Monday, September 5, 2011

Can you say "Dumbass"?

Guest blog kindly provided by Oilburner.

Check you six...and your three...and your OH CRAP!!  Call me Dumbass, my new nick name.


Well the week started off with perfect riding weather, especially for this time of year in Georgia.  Morning temps are a cool 75 F with afternoon temps reaching 85-95F with low humidity.  I am looking forward to riding every morning even it is means going to work.  Although sometimes it's hard to keep all 1200cc pointed in that direction.


Check your six...  I made it to work Monday and Tuesday, uneventful as usual, and for some reason wasn't really looking forward to the ride home Tuesday evening.  Work has been a little hectic and after a long day I think I just wanted to be home already.  It took a little while to put on all the gear and point her towards the freeway.  I manage through downtown traffic fine, and enter the freeway by way of the carpool entrance.  I have ridden this route home for a couple of years now, so it's become pretty routine, although I still look for the unexpected.  So, seeing all is as expected I turn on some music and start to settle in for the 35 miles home.  I've traveled almost to the I75/i85 connector (a distance of about 1/2 a mile) when, as I frequently do, I check my six and see an emergency vehicle approaching the cage behind me with its lights ablaze.  I decide to exit the carpool lane early and enter the normal traffic congestion for 5pm in hopes of speeding him along.


Check your three...  Both lanes were going approximately the same speed so I check my 3 o'clock and start the merge between two cages, with about a car length in front and behind me.  Well, here's where I think that things start to go wrong...  My peripheral vision is telling me I need to recheck my 3 o'clock again as something appears to have changed.  So I quickly recheck my six and turn my helmet clad head to the right and look  --nope, all is well--


Oh CRAP!!  By the time I look forward again everyone is stopping very fast.   Instincts kick in... this all seems so familiar to me for some strange reason...  I feel the anti-skid kick in as I attempt to swerve to the left, back into the carpool lane.  In slow motion I see the approaching cage and start to prepare for the inevitable impact.  Luck has it that the bike responds flawlessly to my input and instead of impacting head on and possibly launching me over the bars, I feel the right side of the bike ricochet off the left rear bumper.  The impact of the front forks and cylinder head on the bumper kicks the bike to the left.  In an attempt to correct my trajectory I countered steered back to the right.  The bike just caught and dumped us on the right side, sliding back behind the cage I just hit.  My mind still registering this as familiar and lets me watch my luggage eject from the bike and the plastic parts explode and bounce across the freeway.


When all is stopped I am fortunate I only have two small injuries: a swollen ankle and elbow.  My gear worked flawlessly with the only exception being that the sleeves of my jacket were too loose, allowing the armor to roll around out of place.


Oilburners name the past week has been "Dumbass".  He knows this was his fault, though he maintains that he was not speeding or riding recklessly.  It was just one of those accidents.  I asked him to write a guest blog to help us all with a lesson...he just couldn't come up with one other than "don't pull over for emergency vehicles."  See...the vehicle that was coming up wasn't an ambulance or anything.  It was a HERO unit.  In the south, these are response vehicles that come to the aid of stranded motorists whether it is an accident, flat tire, or running out of fuel.  When the HERO stopped for this, Oilburner questioned where the guy was rushing to, and why had he stopped here.  Turns out the HERO unit was headed towards a minor stall up the road...

Take what you will from this.  I will continue riding cautiously, as usual, and leave plenty of gaps around me.  Dumbass' dirt bike riding days were long ago, but I think they helped his reflexes in this instance.  Don't feel sorry for him though.  The bike doesn't appear too damaged, the damage just isn't readily visible.  The bike has been totaled and Dumbass is currently in the process of signing the paperwork for a new 2011 R1200RT (with the new DOHC engine).  I can't figure out if I am kind or stupid.  I considered forbidding him to purchase another bike and make him ride pillion behind me for awhile.  But that is just punishing me.  

Be safe out there friends. 



  1. WOW. I am glad he walked away with just a few bruises and scrapes. Good thing those dirt bike skills kicked in. Again, glad he is okay.

    Did you tell him if he wanted a new bike this was not the best way to achieve that goal?

  2. Gosh, those scratches look bad, glad that Dumb.. uhm... Oilburner walked away with no more than bruises. Shit happens to the best of us, and his previous dirt riding experience and good instincts might have prevented worse. Be careful out there!

  3. "Dumbass" has a couple of minor injuries and ends up with a new bike? Lucky SOB might be a better name! :)

  4. Dumbass....and new bike, Lucky bugger more like it. So what has he learnt from this experince. Following distance? Fatigue? I think this is the important thing. Learning from it is a invaluable part , other wise nothing is learnt from the accident.

  5. Hmm.

    I had a professor who's very much into stock-car racing. One of his pet peeves about the automobile industry was anti-lock brakes. He believed that it was better to skid and to know how to handle it than to decelerate more slowly, and that more accidents were because of antiskid than otherwise.

