Motorcycle Morning Near Miss

Jumped on the bike, in full ATGATT, this morning for the commute. Cruising along about 40mph I’m in my own - sorta paying attention - world. The Jeep I’m following for the two lane merge onto the highway slams to a violent full stop from what was an easy and steady 40mph. Usually no problem, in fact I practice full panic stops often, but only being an easy mile from my house my tires were very cold and I was getting no traction out of them, and the smooth tumbled concrete road surface didn’t help. I locked ‘em up and felt the back end start sliding sideways as it looked for grip, and the Jeep, still completely stopped was getting closer and closer – I was headed for impact. $hit. How embarrassing to rear end a big dumb car.

Everything was surprisingly calm in my mind though, and the slow mo thing along with my MSF class (et al) training kicked in, and all I could hear in my mind was, “Escape route! Escape Route!”, as I pumped the breaks to avoid the back sliding out too far to keep control. I have large hard cases on my bike, and the lanes, filled with traffic, were tight so I was wondering if I’d even make the squeeze. Escape route or smash into the Jeep bumper! I heard in my mind. So I gave it a shot and committed to the lane split with a shove of the bike to the right, a bit freaked out that my back left case might catch on the stopped Jeep and hook me into a fall. What made it worse was the other lane to my right that I was about to split with was still moving at about 40mph and I wasn’t sure who or what was over there for me to swerve at or if they were going to react well to a bike inches from their mirror all of a sudden. I committed and split the lane.

Apparently there was a Corvette to my right, that had breaked hard when it saw me wiggle and slip my back end in an attempt to stop, and it gave me room to move to his lane. At least that’s what I noticed later, when I was splitting the lane oddly with no car next to me, assuming there’d be a car there. Then, as I tried to pull away in front of the ‘Vette and get back up to traffic speed and sorted out, there was no throttle response. Wha? Now what? Apparently I had stalled the bike…I guessed. Not sure how, but the bike was off I was coasting, now starting to slow everyone in my new lane. I went through the start up procedure, ignition off and then on, clutch in, push starter…ignition! Whew. The power was back and was back in the flow again. Admittedly I was a bit of a jerk in my stress and gave the evil eye to the Jeep as it passed me, his lane now moving, but a tinted visor helped keep my attitude in check . At first I cursed him for slamming on the breaks and stopping like that, but then realized I didn’t know what he stopped for, and ultimately it was my responsibility to prepare for it and assume the worst of cars on the road with me, on a motorcycle.

Electric Motorcycles 2010

I told you so. Looks like reports are coming out that Honda and Yamaha are planning electric powered bikes as early as 2010. The Bloomberg report speculates that the price will be sub $4000, but that's hard to belive. We've got a few years to hash this out though.

Motorcycles Are 10 Times More Polluting Than Cars

Kind of takes that smug grin off your face doesn't it? According to Susan Carpenter from the LA Times bikes spew a lot more of the nasty stuff out their backsides than cars and trucks do. However, because they're such a small portion of the vehicle total the EPA is much more lenient. And frankly, there's just not a lot of ways to fix the problem on such a small engine. If you bought a bike new from 2006 till now you're already on one of the cleaner bikes as the EPA's first tier of pollution requirements kicked in then, the next phase is 2010. So next time you pull up to a Prius driver don't heckle him too much, just laugh at his life in a cage like the rest of them.