Video: every riders’ worst nightmare

Dailies -

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dallas-crash

There’s certain advantages a motorcycle give you in traffic — good vision, strong brakes, manueverability, speed — that means you’re largely in control of anything happening in front of you. The problem is, the disadvantages — some sort of psychological barrier that prevents dimwitted drivers from seeing us — means we aren’t in control of what happens behind us. That disadvantage is painfully illustrated in this video.

As Zacharie Perez approached a Dallas toll booth on his Triumph Daytona 675, traffic in his lane began to slow and he braked accordingly. The driver behind him, however, somehow didn’t realize this was occurring and collided with Perez at full speed. Perez is thrown from his bike and into another lane of traffic, where a white SUV narrowly avoids running him over.

Perez suffered a burst spleen, broken ribs and fractured vertebrae in the crash and never plans to ride again.

How could this accident have been avoided?

via Dallas News

  • ktaisa

    god what a fucking moron that car was.
    shit pisses me off

    only thing he could of done was see the car coming in hot in the mirror and gone on the shoulder.
    but captain hindsight doesn’t really help here.

    i try to watch the retards behind me every time im stopping but we all know its easier said than done.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Or he could have just broken the law, safely filtered through and avoided the collision entirely.

      • Miticale

        Go ahead and give me the ticket- I’ll see you in court and give you my 2 cents regarding what I think of the law.

      • philn

        +1 And I would like to think the police would be more concerned with the car that just rear ended the other car than with me filtering to avoid an accident.

      • Justin

        He also could have given it a little gas and gone ahead of the dodge truck to his right. Lots of outs there. Brakes shouldn’t be used without mirrors or head checks, you never know who’s behind you without checking.

      • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

        agreed. I lanesplit everywhere, even when I lived in NC and got pulled over for lanesplitting past a sheriff the first month there. Twice I’ve rear-ended a car that stopped unexpectedly because I was following too closely and riding in the center of the lane.

        But it’s easy enough to see when freeway traffic is slowing down, though. On a bike I’ve never been surprised by that. When traffic starts to slow, I try to maintain my position or only split when there’s no space for cars to change lanes, as that’s when they’re most likely to make sudden lange changes.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      Looks like he braked a little hard (is that smoke from his rear tire?), but nothing out of the realm of normal traffic flow. Sadly, there’s little in the way of legislature (aside from filtering, as Grant noted) that can prevent people from reading the Journal, or putting on their makeup while going 70 mph in a 3,000 lb missile.

      “The driver of the car that hit him, he says, had no driver’s license and no insurance. He received multiple citations, including one for failure to control his vehicle’s speed, but he wasn’t arrested.

      Perez said he’d passed the car earlier and saw its occupants “dancing in their seats, acting like fools.”" -FML. I always feel better when I safely pass obviously functionally retarded drivers. Now maybe I should just keep them where I can see them…

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

        +1 on the smoke from the rear tire. Looks like he locked it up, which suggests either lack of attention or experience on the rider’s part. Not that the lockup is to blame, but it’s relevant.

        Take illegal splitting out of the equation and the guy is screwed because there’s no room in the lane next to him and no shoulder to evade into. That can feel hopeless, but the quote Mark pulled out of the article provides valuable insight. This rider identified warning signs ahead of time and could have better choices.

        When I see an inattentive driver, I make a conscious effort to put other vehicles between us. Usually, but not always, that means passing and not entering the same lane until there’s another vehicle in the way. That decision could have made all of the difference here.

        Other things worth wondering: what gear was he wearing beyond a helmet?

        Was his bike modified in any way that made it less clear that he was slowing? Lots of people around here – likely everywhere – like to “smoke” their signals, substantially dimming them for the sake of aesthetics.

        • Myles

          The car behind him hit him – and then hit the car in front of him.

          How can we live in a society where this person isn’t doing jail time? HFL, please provide paypal link so we can put a hit out on the driver.

          On a more serious note, I always go halfway around the car in front of me when I have to brake quickly on the interstate. If I was in the far left lane, I would have put front wheel pretty much parallel to the rear driver’s-side wheel of the car in front of me. Colleague of mine has been riding for 25+ years told me to always do this while in interstate traffic. Guess he was right on.

          • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

            Just curious – Where would you have gone around in this scenario? To the right, between the car ahead and the white truck, or hoping to squeeze between that car and the divider?

            Normally, people down here dive for the shoulder, but some of the highways don’t have much of a shoulder.

