Extraordinarily close call for Gizmag's Loz Blain
So here's the story. I was out test riding the BMW S1000RR for the latest in our video motorcycle review series. I had a pillion on the back, Karen, taking her first ride on a sportsbike.
Going well under the 100 km/h (62 mph) speed limit, I came up on a blind, cresting right hand bend. Staying nice and wide, I saw a 4WD (probably a Toyota Hilux) coming the other way, about a foot into my lane. No problem, happens all the time - but in general the driver realizes they're running wide, corrects their path and there's no issue.
This guy didn't - in fact, at the last second he ran even wider. I managed to dodge him by a matter of a couple of inches, but ran off the road in the process. Luckily the BMW is laden with smart ABS and traction control technology that helped me scrub off some speed in the grass and gravel, and get it back on the road, leaving us with this spectacular video footage.
Karen was fine - right up until she saw the video footage and the gravity of the incident hit home.
But it occurred to me that had I managed to dodge the oncoming 4WD, then run off the road and crashed, the statistics and the newspapers would tell a familiar story: "a 34 year-old motorcyclist and a female passenger were killed today when the rider lost control of his 1000cc sportsbike. It was a single vehicle accident, speed is believed to be a factor."
Perhaps next time you hear a motorcycle crash distilled down to those words, think of this video and realize that not all single vehicle accidents are the rider's fault. Ride safe out there!
Oh, and if anyone reckons they know how to extract a license plate from a few blurred frames of video footage, we'd love to hear how to do it!
The gorgeous (and technology packed) BMW S1000RR - Click here to download a wallpaper image (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Please keep comments to less than 150 words. No abusive material or spam will be published.
This video brings to mind an old acquaintance by the name of Johnny McLaughlin, a harder-than-nails former WWII fighter pilot, who raced and won on bikes here in Southern California for years. I once watched Johnny in a match race here at Willow Springs against Mike Hailwood and Paddy Driver, but he was badly outclassed and eventually dropped his G45 in a turn, and came back to the pits to tell us that he had been injured in the spill--a fingernail had been torn off. But he was truly an accomplished rider and unquestionably fearless.
Some years after the Willow Springs race, Johnny was riding on the road when a car crossed the centerline and took off his left arm. It has always been unimaginable to me that a rider of Johnny\'s caliber could have been victimized like this.
I love bikes, and have always viewed them as huge fun, but the proliferation of bigger vehicles, with many more distractions inside like cellphones, video screens, blaring headphones and drivers with nearly flatlined brainscans, has converted what I used to think of as a delightful diversion into what I now regard as damn near death defying.
Truly unfortunate. But, again, I\'m glad you came through OK. Stay safe.
Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California
(I must confess this did happen to me, I was the wrong guy and nobody was hurt...)