    Glad oilburner's OK.

  6. Yes, glad that he's okay without any really serious injuries. I think I would be terrified riding in that kind of traffic. The damage to the plastic doesn't seem too bad and I'm surprised that it was sufficient to total the bike. Was there frame damage?

  7. Steel Cupcake:

    Just a quick moment of inattentiveness, we've all done it . . . and got lucky. Sometimes I leave too much room in front and cars keep filling it up and I have to constantly hang back. But lately I have been riding like Oilburner and this post will remind me to slow down a bit. I was in really heavy traffic last week but next time I will bring my GoProHD. Cars constantly changing lanes, it was like an obstacle path. Glad Mr Oilburner is OKay, metal & Plastic can be replaced

    Riding the Wet Coast

  8. Ouch! Sorry to hear about the accident Oilburner but very pleased that you were relatively unscathed.

    Incredible that the damage is so serious to the bike as it looks relatively unscathed. Guess it doesn't take much damage to modern bikes, given the outrageous price of parts.

    Ummm.... how much sympathy did you get from your better half? Whenever, something happens to me, I always feel short changed, but that's just a typical wussy guy for you!!

    Take care...

  9. Hi Trobairitz,

    Thank you for the concern. I'm glad he is ok too. I kinda wish he had the GoPro on the bike to "see" what happened. Then again, it would probably have been obliterated.

    And yes, I've told him this isn't the best way to get a new bike, or a new helmet. He just grins...

  10. Hi SonjaM,

    Can you believe the top case and side case actually ejected? And with all that damage to the plastic that they handlebars didn't sustain any damage? BMW' expensive.

    I'm glad of his dirt bike background. Sometimes it seems to make him a little too fearless. But it also helps in situations like these. You are right...shit happens...let's hope it doesn't happen too often. ;)

  11. Hi Ken, brother calls him a "Lucky Bastard". I know some wifes that would forbid riding. He better feel damn lucky he has me, and that I will actually let him get another one. He was looking for another same year...but nothing "caught his eye". He has "settled" for a 2011. Argh. I'm not happy he gets the new bike. :)

  12. Hi Raftnn,

    Yeah, I still like my nickname for him. I have a feeling that he will be a more attentive rider. I can't say he was inattentive this time. I just don't know what happened. But I do believe he will be riding a little differently. I'll keep you posted. ;)

  13. Hi David,

    Thanks for the concern. Oilburner is quite fine. Comes with wearing all the gear all the time.

    I'm torn between ABS as well. I've read some nasty stories of accidents when ABS kicked in when it shouldn't have (like at 5 mph). I know some people that refuse to have it on their bikes and will order new bikes without it, having to wait months for manufacturing.

    I just know the "selling" point is that ABS should give control for a longer distance, hopefully allowing you to get out of something, than skidding where you lose all control.

  14. Hi RichardM,

    Thank you for the concern. He is doing fine. A bruise popped up on his arm and he forgot how he had gotten it. :)

    I have my concerns riding in Atlanta traffic too. Just need to be ever vigilant...and you can see what happens when you aren't. Hopefully he will do better in the future. hehe

    No frame damage. But think about what BMW stands for...that headlight alone is $600, not including labor. Those parts just add up. :( There was cylinder head damage, but we will never know if it was structural or cosmetic. And there may have been minor fork damage. But that too will always remain unknown.

    I hope Fairbanks never gets this kind of traffic. hehe

  15. Hi Bobskoot,

    I understand about getting upset with cars invading your buffer space. Deep breaths and let it go. Karma will win out in the end and you will arrive safely. :)

    Looking forward to your movies, and verifying that it doesn't occur in just the USA.

    That metal and plastic looks like it will be replaced within the next couple days. ;) Lucky buggerl

  16. Hi Geoff,

    I'm gonna have to defer to Oilburner answering the sympathy question. LOL. He did answer that I was duly sympathetic and concerned for his safety.

    I guess I failed to mention that Oilburner didn't inform me about the accident while he waited the hour for the police to arrive. And then he rode the bike home...

    When he pulled into the garage I noticed that his aux light was pointed down. He had a sheepish grin on his face...which then caused me to notice the rest of the damage.

    Fairings are expensive...and BMW fairings are more expensive. :)

    I am sure that your wife is quite sympathetic when in the appropriate circumstances. hehe

  17. I don't think that we'll ever see that kind of traffic in Fairbanks. Anchorage is starting to get crowded during rush hour but that's only because there are no freeways running through town. Last week on the Dalton, over the ten hour period I think we saw maybe 30 vehicles...

  18. Wow, Oh wow! Glad he's okay!! It's scary how quickly things can go to hell out there on the road.

  19. How many lives did that use up?

    Current generation motorcycle ABS is not really designed for braking and steering simultaneously I'm told, but looks like your spousal unit handled it all OK under the circumstances.

    presumably when you take all the plastic off an RT you have an R?

    N with crocs(tm)