            • Myles

              Shoulder. If I’m in the left lane (like this guy) I go for the far left, right lane I go for the far right, for the center lanes it just depends on lane position.

              In a situation where there’s no shoulder (construction, for example) I try to leave a whole ton of space, or stay out of the lane without an escape.

              In my area the interstate is something you have to be on all the time (Washington Metro Area, “beltway” and all that) so interstate strategy is something that always comes up with guys who ride. It can especially be bad, because traffic is generally so fucking horrible. When it’s only halfway horrible people drive like crazy because they aren’t used to the space. It’s a weird phenomenon.

              • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

                Makes sense. This particular road really doesn’t have much of a shoulder to speak of – there’s more room to split on the right than on the shoulder. I’m a “give them space” fan.

                Splitting is something I need to think about and be prepared for in the future. Since splitting/filtering is illegal here, I’ve never done it and know I’d be uncomfortable attempting it in a situation like this. This does hammer home the importance of escape routes, though.

          • Bronson

            “The car behind him hit him – and then hit the car in front of him. How can we live in a society where this person isn’t doing jail time?”

            You’re damn right! How the fcuk does a driver like this manage to get off??

            In the past month I’ve had THREE friends involved in accidents. In each case the driver of the car pulled out directly in front of them. Two resulted in hospital stays, the other a bunch of bruises and some rash. Luckily all three are good riders and were wearing full gear. The worst accident however, had my one buddy under the front of the driver’s car, who then panicked, taking off and driving OVER him! In her panicked state she then left the scene of the accident, eventually stopping about a mile down the road, somehow not knowing what to do. The cops, with a description from witnesses, found her and gave her a stern talking to (WTF?!?). To the best of my knowledge she was not issued any citations for the accident OR leaving the scene. How the F does that happen? If I had hit some old lady walking across the street in my truck, running over her leg and then leaving the scene, I’d fully expect to be arrested.

            Seriously, something needs to be done to raise drivers’ awareness of motorcycles, what they need to do to avoid/prevent accidents, what to do in case they cause one, and make then held accountable if they break the law.

      • Ted

        “Behind you they’re a threat. In front of you they’re entertainment”

        Some of the best advice my dad has ever given me.

        • slowestGSXRever

          +1 That’s usually how I try to ride.

          • JTourismo

            I will remember that.

        • Mike

          +1000
          That’s been my philosophy, too. Thanks for wording it so well.

        • Ax

          But if they’re entertaining you, you’re watching them. And if you’re watching them, you’re being distracted.

          • Stuart

            I agree with you Ax.

  • noone1569

    Hmm, it looks like there was smoke coming off his rear?

    Tis a shame. . .

    This sort of accident happens all the time in cars.

  • T Diver

    That blows. It does look like he braked hard (locked up the rear) but that is no reason to run him over. I always try to glance at the cars behind me and flash my rear brake light even if I am not slowing down just to get the cars to back off. It’s too bad he does not want to ride again. He just got his bad accident out of the way.

  • Kerry

    Just thankful that the guy survived to be in a position to decide not to ride again. Wrong decision in my opinion. Maybe louder pipes, throttling down might have helped.

  • frankieapples

    Though it might not have helped in this situation, I try to throw the old hand signals anytime there is someone behind me.

    I’m not subtle about it either. I put it down as taught, then wave around quite a bit, sometimes I probably look like I’m making half a snow angel if I’m worried.

  • Gregory

    Aish! This really sucks. Poor guy. Crashing (being crashed into?) sucks. I hope he has good insurance.

    Would a bright orange reflective vest have helped? Would the car driver have seen it? Would a blinky brake light have helped? How visible must we make ourselves?

    From what I can remember from David Hough, most motorcycle accidents are frontal collisions where the car didn’t see the motorcycle and pulled out in front. Second most common are single-vehicle crashes in turns (ie, motorbike entered corner too fast).

    I don’t think being rear-ended is that common.

    Not that it makes this guy’s case any better.

    -gceaves
    Portland, OR
    2008 KLR w. milkcrate

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      When a driver is so oblivious as to plow through a motorcycle and into the car in front of the bike as well, giant pink polkadot elephants wouldn’t have made a difference.

      • Kurt

        Exactly right. Bright colors, loud exhaust, nothing would have helped this guy other than not being where he was.

    • kidchampion

      Bicyclists who oppose dedicated bike lanes also mention the statistical rarity of rear collisions but I think those stats might have changed in recent years with the distractions from electronic devices. They SEEM more common to me in recent years.

    • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

      This is just one data point, but the only time I’ve been down on a public road was from being rear ended. I was at a dead stop for probably 15 seconds when I hear the screeching of locked up brakes approaching from behind. Just out of instinct I took my hand off the brake so I wouldn’t absorb the full force of the impact. I was knocked off the back of my bike onto the hood of the octogenarian’s Caddy, then slid down onto the road. I was unhurt but the lady standing over me screaming “don’t move!” sure as hell freaked me out.

      Kinda felt bad about scuffing my photo sample jacket, but not too bad.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    That is what agony looks like.

    This is my terminal fear. The mirror on the Duc shake relentlessly, so it is tough to really see anything, and I am always sure the person behind me is going to plow me down.

  • matt

    the driver that hit him also hit the car in front of him. Man are there some people out there driving that really need to be given a bus pass.
    Shall we open the discussion on how a driving test should be more like the small aircraft flight test? And I will never understand how we allow uninsured drivers to escape without jail time.

    Wishes for an incredibly speedy recovery for Perez.

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      For once i’m glad that i live in france.
      Here, his car would be seized, he would be forbidden to get a license for something like 5 years and be prosecuted.

  • Michael

    Same thing happened to me in 2007. Same injuries mostly too, sans the spleen. I did manage to dislocate both shoulders though, so I looked like a drunk penguin flappin’ around on the tarmac.

    The solution is go to the track. No telephones or Cadillacs to cramp your style.

    • Sean Smith

      Kinda defeats the purpose of motorcycles as transportation though.

      • Michael

        For me it’s about the ride, not getting there.

  • eric

    He did lock up, but that car ran straight through him into the next car.

  • FiveG

    I hope they got the license of the jackass who hit him, and that he gets the most mad dog plaintiff’s lawyer to sue the bastard for everything that the driver has, may have, or ever will have. And that a loud message is sent to moronic drivers who aren’t paying attention to do Job One while driving: DRIVE THE F-ING CAR.

    • gt1

      I think this is a safe bet that the guy without license ans insurance has no money. Suing him is useless and hopeless.

      • FiveG

        Could be. I’d do it anyway and get the biggest judgment possible. Plus, ask the lawyer to do all he can to get the prosecutor to throw the bastard in the slammer for criminal negligence.

        No excuse for this; and drivers need to know that there isn’t any excuse for this, whether it’s a m’cycle rider injured, or another car rear-ended.

  • Edward

    Like the headline says, pretty scary. The part I find the most disturbing is the impromptu physics lesson imparted by the relatively small car coming into contact with the rider and his bike. Given that the car is braking, the impact speed is probably not, roughly guessing, more than 30-40 mph (I think that delta might actually be somewhat overstated), but the rider is thrown violently into the air (and is probably fortunate not to have been crushed against the vehicle in front). The speeds are not much higher than what you might experience in non-freeway riding or around the city and this shows that even a collision at typical speeds can be or is perhaps even likely to be catastrophic. Not having been in a crash like this, and generally wearing gear, I find myself feeling more protected than I am — a fact highlighted by every real world video like this that shows how the human body fares in a direct collision with another vehicle: not well at all.

    Also, while perhaps preventable in some marginal respects, I think the other scary part about this video is how easily it could be anyone.

  • Aapo Tilman

    thats just unbelievable, the car driver should be stripped of his licence and should not be allowed to drive again, as we can see in the part of the video he doesent even brake to get stopped after the crash, thats just awful, a miracle that the rider survived . . .

  • wwalkersd

    I feel for the guy, but there were many errors here. He was riding in the center of the lane (had he been to one side, the car behind might have had a chance to avoid hitting him). Given the suddenness of his braking, he was clearly caught by surprise by the slowing cars, so maybe he wasn’t paying enough attention, either. Failure to plan an escape route. Driving in front of a driver previously noted as distracted. Could’ve changed lanes to the right instead of panic braking. I’m guessing he target-fixated on the stopping car in front of him and was unaware of anything else.

    None of which should be construed as taking any blame away from the driver who rear-ended him, of course. But being in the right doesn’t lessen your injuries.

    • ursus

      If smoke from a rear tire doesn’t communicate braking to the driver behind then I don’t know what would have.

      In retrospect, a lane split looks like the best solution since the car behind is not stopping until it hits something.

