Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

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Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby PawPaw » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:50 am

I had a very close call with a truck yesterday on Brisbane's Kingsford Smith Drive, a notorious road at the best of times - lots of trucks and the bike lane occasionally disappears suddenly with no shoulder. It was at one of these points where a truck was passing me, and slowly squeezed in tighter and tighter with me being about 3 inches off the kerbing and not being sure how long the truck was or if it had a trailer on the back.

It took me some time to wake up to the gravity of the situation, but I was starting to think about launching myself off the bike and onto the footpath before I was hit, was pushed into the kerbing, and lost balance.

Later I was thinking whether a bunny hop to the left and onto the footpath would be a reasonable skill to have to get out of a jam like this.
I've never tried bunny hopping kerbing, let alone doing it at 40kph in parallel, and wonder if anyone can do it or would recommend it. Obviously, if you screw it up and don't clear the kerb you could potentially fall back towards the truck and all over red rover.
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by BNA » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:31 am

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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby rkelsen » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:31 am

You sound like a daredevil. Much braver than me, anyhow.

Personally, I'd have been on the footpath several hundred metres before having to make a life or death decision like this... at 40kph! :shock:
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby PawPaw » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:20 am

rkelsen wrote:You sound like a daredevil. Much braver than me, anyhow.

Personally, I'd have been on the footpath several hundred metres before having to make a life or death decision like this... at 40kph! :shock:


I rarely go on that road during the week. But was coming back from doing repeats on the Gateway Bridge. And had been talking over the weekend with a female cyclist who uses it all the time and reckons it isn't as bad as everyone makes out. Boy am I going to give her a serve.

Was doing 40+ on the section where the bike lane disappears to hold traffic up less and put them off passing.
This one truck driver decided to pass, only for both of us to catch up at the red light 300 metres further. I was going to say something to him, but was a bit fatigued and hungry and didn't have the adrenalin for the confrontation.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby familyguy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:30 am

I know I can bunnyhop the road bike over a kerb height if I'm trying, and I've made sure I can do it front-on and side-on. Never had to, but its nice to know you can when and if the need arises. You run a bigger risk, IMO, doing it side-on, cause if you dont lift the whole bike right over the kerb, you're likely to come tumbling off back towards the roadway/danger. Either that, or you'll get the front over, and it will swing the back end around, and throw you onto the footpath/verge (with luck).

Its a safety move designed for a situation you should never really be in, although the OP situation sounded a little out of the ordinary.

Still, I'd rather have a buckled wheel or a cracked frame than buckled legs or a cracked head.

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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:05 am

It's a good skill to have, practice it over a garden hose until you're OK to go bigger.

Then pray that you never need it!
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby jet-ski » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:34 am

hah, now I have a reason to practice bunny hopping :P
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby m@ » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:38 am

IMO the key skill in this situation is the judgment to either take the lane early or hold back and give way.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby trailgumby » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:59 am

Agreed, but occasionally for whatever reason the situation can unfold faster than your ability to see it coming.

Bunnyhopping to the kerb puts you at risk of running into all sorts of obstacles, including people, but at least you'll be alive to have that argument afterwards instead of occupying a morgue slab.

I can bunnyhop (or rather I could, still recovering core and back strength plus technique after 8 weeks off the bike waiting for the shoulder to heal), but fortunately have never needed it.

@Pawpaw: Possibly your being hungry and therefore depleted in blood sugar may have been the root cause of your failure (sorry, I know that f-word is harsh, I don't mean to be :oops: ) to recognise the situation in time. Low blood sugar affects brain function and alertness... another reason why I tend to use slow burn hydration products and gels to stay fuelled for commute rides home in the evening.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby Oxford » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:06 pm

bunny hopping is a skill you should have, particularly for situations like this. I know the road and honestly as confident as I am and assertive as I know I can be, I would never ride Kingsford Smith because it is just too dangerous with its random changes and inattentive and aggressive motorists.

a female was killed along that section once, in a 4wd, sandwiched between two trucks end to end. that is the front one stopped, the one behind her didn't and its only a 60 zone. in many places along there, there is no escape. I wouldn't ride that section of road for anything thanks.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby jules21 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:09 pm

i can pull the front wheel over a kerb easily enough, but i'm unsure i'd get the rear wheel over it cleanly.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby zero » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:11 pm

Gotta signal and get out of ending bicycle lanes before they end, or stop where you aren't fouling other traffic to wait for a gap in the space to your right. Half assed rolling through tends to cause these situations. If you are in a different line of traffic (because of a bicycle lane), then you are expected to give way when merging right, or otherwise make a safe merge.

Bunnyhopping is a useful skill, but should be aiming for it to not be required. Trying to bunnyhop a kerb when travelling close to parallel to it has a real possibility of sprawling yourself back into the traffic lane, ie the less room you have, the more skill at the task you'll require.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby zero » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:12 pm

jules21 wrote:i can pull the front wheel over a kerb easily enough, but i'm unsure i'd get the rear wheel over it cleanly.


