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On 8/23/2019 at 1:39 PM, El Colibri said:

On the street my absolute number one priority is safety. On the street I’m constantly trying to remain conscious of the variables outside of my control: most notably these include road conditions (loose gravel or a boulder in the middle of a blind turn), wildlife, oncoming traffic crossing over the double yellow, and the unimaginable/unexpected (like a Porsche making a 3-point U-turn in the middle of a blind corner on Mulholland, yes it happens). 

The most valuable tool I’ve learned from CSS for increased safety on the street is Wide Vision - without practicing wide vision it’s impossible to look through a corner and reserve attention/awareness  for the unexpected. Wide vision and riding at 70-80% of my ability on the street has served me well. That way, hopefully, I become aware of the unexpected ASAP and I’ve got an extra $2-3 in savings to spend on it. 

I agree, I almost exclusively ride on the street now but have atleast 100,000 miles of racing and track riding under my belt, and all my riding I do now I only do it for fun not commuting.

 Safety is always the top prioroty for me but that said I have still managed to hit 7 deer on my motorcycles over the years, twice ending up in the emergency room for atleast a week each.

maybe at 58 now, my visual skills and reaction times are not as good as they once were but I am positive they are still better than almost everyone I ride with, as I observe many of their riding behaviors and reactions and just think "wow" far too often. And I am also sure my visual and reaction skills and general motorcyle skills likely land me in the upper percent of riders as a whole, even if I ride far more cautiously (slow) than many of the worse riders around me who simply go at it with reckless abandon and zero fear of consequence.

My biggest issue after the last two deer has been in having any confidence in my own riding, no confidence in the road conditions, in the possibility and knowledge it is highly probable that I will meet another deer or something big enough to hurt again. (besides the 7 deer, I can't even count how many squirrels, birds, and even a couple of dogs and a house cat, a mink, a skunk I have hit, then of course how many times a car or another motorcyclists has incroached into my lane many of which I had to take evasive manuevers to avoid) I have been riding about 5-8mph slower in the same conditions than I did prior to the last deer hit, at what are very sane speeds, slow enough I don't even worry about seeing police as they aren't even going to care about me speed now. This most recent deer encounter has had me off the bike now for 4 months and now, it is winter here already so another 5-6 months before I will be able to ride again. I get my final (I hope) surgery this Thursday so I can finally feel my foot again (microforiminotomy of L5)

 The sport I onced loved and enjoyed to the tune of 20,000-30,000+ miles every year has seen less than 15,000 miles over the past 5 seasons, 2 of those cut short due to deer hits. I have very low expectations for how I will ride next year when I can finally ride again, but am looking at making it the 800 miles to KY CSS next May for yet another round of learning and feeling better about riding and enjoying it more once again with better confidence in my own abilities.

 I feel like this last deer strike that nobody in the world could have avoided it (sans not being in that situation), but I still beat myself up over it. I was going about 65mph on a gradual uphill large sweeping curve with pretty good sitelines (so I thought) and zero traffic ever on it (about 4 houses total on the entire 5 miles stretch of road).  I was riding along maybe 40*-43* lean angle in the left tire track of my lane when a deer simply jumped right out into the road in front of me at perhaps 20'-25' away so less than 0.1 seconds to see and react, I creamed right through it, headlights to deers head, it broke through the headlights, guages and windshield then its head hit me square in the ribs with its body wrapped around the right handlebar locking up the front brakes and pulling the bars to full right lock, starting a 20' front wheel slide before ejecting me and the deer off highside. Anyways while I stood there for about 15 minutes hoping someone would come by to help as no cell phone reception and I was riding solo, I looked over the 50' swath of broken plastics and crumpled up motorcycle and saw the well beaten down deer trail coming down from the hill and right to the road, so well used and travelled not a single blade of grass still standing on its 2' wide path of dirt while all the surrounding areas had grass and vegetation atleast 3' high. This was late morning atleast 5 hours after sunrise- but I had already seen atleast a dozen deer that morning already in the 100 miles I had ridden thus far and that is pretty normal for everytime I go ride. Help never did come on its own and I had to walk more than 1/4 mile with 5 broken ribs and a punctured lung to the nearest house to find someone to call an ambulance, thankfully they were home, the next and only other house I could see was atleast another 1/4 mile away.