      Incidentally, Portland, OR recently had a massive rider turnout on a cold rainy winter night in support of lane splitting. From what I understand, Team Oregon replaces MSF in this state, believes lane-splitting violates the idea of separation, and did an end-run around the issue and killed it. Sometimes separation depends on the car behind you.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      1. The white truck is directly next to the biker the whole time, which means there is no legal escape route to combat an unexpected and sudden stop.

      2. For target fixation instead of changing lanes, please see above.

      3. It didn’t matter where the biker was in the lane as the car driver was so distracted s/he plowed into the car in front of the bike.

      Watch the video again and you’ll notice the distracted driver was panic braking to avoid hitting the dark car in front. The airbags went off when s/he plowed through the Triumph, so the biker’s presence probably didn’t register until after impact, when the driver got out of the car and was told they hit a biker plus smashing into the rear of that dark vehicle.

      The sad truth is that none of those safety tips you bring up, and that we’ve all learned, mean anything when motorcycles are in heavy traffic and legally forced to act like automobiles.

      As such, in most states, safe motorcycling is a crime.

      • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

        Funny you mention that. I got caught in heavy Easter traffic yesterday. Almost got creamed from behind by a few cars/trucks driven by Moms and Dads turned 180 degrees around to deal with their children. A Harley guy zipped past me in the breakdown lane, and I followed him the rest of the way back. When cars saw us approaching in their side mirrors, more than a few assholes pulled (from a full stop) into the breakdown lane, trying to stop us from passing them.

        Its a shitty situation, to be sure.

        • Alex

          wow that takes balls. they were fully stopped and pulled out? i would have dismounted and given them a new windshield.

          • aristurtle

            Nah, they’re expecting that. I would have stopped, tapped on his window, and struck up a conversation. Not even, necessarily, an angry shouty one: that’s the one they’re already bracing for.

            People in cars seem to easily forget that there are other human beings around. I don’t know what’s up with that.

  • spins

    Forward this video to each of your representatives as an argument for lane splitting.

  • Cheese302

    i am most agitated about losing a rider in the populous. also hate that we might have lost a daytona 675. but we didnt lose an idiot driver

  • http://twitter.com/hagus Luke

    Not to harsh on the guy, but here are my observations.

    1. definitely not expecting a slow down.
    2. definitely not a three second gap to the car in front.
    3. definitely panicked and nailed the brakes.

    However, he was on track to stop. He would have got away with it, but for one problem – the moron following him too closely.

    How could he have avoided this?

    Keith Code likes to use the $10 worth of attention analogy. If you spend $9 of your attention on operating the bike, then you have only $1 left over to handle the unexpected.

    This guy was spending $9 trying to brake to avoiding hitting the car in front of him, and didn’t have enough to spend on scanning for secondary threats.

    When I nail the brakes, once I’ve computed that I’m braking hard enough to avoid whatever the fuckwit just did in front of me, I’m starting to think about secondary threats. The car behind me, the cars next to me, debris, surface grip, etc.

    So the lessons I would take out are:

    1. Situational awareness. Leave gaps, all around you. Scan the traffic well ahead looking for changes. Are there cars next to you? Could you dart into the next lane if needed? Is anyone behind you?
    2. Stay doubly paranoid around places where cars are chopping lanes and making sudden speed adjustments, i.e. toll booths, intersections, highway merges, etc.
    3. Keep your skills sharp. Practice emergency stops. In Australia, only bus drivers and motorcycles are required to demonstrate their ability to perform an emergency stop. In the US I don’t think anyone is? Everyone *should* be required to learn it and practice it regularly.
    4. When shit goes down stay relaxed and adaptable. Get away from the danger as best you can. Go rag doll if you go down. Get off the road if you can once you’re down.

    Would I have magically applied all this thinking in this guy’s shoes? Who knows. This guy was pretty unlucky, but he was also definitely unprepared, which may have stacked the odds against him. I wish him the best of luck in his recovery and hope he swings a leg over again.

    (note I’m leaving out “outlandish” shit like requiring every driver in every state attend a mandatory driving skills refresher course every year – I just focused on what this one guy might have done to improve his chances in the meatgrinder we call our road system)

    • Bronson

      “definitely not a three second gap to the car in front.”

      Coming from an area with a lot of traffic (I95 or 476 in Philadelphia) i don’t see how it is possible to maintain a three second gap. First, I think you’d constantly be slowing down for every driver that would cut in front of you. Secondly, your slow speed would in my mind put you at more of a risk for an accident.

