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AlbatrossCafe

Rear ended a car at 30mph - and I'm alive (with video!)

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AlbatrossCafe

Well........ It finally happened.

DISCLAIMER: I am OK! :)

Been riding for 11 years and over 70,000 miles. I have just over 30k on the FZ since I got it in Fall 2015. I was a daily commuter here in Seattle even through rain. I never stopped for anything except ice and snow.

This happened last Tuesday. I had literally JUST moved into my first house the day before and it was the first ever commute home after the move. This section of highway has always had lots of intermittent slowdowns for no reason. I will never understand it. Nearly full-speed traffic comes to full stops randomly (and not always in the same spots either).

I was keeping a good following distance for most of my commute but looked away for just over a second (was admiring the sun over the lake view 😎) and that was enough for this crash to sneak up on me. By the time I looked back, I hit the brakes but there just wasn't enough time for me to react. I probably realized what was happening by the time my motorcycle passed the van in the lane next to me in the video.

I was going about 30mph when I hit. I got SUPER lucky that I didn't pancake against the car. Looks like I flew about 15 feet in the air to the right of it and didn't slide. Strained back, wrists, cuts on shin, bruised tibia on left leg, crushed my balls (the worst part) and might have a broken toe but otherwise NO major injuries. I even hit my head! I was wearing armored gauntlets, 1-piece thermosuit, over the calf motorcycle boots, synthetic padded jacket under the suit, and a Shoei GT-Air helmet. Really thankful it is was not worse. It's not often you get to say "I hit a stopped car at 30mph on my motorcycle and I was just sore for a couple weeks afterwards".

I have had LOTS of close calls in my years of riding. A few things I have noticed in all of them and especially this one - I always focus wayy too much on the rear brake and not enough on the front. I locked up the rear in this crash and all I could think of was "wow, my rear is locked up" instead of "I'm actually only applying about 70% of the front brake that I could be applying". I've practiced quick stops many times, but when it comes a panic situation with 1 second to react, the rear is too easy to lock up IMO and it is distracting. I'm not talking about the FZ-07 - I'm talking about motos in general.

Anyway, the FZ didn't get too destroyed. The front tire basically went under the rear of the car and wedged itself and then the tipped the headlight into the trunk. The The front forks are toast. Wheel might be bent - need to do more inspection. The brakes/rotors are rubbing something fierce, but IDK if it is because the forks are all out of alignment. Front headlight got smacked. Shaved off some of my Akra carbon exhaust and handlebars. Probably the front wheel bearings need to be at least inspected. Oh, and the tow truck driver lost my rear seat -.- But the engine still starts and runs no problem. Didn't lose any fluid.

I'm not sure what I want to do yet with riding after this one. Do I fix this and keep commuting? Do I only ride on weekends? Do I never ride again?

Either way, I know I'm never riding without ABS again. It would have totally helped here! How easy is it to swap whatever is needed for ABS from the new FZ? That's research I'll be doing at least. Thanks for reading!

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FZ07R WaNaB

Glad you came out of that wreck semi-OK. It looks like it could have been way worse! 

That video turns my stomach as it's so easy to happen. Worse yet, I have the same color FZ as yours.

You have got me thinking about ABS big time!

Heal well - Heal quick!

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kylerhsm

I'm yet to engage ABS in my 8 years of riding, but I was very happy to pick up an ABS MT-07 as my daily commuter, just to know it's there and might one day save my ass. It's usually car drivers that give me the close calls, but like anything, we all lose concentration every now and then and your distraction was unlucky to coincide with someone stopping suddenly in front of you.

Glad you're OK, but don't lose faith in riding. Heal up and get back on two wheels. You'll pay a lot more attention from now on :)

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Chomorro

Glad you are ok!  I had ABS on my 636 zx6r for years and never used it thankfully.  I bought the fz07 on a whim because I found a great deal.   Didnt know they had an abs version.  Now I'm kicking myself for not researching before hand.  

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fzar

WOW, Glad your Okay, your still able to move I assume? asking as it might hit you later what physical damage you done to yourself.

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Grant31781

Wow. Glad you are ok. Sorry you crashed. I have an 18 abs bike. I was practicing quick stops from 20mph. I made the rear abs engage a few times. It did not seem to take a lot of pressure to activate the abs.

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DewMan
4 hours ago, AlbatrossCafe said:

Either way, I know I'm never riding without ABS again. It would have totally helped here! How easy is it to swap whatever is needed for ABS from the new FZ? That's research I'll be doing at least. Thanks for reading!


