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.