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Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs
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Wingnut
Posted 7/12/2017 6:24 PM (#94113)
Subject: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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I've looked around this and other motorcycle forums and haven't found anything relating to sidecar rig accidents. Now, either they don't happen (Yea ), or they don't necessarily get reported. Are there no riders anywhere that have had any accidents or close calls? Presumably, there would be "some" accidents that are unique to rigs with sidecars.
Thoughts or experiences are welcome, good or bad.
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Al Olme
Posted 7/12/2017 7:17 PM (#94114 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: RE: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
While it makes sense that there are sidecar accidents, there is no official data because there is no separate reporting for sidecars. Any sidecar accidents are simply recorded as "motorcycle" accidents. That's too bad because if we had separate reporting we could easily demonstrate a lower accident rate than motorcycles in general. If we could document lower accident numbers we could lobby for lower insurance rates.

If there is any "classic" sidecar accident it's what happens when the sidecar wheel comes up unexpectedly. After it happens a couple of times, you can get used to it and can deal with the surprise.
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Peter Pan
Posted 7/12/2017 9:35 PM (#94119 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs



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Location: San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
Today on Sovietsteeds:
http://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/download/file.php?id=96111&t=1
http://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/download/file.php?id=96125&t=1

http://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=48727

A year ago one of our fellows here (or on Sovietsteeds?) lost his little son.
http://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45061
Every single accident is one to much.
Sven

Edited by Peter Pan 7/12/2017 9:46 PM
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Jeff_Online
Posted 7/13/2017 8:39 AM (#94125 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: RE: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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Posts: 31
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So, as mentioned, one of my two close calls was when the wheel came up. On a right curve with oncoming traffic, I went across the center lane and almost got splattered. Very glad the lady driving in the other direction was paying attention, I wasn't hack-shrapnel solely because of her, not my misguided skills. (I realigned and weighted the car differently, and practiced a hell of a lot more, problem in the 'I can handle it' category now.)

My second one, I'm not 100% sure what happened, but my closest guess is that the 15mm axle on the Velorex was bent and then straightened before I bought it. Changing lanes, it caught the gap between (which is 3" deep and 6" wide in Detroit) and I think it bent again from metal fatigue, touching the frame and acting as a brake. I fishtailed all over and up the embankment, coming to rest on the shoulder through some miracle. I am currently in the process of upgrading the axle as designed by Lonnie Cook.

I think one of the main things with this combo is the car is too light for the bike. From Lonnie's advice, I think I know how to counteract this, but the #1 take away from this is don't buy a small car. Shrug. Get too big of a car if you aren't sure, better if you can't push the thing than you get all squirrely and ride up an embankment at 75mph. That was exhilarating but not fun.

Edited by Jeff_Online 7/13/2017 8:40 AM
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Reardan Tom
Posted 7/13/2017 9:43 AM (#94128 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs



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Location: Reardan, WA
Lots of non-reportable accidents like new riders remodeling the nose of their sidecar on a fence post or similar to that. And to the other extreme I remember reading a report of a magazine editor test riding a sidecar rig that ended in a fatal firey crash. Somewhere I have a photo of that one but I don't think it's on this computer. I'll look...

Edited by Reardan Tom 7/16/2017 9:46 AM
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dholaday
Posted 7/13/2017 11:23 AM (#94130 - in reply to #94114)
Subject: RE: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs



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Posts: 54
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Location: NoVA
QUOTE]Al Olme - 7/12/2017 4:17 PM While it makes sense that there are sidecar accidents, there is no official data because there is no separate reporting for sidecars. Any sidecar accidents are simply recorded as "motorcycle" accidents. That's too bad because if we had separate reporting we could easily demonstrate a lower accident rate than motorcycles in general. If we could document lower accident numbers we could lobby for lower insurance rates. If there is any "classic" sidecar accident it's what happens when the sidecar wheel comes up unexpectedly. After it happens a couple of times, you can get used to it and can deal with the surprise.

 Al. That's assuming one survives the experience. Too many don't. [a few is too many]. 

 And while left-handers- where the bike flips over the sidecar - are much rarer, they are also very much harder to anticipate or correct and learn from. 

 My advice continues to be for everyone to take the S/TEP class - and then practice - and then ride well within their [and the rig's] limits.

 my 2c. See you in Corning.

 Duncan

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Lloyd
Posted 7/15/2017 8:31 PM (#94150 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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Posts: 161
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Location: Columbiaville, MI.
On the good side, it seems that other drivers "see" a sidecar rig a little better than a two wheel bike, sometimes I think they take a second look trying to figure out what it is, but never count on anyone seeing you, on the bad side, a rig will take lots of experience before you always be in complete control, curves can kill you if you go into them too fast. Take a class, practice, practice, practice, and have fun.
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jwshort
Posted 7/16/2017 9:04 PM (#94161 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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Location: Rapid City, SD
When I first started in sidecaring I read some research that in Europe sidecars are less expensive to insure than solo bikes. That seems to reflect the safety of the sidecar compared to the solo. I can't remember where I saw this report so I can't reproduce it but I believe it. We are more visible to other drivers because of our added width and also because we are such an unusual profile. That being said I sometimes feel that we cause others to have accidents from their gawking at us.
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jwhat
Posted 7/22/2017 10:02 PM (#94268 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


Member

Posts: 10
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Location: Malvern AR
I recently had an accident on I-40 in Tennessee. I was in a group of bikers headed to Memorial Day festivities in D.C. I was riding too close to the group in front of me and when they decided to slow or stop suddenly I got down hard on the brakes on my glowing with a Champion sidecar. The momentum of the sidecar turned the bike to the left and into the median of the interstate before I could react and make a correction. Naturally I crashed and did some damage to me and the bike. Luckily my wife in the car was hurt only a little. Several things were wrong here-too much speed, following too close, no brake on car, and a very inexperienced operator. This was my first long trip in my rig. I am not sure that a brake on the car would have avoided the accident but I think it would have help. Experience and smarter driving would have certainly helped. I would like to ask-do most cars have brakes?