      If it’s not bumper to bumper most traffic is going 80+

      • RT Moto

        Yeah, that 3 second gap will lead to you getting cut off continuously or rear ended when you slow down to maintain distance while knowing any possible exits in case of a rapid slowdown. The key is to just be aware of the traffic ahead if possible. Maintaining your head on a swivel(heard that a thousand times I know) will save your ass more than you would believe.

  • Chris
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/1962_cb77_restore/ Scott Pargett

    This is one of those things that can be debated endlessly.

    The lesson here is that these accidents are on the rise, in direct accordance with already poor drivers constantly texting.

    This same thing happened to a friend of mine on a bridge in San Francisco. Get this, the driver “wasn’t paying attention”.

    Norm, prepare for it.

    And speak up to your friends and co-workers about how truly fucked texting and driving is.

  • NickK

    1. Always have an escape route.
    2. I don’t care what the law is, if I have to break hard, I’m diving into a lane split EVERY GODDAMNED TIME. I’d rather rub up against that truck than get rear ended.
    3. Pay attention. I’ve never had a panic stop on a freeway like that. NEVER. And I live in Los Angeles which is full of the most inattentive, worst drivers on the planet.
    4. That being said, I’ve been in stop and go traffic, and there’s just no telling what kind of jackasses are behind you. It’s a numbers game. Your job as a motorcyclist is to get those numbers as low as possible every second you’re on a bike. That’s the Zen of the game anyway. If I was thinking about anything else, I’d be thinking about how much shit sucks, thus defeating the point of riding in the first place.
    4. The people in that car should be in jail, though.

    • Justin

      +1 We have more at risk in a crash on a bike, and we need to work harder to avoid them.

    • Kurt

      Really? Jail time just for riding in a car with an idiot driving? Wow.

      • NickK

        Sorry. Only meant that guy driving. No license, no insurance should definitely equal jail time.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/1962_cb77_restore/ Scott Pargett

    I also frequently spot “red flag” drivers, who are clearly a potential threat as this driver had been observed before the accident. It shows how terribly important it is to get away from these people.

    Give them plenty of space so they can drive off cliffs and into telephone poles on their own! : )

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Agreed. He spotted them and failed to distance himself. Easily the most important thing that could have been done.

  • Justin

    This sucks, but he fucked up and I think it’s his fault. Unless you’re going 9/10ths or harder you should never hit the ground on your bike. Otherwise you’re exceeding your skill and bike’s ability. Here’s the problems I see.
    1.) He had no escape route. I am almost never in the center of the lane because you have no easy escape route there. In the center, you are also invisible to the cars ahead of you there. It’s just a dangerous place to be.
    2.) He lit up his brakes and lost control of his bike. He should have the ability to get max braking and the ability to brake hard without slowing down faster than the vehicle in front of him. With good (i.e. 1980+) 2 rotor brakes with good pads in good condition, you should NEVER need to panic stop in traffic conditions and if you do it’s because you put yourself in a position you can avoid.
    3.) he had no idea what’s around him, He could have powered into the right lane ahead of the truck or split between the two or braked more slowly, but he broke hard. That’s usually the worst choice.

    I hate to blame the victim, but on a bike you have so little protection that you need to be better and more aware or else you will get hurt. It’s just a fact of life.

    • DoctorNine

      Yeah. That’s my take. Looks to me like he was anticipating a lane change to the right ahead of the truck, but then his lane suddenly slowed, and he had to decide whether to stay or go. Instead of committing, and popping out hard ahead of the truck, he tries to brake and stay. But the car behind him saw him accelerate a bit earlier, in anticipation of the move to the right, and thought the fast lane was opening up, so he accelerates, and doesn’t realized what’s going on, until the collision. All this, because no one is keeping safe braking distances. This is why I stopped riding freeways in Houston at rush hour. Too many idiots, and not enough space to get out of their way.

  • Zane H

    That’s why I always edge towards the hash marks anytime I slow in traffic like that and try the end up in a position to squirt through the lines of cars. I’ve spent enough time in jail doing dumb things that if a cop wants to hassle me for lane splitting in a situation like that where being around to argue makes it worth it, I’m willing to make it a long night for both of us.

