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databyter

Close Call On The Highway.

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databyter
Sort of a debrief, with questions of how I should have reacted, or prevented or whatever. Did I do the right thing?
 
Just to preface;
 
I split traffic virtually every day for many miles because I now work during prime time and my commutes are mostly in rush hour traffic on major freeways in San Diego.
 
My PERSONAL rules are that I try not to split beyond 40ish mph. If traffic is going that well there is no need to assume unecessary risk. Usually if I am still splitting at those speeds it is because I see conditions ahead that make it futile to pick a lane since I will be splitting again in 20 seconds of travel
 
I keep my relative speed (vs other cars) at a reasonable speed, i.e. slow enough where if someone where to open a door or cut me off I can respond in time. I'm guessing the relative speed is below 15-25  mph but I really can't call it. It's just instinct.
 
Anyhow, I was sort of in the top end of my speeds last Monday evening coming home on the 805 South. In fact I might have been going 40-50 briefly since the bridge has wide lanes and was at the bottom of a hill. I wanted to continue to be in the split position since there was a slowdown ahead on the uphill portion. As I went over the Mission Valley bridge a car I was just about to pass who was in the 1st lane pulled into me with no warning whatsoever and almost no buffer space. He was slightly in front, and I mean literally like 5 feet and he just basically cut me off.
 
I don't even remember hitting the front brake. If this had happened even 2 months ago I think I would have hit the car because I relied far too much on my rear brake, and engine braking (I use lower gears when splitting). I reacted before I could even think.
 
I was instantly doing a stoppie on my front wheel right on this guys right rear bumper, and to make matters worse he/she SLOWED DOWN because he/she panic'd I guess. They must have heard me or seen me at the last second or when I started power braking. I was looking DOWN and I could feel the bike pushing my ass up in the air. 
 
I really don't know how vertical I got, but it must have been very entertaining for the cars behind me. And it was kinda wierd because I maintained perfect postion and control on the bike. I never felt like I was going to veer off or lose it.
 
I honestly do not know if I hit the car!  I was very very close to it I know that. The braking and recovery were so violent and fast that I am not sure what was my shocks bottoming out or my rear tire landing on the ground as it must have at some point, or did I hit a bumper without losing control?. I was so close to the car I was convinced I hit it, but then somehow I was past it and pulled in front of it (easily since the heavy traffic kept moving but the car involved had slowed). I felt my bike was ok, and I was ok, and there was nowhere to pull over on the bridge so I sorta gave a thumbs up to the car behind me, and then an inquisative thumbs up or down question, but I couldn't see any answer since I couldn't turn around that far to see the driver.
 
Honestly I don't even know what kind of car it was. I looked in my rear as I went up the hill (continuing to split) but didn't see anybody pull over, so I didn't either. I really saw no point. I thought I was ok. Not very sure there was even contact, and if there was, it was the other guy at fault since he did not signal or check the lane (more accurately he signaled at the same time he moved over which DID probably help, but a late signal can never replace a look in the side mirror).
 
I wasn't really angry or anything. I just continued on. heavy traffic that was moving about 10-35 sporadically with occasional stop and go slowdowns, pretty typical. It would have been a task to move all the way over to the right shoulder and I didn't feel safe of motivated to use the left shoulder.
 
I kept an eye on my temp and engine sounds. When I hit the HOV lane that opened up ahead and speeded up, I had to assume my front wheel was still round. Maybe I didn't hit anything and just felt the violence of the manuever.
 
I stopped a few miles up to get some food and check the bike. No scratches or signs of damage, of course it was dark. Can a wheel be damaged without visable signs? forks n shocks? I really thought my left front fork might have hit that car as I went by. I was so close. Maybe my leg just brushed it. Even though I was at speed, my relative speed might have been almost that of the car, as I did my one wheel stunt.
 
So I guess my questions are, was I wrong legally to not pull over when it seemed there was no harm and I was the victim? Are there any checks or measurements I should do to check if there might be some unseen damage if my wheel actually struck that bumper (wouldn't I have crashed if it hit it hard?). 
 
