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Reminder: Painted Lines Are Slick

Posted in Crashes, Motorcycle Rides, Videos by Kurt Ernst | March 1st, 2011 | 11 Responses |

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Here’s another Mulholland Drive motorcycle crash video from rnickeymouse, and I had to pass this one along for a couple of reasons. Aside from the fact that the rider is crowding the centerline (which is a really good way to get waffled when riding a canyon road), his form isn’t horrendous. Perhaps most important of all is that he’s not carrying too much speed into a corner, and isn’t on the gas before the apex. The mistake he made was one that nearly all riders make from time to time, and that’s assuming your traction wont change. In this case it was water on a freshly painted center line that brought the bike down, but the same crash could have be caused by oil, gravel, antifreeze or even tar snakes (used to patch asphalt roads). Lesson learned? Look through the corner and anticipate changes in traction if the road surface changes.

The rider in the video wouldn’t have crashed if he kept his front tire off of the painted center line. If you’ve never seen a freshly painted stripe, go take a look next time your local road department does some work. The paint they use is meant to stand up to years of exposure to the elements, and some paints have embedded reflective material. Most of it is glossy, which makes it slicker than greased owl snot when it gets wet. Anticipate a loss in traction when crossing painted lines, especially in wet weather, and try to keep the bike as vertical as possible. Cross painted lines like you’d cross railroad tracks: as perpendicular as possible and neither on the gas nor on the brake.

I hate to see a good crash go to waste, and this one certainly counts as a “teachable moment”. It’s too late for the rider in the video, but you can learn from his mistake. Even low speed, low side crashes aren’t fun, and the money that this guy is going to sink into bodywork could have been spent on track days and go-fast parts.

Source: rnickeymouse You Tube Channel

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11 Responses

  1. Brock says:

    When I lived in LA years ago we went riding up on Mulholland quite often, but usually week days and holidays to avoid the crowds. Once, on a very quiet day, I noticed that someone had very carefully oiled the centerline of the road at the apexes of several corners. Not all the locals are pleased with the motorcycle traffic through the canyons.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Brock, that pretty much mirrors my own experience riding in Colorado canyons. When the locals would get sick of hearing sportbikes on weekends, their solution was to dump gravel in corners.

  2. Rod Munch says:

    The rider is not controlling the throttle during the turn as well. You can hear him roll in and out of the gas just prior to the lowside.

  3. Set says:

    It’s also an enlisted member of the military. He’s got the base stickers on his bike.

  4. ptschett says:

    Paint sucks. The one time my bike went down all last year was a drizzly day last summer when I decided “screw the weather let’s go ride anyway”. I was taking a right at an intersection and lost rear-wheel grip on the darn crosswalk zebra stripe, lowsiding the bike at around 10 MPH. Nothing hurt but my pride, one of my turn signals and the forward progress of a few car drivers.

  5. SNAK3 says:

    ” go take a look next time your local READ department does some work. “

  6. I saw another video recently about that stretch on Mulholland drive where all the cars were driving across is the yellow lines. I guess part of it is the thrill of the curves and maybe too much $$ but everyone drives crazy there. I think there are always people there on the weekends filming people driving over the yellow lines.