owner did non-stop burnouts, or just rode a lot of miles in a straight line, but there was zero tread left in the middle of the rear tire and seemingly brand new tread on the sides (this explains why the bike caught traction when it was nearly on it's side, but kept losing traction as soon as it was upright). Both tires were also significantly under filled.

This whole situation taught me a couple of important lessons:
1. God definitely has my back
2. NEVER take your tires for granted
3. ALWAYS thoroughly inspect a used bike before riding it

I've had a couple of other close calls, but I think this is the only one that's particularly interesting.
 

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Lots of good above here... riding since 72....lessons...

1 dont ride the middle of road crap lives there use a tire track either one.
2 birds are stupid most people too everyone is out to kill or mess u up...always!
3 accident sites are VERY slippery either gas oil anti-freeze worse than cold ice
4 did I say every thing and everyone is out to kill u
5 all truck / all trailers are just conveyors of **** that will fly off and kill you.never follow one.
6 weather is a bitch if it can catch you it will, plan on it ..corollary : bars make good shelters just ride it out on a stool....hard all weather rides need Through planning.
7 loud bikes are ok...very loud horns are better note 2&4 above
8 long rides / cold rides leave the body stiff, and not in a good way move yer legs b4 u need em.
9 anything between your tires and pavement.. bad ...sand /gravel/ leaves/ grassclip/worms/ mayflies/frogs/that tiny water trail today was 20ft wide yesterday and muddy.
10 turns are always places of chance meetings ...car on side of road/ deer /Raccoon family. see 4:
11 above all watch the road infront of you and in front of that...

several things that have nearly killed me the oddest ....turtles laying eggs on road edge. saw one unidentified moving object saw two ...3d one trying to get good look at it ...road slow curve ...
I was in the grass at hi speed was lucky ...note 11 above
currently the worst stuff ...note 5 never follow anything but bikes and small cars, plan it that way.

good luck

not really funny or cute but learn to be tuff it would not have been deadly but would have messed me and bike up ...a wasp/bee got in my helmet and I freaked out slapping grabbing let go of bike everthing now I am not allergic but it just surprised me so much..spun the bike 180 and put it down gently threw the helmet in the ditch was only going 35mph and stood in the middle of road brushing cloths and jacket off digging in and around my neck stung twice b4 killing it ...so yeah it hurt but if I could have thought straight I could have fast stopped and dug it out with out trying to killmyself....2&4.
 

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Addendum to Note #5 NEVER ride staying beside a large truck either.

Ever seen a truck tire blow?? the amount of junk is more of a spray of rubber & steel cords that goes everywhere...and sometimes other parts fly off as well...like the air bags and associated metal parts.

Loose cargo – A truck tire explosion can cause a trailer to unlock and its cargo can hit other motorists.
Loss of control – Trucks often become unbalanced when tires explode. In an effort to stay in one lane or to veer away from other vehicles, a truck driver could hit and seriously injure adjacent motorists.
Flying parts – Parts of a tire that explodes can hit the windows or windshields of other motorists, causing them to lose control of their cars.
Debris on the road – Tire parts that fall onto the road after a blowout can cause vehicles to swerve into other lanes and accidents can quickly ensue.
GRAPHIC vids of truck tires blowing and hurting people...or just flying across the road...

The other thing is a truck May Not See You and crush you like a bug while dodging road debris/stupid cars/animals/etc...or you are the lesser of two evils...like hitting another vehicle parked on the side of the road, but they didn't get totally OFF the road...and bumping a moving object is less dangerous than hitting an object that is not moving.

Both cars & bikes should pass a large truck as quickly and effectively as possible.
Do not dawdle or hang around.
Dang sure don't hang around the rear bumper for ANY reason, in either lane.


If you see a trucker's turn signal engage, take it as a WARNING that he's coming over shortly, so don't be there. They can see much farther ahead than you can, with their additional height, seeing distant problems developing gives them more time to react, as long as everyone else pays attention and reacts to what THEY do.

In general, try and stay as far away from Semi's & Large Box Trucks as possible. Things go wrong, and when they do with a big truck, it tends to get really ugly. Give them the respect of any other road hazard.
 

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I followed a Dodge duelly with a flat deck on the highway once when out of the blue his outside left rear tire exploded. Sounded like a shotgun blast and I swear the left rear of his truck jumped up 4 inches. Debris flew all over my car and scared the hell out of my wife who couldnt understand how it made such an explosion no matter how much I explained about tire pressures and heat expansion. She figured the tire was full of something, like he was smuggling explosives in his tire or something. It was quite the sight
 

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When I was a brand-new rider, I was parked at a curb with no traffic on either side of the road in a business area. I made a U-turn over a double yellow line and didn't count on the tree sap that was there in the middle. I almost went down, but saved the spill by using sheer force of my leg (which hurt). Moral of the story for me was just obey all traffic laws. ALL. Speed, stop signs, signaling, etc.
 