 

 So one of the big things I have done while recovering. In my own interest of self preservation and safety; I bought an airbag vest and am having a custom made airbag compatible suit made with way more protection than anyone should ever need, it is likley going to weigh in double what the suit I had been wearing- but I prefer to not end up in ICU again if I can help it, I am also putting on lever guards like the racers use, or maybe more like the motorcrossers use- I am still looking for the right ones of those I want... The bike, well I am fixing it even if if isn't the cheapest option, mechanically it was fine but it tumbled and broke everything that had paint on it plus the gauges, headlights, all 4 signals, muffler, subframe bent, both bars bent etc.... but the engine runs, the forks and wheels are straight and the frame is straight and it has seen 4 of those deer hits in its 99,000 miles

 In 2015 I passed on going the airbag route although I highly considered it, but it was mostly a racing thing for the programmed versions and I don't like the idea of a tether and external bag. In hindsight, I wish I had bought an airbag then! It may not have saved the front two ribs from the deers head but it may well have saved the other 3 and the punctured lung and herniated discs?

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I think visual skills are far more important than the others listed.  I think your school thinks so too   You teach that and throttle control first because it's the foundation of all the other skills

This is difficult as to a point these skills will play off each other.  So, my opinion (based on street riding, not track though they are likely the same): #1 - Visual skill, lack of target fixat

On the street my absolute number one priority is safety. On the street I’m constantly trying to remain conscious of the variables outside of my control: most notably these include road conditions (loo

Good gracious, what a story. I spent in summer in Wisconsin and couldn't believe the number of deer there and they certainly can jump out very suddenly. Sounds like you have a good plan for really serious protective gear for future, which is great.... but is there a way you can find a place to do some track riding, where conditions are a little more controlled? Local track days, or riding schools? 

Have you ever considered getting into a mini-moto or super-moto bike that you could ride at local go-kart tracks? They really are a lot of fun and you can ride at a high level (performance wise) at relatively low speed, and there's a whole lot less chance of a deer leaping out at you. It is inexpensive and it can be pretty easy to get a group of buddies to go with, which makes it even more fun.

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1 minute ago, Hotfoot said:

Good gracious, what a story. I spent in summer in Wisconsin and couldn't believe the number of deer there and they certainly can jump out very suddenly. Sounds like you have a good plan for really serious protective gear for future, which is great.... but is there a way you can find a place to do some track riding, where conditions are a little more controlled? Local track days, or riding schools? 

Have you ever considered getting into a mini-moto or super-moto bike that you could ride at local go-kart tracks? They really are a lot of fun and you can ride at a high level (performance wise) at relatively low speed, and there's a whole lot less chance of a deer leaping out at you. It is inexpensive and it can be pretty easy to get a group of buddies to go with, which makes it even more fun.

I have to second this. I got into Minimoto in 2018 and it's now my primary consideration for riding. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it and it's the best bang for buck going. Most of the bikes are inexpensive and nearly unbreakable, speeds are lower so if you do take a spill there's lower risk or severity of injury, maintenance is simple (though you end up doing some simple tasks more often) and the fun quotient is really high. Another factor is that they really highlight areas for needed skill improvement especially when a 9-13yo blasts by you on a similar or lower classed machine. 

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 There are no go kart tracks around here any more. There is an indoor place but they stopped letting motorcycles ride it awhile ago. (probably that way too much/long winter where they still are paying taxes etc but zero income thing on all those outdoor places that were around in the 70's and 80's and have long since closed)

I have rented the local tracks in the past and brought a dozen to a few dozen people with me, and I have attended no less than 30 trackday events including 3 times @ 2 days each with CSS, plus Schwantz school once, Spencers school once, and some other actual school for which I can't even remember who's off hand now.