Glad you're relatively OK.

Thanks for sharing your story.

I had a similar accident a bunch of years ago when I did a shoulder check to change lanes when the vehicle in front of me had to panic brake due to getting cut off.  I continued to ride afterwards and learned from it.  Everyone needs to make their own choice whether to ride depending on all the factors that need taken into consideration.

Hopefully the insurance company totals the bike and you can get a new one with ABS. 😉 

I bought my FZ-07 new in 2017 just to get ABS when I was looking for my first bike in almost 30 years. Short of tracking my FZ, I saw no down side, for me,  to having ABS. ✌️

 

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DewMan
 
Just shut up and ride.

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AlbatrossCafe
Posted (edited)

Thanks all! The most unfortunate part about this is that I didn't have insurance. WA State had never required it until next month for the first time ever. REALLY stupid of me. I'll have to pay for my bike and/or a new bike and other car repairs all out of pocket. Ugh... I was getting too cocky. I thought "what damage could a little bike really do?"

I figure if I didn't have insurance for 11 years x 12 months x average of $100/mo... probably saved myself $13,200? So as long as the repairs cost under that, I guess I get another chance to do this the right way next time...

3 hours ago, fzar said:

WOW, Glad your Okay, your still able to move I assume? asking as it might hit you later what physical damage you done to yourself.

Yeah! I could barely walk for the first few days after with the muscles still tight. But today, 8 days later, I was pulling out sticker bushes from my yard. I visited doc several times and nothing seems to be too out of sorts.

1 hour ago, Grant31781 said:

Wow. Glad you are ok. Sorry you crashed. I have an 18 abs bike. I was practicing quick stops from 20mph. I made the rear abs engage a few times. It did not seem to take a lot of pressure to activate the abs.

Rear brakes on all motorcycles are really easy to lock up. In the rain, I have locked mine up just from downshifting with NO brake applied.

How does the ABS feel? Is the chattering alarming? I wonder if it takes some getting used to.

Edited by AlbatrossCafe

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FZ07R WaNaB
1 hour ago, DewMan said:

I did a shoulder check to change lanes

FWIW, I'm using my stock mirrors with extenders, and more importantly blind spot mirrors on my FZ. The combo works great. I have never used bar end mirrors, but I have to think that the higher, bigger stock mirrors with the blind spot mirror in the corner are going to give you an overall better picture. More importantly, you don't need to do a shoulder check.

Around 1995 I had a car which had the worst blind spots I had ever encountered. Starting with that one, every vehicle I have had since I put blind spot mirrors on. I won't want to guess how many accidents I have avoided by using them!

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DewMan
2 minutes ago, FZ07R WaNaB said:

FWIW, I'm using my stock mirrors with extenders, and more importantly blind spot mirrors on my FZ. The combo works great. I have never used bar end mirrors, but I have to think that the higher, bigger stock mirrors with the blind spot mirror in the corner are going to give you an overall better picture. More importantly, you don't need to do a shoulder check.

Around 1995 I had a car which had the worst blind spots I had ever encountered. Starting with that one, every vehicle I have had since I put blind spot mirrors on. I won't want to guess how many accidents I have avoided by using them!

As I said in my reply "and I learned from it". What I learned  was to trust my mirrors, which had convex spots on them at the time, but had done the shoulder check since that's what I had been  taught to do prior to a lane change.  I was fairly new to motorcycling at the time.

I was not a fan of bar-end mirrors until recently because I'd never ridden a bike with them and didn't see how they could possibly be as good as the larger stalk mirrors. Then I tried  @Beemer's bike with CRG Lane Splitter bar-ends. With the slightly convex nature of the CRGs they showed more at a glance than my factory mirrors which required lots of head movement to see the same area behind/beside me. My view was not blocked by my elbow/arm/shoulder as they were with the stalked OEM mirrors. I ended up installing the CRG Arrow mirrors on my FZ-07, which are also slightly convex, since they were a bit wider than the lane splitters and gave me an excellent view of the lane next to me as well as the full lane behind me at a single glance. I'm not saying bar-end mirrors are superior to stalk mirrors for everyone, but for me they are. ✌️

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DewMan
 
Just shut up and ride.

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bornagainbiker

That really sucks--so glad you are OK. 