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I just got my CDL within the last year and though i drive mostly smaller trucks, dump trucks and trucks pulling about 30,000 lbs I have learned how dangerous they are. Great advice above (Do not dawdle or hang around). Also if you pass a big truck it is better to do so on take off not the space in front of a stopping truck. I had multiple cars pull over in my stopping space and nearly plowed them all one day. Also don't be the jerk to pass the truck to lock up your brakes and turn in front of it while it locks up the brakes, you're taking your life in your hands. In all vehicles sharing the road and courtesy go a long way for all our safety.
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Paint Lines, Rumble strips, and grated bridge decks...
Was out for an evening spin and jumped on a couple mile segment of interstate, following my son on his sport bike. He had a couple hundred yard lead and caught a break in traffic to merge. There was fairly steady traffic in the "slow" lane, so I lagged a bit to merge smoothly, putting me about 1/4 mile behind. Anticipating the need to get ahead of the traffic I'd just merged with, I twisted the noise maker handle and got out in the middle lane, passing my son by just in time to cut over and take the exit ramp we had agreed upon earlier. It was an upslope ramp with a right-hand sweeper bypassing the traffic signal at the top. I could see the traffic was all clear on the crossing road, so boogied up the ramp, ready to take the sweeper to the right. Traffic was clear and I rolled into the sweeper at about 45 mph with a good lean angle. I too was on a sport bike with great tires (Michelin Pilot Road 4s) so wasn't real concerned about taking a fast corner. Shoulda been. The line I had chosen coming up the ramp for the sweeper put the apex of my turn on a "paint ladder" on the roadway to herd the traffic merging onto the crossroad. I was trail braking with a touch of front brake and released just before the ladder. As my tires made contact with the ladder, I could feel the front tire starting to wash out, and the back get a bit squirrelly. Fortunately, I was too stupid to try to do anything which turned out to be the smartest thing to do. The bike was stabilized for the turn, so I just held steady on the throttle and gyroscopic effect worked its magic. My back tire held its grip and all ended well.

Lessons learned. 1) Wide paint stripes, even dry, can be slick as glass (but I knew that...) 2) If you can't assess the road surface on a curve due to visibility, or whatever, DON'T PUSH IT. 3) Roadways and edges are full of surprises, like wide paint lines, double paint lines that make nice tire traps, continuous "rumble" strips like at the lane edge on some interstates, and grated bridges that are a real treat with dual sport tires. Gyroscopic effect and suspension engineering are your best friends. Don't panic and let the bike do its thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Multi-lane urban traffic...
Riding solo in 3 lanes of moderately heavy 45 mph traffic on US 41, in left tire track of rightmost lane to afford cross-street traffic best angle of view of the bike while maintaining "ownership" of my driving lane with traffic in middle adjoining lane. Bike maintaining "air cushion" best as possible slightly aft right rear quarter panel of car in adjoining lane and driver in line of sight through passenger side mirror, with 1-1/2 car lengths space ahead and behind in my lane. Middle lane traffic slows rapidly while my lane continues at speed, middle lane is a sea of brake lights. Still moving with traffic in my lane and maintaining space with car ahead, as I pass the second car ahead in the middle lane I see the front tire of the third car ahead in the middle lane start to move my way..no signal..but this minivan is trying to " beat the clock" by ducking into my lane. Full horn, slight swerve right, heavy front and rear brakes with slight chirp of front tire, driver sees me and swerves back when right quarter panel is still about 3-4 feet away...and I still had more escape room to the right and an upcoming business entrance driveway if needed. But it was still uncomfortably close.

Lessons learned. 1) position your bike within your lane so as to afford maximum visibility to drivers in adjoining lanes, 2) be aware of rapid changes of speed, either accelerating or slowing in all lanes, 3) keep the front tires of the cars slightly ahead in adjoining lanes in your peripheral vision, remembering that the front tires are the first to move in your direction, 4) practice maximum braking stops from 45-50 mph regularly and medium to low speed braking and offset swerving so they're instinctive when you need them.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
Bad vibes...
Several years ago, riding my Katana, just coming off a grated bridge at about 45 mph, I started to pick up a strange vibration feeding back through the handlebars. My son and I had pretty much rebuilt this bike from the ground up, having gone through all the systems pretty thoroughly. We had inspected, but not replaced the front wheel bearings, so I figured we missed something. I continued the ride for about 15 more minutes to try and determine what might be the source of the vibration. It would start in at about 35mph and didn't seem to get better or worse at speeds up to about 50 (my test pilot "chicken" limit) remaining fairly constant and ruling out a tire balance problem. So I parked the bike and ordered a set of front wheel bearings.
Bearings arrived and I replaced them and took it out for a test ride...Dang!...same vibration...what in the heck is going on here??
Back home, I raised the front end of the bike and gave the front wheel the usual lateral shake test, and inspected the tire..nada. Then I gave the front wheel a slow spin. As it was turning I could hear a nice, regular, faint clicking noise. So I spun it again. Same faint clicking noise, but I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Looked at the left side brake caliper, rotor and pad..nada. Went around to the right side and gave it another spin. Clicking was still faint, but a bit louder. Spun it again and found the culprit. We had recently gotten new tires and had the shop install 90 degree valve stems to ease pressure checking and filling because of the large brake rotors. A close look at the metal valve stem revealed a slight wear mark on the dust cap where it was not quite clearing the caliper. Shot a little lube around the new valve stem and gave it a slight inward twist. Spun the wheel again, problem solved.

