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Wrecking
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Posted 8/24/2004 7:33 PM (#4554)
Subject: Wrecking


Honest Injun now! How many of you have ever wrecked while on your rig? Or personally know a sidecarist who wrecked WHILE ON THEIR RIG? I'm including 'other party at fault', 'drove across a field only to discover...', 'coming home from the bar' and all the other circumstances. I'm not including 'why I have a hack' wrecks.

Also, please include how much experience you had at the time of the wreck on both two-wheeled and hack and if you'd had either the two-wheeled safety course or the hack/trike course.

If your family/friends read this forum, and you'd be embarrassed, (or didn't tell them because they'd worry) then email it to me with the subject line 'wreck' and I'll repost it to the thread.

I'm trying to find out: 1. Is hacking safer? 2. Does the two-wheeled safety course pose a danger to sidecarists by reinforcing the wrong skill set? 3. Does the number of accidents fall off after six months experience, like with two-wheeled? 4. Am I fooling myself that being bigger than a mini-coupe makes me more visible?

Becky Avery
RedtheUnready 'at' hotmail.com
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Posted 8/24/2004 7:40 PM (#4555 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking


I'll start off.
Over thirty years experience two-wheeled, on and off. MSF Experience Rider course.
First trip out in my rig, I ran off the road to the right. Four times. Finally figured out that I was trying to use the outside track (right-hand side of the lane) where I usually ride and cutting the inside corners on turns. Put my husband in the outside track in front of me, which told my subconsious that I was riding 'staggered' and should be in the inside track.
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herwing
Posted 8/25/2004 12:13 AM (#4558 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Veteran

Posts: 209
100100
Location: Fairfield, VA
I've wanted to know the answer to that question, too. Sidecars aren't all that common and I don't if there are any kinds of records about accidents that they have been involved in. Maybe somebody does and will post that information if there is any such thing.
I (knock on wood) have never been in an accident with my rig, except, for that collision with the deer that I've mentioned before. My husband (who didn't witness the incident) says it was a head shot. I don't know if that's the only part that I hit with the front end of the bike, but I do know that I nearly took off one of her legs. And that I had deer hair and "juice" all down the left side of my bike. She busted my headlight and cracked my back saddlebag. I just knew that I was going to go flying over the handlebars, but I didn't. And I drove on home. If I had been on two wheels, I'd have been in big trouble, for sure.
I have also mentioned before the guy getting against my sidecar tire and nearly pushing me off of the interstate in WV. One more second and I'd have been in the median and it would have been curtains for me. What has bothered me ever since is wondering if the worst had happened, would anyone have known or figured out what actually happened or would they just have assumed that I just couldn't handle the rig and ran out of the road on my own? Would he have gotten away with what was essentially a hit and run?
I got my motorcycle license in '74 or '75 and I took the beginning riders course in the early 90's. My first bike was a 550 Suzuki and then I had a Honda Silverwing (bike, not scooter). I never rode much at all, but I was having a great time with that Silverwing until I laid it down on my leg going into a gas station. I believe that I got my first rig early in '96 (1200 Goldwing) and I rode it a lot, but I'm not sure of the number of miles. Got my 1500 in 2000 and have put over 50,000 miles on it. I hit the deer in '99, so I wasn't new to sidehacking by then, but I've never taken a sidehacking course.

Connie
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FENDER2YOU
Posted 8/25/2004 9:36 AM (#4563 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Regular

Posts: 89
252525
Location: pasco, wa
Last april, i was rideing a winding road going 45 or so, hit a mud puddle and the the hole rig spun, then regained traction in time for me to run into the side of a hill. luckily a tree growing out the side of the hill caught me,

fender
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Sarge
Posted 8/26/2004 8:08 AM (#4574 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Veteran

Posts: 135
10025
Location: NE Ohio
My first day on Boris back in April, I made it 6 miles before I had a brake problem. A few days later, after working on the rear cycle brake (and disconnecting the sidecar brake to do so), I went on a test ride. Turning right into the grocery store, the rig started to turn then decided to go straight. Pushed on bars harder but to no avail. Stomped on brake harder to try and get stopped before I ran into some sign posts. No luck. I hit one of the sign posts (8" diameter pole) with the left turn signal, cylinder head, exhaust pipe and crash bar. At that point I was going so slow I didn't even fall off the rig but the damage was done.

Yup, you guessed it. Strong rear braking with no sidecar brake was pulling the rig to the left no matter what else I did. Had I let off on the brake and even accelerated, I would have curved right and missed that pole. Classic case of sidecar operator inexperience. I had about 30 miles of sidecar experience at that time. I'm now over 3000 miles and SO FAR haven't run into anything else!

