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Fate vs. Training


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I just completed a Washington State DOL motorcycle safety survey.

Multiple choice, asking about experience, training, years riding, accident history, etc.  One of the reasons I completed the survey was that they give you the current average response chart after you complete the survey.

One statistic jumped off the page.  over 50% of respondents stated that the main cause of motorcycle accidents was inattention of OTHER DRIVERS.  Over half of all respondents believe that the main cause of motorcycle accidents is out of their hands.  It's fate, and it's up to the performance of other people.

If I believed that, I would sell my bikes today and never ride again.

I believe my life is in my hands, and that choices I make on the road are 100% in my control.  One of my principle reasons for coming to CSS was to clean up my own bad habits and misconceptions and to point me in the right direction for continued improvement.  I can report that this training has actually saved me from myself on a few occasions, and certainly given me better insight into how my motorcycle interacts with the riding environment.

A few specifics:  Where is the actual limit of control?  What is '80%'? and how do you know how much margin you have left? When you are at speed, and committed to a line, how can you make fast changes without crossing the line into uncontrolled flight?

The road is not the track, and in theory we should not exceed the limits of control on civilian roadways, but if you put in unpredictable road surfaces, other vehicles, road hazards, and wildlife, you now have an environment where the same skills you need at high speed are required to survive slow to medium velocity travel.

So, this is my plug for CSS.  We all want to learn to get around the track faster every lap.  There are few things better than that.  Control is control, and CSS training is absolutely 100% an improvement in your understanding of what control is and how to get it.

We also need to learn how to read traffic, observe changes in the riding ecosystem, and learn to pay attention and stay focused.  All necessary life skills, but it's all just information that allows us to choose and act.  CSS will help you learn how to take action so you can come back to the track in one piece.

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On 6/5/2021 at 3:24 PM, Roberts said:

I just completed a Washington State DOL motorcycle safety survey.

Multiple choice, asking about experience, training, years riding, accident history, etc.  One of the reasons I completed the survey was that they give you the current average response chart after you complete the survey.

One statistic jumped off the page.  over 50% of respondents stated that the main cause of motorcycle accidents was inattention of OTHER DRIVERS.  Over half of all respondents believe that the main cause of motorcycle accidents is out of their hands.  It's fate, and it's up to the performance of other people.

If I believed that, I would sell my bikes today and never ride again.

I believe my life is in my hands, and that choices I make on the road are 100% in my control.  One of my principle reasons for coming to CSS was to clean up my own bad habits and misconceptions and to point me in the right direction for continued improvement.  I can report that this training has actually saved me from myself on a few occasions, and certainly given me better insight into how my motorcycle interacts with the riding environment.

A few specifics:  Where is the actual limit of control?  What is '80%'? and how do you know how much margin you have left? When you are at speed, and committed to a line, how can you make fast changes without crossing the line into uncontrolled flight?

The road is not the track, and in theory we should not exceed the limits of control on civilian roadways, but if you put in unpredictable road surfaces, other vehicles, road hazards, and wildlife, you now have an environment where the same skills you need at high speed are required to survive slow to medium velocity travel.

So, this is my plug for CSS.  We all want to learn to get around the track faster every lap.  There are few things better than that.  Control is control, and CSS training is absolutely 100% an improvement in your understanding of what control is and how to get it.

We also need to learn how to read traffic, observe changes in the riding ecosystem, and learn to pay attention and stay focused.  All necessary life skills, but it's all just information that allows us to choose and act.  CSS will help you learn how to take action so you can come back to the track in one piece.

I appreciate the spirit of what you're saying and agree that skills, training and practice are extremely helpful.  However, I am extremely bothered by what you're saying here - perhaps I'm misunderstanding but I'm reading that you believe avoiding accidents on the road are 100% in the the riders control (if we, gain/practice skills and "learn how to read traffic, observe changes... learn to pay attention...). That is just simply not true and perhaps even a dangerous fallacy IMHO.

My personal counter example: Light turns green, I proceed through the intersection, on the other side of the intersection are a series of cars parked parallel to the curb.  I'm traveling in a straight line at 20, maybe 25 mph (well within that 80% you refer to).  As I approach the rear bumper of a parked car I observe a change (the car begins to pull out when my front tire is about 2 feet behind and 4-5 feet to the left of that bumper), instantly I realize I can't brake fast enough so I try to swerve (i.e. I put some skills to use and took avoidant action)...  Had that driver been paying attention/seen me, perhaps she would have stopped and my swerve would have avoided the accident (I could not however control her actions).  She did not stop, and she didn't stop until she was half way down the block, maybe 50 yards from where my bike and I lay in the middle of the street.

Yes, the choices I/we make on the road are 100% in our control (or should be).  However, my best attempt at paying attention and avoiding the accident was not enough.  I have had 2 surgeries, 30 months of PT and OT, an accident investigation and a police report that concludes the other driver was "100% at fault," as well as a sizeable insurance settlement that proves - some things are just out of our control despite our best attempts to be focused, aware and use our skills to avoid them.

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Hi El Colibri,

I am sorry that you had that experience.  That stinks.

There is no fair counter to your example. You were there, you know what happened, and any comment or suggestion about that event would be absurd.  My guess is that you are an experienced rider, and the fact that you are on this forum indicates you think about riding a lot.  I would also lay a bet that you have avoided a hell of a lot of collisions, left yourself escape routes, watched the front wheels of hundreds of cars at intersections, studied the roadside for hints of upcoming changes, and used your best x-ray vision to try to see what drivers in cars around you are looking at and doing. I bet you practice emergency stops and avoidance drills too.

Nobody can stop from being bushwhacked.  I have had people pull out in front of me claiming they 'didn't see' the 1-ton diesel Silverado in was driving.  Not every driver is an idiot, but every idiot does drive.

I still maintain that in an overwhelming large number of incidences, we are able to save our own lives by the application of practiced skills and attentive habits.  And as for single vehicle incidents?  Speaking for my self, CSS training, and reading books by Kieth and others, and lots of practice have given me tools to stay out of trouble while still enjoying spirited riding on civilian roads.

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Roberts,

Thank you for your response. 

I too agree that being aware, skilled and practiced is extremely valuable and has indeed helped me to avoid some scary, and perhaps catastrophic, situations.  Not only on the public roads but also at the track...  We had a rider crash at Barber about a week and half ago and it sent some of the subsequent students in very unexpected directions.  As I came upon all of that somewhat blind; wide vision, quick turn, staying loose and practice in making those my default reactions (and not the SR's) undoubtedly helped to avoid making a bad situation worse.

Much appreciated 😎👍

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