 The only local trackday org is a crash fest and if you are lucky you might be able to ride the entire 20 minute session 2 or 3 times in an entire day, it gets red flagged for even the most simple of crashes, and there are lots of crashes. and they really do very little to improve your riding, it is more or less a free for all and the "instructors" cause many of the crashes too, I have seen them zip by too close and hook a footpeg on the being passed riders bike, clothing, or foot etc and put them on the ground- the whole thing screams of what I expect from "instructors" who aren't paid and get a form 1099 at the end of the year for the retail cost of what the trackday org charges, so they are actually paying to "instruct" which is probably why they just ride as much and as fast as they can trying to get their monies worth or some such nonsense. (I am sure some of the "instructors" are there for the right reasons but definitely not the majority) I think all of them are racers who think since they ride and touch racing it is okay to pass close and touch at the trackday- don't really know other than it is not what I want if I want to attend a trackday, and I hear the same from dozens of people who tried it once and never went again and some who still attend because it is the only game in town but complain about it all the time.

besides, in my racing days there were more than too many times deer were on the track or turtles or other wildlife, I even saw people hit the deer and the turtles, so while, sure track riding should be far safer with one way traffic and corner workers alerting you to dangers, they are far from safe. I have seen more crashed bikes and serious injuries from trackday riders than I have from street riders. Even the local 1.1 mile track at the community college has deer routinely inside the fence in close proximity to the track, but atleast medical is close and you have lots of other people around for help.

 I will never give up riding the street, I will still be riding until the day I can longer ride. I find street riding far more enjoyable than track riding for 20 minutes, sit around and wait 40+ minutes, then maybe get 20 minutes again, then sit around and wait, then more waiting for that hour lunch and then a couple afternoon sessions which nearly always get shortened duue to crashes.

For the $100 spent, to if lucky, get 60 miles in at the local track in an all day event or the $200+ and travel and hotel expenses and possibly get 150 miles in an entire day event at actual racetracks... I can depart from home in the am and ride all day 400-500 miles and eat out all three meals and still spend less than $100 and have way more fun and create much better memories and experience, sans the times hitting deer...., and I would never replace all the trips to the Rockies, or Appalachians and even in Hill Country and everything they have brought me.

 While I liked racing for what it was ( I loved to win, or atleast be top 5 and compete close- plus I had 3 bikes to ride so I was in nearly every race, everyday the 5 or 6 weekends I could race), I never really enjoyed trackdays as you simply sit around and wait far too much and spend alot of monies for so little riding time........... Yes I know CSS (and other actual schools) has classroom time, instructor talk time, actual on track time and the off track drills and one is always moving, it was almost too busy my last time at VIR, but I would still rather do CSS than any other trackday or riding school even if it ends up costing me way more given the distance I have to travel to any of the offered tracks plus the associated expenses.... But I still prefer street riding and enjoy it so much more.

 I just don't enjoy it as much as I once did given the deer hit in 2015 and now this one in 2020 both put me in the hospital when no other deer hit even put a scratch on me and all but one of those I rode the bike home still- one of them broke the radiator so I had to go back and pick it up with the trailer. I may never enjoy it as much as I once did, but I hope I can enjoy it more than I did the past year or two

 As far as my bike choice, I have owned atleast 50 different bikes and I ride them all about the same, so it isn't the bike that would make me safer or enjoy it more. I can run through the local 9 mile twisty road on a VN1600 at the same pace I would run the same road on a ZX6R, I simply don't go ride to blast and get some adrenaline rush like too many do, but I also am not sightseeing and stopping to take pictures etc, I get on the bike and want to ride, that is all I want to do, ride and ride some more and keep riding until I have to head back to home

As to the deer, yes there are far too many. I wish more hunters would go out in the fall but people don't hunt like they did 30 and 40 years ago when almost everyone hunted here.

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