  • HammSammich

    I dunno, I think it’s too easy for us to play Monday Morning Quarterback here. My daily commuting is all on surface streets in the city and the threat from behind is usually at intersections. I definitely try to position myself in a lane where I have an escape route (even if it’s up onto the sidewalk), and I am usually quite diligent at monitoring my mirrors frequently. But no one can be 100% aware, 100% of the time. Moreover, it looks to me like this crash was largely unavoidable by the rider. He really had no where to go. We can argue about the rider letting himself get boxed in, but the fact is, when you’re in heavy traffic (outside of California) it becomes unavoidable to a certain extent. All this video seems to convey to me is the obvious – that bad drivers cause collisions, and sometimes the unfortunate victim is on a motorcycle. It’s a reminder to wear good gear, carry the best insurance you can afford and make the occasional ritual sacrifice to Zuul.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      +1 for ritual sacrifices. I prefer Jobu, personally. But either way. Oh, and gear, too.

    • Justin

      I wholly disagree. He could have gone ahead the truck to his right and broke gently and not split lanes, he could have split lanes, he could have rode the shoulder, he could have broke slower. He clearly didn’t check his mirrors or head check under hard braking which is a basic technique taught in every safety course. This guy is lucky he wasn’t killed.

      Even in the car I’m willing and ready to break the law to save myself from an accident. What’s a couple points on the record versus serious injury or possible death? The fact is that you’re playing around with 3000lb pound vehicles being the lightweights out there there and many 80,000lb semis sharing the road with you, few of them actually seeing the motorcyclists out there. Getting hit in traffic should not be an option. I’ve had many scarier situations than that and they didn’t end badly because I ALWAYS know whats around me and I ALWAYS know where I want to go when the shit hits the fan. I cannot overemphasize this. Keep your bike kept up, keep your skills up and keep your eyes open. Otherwise, don’t play around the cagers who can’t or don’t see you. They’re bigger than you and when they screw up and you don’t avoid them, you’re the one who pays. I’m unwilling to take that risk, and nobody should. I’m not saying you don’t wear the best gear you can and keep medical and collision insurance, but the best insurance policy is bike maintenance, skill and focus when riding.

      (Edited for clarity)

      • HammSammich

        @Justin: I think you have misunderstood my point. I am not suggesting that the rider didn’t make any mistakes. Clearly he had to brake too hard, giving up control, and being forced to pay too much attention to the cars in front of him. As I noted previously, there was little he could have done to avoid the crash once he began his braking maneuver. Although we can second guess him, we’re basing our judgement on a pole mounted camera with an omniscient perspective, and he did not have that luxury. If it makes you feel better or more secure to convince yourself that your superior riding skills and situational awareness can keep you 100% safe from getting mowed down by a negligent driver, and that’s what you need to do to take the calculated risk of riding in traffic, then good for you. I will admit that although I am a very conscientious rider, and I too take my own safety very seriously, I am far from perfect. Even the best riders I know (and I would not include myself in their ranks) make mistakes from time to time (perhaps you do not – I won’t presume). Ultimately, what separates many of us from this guy is that when we’ve had our lapses in attention or made simple mistakes, there wasn’t a reckless unskilled driver hurtling towards us at the time. To be clear, I am no fatalist. I take significant steps to mitigate risk, but I also understand that despite my best efforts, there is a very small chance that I could end up injured or worse because of factors over which I have little control.

        • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

          Agreed, excellent points.

        • Justin

          I get you’re saying, and I still disagree. I consider myself a good but not great rider, and I know I am not perfect and I do have my lapses, but never anything this bad even without a car behind me. Not having an out, Locking up the rear in traffic, and not head checking when braking in traffic are huge no nos. Those are golden rules. I’m an absolute uncompromising dick about rider safety. I since I will get mad at myself if I do the wrong thing (like having my out be on the shoulder instead of towards the #2 lane on the freeway for example when something happens) and aim for such a small safety target, I tend to believe my lapses are smaller. Yeah, we weren’t there. And yes I’ve had my lapses, but I’ve never had one nearly that bad.

          I commute in the bay area along the Nimitz freeway and I-80, consistently considered one of the most hostile roadways in the state. These are dangerous roads on 2 wheels and if I’m not in top form I’ll take surface streets. I won’t get on the bike if I can’t ride safely and functionally. This means that I don’t lock up the rear on braking, or keep a safe out at all times in traffic, or head check every time I hit that front brake. If you can’t do that on a given day take the car. The bike is too dangerous in traffic unless you’re in good form. I do agree you can’t completely avoid accidents, but we must hold ourselves to a higher standard because the risks are so high.

          • HammSammich

            “we must hold ourselves to a higher standard because the risks are so high.”

            I may not completely agree with you, but this is absolutely true.

            Cheers, and keep riding safely.