Also I am torn between two trains of thought. On the one hand I chose my relative speed wisely since I DID avoid losing control and serious injury, and I'm  proud of my unconscious reactions that were instant and decisive. On the other hand I am second guessing my lane splitting prowess. but I guess it is just kinda risky with drivers not all being terribly great or responsible.
 
Anyhow, I am longwinded, but if you got this far you already knew that. I just figured I would post this and get it out of my system, and see if I get any positive feedback.
 
Databyter
 
 
 

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Guru
I think you did good. respect-048.gif
 
No sense in pulling over when there are no victims and you would have known if the front of the bike was damaged in any way.
Splitting lanes is a risky business, especially nowadays with people being distracted by the phones etc..
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suspiciouspackage
Don't worry. You did fine. SD drivers are just sh*t. Best example is when I was on the 805 coming up on Murphy Canyon Rd and I was splitting. Nothing too fast but I saw an SUV Benz cut from the 4th to 3rd, then 3rd to 2nd. I knew she would cut to the 1st so I stayed back and I watched her in her mirror. Didn't look and just cut. They just suck. When I split, my thumb is always covering the horn. I've already had to use it on the 125 and 5. It's just the way of life. People in cars suck at driving.
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Beemer
Sounds to me like there was no reason to pull over and nothing to worry about. You rode for a ways and the bike handled fine, no weird noises or anything it sounds like so I think your question is already answered. At least that's how I would look at it if it were me BUT I would probably give it a more rigorous low speed test (hard braking/turning) to ensure what I thought was true before I rode it fast but that's about it. 
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databyter
Thanks for the feedback guys. Today was my first ride since that happened. I was at the Wild Animal Park Yesterday and a friend drove.
I took my bike thru the motions and looked at it closer in daylight. There are no signs I made contact. I was just pretty close because not only did the driver cut me off, but then braked his/her self.
He/she most likely cut back into his/her lane as he/she braked allowing me recover and get by.
I just remember being so vertical that my vision was probably somewhat obscured because of the angle and my helmet.
Otherwise I can't figure out why I can't remember more. It was just so fast. I was reacting unconsciously to a very quick stream of events.
I'll be sure to remember to keep my speed discipline while splitting. Any faster and I'd have been wearing that car. I've had people pull in front before, but they maintained speed.
Thanks again for the input, that was very positive and polite!
I think I'm done with this now. Time to move on and keep focussed.
 
Databyter (Mike)

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ch3rryghost
Glad you kept it up. That's my commute as well and typically I'd say drivers are pretty aware that bikers are splitting. Had a couple close calls myself but nothing that warranted any follow up. Close calls happen regardless, whether you're in a car or on a bike, just gotta do your part in not only avoiding but putting yourself in a situation where things may be questionable.
 
It is crazy how fast some riders split the 805 though...

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fz07fanboy
Would of been nice to see this on video =). Oh maybe you should get yourself a camera now. Sean 10C ?

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level41
I think you did great!
 
The evil man on my right shoulder says: "No damage to you? Fuck it! Fuck her (only if she's pretty)!, and move on".
The angel on my left shoulder tells me: "Technically you should have stopped and checked".
 
The angel is usually right.
 
I had a similar experience with a cyclist.
He was on the right lane doing a real slow 5mph, while I was surpassing him in my car, doing 30MPH (speed limit 35), when all of a sudden he pulled over to my lane, to cross the street. He didn't look, he didn't signal, he just went right in front of me (5ft away).
I slammed the brakes, the guy got under my car, but was undamaged. Not his bicycle, it was bent double.
 
I felt like beating the crap out of the dickhead for doing something dumb like that, but instead I could only see the mucker sue me.
Instead he just brushed off his knees, picked up his bike, and walked off in the distance!
 
I was stuck, in the middle of the traffic light, turned out my brakes had snapped, and the whole episode cost me $500!

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