Give Respect To Get Respect

https://jeff-galbraith.pixels.com/

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Grant31781
Quote

How does the ABS feel? Is the chattering alarming? I wonder if it takes some getting used to.

I don't find it alarming. The first time I had it happen, it did not scare me. It was more like oh that is what the abs feels like cool.  The chattering feels similar to a car's abs. I just let up a little bit to make it stop.

 

I know there are people other there that argue if you know how to ride you don't need ABS. I call BS on this. When faced with a situation like you had, panic braking will overcome the best braking technique. 

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Beemer

Glad you didn't get hurt bad. It was definitely a bad time too be looking around with traffic already slowing to the right and I'm sure many others have done the same thing and came close to rear ending someone, I know I have. Why stop riding, though? You didn't get hurt real bad and you probably won't make that same mistake again. I would think if nothing else it made you a better rider but either way, GL with whatever you decide.


Beemer

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cyow5
2 hours ago, Grant31781 said:

I know there are people other there that argue if you know how to ride you don't need ABS. I call BS on this. When faced with a situation like you had, panic braking will overcome the best braking technique. 

I'm one of those people - sorta. I recently wrecked because I locked the front and it washed out (rear brakes are only a liability in a panic on this bike). I still do stand by the logic that you should be capable of a panic stop without ABS, but, until then, having the safety net isn't a bad idea. The fear with never learning how to panic brake without ABS is that you get used to being hamfisted, and that'll make it far worse if you ever don't have ABs either due to electrical failure or being on a different bike. 

 

After my wreck, my advice would be get ABS then pull the fuse and practice panic stops in a parking lot to keep your skills sharp, then put the fuse back when on the street. 

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Grant31781

My argument with that is how do you practice true panic braking? When practicing you are anticipating it and thinking about it.  When we are caught off guard reflexes take over. We tend to tense up when frighted  and or freeze up. A lot of times we freeze up and do nothing even though we know what to do. 

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cyow5
40 minutes ago, Grant31781 said:

My argument with that is how do you practice true panic braking? When practicing you are anticipating it and thinking about it.  When we are caught off guard reflexes take over. We tend to tense up when frighted  and or freeze up. A lot of times we freeze up and do nothing even though we know what to do. 

I guess I should've said "threshold" braking. If your argument is that all skill goes out the window in a panic, then I strongly suggest you don't panic. Otherwise, I tend to believe skill still remains if you have trained for it, in my own personal experience.

 

In my accident, I had full awareness that I overbraked. I remember going from 9/10 to 11/10 just because I thought I was going from 7/10 to 9/10. Had I practiced more and been more familiar with what 10/10 felt like, I would've fared better. 

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Grant31781

I am a private pilot and practicing emergency  engine failure/ off field landings is a regular exercise. obviously we don't kill the engine and actually land off field.  While this training does make a difference in a lot of emergency landing, there are still way too many that end in a fatal stall spin. It is baffling to me when I see these happen in the same model plane I fly. It is so hard to get the plane in a stall spin yet they somehow do it and die.

 

I do believe we retain skills. So practicing hard braking is a good thing to do for sure.  I think these skills help you sure, however human error is the biggest factor. ABS takes some of that out of the equation.

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3crows
Posted (edited)

I am glad that you are okay. Maybe that kind of traffic is not a place to be on a motorcycle---.

A few days ago, while on the way to the store to get some turkey hunting ammo, two turkeys engaged me and a Doge PU I was following on a rural highway. I was about 60 feet behind the truck and doing about 60 as we went down through a dip over a small creek when a turkey hit the PU and went over it still flapping in an explosion of feathers. I hit brakes hard and zigged right just as another turkey came at me and I was on the brakes all the way and zigged left now. Worse, the road was damp in the wooded area from dew. The ABS kicked in hard and I am sure helped me avoid an accident. 

Edited by 3crows

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rowanh

"I have had LOTS of close calls in my years of riding.  A few things I have noticed in all of them and especially this one - I always focus wayy too much on the rear brake and not enough on the front. I locked up the rear in this crash and all I could think of was "wow, my rear is locked up" instead of "I'm actually only applying about 70% of the front brake that I could be applying". I've practiced quick stops many times, but when it comes a panic situation with 1 second to react, the rear is too easy to lock up IMO and it is distracting. I'm not talking about the FZ-07 - I'm talking about motos in general." 

Have you ever thought about getting some further training, it sounds to me like it could be very beneficial to you. 