    • Edward

      The next time someone asks you whether you’re a god, you say YES!

      Anyway, I completely agree (with HammSammich). The fact is that there are many things to be done to reduce the aggregate risk of riding in traffic with other vehicles each operated by a person of greater or lesser skill, many of those things convincingly pointed out here, but it would be an overstatement to say that you can avoid all accidents at all times on the basis of skill and situational awareness alone. While it’s helpful to dissect these accidents for what else could have been done, there does seem to be always some temptation to find enough fault with the rider so that it’s possible to say that the accident was avoidable. But speaking for myself, I know there were plenty of times when I’ve been guilty of worse lapses of technique or attention than the rider in the video, with the only difference being that there wasn’t a similarly reckless driver behind me. My point is just that this video is disturbing precisely because it’s not someone making obvious errors in judgment and that sometimes the only differences between close calls and what you see above are entirely arbitrary ones.

      • Justin

        Haha, I’m just a regular guy. I’m not even that fast, although I keep on trying to improve. I do take motorcycling more seriously than almost everything in my life because of the risks involved. It’s by far the most dangerous thing I do. I’m always looking to improve, always inspect the bike on at least a weekly basis and fix all the little things that make it less safe, and always put all my attention in riding when I’m riding. It’s your risk to take, but I’m not willing to ride if I can’t minimize the risks. Yeah I’m a dick about this, but I don’t want to see anyone die on a bike when they could have avoided it. I’m not sure people should ride in traffic like this unless they take it deadly serious. Every time a car hits a biker like this it makes the people around who are on the fence about riding more hesitant to start. And every time a car hits a bike, it’s a big deal. Bikes have so much agility and power and so little protection, because of this they deserve supreme respect when you’re riding them.

        • Edward

          That’s fair enough and I don’t disagree. While I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that motorcycling is an order of magnitude more dangerous than driving (eg, in terms of risk per mile traveled), I do wonder how that translates into actual risk in terms of how likely it is that an average rider will have a serious accident during his or her riding career. If you look, there are always horror stories to be found, but I wonder if a very serious accident on a motorcycle is still unlikely for the average rider (I assume that most riders have had incidents but nothing like the video).

  • Gene

    You know, it took me all day to figure out why this pisses me off so much.

    It’s mainly because this no-licence, no-insurance, non-driving asshole does shit like this, maims someone, and barely gets a couple of tickets and a “you did a widdle oopsie, yes you didums, did woo?!” from the cop.

    Yet, if I go 47 in a 45 then I’m a fuckin’ menace to humanity that should be tasered, beaten, and thrown in the pen for life.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      They should treat people who drive with no insurance the same as somebody caught with their 2nd DUI. The damage they can do to people and property is just as great, and there is no financial restitution. Those people are leeches.

  • Terry

    Dallas huh?

    Going too fast, following too close, playing NASCAR, and not paying any fucking attention are features, not bugs, in this neck of the woods.

    Of course you can probably say that about any metro area, but I’m really reluctant to try commuting on highways around here. There are some days where it feels just plain too risky for a newer rider like myself.

  • Spencer

    so lucky to live in California where I can slip in between lanes and ease to the front of any slowed or stopped situation in front of me.

  • Kit

    I split lanes here in CO despite it being less than legal exactly for this reason. No way I’m getting tagged in the back again for no reason. Sadly, it’s not just cagers that don’t see us, I got rear-ended on my Blackbird by a squid on a GSXR 750.

    • Alex

      LOL. I’m pretty curious how the conversation following the fact went down.

  • Tommy

    This makes me so happy to live in California. Everyone thinks riding a motorcycle in LA is so stupid and dangerous, but splitting lanes makes it safer than most places in my opinion.

    Stopping is the scariest part of riding a motorcycle on the street. I once got rear ended stopping for a crosswalk when the pedestrian had a walk sign, and the car was going to run it before the pedestrian got to his lane. Needless to say, I blow those lights now if there isnt a car stopped in front of me already.

  • Jason

    As fucked up as California is with most other legislation, at least they have the lane-splitting/filtering thing right. This guy was clearly inexperienced, and made a lot of bonehead, rookie moves in this short clip alone. How about mandating further rider education? Forget about blaming the car driver. You have to assume ALL car drivers are out to kill you, or at the very least will never see you. Ride like you’re invisible. All the time.

  • Robert

    He was noot looking far up enough the road, not planning an escape, not using his front brake enough, and unfortunate to be in front of another moron who passed our insanely easy DMV tests – or apparantly didn’t.

