Sunday, March 27, 2011


Yeah, we all learn it in motorcycle training but I have no idea what S-I-P-D-E stands for. Scan, something, something, something and Execute, I think. It doesn't matter to me that I don't remember what it stands for or that I had to Google it just to find the acronym.

The motorcycle SIPDE strategy consist of following 5 basic steps:

Step 1: Scan – Constantly be scanning ahead for hazards.

Step 2: Identify – Identify potential hazards quickly.

Step 3: Predict - Predict what may happen with the potential hazard.

Step 4: Decide – Decide your best course of action to avoid hazard.

Step 5: Execute – Execute your plan to avoid hazard.

What matters is that it instinctively came to me when I needed it Saturday afternoon.

I was driving South to Eugene yesterday to shop for a few things and visit Rod's shop. The weather was indecisive so we took the car and drove the leisurely route down Bellfountain Road to avoid traffic and enjoy the drive. The local riders all know the route and the long straight stretch and hill approaching Airport Road intersection. As we climbed the hill a white Toyota Corolla came Northbound over the crest of the hill and started crowding the yellow line. It was enough to raise concern but we have all seen it before and I hit my high beams, which normally causes the driver to correct. Normally. Then when that didn't work and my horn proved ineffective I didn't even have to think about it. I never even considered the brakes, I somehow kept my foot into it while keeping both right wheels on the shoulder and out of the ditch while the oncoming car just cleared my left rear quarter panel, hit the ditch and down to the next culvert, mailboxes and street sign. I swear they were going to clip us and put us into the ditch or put our car into a spin. Neither of us slowed down, Trobairitz and I watched the accident unfold in the rear view mirrors.

I got the car turned around and before I could ask Trob to call 911 she mentions that it's time to put our training to use. The elderly woman driving the car was already getting out of the car by the time I got to her and what I thought was talking to another person. Fortunately she was the sole occupant but a little disoriented and had no idea what had just happened. I asked her to sit down and kept her calm by talking to her and answering her questions while trying to keep her still.

She was alright, the airbags had deployed and broke her glasses but when I explained that the airbags went off she asked why would her chest only be sore on one side.

Oh shit, better send an ambulance, thankfully it wasn't a heart attack. Her car hit the culvert and bounced out and took out the sign. We never saw her brake lights.

Once off the phone and assistance dispatched, Trobairitz came over and talked to her to set her at ease while waiting for the ambulance. I thought I'd better get some photos for the police and insurance company before the home owner came down his driveway and started cleaning up. He was so concerned about getting his mail and cleaning up the gravel until the Philomath police officer arrived and told him to stop. I got our car moved off the road and made room for the ambulance, firetruck and two Sheriff's cars. Wow, must have have been a slow day for them. They took our statement and sent us on our way, but only after a fireman told me I looked cold and asked if I wanted a blanket. I was simply in a little bit of shock so I declined and said having a car come at you head on just scared the shit out of me.

The deputy that took our statement told us he will require her to take the DMV test. We walked back to the car and we were on our way. I had to stop a couple miles down the road and check the quarter panel for white paint. Had I braked instead of accelerated it would have been a lot worse. Motorcyclists do make better drivers.

We did make it down to Eugene and to Rod's shop to check out the new Triumph Tiger 800.

It is much nicer in person than it looks in the magazines.

I didn't have my gear with me to test ride it, I'll wait for a sunny, dry day... if I can wait that long.

- Addendum:
Courtesy of Corvallis Gazette Times
Saturday, March 26

INJURY ACCIDENT: 1:17 p.m., Bellfountain Road and Shamrock Lane, Philomath. Harriet Shivers, 78, of Newport, struck a row of mailboxes and a street sign while driving her 2004 Toyota Corolla before coming to a stop on the west side of Bellfountain Road. She does not recall her speed at the time of the crash. She had chest pains from the force of the deployed air bag, and was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.



  1. Far out, way to close for comfort. You are right I think bikers make better drivers. Just very glad you and troboritz came through unscatherd.

    The new new tiger does look better than the pics, I think it will be very popular in NZ, it will suit many of our roads. Do I detect a hint of a new bike coming...

  2. Troubadour:

    You do look good on that Tiger, and you had better hurry, March is running out.

    Lucky you kept on the gas, otherwise you may have been the target. I agree, bikers do make better drivers.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. What I thought was amazing, besides the awesome driving by Troubadour, was that we both kept our sight line on where we wanted the car to go.

    As a passenger it didn't even cross my mind to look at the car as it passed to see if the driver was awake, slumped over the wheel or anything.

    I guess that is a good thing. Motorcycle riding habits flow over into everyday driving, whether it is a conscience thought or not.

  4. Very scary, I'm glad you guys were okay! Good instincts. So easy to think, they'll correct, but you never know if or when they'll just keep coming.

    I like the new Tiger. The black/white is kind of classy!
    Must say, you have an awfully big smile on your face! Guess bikes kind of do that to us, don't they. :)

  5. Wow. I was on the edge of my seat reading this. I'm so glad you and Trobairitz came away completely unscathed. A scary situation that you both handled exceedingly well!


  6. Thanks everyone, looking back on it now it didn't seem that serious a crash, but I still can't get over the feeling of having a car come over the center line at you. Hope I never experience it again.


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