Lesson learned. ANY front wheel vibration is bad, and can come from the tiniest cause. An uncle of a friend "experimented" trying to find a high speed vibration until his front wheel came off at 80 and he landed in the hospital. When you have a vibration, thoroughly check your rotors, calipers, tire, wheel weights, steering head, motor mounts and whatever else you can think of. But don't leave out the little stuff like valve stems and dust caps.
 

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Hmmm.... You guys got me thinking back to the early/mid 80's, back when I had a nice '82 Honda Silverwing GL500 (Remember those? Had that kind of sideways, V-twin, Moto-Guzzi, type of look to them?)

I was stationed in the US Coast Guard up in Buffalo, NY along Lake Erie at the time, and we'd (USCG buddies) ride all over western NY during the summer months. Great bike, but was somewhat of a pig, due to the 500cc engine, Windjammer fairing, other accessories, etc.. which weighed the bike down a little more than it should have, so 70-75 mph is pretty much all you got.

Anyway, one time back around '84 or so in the summer, I took some military leave to visit my parents up in the Adirondacks of northern NY, where they had a beautiful summer home/lakefront cottage way up near Tupper Lake, Cranberry Lake, etc... northwest of Lake Placid (1980 winter olympics). I had a beautiful, scenic, ride up there, along Route 104 all the way along Lake Ontario (off in the distance), and on up Route 3 (major "infamous" wintertime snow area - Tug Hill Plateau), etc... and continued on my way into the Adirondacks to my parents lakefront home. Wonderful vacation from the USCG!

On the way back was a different story... I stayed as long as I could up there and soon realized, "Uh... I gotta get back to the base before I get in trouble!" So, instead of taking the same, beautifully scenic, way back to Buffalo, NY, I took all major interstates and hauled butt back to the USCG base. I-81 south to Syracuse to I-90 and straight into Buffalo, NY to the base. I hated the superslab, trying to push the weak 500cc Silverwing engine to give me all it's got, for hours on end. I looked westward and noticed major clouds forming over Lake Ontario, and had a weird feeling of rain, but kept pushing on down in through Syracuse and onto I-90 west.

In between Syracuse and Rochester, somewhere near the totally flat, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, the sky went totally black! I thought to myself, "Oh no..." but just kept on pushing on, trying to make it back to the USCG base. Sure enough, here came the rain. Again, I kept pushing on, getting a little wet and a little more wet. I slowed down to around 60mph - 65mph and remembered to NEVER ride in the middle of the lane - especially in the rain. Well the rain started in coming harder... A normal person would have pulled over under the nearest interstate overpass, and hunkered down out of the rain, and waited it out. But then, am I normal? :razz:

I kept on going and going in the rain, like a fool. All I can tell you is I had an Angel on my shoulder that day, watching over me! To this day, I have no idea what happened, how, why, what, where... I was cruising along I-90 westbound, and went under one of the interstate overpasses at about 65 mph. I came out the other side, and suddenly hydroplaned with my rear tire!! :shock: In 0.2 seconds flat, I felt the whole entire bike start to FISHTAIL at 65mph!!! :shock: All I remember doing is holding on for dear life, getting off the gas, etc... and somehow, miraculously, the '82 Silverwing straightened itself out, and regained contact with the interstate. Up ahead in the distance was another interstate overpass, and I wisely pulled over, shut the bike down, cleaned out my underwear (figure of speech, LOL...), and thanked the Almighty Lord above for getting me through that! 0:)

What did I learn from this? NEVER try to ride (and continue to ride) at highway speeds in the heavy rain! All it takes is one teeny tiny slick spot, and you're going down! It doesn't matter who you are, what you ride, how experienced you are - you're going down! :shock:
 

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Good to hear you survived that one.
 

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Good to hear you survived that one.
Thanks! All these years later, I still joke to people and tell them, it was the closest I ever came to having a "face to face discussion with Jesus"!!! :shock: :lol:
 
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