I didn’t Crash

We learn of motorcycle crashes every day, stories of pain and trauma, stories of loss and suffering, but we hardly ever hear the good news; stories of close-calls where the rider managed to escape a crash, riding away to teach us something.

If you have aI didn’t crash” story to tell, please send it to hein@msi.org.za so we can add it here on this page.

Here are some of those stories:

“I was on a 3000km 8-day journey to Bavians Kloof and back with the KZN BMW club last week. I had two incidents. We were all turning right onto a dusty road in the middle of nowhere. Everyone had turned recept me and Graham. next thing an idjut overtakes us on the right. I checked my mirror before turning. If I hadn’t, I’d have been toast. I pulled left and let him go. The second incident in Transkei: we all riding together and this VW Golf come up aggressively riding right behind me and then in between the bikes. Really dangerous. Carried on for about 30 mins. I remembered what Hein said about safety zones and ego so I decided to rather have him in front of me then up my tail. So I let him pass me and stayed clear of him.” – Bryan 

“A while back I was riding on the highway in peak traffic, lane splitting between the two right lanes. As I approached a vehicle in the right lane, he suddenly moved to the left, just as I came alongside him. I had to swerve to the left and unluckily there was another vehicle in the lane to the left, going quite a bit slower than me and I hit the car on the back right fender and back wheel, however, the angle of the impact allowed the bike to stay upright, after a few wobbles. I pulled off to the side of the road, but I didn’t crash! Bent forks and quite some cosmetic damage though. The car that caused it didn’t even know what happened and just drove on.” – Thys

“I have started slowing down when lane splitting past taxis standing still at traffic lights. This week a lady decided to run across the road after disembarking. She came out in front of the taxi so I could not see her. Wet road and I still managed to miss her. She was visible for about 3 meters. Had I maintained my lane splitting speed three meters would not allow me a reaction time even. Had a meter to see one to slide and another to stop. She would have knocked me six though as she was bigger than my 500.” – Greg

“Today, during a 400km day run, I didn’t crash because I was fully aware of the environment (Freeway and Rural) I was riding in. I anticipated road and traffic conditions, animals and pedestrians (lots of them) but one tar bubble did sneak up on me just as I overtook an OV. It caused the front of the bike to pop up and briefly lifted me from the seat. My eye caught the bubble a split second before I hit it and immediately relaxed my arms, not wanting to tense up, but gripped the tank with my knees and managed to maintain control of the bike. A real butt slapper. I felt no negative response on the handlebar and stopped at the first opportunity I had to inspect the front tyre, rim and suspension… All good, leaving me to enjoy the rest of my ride.” – Hein

“I was stopped at a traffic light and a semi hit a car that was also stopped at the light going the opposite direction, pushing it across the intersection. Crushed me and my bike between the car and a pickup behind me. Snapped the tibia and fibula clean break, and detached tendon in right thumb. If I hadn’t trained how to fall it could have been worse… silver lining: the trucking company is buying me a new bike.” – Aaron

“I had a car do an illegal U-turn on a blind corner in front of me. If it wasn’t for training on how to do an emergency stop, I would have had a ‘Superman T-bone’ incident.” – Bryan

“Coming home from work, my brother was sitting pillion. Came up so fast on a truck that I didn’t notice it had actually stopped. I braked so hard and praying the wheels don’t lock up and with a lot of praying at the time stopped in time! My brother still said, “that was close”!…and I’m thinking, I need a new pair of underwear right now.” – Romano

“I observed, I anticipated, and wasn’t involved in an accident with the car that made a u-turn.” – Drean