Riding 2 wheels since 1968. No MSF course existed back then. Learned by experience. Same, so far, on 3 wheels. No course in Ohio. Have found a "guru" but haven't been able to get together with him out at the school parking lot yet. Carrying 100 lb of lead in car to make sure it stays down until such time as I do have a chance to learn about dealing with a lighter car.

Sarge

P.S. And I live by an old adage my Mom stressed, "Drive as if your Mother had just waxed the road!"
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Bandit Bill
Posted 8/28/2004 7:46 AM (#4601 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Regular

Posts: 95
252525
Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
I had this published in the February 2004 edition of the Cycle Canada magazine. I've also included a link to the magazine edited article as scanned. Below is my original submission before it was edited.

http://www.efnetmotorcycles.com/i/scan.jpg

Well, i don't know if it was strange, but for me, it was surreal.

It was back in the summer of '92, i'd been riding 4 years by that point, and was in my mid 20's. At the time i had a 1984 Suzuki GR650 Tempter, a parallel twin in a standard/cruiser style, and along the way i'd picked up a 1967 or thereabouts Velorex Bullet sidecar. I was in love with the concept of a sidehack, and i'd had it on the bike on and off for about a year. Some people thought i was nuts, i knew i was nuts, for the relatively bizarre mode of transport i owned.

At the time (and am still working there, curiously enough), I was working a responsible front line job in social services, but otherwise was an irresponsible young adult who enjoyed the party scene at a particular cabin every weekend i could get away to cottage country. One particular weekend, i enjoyed the party scene a wee bit too much, and ended up with a compound fractured leg in a 'drinking accident', resulting in 8-10 weeks off work on short term absence disability pay. Doctors orders were to put no weight on the leg for that period of time, or there was the risk of it setting badly. Did I listen? I did, for all of about 2 days.

Sharing a case of beer was all that was needed to bring a friend over to help put the sidecar back on and get it's setup geometry correct, and i was on vacation. The ironic thing, is that same friend also broke his leg, a week later. Within days, his 1977 Honda CB750 had sprouted a home-brewed hand-shifter, so that he could manage with a cane and cast. He and i rode around the town, much to the amusement of people observing the two crippled squids.

The next 8 weeks or so were an absolute giggle. Well, with the exception of one memorial incident.

I was well accustomed to bombing around town, sliding the sidecar outfit around corners with abandon, and 'flying it' with a passenger with not the smoothest of landings (i'd bent that sidecar axle so many times, it is frightening to think how close it probably was to failure).

One particular July morning, i was flying around my neighborhood as usual, wicking the throttle up around one particularly fun residential sweeper. Intruding into the roadway from the curb, there was now a pile of dirt and gravel that hadn't been there hours before, evidently left by a landscaper. In very short order, this natural ramped surface stepped in to intervene on my fun, and apparent lack of attention. Doing a little above the posted limit, i was cutting into the apex of this right hand corner when my sidecar wheel suddenly ramped up the gravel pile and the whole rig turned turtle at speed! In the blink of an eye, i found myself doing a three point butt-surf on my posterior, the heel of the one leg's cast, and my other leg's tennis shoe a short distance down the road. I remember watching the crutches that had been jammed into the sidecar cockpit doing a remarkable launch over my head as the sidecar swapped sides with the bike, and seeing my bike come to a crunchy stop a little further on down the road from where i had come sliding to a stop. I proceeded to pick myself up off the roadway, and hopped on over to the other side of the road and found my crutches. Gathering my wits about me, I found myself face to face by some guy on his front lawn, wielding a garden hose with his jaw agape. The poor guy had just witnessed a totally bizarre sight, and didn't quite know what to say. I remember him asking me if i needed an ambulance, but at that point, i'd had enough of medical attention already for the summer. Once he'd finished watering his feet, with a little bit of assistance from him we managed to flip the sidecar rig back upright, and i stuffed the cockpit of the sidecar with the remains of my mirrors, instruments, windshield(s) etc. and the now grass-stained crutches,
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Posted 9/2/2004 9:50 PM (#4629 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking


Okay. That takes care of 1st person.
Who knows a sidecarist who's wrecked their rig? What happened?

You don't have to mention names, but general location would be useful (Road construction styles vary from region to region. Some places don't crown their roads. Some places have what a local called 'snow bumps' that feel like riding a bucking horse.)

