It seems quite important to have two main categories of potential danger in particular described.
One is the common situation. A biker will meet this several dozen times in a day's ride, so we are talking junction and idiot in Volvo pulls out on you, that is the bread and butter of potential incidents that you simply must be able to prep for mentally and avoid, or else don't swing a leg over anything two-wheeled!
This topic then is NOT about that stuff!
This topic is intended to be the 'X files' of biking, so I will kick it off with an exceptional incident that afterwards makes one really think 'Oh God COME ON...am I really expected to be ready for THAT?!' You know, the definitely 'not fair' threat that is so outlandish and unlikely it will never make a safety handbook.
I did not have a Diversion at the time. Had no kids and not a huge mortgage either. However, the incident warrants a mention nonetheless, for safety's sake and just the unnerving nature of it.
I am travelling on the motorway tired after I think, a run to either deliver a package on a short term courier job I had, or another business jaunt. It was after coming up the A1 from Peterborough and I had just joined from that to the M62 travelling westbound, for the last leg home, about 25 miles under motorway conditions. The weather was overcast but reasonably good visibility pre-twilight.
Having just joined the m-way, and being oh-so-skilled (!) I coolly traversed immediately to the fast lane and punched it past several cars. I decided to cool it a little a few seconds later and cruise in the centre of three lanes.
Abruptly, and apparently unnecessarily, vehicles up ahead were braking and you could sense the car drivers mentally wobbling is how I would describe it. The thought immediately hits you 'Gawd bl&@dy cage drivers...' Beware because that's what sets you up for a fall. people don't brake for fun very often.
A huge shape vaulted the central reservation barrier, and I had been aware of a tall thing emerging from the back of a low loading truck that was coming towards me on the opposite carriageway.
As it got closer - this takes a whole second at a combined speed of over 100 mph - I see it is a big tractor rear tyre. This my subconscious decides, does not require anything really clever to be done. A simple response but perfectly executed. Brake too hard, I have no time to check behind, something may strike me, same for lane changing.
Accelerate, and you must realise I am already at the legal limit, and I compress any options and my reaction time even further. I figure gentle braking and just be ready to brake or swerve hard to the right.
The rubber behemoth traverses diagonally rolling upright at maybe 30 or 40 mph towards our side of the motorway, and it passes maybe 3 car lengths ahead of the bike through my lane, partly due to my moderate braking. Braking I had begun before knowing for sure there was a danger, simply based on seeing other drivers doing so. I took it as an early heads-up, rather than entirely scoff at them as it turned out. That is and extra second ahead of what some people might do who are more arrogant or careless, the time to get my fingers off the throttle and onto the brake lever, brace my body for the forward tip of the machine if I slam the anchors on harder next.
The tractor tyre with those unmistakeable massive treads, is lazy by the time it hits the crash barrier, to my left and behind, but I hear it clang and glance around to see it still manage to lurch over I think, into the field near Selby power station.
As I ride, I analyse. The tyre was unsecured on the flat bed truck, and made its way down the pile of tyres, off the back and onto the opposite carriageway. The 55mph or so it hits the blacktop at, with good grip, makes it rise up into the upright position, and sets it rolling, gyroscopic forces and energy are sufficient, it smacks the central barrier and lands in the middle of lane 3 on my side of the motorway.
What were the chances?!
Expect the unexpected, and remember other road users usually don't take evasive action for fun. Stay alert but relaxed. Manage that and you can enjoy biking and still live long and prosper. As I tell the kids - oftentimes stuff that happens is not your fault, but it is your problem!
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Current bike year 2000 Yamaha XJ600N also called Seca II or Diversion 600. On an older bike air cooling is a blessing, no sludge and complexity of badly-maintained liquid cooling. Other bikes were: BMW K100 roadster; Honda VF750S Sabre with anti-dive.