Yet Another Crash Video We Can Learn From

Here is another video that I’m pretty sure demonstrates how we humans don’t want to admit when we screw up.  See the video of the poor guy who sideswiped a big truck on his R6. The problem that he says the wind drove him into the truck. Whaaa?

Note: you only need to watch the first 15 seconds to see the incident, but you’ll have to stick it out until the first passerby arrives to hear him mention the wind. WARNING: The video may be difficult to listen to as the poor guy writhes in pain. He also swears a bit.

While I know the wind out west can be strong enough to knock over tractor trailer rigs, I’m pretty sure wind had nothing to do with this incident. I think it’s another case of inaccurate self-evaluation and lack of rider ability and/or a serious lack of concentration.

I can’t tell how strong the wind was at the time of the crash, but the trees aren’t being blown around very much and his friend’s hair (he appears later in the video) is barely moving at all. Maybe he’s wearing copious amounts of hairspray, but I don’t think so.

Besides, if it were strong enough to blow a bike across a lane, I doubt the rider would be chatting away so casually before the incident. Also, the rock formations on the side of the road should have blocked any direct side forces.

Dangerous Distraction

One explanation for this seemingly bizarre crash is a complete and total brain fart. I’m not sure if he is talking to himself or to his friend who is riding ahead, but he wasn’t focused on leaning enough to make the curve.

Early Turn Entry

Notice how the rider began heading toward the inside of the corner too early, causing his bike to be pointed toward the oncoming lane. – Thanks for readers for pointing this out.

Countersteering, Baby!

Another contributing factor is that perhaps he did not have a good grasp of countersteering. A hard push on the right handlebar should have kept him in his lane even if it were windy.

Target Fixation

Target fixation is another likely contributing factor in this incident. Target fixation is a phenomenon that explains why we go where we look. Once the rider realized he was drifting wide into the path of a big truck, he likely couldn’t take his eyes off the hazard and that’s where he ended up. Look toward the solution, not the problem.

Human Nature Strikes Again

I think this is another example of someone blaming something other than their inability to stay focused or steer effectively. Deferring blame is a basic human response to help explain how they could have made such a serious and basic mistake.

See this video of another crash that demonstrates how humans can delude themselves.

The reason to highlight these videos is not to place blame, but to recognize the danger of not knowing why an incident happened. Without that, we are destined to repeat the mistake.

What do you think?


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Ken is author of "Motorcycling the Right Way” and "Riding in the Zone" (book and blog). He is also the "Street Savvy" columnist for Motorcyclist Magazine, and former longtime author of the Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies columns for Motorcycle Consumer News. Ken is Lead Instructor for Tony's Track Days, a 20 year Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor, and owner of Riding in the Zone Motorcyclist Training.

Posted in Crashing, Motorcycle Safety, Rider Education, Riding Technique & Tips, Video Tagged with: , , , , , ,
13 comments on “Yet Another Crash Video We Can Learn From
  1. Miller says:

    I agree with Greg here. Car or motorcycle, each of us has a civic responsibility to drive safely on the roads. Glad he survived.

  2. Totally agree with the above comment by Doug. I held my breath while watching the video. Luckily the rider survived and definitely these are big lessons for all riders

  3. FiveG says:

    The turn really doesn’t seem to be that tight. Does anyone know the location (so that we can look at a map. From the video, I’m having a hard time understanding why that corner would be tough to handle, and why he drifted, even with the early apex.

  4. J. S. says:

    Anyone else notice he said he just got the motorcycle 2 months ago? And it’s an R6…no offense to anyone that rides a 600 series bike…it’s a beginners bike for a ton of people…what are the chances this guy has only 2 months of riding under his belt?

  5. Don Birren says:

    This video shows exactly what I’ve been saying for a couple years:

    FELLOW MOTORCYCLISTS, STOP MAKING VLOGS!

    Seriously, all you (dare I say) self-absorbed blabberers and commentators, just shut the frak up and ride your motorcycle. All you’re doing is talking to yourself and that uses up concentration time that would be better spent practicing SEE and Search/Setup/Smooth.

    Sure, go ahead and video record every inch of your ride. Point your Go-Pro at every tailgater, lane-jumper, and left-turner you see. Just wait to overdub your commentary onto the interesting parts afterward from the safety of your laptop computer. The world will thank you, mostly because your conversations will stop sounding like streaming MP3s on a dial-up connection that pause to buffer more data every ten seconds.

    Ride safely, please.