So far we've got:
2 experienced rider switching to hacking
1 attack by deer
1 attack by car (That does it Connie, you take point. You've got the best luck) =)
1 loss of traction
1... umm.... Bill, I'm going to list this as pilot error

Edited by Red the Unready 9/2/2004 10:01 PM
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herwing
Posted 9/2/2004 10:40 PM (#4632 - in reply to #4629)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Veteran

Posts: 209
100100
Location: Fairfield, VA

Hey Red,

I don't know about that luck thing, I'm always scared that I've about run out! But when we're riding after dark (which, again, I try to avoid) my husband always tries to get me to go in front! But, I guess there's no way to tell where it's best to be. I tend to favor being in the back.

Connie
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Bandit Bill
Posted 9/2/2004 10:50 PM (#4633 - in reply to #4629)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Regular

Posts: 95
252525
Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Haha, you've got a potential career in Politics... Just call it near-terminal Pilot Stupidity!

BTW.. things haven't got much better since.. i've got to closely investigate the Hannigan's axle alignment this winter.. it's possible i've bent that too, flying the chair. If so, i'm now batting 3 for 3 in terms of axle issues for my sidecar outfits that i've owned.

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Hack'n
Posted 9/3/2004 2:41 PM (#4637 - in reply to #4574)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Expert

Posts: 4833
2000200050010010010025
Location: Boise, Idaho
With the Yellow book or the Hal Kendall Book and 15 minutes of range time, You can be flying the chair even without a "Guru".
A little reading, a little parking lot practice time and voila, Big Air.
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MikeS
Posted 9/3/2004 2:53 PM (#4638 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Regular

Posts: 60
2525
Location: Grand Marais, MN
Bill's story was engaging, I always thank the powers above for allowing me to survive my 20's.

Mine, in my first life as a sidecarist, in my 20's, I was behind a car on a snowy winter road on Fraternity Alley at college, stopped on the road by idiotic drivers. I pulled out to the left to get around the guy in front. Being disgusted about the itiotic drivers, including the one in front of me, I forgot about the hack to my right, turned the bars sharply left, and whacked the tub into the bumper of the car in front of me. No damage to the car, yes damage to the tub.

Cause; rider inexperience, as I'd been piloting a rig for only a few months. I'd been riding the same tug 2 wheels for several years by then.

I'm back in the ranks again soon, as I just purchased a new to me rig, soon to go get it. Hopefully I can learn more from this thread, because I'm starting the "first 6 months" again. Fortunately, or maybe not in other ways, I'm way past my 20's now.

MikeS
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Posted 9/5/2004 10:59 PM (#4649 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking


Welcome back Mike!
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Jimbosidecar
Posted 9/15/2004 10:14 PM (#4738 - in reply to #4554)
Subject: RE: Wrecking



Regular

Posts: 57
2525
Location: Beijing, China
Well, this is kinda funny when I think back on it but it wasn't at the time.
I had been riding in Beijing on a Chang Jiang for about 3 years. I was leaving a little league game headed for my office which was just 2 kms away. I was on a 4 lane road. I was having a shifting problem so when accelerating away from a stop light I was having to reach down to move the hand shifter. On the 3rd to 4th shift as I was looking down a taxi stopped abruptly right in front of me. My fault for not paying attention but the taxi stopped with no warning to chat with a friend he just waved down. I rear ended the taxi. The damage to the taxi looked substantial and my front fender had a slight curl at the leading edge and I had red paint (from the taxi) on the front of the hack.
Right away a crowd of about 100+ gathered. I didn't want to speak Chinese as I thought it would create even worse problems for me. Pretty soon the crowd was was either cheering or jeering, speculating to the taxi driver which nationality I was. First I was German and Germans have a lot of money so the taxi driver had just hit the lottery. Then I "became" French, and finally Russian. Now the laughter started as the crowd told the taxi driver the only people on the planet who had less money than the Chinese were the Russians.
Finally the taxi driver settled with me for the equivalent of US$ 300.00 and he was towed away and I rode away on my bike. Strong machines those Changs!
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Posted 9/30/2004 11:46 PM (#4878 - in reply to #4738)
Subject: RE: Wrecking


I ride an off road Rokon two wheel drive(front&rear of driving unit) My first crash involved a side-hill. With sidecar higher than you,turning right puts you down. one can bail-out of the situation by turning down-hill left, but that would have put me into a swamp. After several years riding I have been to ground many times but always at low speeds. My hollow rims can be filled with fluids & any wheighting on sidecar side helps. My rig also has generous ground clearance which I believe lets the chair fly easily. Here in Minnesota,laws keep me off atv only trails unless I add my 3rd wheel. The ramps built of spaced 2x6's to get up&over farmers fences add to the trail challenge.
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