    AND I just watch fucking Fox news sensationalize the video saying that obviously the cars “Tried to slam on the brakes” but just couldn’t avoid him.”

    #1 rule – if you don’t know what you are talking about – shut up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Ha, just saw the video on “Today”. My favorite part, “He proposed to his girlfriend after he got out of the hospital and she told him, ‘it’s either me or the bike.’ He made the smart choice!”

      Yikes. She’s got him by the balls from day one.

      • Myles

        You’d think after this event he’d do ANYTHING to avoid tragedy.

        Now he’s signing up for it?

        Ehhh.

      • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

        Now there’s a tragedy. Let’s all pour out some motor oil for a lost homey.

    • Kurt

      Had the rider braked more effectively, thus stopping more quickly/ in less distance, he just would’ve been hit harder. Whether he braked properly has NOTHING to do with the occurrence or severity of the collision.

  • Gregory

    Just to re-cap, from the Dallas Morning News article:

    …The driver of the car that hit him, he says, had no driver’s license and no insurance. He received multiple citations, including one for failure to control his vehicle’s speed, but he wasn’t arrested.

    Perez said he’d passed the car earlier and saw its occupants “dancing in their seats, acting like fools.”…

    Sickening.

  • Joel

    Why “didn’t” anyone get out there car?

  • Devin

    Something similar happened in my town in Ontario with a pedestrian being hit. They get your phone records, and if you texted or spoke on the phone recently BAM, our distracted driving law hits you with that charge, plus some sort of negligence related charge aditionaly. Push your elected peoples to enact distracted driving laws.

  • Jeff

    Texting while driving should have the same penalties as DUI, shit a train engineer in Los Angeles crashed his Metrolink head on into a freight train because he didn’t see a red signal light telling him to take a side track!

  • Adrian

    This video of the gut-wrentching “accident” received a lot of attention on the local news here in Dallas yesterday. Today, the highway message boards displayed the following: SHARE THE ROAD. LOOK TWICE FOR MOTORCYCLES.

    Of course, the morning and evening commute was replete with the clowns texting, changing lanes with no signal and blabbing on the cell phone.

    I just pick up the pace and try to stay away from them when at all possible. It can be very scary at times.

  • soban881

    Ridiculous. I can’t add anything to the excellent comments that have already been made, but I do wonder if we can somehow leverage clearly documented accidents like this one in order to have lane splitting laws enacted in other states. Seems to be the one point no-one has a problem with: legal lane splitting not only gives us a clear “out,” but lets us get away from a bad spot before bad things happen.

    I don’t have much hope of this happening though, most of our political clout is needed just to get rid of motorcycle-only checkpoints that do absolutely nothing for riders’ safety. I’m gonna go sulk in the garage now.

  • RT Moto

    I moved to Texas once and got rear ended by a teenager texting after I was leaving a 4th of July fireworks display. I decided that a state where lane splitting is not legal(which I wasn’t doing at the time because of that) was just not for me. I moved back to California where I now reside and instead take my luck into my own hands when I decide to ride between cars than to gamble it with someone not stopping because they weren’t paying attention. I hope other states take into consideration the safety of lane splitting now that distracted drivers are ever increasing.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

    swerve…white line…regroup…proceed safely.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    How could this accident have been avoided… where to start… first of all if everyone had been paying the proper attention -that goes a long way. 2ndly the motorcyclist did not brake accordingly in response to the slowing traffic – he clearly locked up the rear, clear sign that he was not paying attention himself in the first place. If I am in a situation where I need to brake suddenly I immediately check my mirrors to make sure the vehicles behind are slowing. Then like adeysworld says – move to the white line – at that point you’re taking your chances – it’s either get rear-ended or maybe you’ll just side-swipe another vehicle, maybe you’ll ride right through.

    This shows the importance of situational awareness at all times. While you’re riding you should always be thinking of an exit route, for situations just like this.

    Perez never plans to ride again – probably a good decision on his part.

    I see alot of comments about the legality of lane splitting – personally I will take whatever action I deem necessary to maintain my own safety and that of other road users. “Being in the right” has absolutely no healing properties whatsoever.

    • peter

      ditto with mugget. toll booth coming up – as a rider in the urban jungle, idiots in cages abound. up to rider to be aware and be proactive – his lock up was reactive and had plenty more room to slow and ease over so as not to get sandwiched. could have been way worse – he’s lucky.