“There I was, a new rider in excellent riding conditions, except I was going full throttle up the hill, being chased by an empty taxi for no reason I can think of. Being 75kg on a 125cc Bajaj, full throttle was about 65kmh in those circumstances, and this was a 70 zone. The taxi had been chasing me, riding up to my tail and staying there just long enough for me to want to get out of there for my own safety. I tried pulling out of the way before to let him pass, and even slowed down some but it seems he was enjoying the view of my tight butt, because he stayed behind me. I know the piece of road and the area. I made a calculated guess as to where the taxi was headed. I knew there was an escape a little up ahead. At the top of the uphill the road turns sharply left, but there is reduced visibility as the uphill mentioned here is a train bridge and there’s 1.8m high concrete barriers either side of the road. Usually I slow down to about 50kmh for the turn, but that day I pushed to get away from the taxi. He had to slow down at least a bit not to overshoot the white line. I knew that, and I wanted us to get some distance between us before he chased me on the downhill. I reached the top, countersteered and started my turn. I immediately realised I was in trouble, I was going too fast for the turn and started drifting towards the outer edge of my lane, towards oncoming traffic lane. And there was oncoming traffic approaching. Now I have been a long-standing member of another biker safety campaign and remembered in a split second a number of posts on the forum regarding target fixation, and I realised that this was exactly what was happening. I also remember that advice given to get yourself out of situations like that. I shifted my gaze to a far forward through the turn as the barriers would allow, and leaned more. That let me keep my lane, and I went through the turn successfully, lest with raised heartbeat. Said taxi turned off just after the bridge, as I thought, and I went on my merry way.” – Jacques

“Exiting my workplace, I fishtailed left and right a couple of times trying to match the speed of traffic. The road was a bit wet, but my tires had handled that before without such a fiasco. Turns out though, I had a lot of mud (maybe even clay) still stuck on the rear tire. I let off the throttle… straighten up, exit the road, inspect, breathe and get back on it.” – Ramohlaboli

I don’t know if this story is relevant. I went to fetch my GS in cape town, I believe if you buy a bike you ride it home to bond. I live in Standerton so its about 1500km. Near Bloemfontein I hit a storm, I had no safety gear on, not even gloves, and it was hail, strong side winds and heavy rain, I’m struggling to keep the bike in a straight line, and I already decided if I’m going down ill aim for the grass. Next moment a guy with a white Toyota pulls in next to me, and just stays next to me, in less than half a meter away from him, and the wind is blowing in his direction, so with every strong wind I eat a little of my pants, trying not to hit him, his obstructing my safest line for a crash. Eventually, he passes, and I relax a little, the storm clears up, and I pull in at the Engen 1 stop. White Toyota also standing there, and the driver runs to me, asking if I’m okay, he tried to help me with the wind by riding next to me. I just said, I really appreciate it, but promise me you will never do it again, you are really not helping. He tried to do good, but it gave me a really hard time.” – Mauritz

“A few weeks ago I was in Margate, enjoying some of the back roads and so was a guy in a VW Scirocco except he was enjoying the roads while texting and decided to head straight in a left-hand bend (right-hand bend for me) so I had to pick the bike up straight in a tight corner dodge this clown then put the bike back into a serious lean to still make it around the corner nearly went off the road. I also had my misses on the back. This was at about 90km/h but on tight corners like those 90 is flying we came out fine.” – Byron

Riding through Magaliesburg approximately 40km before  Rustenburg with fairly long grass on the sides I didn’t notice Guinea Fowls. Suddenly 2 fowls took off into me. As this happened, oncoming traffic was a truck and 2 cars that passed me simultaneously. The first fowl hit the headlight screen area and the second fowl impacted right on my helmet visor.

Luckily I didn’t have time to react as this happened quickly, literally less than a second. Why I say “luckily”  I didn’t have time to react because if I did my instinct would have swerved to the left or right, meaning into the oncoming traffic or off the left side of the road into the thick long grass and the unknown terrain. The road is single lane both directions.  To hit the fowls without reacting meant I didn’t lose control and stayed on the bike in a controlled manner in a straight line.

Second saving was a decent high quality helmet. Although the impact of the fowl ripped off my visor, the internal visor kept my vision perfect. I didn’t even realise the external visor was ripped off. The helmet absorbed the impact so well that I heard the thud but felt nothing. The fairing was cracked and screen totally broken, the clocks were ripped off the bike and i found it to the right side of the road some 5 metres deep alongside the deceased fowl. Speed was 100kmph and the fowls I estimated around 2.5kg each. Important to know that there wasn’t time to even try braking. Sure there was bike damage but I escaped unharmed. – Colin