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Old 04-15-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
2007 Kawasaki EX 500
1971 Honda 175 Scrambler
1967 Honda Mini Trail 50
1966 Honda Super 90

Exclamation Surprise and analysis


Yesterday afternoon I was merging up onto the north bound side of the SW freeway frontage road, just north of the big Brazos Bridge crossing that is south of Sugar Land. Winds were high, maybe 25-40 mph blowing from southeast to northwest.

This particular merge is uphill, fairly blind, and curves. I am very familiar with this intersection. I looked carefully, accelerated to about 50 mph, watched my mirror, but +++surprise+++ a black truck managed to exactly insert ahead of me into my blind spot. He flew ahead of me in my merge lane. I estimate his speed at around 75+ and our closest distance was maybe 20 feet.

The speed limit on this frontage road is 50. Anyway, I was surprised, and although it was not a near collision, it could have been as I did NOT see him. Yes, I had my blinker on. I watched him fly past several cars on the frontage, and then make a dual lane sweep onto the main 59. I wrote him off as an poor driver, and so there it is.

A riding book I own states: the best riders are rarely surprised, and when they are, they figure out why. After thinking about this scenario and geometry a bit, I realized that there was a perfect bad-synchronicity of timing and speed. Despite my blind spot check, and re-check in my mirror: there he was due to his very high speed and insistence on neither giving up lane position, or speed.

What I did right: good merge procedure, no panic. The wind was a mitigating factor though trying to blow me left into his lane. Fortunately I was counter-steering a bit, and that kept me in the far right side of my lane, and when I did merge (after he flew by), it was a soft merge. Lesson: a soft merge makes sense, avoid rapid-flick lane changes and always give a full head turn when merging and looking in that blind spot. Also, even with the best safety practices, there can be situations arise where a merge can result in a nasty surprise.

So, there it is. It is windy as again today. I may or may not ride. I avoided the main freeways yesterday although I am much more comfortable riding in moderate winds than I was a year ago. The 40 mph gusts can be a challenge in curves: one has to adjust the chosen line, and stay loose.

Thoughts? Comments?

stay safe,
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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I know what you mean about the wind effects on the 500. I have not ridden a lot of bikes but it is the worst I have ridden in gusty wind.
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