  6. Ken Haylock says:

    I don’t think he was deluding himself – the time people typically make excuses to themselves is probably later in the cold light of day, not when still laying on the floor in pain, I think he genuinely had no idea at all. The original of this video is on YouTube and has about 2 minutes of footage of him riding before the section you embed here and notably he talks about ‘just cruising’ and berating his buddy for ‘going off so fast’… .while turning in way early and running wide on the exit of every one of the corners he negotiates prior to this one. Add in a blind crest and a decreasing radius, and then a side order of target fixation, not apparently a term or a concept he was familiar with, and throw in no knowledge of countersteering, essentially a completely untrained self-taught rider, and the result is painfully inevitable. The list of injuries is not short. The only saving grace is, because he posted the video on YouTube, a lot of people have told him, with varying degrees of gentility and decorum, what he did wrong, and there’s a broad consensus around target fixation at least. If he hadn’t videod his collision and posted it on YouTube, he’d still be thinking that the lesson he needed to learn here was weather related and he would be ready to have the same crash again as soon as he was fit to get back on a bike…

  7. Craig Ripley says:

    First, glad the guy survived. But it looks like a simple case of target fixation to me. He was chatting away, looked up, saw the truck and headed straight for it. If he had taken Ken’s class then he would have been looking up the road and moved over to P2, giving himself a bit more room.

  8. Greg Tutunjian says:

    I don’t see evidence of wind (either.) He gracefully carried across the double yellow seemingly as if he takes all turns like that (no lean, no plan, no lookahead, etc.) I was (also) watching his mirrors and didn’t see any sign of any action. I’d love to know how long this rider had been riding…and whether he has ANY form of training (seems unlikely.)

    Glad he survived AND that I participate in at least one formal training each season plus practice on my own. This could also point to one of my pet peeves: People buy bikes, get on them and assume they know how to ride (often because their friends ride and they’ve practiced on their friend’s bike.)

  9. Ian says:

    I think you’ve got the three main points–but difficult to weight them properly. I suspect lack of focus was the root cause, that then exposed his poor riding abilities. Looks a beautiful road to get complacent on.

  10. C Galanopulo says:

    He seems to be vertical all into that turn as he crosses double yellow. I see no wind or countersteer. Look at the position of the mirrors and his head camera angle in relation to the flat plane of the road… I see no lean. If the truck wasn’t there you would think he’d go straight off the road into the opposing lane. With no countersteer that bike became like a rock solid immovable object traveling in a straight line. He survived… Lucky damn lucky.

  11. Clay Nicolsen says:

    I agree; combination of target fixation, inadequate countersteering input, and panic induced tension.

    I’m going to add another point, one that I feel strongly about, and one that the more I think about it, the more I feel it’s important to discuss.

    In all basic rider training courses, countersteering is taught as “Push right to go right, push left to go left”. This makes perfect sense since beginners don’t understand countersteering, and if they don’t have gray hair, they probably don’t know how to drive a manual transmission and clutch, either. Try to imagine that…learning to use both hands and both feet simultaneously, learning to shift and clutch using left hand, right hand, and left foot, simultaneously, and then the instructor says: “Oh, by the way, in order to turn left you turn the handlebars to the right, and in order to turn right you turn the handlebars to the left”. Followed by “crash”.

    So it makes perfect sense to teach beginners to push right to go right, since at least that has “right” and “right” in the same thought.

    Here’s my concern: Motorcycle training stays the same after the rider gets more comfortable on the bike, starts to go faster, and his confidence outpaces his skill. When the rider has a real “oh, shit” moment, like in this video, he follows his training, which is to PUSH MORE.

    Folks, I guarantee, if you’re in this situation, and your brain is screaming PUSHPUSHPUSH, you’re pushing, at least a little bit, with both arms. That outside arm isn’t soft, it’s tense. That outside arm isn’t bending, it’s resisting. That outside arm MUST PULL.

    We need to start teaching, once past the BRC level, to use both arms when cornering. Always. I know that every experienced rider knows this, and every experienced rider does this, but that huge group of no-longer-beginners doesn’t.

    Both arms, push and pull simultaneously. All of you who do this know how much smoother and how much more controlled your cornering gets. But, but, the main thing is that this can save your life.

    When you realize you’re too hot for the curve, look through and tell yourself PULL. It can save your life.

    We need to start teaching students who are no longer beginners to use both arms.

  12. Mike Hotz says:

    No way was wind a factor. Rider saw the truck and rode straight into the point of impact. I don’t even think speed was a factor.

  13. Doug Stracener says:

    Two things are obvious: Rider was entering curve too fast and probably took the apex early. Second problem is target fixation. While we cannot see his actual lean angle, I would bet there was plenty of available lean to press into the turn and miss the truck. The only good thing here is that the rider survived when many do not. Painful lessons learned.

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