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Street luge at the Rallye (was Re: Back) -- Long message
- Subject: Street luge at the Rallye (was Re: Back) -- Long message
- From: "The Flowers" <wflowers@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2000 11:13:59 -0400
> >There was an ST that went down (ridden by a Triumph Exec) but it was in a
> >residential area and was most likely due to some freshly cut grass that
> >been blown into the road.
> Freshly cut grass in a residential area? I've hit wet leaves on a road at
> speed leaned over, and while exciting, it didn't make me crash. Was the
> bike his or the company's?
The unnamed Triumph Exec (but we know who he is) who went down was
immediately behind me. He actually went down just before we got to the
Situation: right-hand bend, cresting a small hill with lights just the other
side. Ahead of me is, in order, Thomas Emberson and Eric Miner. Behind the
TOA exec. As I approach the crest and the apex of the turn I see Thomas'
brake lights come on suddenly just on the downside of the turn. His
back-end breaks free and he almost low-sides, but recovers. Eric's lights
(inc. his hyperlight module) also comes on. I hit my brakes, front and
rear, and feel the back end getting squirelly for some reason. The way
ahead seems clear so I ease off the brakes and ride it out cleanly.
At about this point I see all the grass clippings on the inside of the turn.
There's also a dark stripe down the middle of the road (more on this later).
Since I'm going wide anyway I settle into the left wheel track and prepare
to ride through the intersection (we caught a green light). I glance in my
mirror to check on that TOA guy (a much better rider than I) to see his
back-end going out like Thomas' did except he didn't recover. He low-sided
and the bike continued in a straight line across the oncoming lane
(thankfully a gap in the traffic), up and over the curb to rest on the
sidewalk. For a moment it looked like the now riderless bike was headed
directly for my rear tire! The exec seemed to tumble then slid into the
grass on the right, stopping just short (from my POV) of a guy-wire holding
a pole for the intersection lights.
I hit my horn to get Thomas' and Eric's attention, stopped and ran back to
see if he was OK. My First Response training was kicking into overtime
remembering all the practice drills dealing with motorcycle (and, where I
came from, snowmobile) injuries -- how to immobilize the neck while removing
a full-face helmet so CPR can be performed. Thankfully none of this was
needed. He was sitting up looking shaken but not stirred. He was coherent
and it was apparent that his quality leather riding gear (by Triumph, what
else?) saved him some serious injury judging by all the scuff marks it bore.
Better the leather than his skin!
9-1-1 was called by some local and soon the place was crawling with
officials. Eric Sheley showed up somewhere in all this.
I took the time to walk back through the accident scene as I have done all
too many times in the past when called out as a First Responder (volunteer
paramedic) when I lived out in the country in Canada. With a bit of
practice and some training it is often possible to read the marks left on
the road like a book, or maybe a script. I might be wrong, but this is how
I interpretted what I saw:
As Thomas cleared the crest and passed through the apex of the right-hander
he hit his brakes. Later I find out there was a car right in the rather
blind intersection. His braking probably started in the middle of the
considerable grease strip (judging by the skid marks he left) that had built
up from cars backing up and over the hill while sitting at red lights, hence
the dark strip down the middle of the road I noticed moments later. His
rear locked and skidded, regaining traction in the left track. He left an
impressive dog-leg skid on the road!
Eric Miner did just fine. I started to lose it (likely because of the
grease) but luckily did the best thing possible.
Behind me the TOA exec had the worst of all worlds. He certainly saw my
brakes come on suddenly for no apparent reason. I doubt he could have seen
Thomas' or Eric's given that he was behind me and further below the hill
crest. Not knowing what was happening ahead he also had to react quickly.
It appears that he was braking hard as he passed through the apex of the
turn and onto the grease. You could see his tire marks sliding through the
slick-as-ice grease strip, turning into a full skid in the left-track. By
then it was too late. As the rear-wheel skid marks went further out you
could see where the foot peg touched down, followed a few feet further down
the road by the first of the red paint scrapes from the body work. The rest
of the marks continued in a straight line to where the bike came to rest.
In fact, you could stand midway between the resting place of the bike and
the start of the sliding marks and sight a line that lead straight back to a
perfect apex through the turn.
All the critical events involving the TOA bike occurred before reaching the
grass clippings. This isn't to say that having crass clippings on the road
is OK -- they were just an accident waiting to happen. However it is my
opinion based on walking back through the scene and also based on my prior
experience at crash scenes that they were not a contributing factor in this
So, what was the contributing factor? In my opinion it was speed -- for the
line-of-sight we were all going too fast. Three out of four of us in that
grouping were lucky. The fourth was not. None of us left adequate time to
react to unusual circumstances. And that is exactly what we encountered.
Bill "Bench Dawg" Flowers
'00 Sapphire Blue Triumph Sprint ST "Jewel"
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