Whatley
Malvern, AR
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timo482
Posted 7/22/2017 11:05 PM (#94270 - in reply to #94268)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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Posts: 630
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Location: Belle Plaine MN
harley sidecars have brakes...

i had a non harley sidecar on a sportier long ago - i will NEVER ride another with no brake on the sidecar.

if the sidecar is heavy [loaded] and you have to make a panic stop - you will make a left turn if you get on the brakes hard enough - on a HD with working sidecar brake it stops straight.. I've had all three wheels smoking from some moron pulling out from a side road on the four lane - truck in the left lane passing me and nowhere to go...

to
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Al Olme
Posted 7/23/2017 12:57 PM (#94272 - in reply to #94270)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


Expert

Posts: 1734
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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
On a Harley or any other rig with a sidecar brake, the behavior of the sidecar is based on the load in the sidecar. If you depend on your sidecar brake and you are not carrying a heavy load [no ABS] the sidecar brake will lock up and be useless. If you are in the same situation with ABS will help but if you have a light or no load in the car the sidecar brakes is again useless because it MAY OR MAY NOT lock on the pulse where the brake that it is plumbed to is applied.

All of this comes down to experience. If you have a brake on your sidecar and you are comfortable with how it will react in different situations that's great. Equally, if you have a brake on your sidecar and you don't know exactly how it will react you may find yourself in trouble. I have two rigs currently. one with a brake on the sidecar and one without. They behave differently and so long as I know that, I feel confident.

The vast majority of rigs no not have a brake on the sidecar wheel or have a useless lump that looks like a brake but really doesn't work very well or at all. Folks seem to get on either way. I would prefer a brake on the sidecar wheel but it isn't a show stopper.

Just my opinion, you'll hear others.
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DRONE
Posted 7/24/2017 6:50 PM (#94298 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs



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Posts: 238
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Location: Tacoma, WA, USA

Wingnut, I've had two accidents. The "big one" is documented in this Ride Report I posted on Adventure Rider--->

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/fail-gs-sidecar-attempts-the-...

The 2nd one I've never reported.  Here's what happened.  Rig was a BMW R1150GSA with DMC M72D sidecar (same rig as in the "big one".) Going downhill on a Forest Service dirt road.  No passenger, and not much gear in the sidecar. Hard right hand switchback turn as the road crosses a small drainage (basically a 150 degree change of direction.)  Visibility good, I saw it coming, and entered the turn at the desired speed (which for me usually means pretty fast!)  Hugging the right side shoulder, I was 3/4's the way around when my sidecar wheel dropped into a hole then immediately hit a rock embedded in the road surface.  This rock was sticking up about 6" above the road surface.  Why didn't I see it, or the hole in front of it, and steer around it?  Don't know.  Had absolutely nothing to do with the pretty blonde hiker girl standing next to her car at the top of the drainage who I had just gone past.  Stop sniggering.  Sidecar wheel hit that rock and over we went.  I probably hit the tipover point in 3/10's or 4/10's of a second--not enough time to react or make any attempt to save it.  I remember when the wheel hit that rock and rebounded up I started to say "Oh, Mama!" but only was able to say "Oh, Ma!" before my shoulder hit the road and I bit off that last syllable.

Came to a stop after sliding only 20 feet.  Got up, dusted myself off, tipped the rig back over onto 3 wheels, checked for damage (broken turn signal), told the concerned hiker girl that I'd injured my upper thighs and was gonna need a thorough massage of that area.  She didn't buy it, so I remounted and then went along my way.

Coulda been worse.  I would think that if this same scenario occurred at a higher speed on a paved road with oncoming traffic it could certainly end as a fatality.  Lesson is--watch out for stuff on or near the shoulder, especially on turns towards the sidecar (when the sidecar wheel is unloaded), that might bounce up the sidecar wheel.  Storm drain grates immediately come to mind.

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Peter Pan
Posted 7/25/2017 12:27 PM (#94309 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs



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Posts: 1914
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Location: San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
Just in the manner as Ned Drone mentions:
In about autumn 1987 I once was dispatched by a lost sugar beet in between 2 lime trees through a ditch onto a harvested sugar beet farm. All happened in front of an upcoming delivery van. The occupants were as afraid as I was. Friendly guys helped me to get off that slippery ground back onto the pavement.
One day more I prayed thanks for to have survived in one piece.
We all need a guardian angel.

A rock, branch, or what ever under the right wheel can easily dispatch you into trouble!
Sven

Edited by Peter Pan 7/25/2017 12:30 PM
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Wingnut
Posted 8/1/2017 6:33 PM (#94419 - in reply to #94113)
Subject: Re: Accidents Concerning Sidecar Rigs


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Posts: 8
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Thanks for all of the knowledgeable info. I'll be VERY carefull, and practice a lot. My handling is getting better, and with the adjustable air on the car, it's easier to get it level, as long as I use a small level to make sure.
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