I can bunny hop a bike long enough - especially the road bike which is quite light and I can monohop. I'd not want to do either whilst nearly parallel to a kerb and whilst blocked by a heavy vehicle.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby Kenzo » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:31 pm

Even at 40km/h, perhaps another option is to use your brakes and stop .... the truck would roll past on the same trajectory if the front has already passed.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby sogood » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:31 pm

Wouldn't a better skill to learn is to religiously look back before entering one of these potential high risk spots? The problem with these acrobatic maneuverers is that if there's a slight mistake, you may hit the tarmac or even hit the truck wheels and put yourself into even more danger. If situation is that desperate, wouldn't be better to just dive to the left rather than trying to be a stuntman.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby jules21 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:43 pm

agreed. particularly where a bike lane ends, you need to assess whether it is safe to merge back into the traffic lane. i see so many cyclists just assuming the LH edge of the road is 'theirs' - big mistake. if there's not enough room to share, then either pull up (legally this is what you're required to do when merging across a broken line that signals the end of the bike lane) or if there's room, merge into the traffic lane and claim it.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby PawPaw » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:36 pm

Thanks for input.
To clarify,

- although too tired to confront the truck driver, I wasn't that tired that my judgement was impaired. As someone presumed, the truck was far enough away at the beginning of the pass but just began drifting across my line very gradually. It took me a few seconds to realize the driver wasn't backing off, which is when I thought my best choice was to brake firmly and dive towards the grassy footpath, and maybe the bike would follow or maybe I'd become uncleated and it wouldn't. I had already started to brake firmly. Moments like this are a big wake up call that drivers are not always going to do what you think they should, or are even aware of you.

- the truck was one of few vehicles that passed me. the traffic was quite thick and rarely going above 45 as we were getting all the red lights. That biased me towards moving with the traffic.

- in retrospect, yes claiming the lane would have more than likely stopped this event from unfolding.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby Kenzo » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:20 pm

The Gateway (Sir Leo Hielscher) Bridge would make a fantastic river loop if it wasn't for the lack of provision for cyclist safety on Kingsford Smith Drive.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby David_G » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:25 pm

PawPaw wrote:Thanks for input.

Moments like this are a big wake up call that drivers are not always going to do what you think they should, or are even aware of you.


- in retrospect, yes claiming the lane would have more than likely stopped this event from unfolding.



About the only thing predictable about traffic is its unpredictability.
Bunny hopping in that situation would likely cause you more grief than braking hard.
One little boo boo and you'd be back in the traffic lane sliding on the ground right in the path of the truck's wheels, or the vehicle behind it.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby il padrone » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:30 pm

PawPaw wrote:T- the truck was one of few vehicles that passed me. the traffic was quite thick and rarely going above 45 as we were getting all the red lights. That biased me towards moving with the traffic.

- in retrospect, yes claiming the lane would have more than likely stopped this event from unfolding.

+1 to claiming the lane.

In the traffic scenario you describe it should have been an easy thing. Most truck drivers (especially the big semis and B-double drivers) are the most conscientous and professional on the road..... if you make you presence clear. If you hide in the gutter they sometimes take the space and roll by, not realising the problem you faced.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby MREJ » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:41 pm

This story made me shiver. I'm glad you're ok
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Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:18 pm

Yes claiming the lane obviously... But sometimes you don't.
But bunny hopping sideways onto a gutter at speed isn't like bunny hopping a pot hole... Need a lot of height and sideways kick...40 kmph onto a head on gutter, if you stuff up at least you will be out of harms ways (as long as you get the front wheel over!)... Stuff it up on a parallel gutter and you may be back head first into the middle of the road.
I thought I was good at bunny hops until last cx race when I saw the top guys bunny hopping logs at 40ish, 3 in a row in mud... I need practice too!.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby biftek » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:38 pm

Kenzo wrote:Even at 40km/h, perhaps another option is to use your brakes and stop .... the truck would roll past on the same trajectory if the front has already passed.


i do a lot of riding on country roads where some can get narrow in different points , hitting the brakes and letting the truck pass is the approach i take
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby Mustang » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:00 pm

Oxford wrote:bunny hopping is a skill you should have, particularly for situations like this. I know the road and honestly as confident as I am and assertive as I know I can be, I would never ride Kingsford Smith because it is just too dangerous with its random changes and inattentive and aggressive motorists.

a female was killed along that section once, in a 4wd, sandwiched between two trucks end to end. that is the front one stopped, the one behind her didn't and its only a 60 zone. in many places along there, there is no escape. I wouldn't ride that section of road for anything thanks.

I lived just off Racecourse Road, for 3 years the truck drivers on K S Dr are insane, dont ride it, possibly other than Sun am.
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Re: Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby human909 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:06 pm

A car or trucks wheels normally track the ones ahead of it. So if you brake then you'll be fine. What is the problem with braking?
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Bunny Hopping Road Kerbing to save your life

Postby twizzle » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:44 pm

I always thought being hit by a car would be a bad way to go until I had to deal with a guy trapped under the wheel of a truck. DON'T DO IT.

Anyway, as H909 said, best option is just to brake, it's your own forward motion that is taking you into harms way. As for why it happens, some drivers are too dumb to realize that a bicycle actually moves, they treat it like a stationary object that they can just drive around rather than having to make a clean pass.
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