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Littlebriar

It takes a humble person to expose your mistakes to so many people. Thanks for sharing and glad you're OK. It sure seems to me that in addition to braking technique, another problem was target fixation. There appears to be room to swerve around the right side of the car and then hit the brakes. Of course I wasn't there so there might not have been time or space.

Target fixation is one of the things that worries me the most if I'm in an emergency situation. I need to really focus on it. I had a situation a couple months ago when I was leaned way over and got a little wide in a blind corner and encountered an opposing car slightly in my lane. I barely missed him. After thinking about it, I still had some lean angle left and should have looked further up the curve to change my path. It's really hard not to target fixate. I have not found any foolproof was to train yourself to avoid it but am constantly searching.

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Steve, 2017 Yamaha FZ-07, 2016 BMW 1200RT, Harbor Beach, Michigan

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AlbatrossCafe
Posted (edited)

After analyzing the video, given the circumstances of me not paying full attention, I don't know if I could have done it much differently.

I saw the car stopping much, much too late. I noticed it at just over 7 seconds in (you can hear the engine RPMs lower as I pull the clutch) and then I hit the car at about 8.5 seconds. That gives me ~1.5 seconds total between visual indicator and crash.

Average human reaction time is about 0.25 seconds for visual stimulus. That means in 1.25 seconds I would have had to process all 3 big areas of visual information (how far the car was in front of me, how big the non-existent shoulder was to the left of me, if there was a car in the lane to the right of me) in addition to thinking about braking technique (ABS would have helped), pulling in the clutch and also steering left or right.

Even if I was in a simulation or something where I was expecting it (think a black screen that suddenly flashes with video and I'm presented with a similar 1.5 second situation), I think 4/5 times I would still end up rear-ending the car.

Like I said, I have practiced heavy braking a lot. But those are all controlled situations where you are expecting it. I think ABS would have been key to helping me slow down faster (giving me more reaction time). But really, the #1 solution to this would have been me paying closer attention 🙃

Edited by AlbatrossCafe
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Terry_b

Glad you're alright! I've dodged a couple close calls like that myself, and the important thing is that you learn from it. Thanks for posting, it's hard to admit when you're the one at fault, but it's a good way to show others how easy things like this can sneak up on us. 

Just last week, on the same road I commute to work on everyday, the same road that my girlfriend and I ride on, a car backed out of a driveway literally right in front of me. I narrowly avoided the same crash you had by braking and swerving slightly - but I got lucky. Her response? "I looked and didn't see you!". I had my go pro on the bike, but I was heading to gas up before I started my actual ride and wasn't recording.

It happened so fast, and I so wish I could review it. I wonder if I was going a bit faster than I should. I remember seeing her reverse lights, and the car start to move, then brake to a stop before backing into the street, so I thought she saw me... 

Anyway, glad you're alright, and it's a tough lesson to learn but thanks for sharing it! I hope you get your bike fixed up super quick!

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scat2me

I don't see how ABS would have helped.  Glad your OK.   

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heftymann
On 6/5/2019 at 10:18 PM, AlbatrossCafe said:

I figure if I didn't have insurance for 11 years x 12 months x average of $100/mo... probably saved myself $13,200? So as long as the repairs cost under that, I guess I get another chance to do this the right way next time...

 

Seriously no Insurance? You could have been really screwed. Hell you might still be as car repairs are not cheap.

Don't know where your math is coming from but I pay only $200/year for insurance on my FZ-07 and it has a really high coverage for a very low deductible. Insurance is super affordable these days no reason to not have it. I know everyone's rate is different but man no way a motorcycle costs $100/month unless you make multiple claims or something.

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AlbatrossCafe
13 hours ago, heftymann said:

Seriously no Insurance? You could have been really screwed. Hell you might still be as car repairs are not cheap.

Don't know where your math is coming from but I pay only $200/year for insurance on my FZ-07 and it has a really high coverage for a very low deductible. Insurance is super affordable these days no reason to not have it. I know everyone's rate is different but man no way a motorcycle costs $100/month unless you make multiple claims or something.

I am hoping so hard that there is no frame damage or anything. If they (for some stupid reason) decide to total out the whole car, I am toast. Repairs will be very annoying but manageable at this point in my life. I'll never ride without it again, that's for sure.

19 hours ago, scat2me said:

I don't see how ABS would have helped.  Glad your OK.   

Faster stopping == more reaction time. Rear wheel wouldn't have locked up which would have given me better steering control. Thanks.

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