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post #1 of 13 Old 04-11-2008, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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A gnat's eyelash, or one more coat of paint and ...

The scene: eastbound Pacific Coat Highway 1/2 mile after widening to three lanes, about 7:00 AM, medium heavy traffic going about 35 mph, splitting lanes roughly 10 mph faster than traffic. No problems -- in fact was setting a record for cars moving over to let me by. The driver in the black SUV to my left was just hanging up his cell phone, the mid '80s green Volvo to my right was being nondescript, the silver Scion next to him was weaving slightly as the driver was looking for something on the seat next to him, and the dark blue Camry to my left I had just passed started to move over to a gap in traffic in the lane to my right. (It's amazing what you notice when you're concentrating). Two bicyclists were riding nose to tail until the one in the rear decided to pull up next to the other, swinging a bit wide in the process. The Scion swerved unnecessarily to avoid him, causing the Volvo to swerve as well, right into my path, and the SUV reacted by slightly steering left as well, then back right to avoid the center divider poles. The Camry was about 25 feet behind me, making braking an iffy proposition, so I gassed it and pointed toward the rapidly closing space in front of me in preference to being squashed. The knee of my riding pants started sliding against the fender of the Volvo so I leaned slightly right to prevent catching the peg on the front of the wheel well, my right handlebar was over her hood, and the left bar had just cleared the hood of the SUV when my foot lightly contacted its bumper as I went by. Thankfully, the Volvo was slightly ahead of the SUV, so as soon as I felt my left foot leave the bumper I started to cut right to clear the Volvo and I squirted out from between them like a watermelon seed at a 4th of July picnic. One last thing to do -- cut right to keep from rear ending the Volkswagen just ahead, and continue splitting lanes. Whew! Never touched the brakes.
I've heard of situations like this causing everything to slow down, but it didn't happen to me: it was a situation to be dealt with, so I did.
There was some luck here, primarily the SUV having just hung up his phone and reacting in time to give me enough room to get by. If he had not it could have been disastrous.
In my 50 years of riding and racing I have learned to be deadly accurate in placing the bike exactly where I want it to be, and brother am I glad for this -- otherwise you would be reading a post written from a hospital bed.
Will I stop splitting lanes? Get serious!
Will I slow down? HA!
Will I get more attentive? I don't see how.
It just wasn't my time, thanks to skill and dumb luck.

Rob

If it has already been done, it is safe to assume it is possible to do it.
On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
------- Rob --------
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 12:58 AM
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Close call! Glad you're still here with us to write about it Rob.

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 01:55 AM
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yikes, close call.

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post #4 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 05:14 AM
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Far out. That sounds pretty scary. Glad you made it. We cant lane split in Ohio, but I would be worried about that exact situation if we could. Ive only done it a few times and I was a little nervous. Maybe if it was more common placed I wouldnt even think twice about it. I am pretty confident in my skills, but after an SUV hit me head on, (and even before that to) I dont trust the guys on 4 wheels. Also maybe if it was legal here the cagers would be watching out for lane splitting as well. It would take a little while getting used to though.

Isnt Cali the only state that you can lane split in? I dont recall ever hearing of any other.
Also when you first started riding were you nervous lane splitting, or because you were used to seing it done didnt intimidate you at all?

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 05:35 AM
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I stay out of the city areas here. We can't lane split. I can't imagine doing it. Since cell phones have become popular there's barely enough room for air between vehicles sometimes. I'll stick to my countryside rides and go through cities only as a necessity when I'm touring.

Glad you didn't turn into a melon seed. Those things squirt a long way.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 06:36 AM
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After reading some of your other stories Rob, I would expect nothing less from you. Good job!

"Lucky for you I have fast reflexes" -Jeff Spicolli

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post #7 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoseclamp View Post
Far out. That sounds pretty scary. Glad you made it. We cant lane split in Ohio, but I would be worried about that exact situation if we could. Ive only done it a few times and I was a little nervous.
Isnt Cali the only state that you can lane split in? I dont recall ever hearing of any other.
Afterward it was scary. When it happened I was too busy dealing with it to be scared. In fact my heart rate didn't rise at all until a couple minutes later while thinking about the consequences of falling around that many cars.
There are a couple other states that allow splitting, but I'm not sure which. Thank Thor California does!
Quote:
Also when you first started riding were you nervous lane splitting, or because you were used to seing it done didnt intimidate you at all?
Nervous at first? Of course, but it didn't last long. As you say I was used to seeing it, and as soon as I got a freeway legal bike started getting on the freeway during rush hour just to practice. Soon it became second nature, and there is little doubt it made a me better rider by being much more observant of the driving habits of cagers and learning deadly accuracy of steering inputs (an inch off can have serious consequences!). In fact, predicting what a car will do is instinctive now to the point of making me seem clairvoyant, which of course I'm not -- I just notice the subtle things that hint of what the driver intends to do, and who to give a wide berth. Unfortunately it is so ingrained teaching it would be next to impossible: little is conscious any more. It just takes lots of experience, observation, and application.

Rob

If it has already been done, it is safe to assume it is possible to do it.
On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
------- Rob --------
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeenracer View Post
After reading some of your other stories Rob, I would expect nothing less from you. Good job!

"Lucky for you I have fast reflexes" -Jeff Spicolli

+1 I'm glad you've got the skill and reflexes to get yourself out of nearly any bad situation Rob...but that was a little close buddy! Take care and we'll miss you on Sunday.

'02 Honda 919 - She's the only one for me!

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 10:54 AM
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Rob, good save. It still amazes me the number of people that are still on their phones in LA. I saw a few close calls on the 10 the other day with a few bikes and vehicles. Cagers are just not as attentive as they need to be!

It's better to have loved and lost than live with the psycho for life!
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 07:08 PM
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Rob, you are an amazing rider, and your riding skills are only eclipsed by your ability to describe the most intricate details. I can't remember what I had for breakfast, much less what FOUR vehicles and their operators are doing at any one time. I'm glad you're ok.

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post #11 of 13 Old 04-12-2008, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.
That morning, a red grapefruit just picked from the tree, toasted homebaked seeded rye bread with natural peanut butter, honey, and sliced banana, and hot Earl Grey tea.

Rob

If it has already been done, it is safe to assume it is possible to do it.
On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
------- Rob --------
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-13-2008, 06:51 AM
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-14-2008, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
Thank you.
That morning, a red grapefruit just picked from the tree, toasted homebaked seeded rye bread with natural peanut butter, honey, and sliced banana, and hot Earl Grey tea.
Rob
don't lie you ALWAYS have that for breakfast right?
nice and healthy tho good job!

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