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Thread: Riding twisties

  1. #1
    Senior Member  The First 100 S.E.R.E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Air Force
    I Retired
    1967 to 1988

    Camp Pendleton

    USAF Riding twisties

    Ok. I had to bring this up and I think you will all agree. Twisties see the death and injury (by self actions) more then any other environmental challenge.

    I was with a group of riders (North County Cruisers) when we arrived in Borrego Springs CA for lunch. Eating just across from our table was a group of 6 Active Duty Marines from Camp Pendleton CA. They finished their meals just before we did and departed about 5 minutes prior to our kick stands up (KSU).

    As we started the twisties out of Borrego, just around the side of one twistie was one of the Marines, dismounted, and standing in the middle of the street waving us to stop. When I pulled up to him, he told me a Van around the back side of this twistie had pulled from the right side of the road to the left side, instantly blocking the entire lane, and at that exact moment, the whole group of marines on bikes came around the blind corner.

    The first three impacted the vehicle directly in the middle, the last had to put their bikes down to avoid impact and they wound up in a pile.

    2 dead on impact, one critically wounded later died, multiple injuries flesh wounds on the rest.

    Just a couple months before this crash, I was riding the twisties on Mt Polamar CA, when I slowed for flashing lights at a curve. There, a rider had failed to make the turn and was bent in half backwards between the bottom rail of a standard guard rail and the road surface.

    Just 6 months after the marine deaths, I was in a group riding up Mt Baldy CA, we were doing around 15 mph when we came around a curve.....

    I heard the sound of a vehicle's brakes ahead of me just as I rounded the curve and caught a glimpse of a small black car speeding around the curve ahead of our group heading towards us, as that car came barreling down the mountain road, passing two riders ahead of me (Rider1 and Rider2), it failed to make the curve ahead, spun in the dirt in a spectacular fish tail of sand, caught itself and out of control, it flashed just a foot or two beside me (Rider3) and into the mountain, where it smashed and jumped over into our lane to a stop. In that instant, my following rider (Rider4) rounded the curve and impacted the now blocking vehicle. All in a matter of a couple seconds.

    The impact sheered off the nose of Rider4 when his half face helmet cleared the windshield, but his nose didn't clear it.

    Rider5 was two up behind the injured biker(4) and had to put the his bike down to avoid hitting the accident. He managed to hold the bike erect partially, and his co-rider got off (she was a nurse and ran to help the injured) but he was unable to get the bike off himself. I had parked my bike at this moment, and directed another rider to block traffic ahead of us, and ran back to the accident. As I approached, I could see the Nurse was attending the wounded and had the situation in hand, but I saw the look of shock on her rider(5) and immediately went him. When I asked him if he was ok, he said no the bike was on his foot. Sure enough, Rider5 had managed to keep the bike up, but it was lodged on his foot and twisted it under it, and he through sheer shock and strength was holding it from collapsing further. I called and we all helped get the bike off him.

    After sending someone to block traffic behind us, and someone to ride to the top of the hill and get a 911 call out (we had no connection where we were), we only waited for ten minutes when a fantastic effort of rescue was received. First on the scene was a Forest Service Truck, then a second, then a Fire Truck, then two motorcycle Highway Patrol (CHP) Policemen, then a Sheriff car, then a Helicopter, then a Captains (CHP) car, then an ambulance.

    Rider4 was transported from the scene and we stayed with his bike and I took pictures of everything.

    Of note was the Captain's remarks to me when I complimented him for his team response. He said they were "stationed" on this mountain as they average 2 accidents a day every weekend on these roads. Average two a day every weekend! No wonder the quick response.

    My point here and reason for bring this subject up is I've only seen one other place (freeways) that claim as many rider lives.

    Here is what I've learned.

    1. Never ride twisties until you've mastered streets and know your bike.
    2. Twisties force the biker to lean and Push-pull more then almost any other situation.
    3. Centrifugal force will push the bike to the outside edge of the twistie as will gravity. The heavier the bike, the more outside push. The higher the rider sits or the higher you've stacked gear, the more outside push.
    4. Entering the twistie too fast will result in losing control.
    5. Always "Give yourself as much road surface as possible". Enter "outside, go inside, then exit "outside".
    6. Never pass on any twistie...any! You do not have any idea what may be around the corner.
    7. When riding 2up, go have more weight pushing toward the side of the road and another life in your hands.
    8. Make sure your tires are inflated to manufacturer recommended levels. Soft tires may result in a "mush" when the tire changes from the normal riding surface to a soft or in some crusiers "hard" side wall.
    9. Make sure your air shocks (for those with them like mine) are inflated to recommended levels, too little air will cause the shock to "ground out" too much air will increase the outside push (centrifugal and gravity forces).
    10. Do NOT follow too close to the bike in front. Multiple deaths are the result of excessive speed and tight formations.
    11. Do not share the lane when doing twisties.
    12. Wear your protective equipment. (BTW, the marines were all fully equipped).
    13. Carry first aid supplies and get training! The life you save may be your best friend.

    I'm sure there are more please add as you think of them.

    God bless them all and ride safe.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Army Reserves
    I Served
    1988 to Present

    Fort Knox
    thanks for the posting, sometimes we need a reminder.
    " There is no excuse to go about your business in a half-hearted way. We are only alive for a finite number of days, and we're poorer for every hour that we spend in soft-hearted pursuits."


  3. #3
    Junior Member c38956's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Fort Worth

    I Retired
    1980 to 2004

    NAS JRB Fort Worth
    +1 everything you stated is gospel. Thank you for the hard facts.
    "I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"
    President John F. Kennedy

  4. #4
    Junior Member Red2recon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    I am Serving
    1999 to Present

    Fort Lewis
    Sometimes accidents can not be avoided. Like in the case of the van stopped at the apex taking up all of the lane. Cases like those are unfortunate.

    All I can say is the best place to learn the limits of not only yourself but your bike as well is the track.

    Yes, the speed is increased, but so many other dangers are taken out like debris in the road, cagers, changing road conditions, everyone out there is trying to make themselves a better rider as well as you are, everyone is traveling the same direction, and the best part is no speed limits.

    Crashes happen. I've crashed more on the track than the street and prefer it that way.

    It's unfortunate what happened in the OP, but going to the track, i realize I was riding wayyy above my head before and am now safer, smoother and much faster while still allowing myself to not exceed an 80% threshold of my abilities.

    and if you think the track is not your thing, because it's too expensive, yet you like to ride over 100 on occasion, just think of this, one speeding ticket will pay for 1-2 days at the track where you can go fast as much as you want.

    I'm just a slow guy tryin to be fast.

    Get your oil filters and lubricants for 25% off! PM me to discuss.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    San Diego

    Marine Corps
    I am Serving
    1993 to Present

    MCRD San Diego
    Another zombie thread resurrection, but a lot of the things the OP mentions are covered in your progressive motorcycle training. For the Marine Corps, we have starting organizing "Track Days" at various locations to help Marines build their skill level safely. Once you have the "required" training done, attend the advanced courses. I managed to get into a Lee Parks' Total Control class simply by volunteering when they didnt have enough guys show up. That lead to getting my MSF RiderCoach certification, and the ability to pass on knowledge to a larger audience.

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