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MrSurly 10-26-2016 10:04 PM

"Had To Lay 'er down"
(No, not me)

This past weekend in Longview there was a first ever rally event in downtown that drew thousands. I didn't attend due to home repair stuff, though I rode by at one point.
During one of the group ride events, there was a one-bike motorcycle crash resulting in a fatality.
A newspaper article about the event ticked me off enough that I sent an email to the DPS.
Nothing to come of it. I just had to vent.

<<<<to the TX DPS Motorcycle Safety Division--
First, let me say that my prayers and condolences go out the the family and friends of Charles Flowers, the man who died in a motorcycle accident on hwy 259 on Saturday, in connection with the Riders, Rockers and Ribs event. I pray as well, for the recovery of his passenger, who is in critical condition.

I wasn't there, but I read today, of the event in the Longview News Journal's online report.

Besides the tragedy of the rider's passing, I was struck by a quote in the article attributed to State Trooper Jean Dark.

“And when he came over the crest of the hill, he saw them all braking,” Dark said. “And he had to go ahead and lay his bike down.”

I was taken aback by this quote coming from someone in a professional position such as Trooper Dark. I can only hope that the quote was mis-attributed. Perhaps it was said by someone on the scene, I don't know. I can only assume at this point that Trooper Dark does not ride. The fact is, "had to lay 'er down" is a hideous yet oft-repeated myth. An old wives tale. The idea that laying a motorcycle down will somehow magically *improve* stopping distance or survivability in ANY situation outside of Hollywood is as blatantly false as " I drive better with a little buzz".
The phrase is so familiar that it is pointed out as bogus in every sort of motorcycle safety training out there, and I'm certain that anyone in the Motorcycle Safety Division knows this.
My issue is that the repetition of this horrendous idea is awful enough when told with a gleam in the eye of some old storyteller at the biker bar, but seeing it embraced, codified and propagated by a Trooper!?
Please, someone, relay to Trooper Dark and perhaps to everyone that this is a dangerous myth that will inevitably lead some new rider to get hurt unnecessarily. Please don't traffic in fallacy, there are riders out there that look to you for direction and reliable safety information.

Ricky Slaughter

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Infidel! 10-26-2016 11:39 PM

Very true Ricky. Harris taught us all that braking and evading is the best way to come out alive. He always said that if you "had to lay it down to avoid an accident" didn't you just have an accident?

Practice emergency braking on almost every ride. It's not hard. For those with ABS you can rely on that, but it has also been proven that with proper braking technique, you can stop faster without employing it.

The point is to reduce your speed as much as you can as quickly as you can. If I am going to hit something I want to be going as slow as possible. Every MPH you can scrub off increases your survivability exponentially. if you can get rid of enough momentum, you also stand a better chance of avoiding a collision. It's much easier to plan and execute an escape route going slower because you have that much more time to react.

I am convinced the practice I have done has saved my life more than once, KenR and I both were once riding on I25 south of Denver when we came to the top of a hill. We were going highway speed (80-ish) and as we crested the hill all we saw were brake lights and stopped cars in front of us. Both of us immediately began our emergency braking that we practiced and stopped with about 2 feet to spare. The whole time we were braking, we were also actively searching for escape routes, which in this case weren't required, but we both had a plan in our heads should it be needed. Interestingly, we both stopped in approximately the same distance, within inches of each other.

Google brake and escape exercise. It's a good start. Find a parking lot and get familiar with what your bike can do.

Bone Stockman 10-27-2016 04:49 AM

"He chose to crash."

Fe Butte 10-27-2016 08:59 AM

Those who don't ride will never know.
All the safety trainers do tell new riders laying it down does not slow you down faster.

If steel was a better friction material contacting with stone, (road surface), they would make the tires out of steel instead of rubber.

RIP rider.

I was always poking fun at my troopers who would burn rubber from the shoulder of the road to catch up with a speeder. Always said they had to to get to speed faster...
(I'm sure they got that idea from a hollywood movie)

My saying to them:

A spinning tire gathers no speed.

Scabbydoo 10-27-2016 01:53 PM

Good on ya Ricky.

A prayer for the rider.

orbit 10-27-2016 07:51 PM

It seems the lack of good judgement got the best of Mr. Flowers.

I hope his passenger recovers quickly from her serious injuries.

Infidel! 10-27-2016 09:12 PM

I know a guy who beat his ex-wife to keep her from filing for divorce.

Didn't work out for him

Kind of the same, except he's still alive......

for now

Captain 41 10-28-2016 05:45 AM

Kudos to you for speaking up on the deceased behalf. I'd be curious if you ever hear a response back from DPS

MrSurly 10-28-2016 06:25 AM

I'll share it if I do. I couldn't find a generic email for the DPS so I sent it to the "motorcycle safety division" thinking that someone in that specialty area would *maybe* get what I was getting at and *maybe* would make some effort to spread the word among the ranks to at least tell them "don't say this".

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Fe Butte 10-29-2016 10:02 PM

Here's an example, which has more friction on paper?

The eraser or the "lead" point of a number two pencil on paper?

The eraser being the tires, the graphite point being the frame or other metal parts of the motorcycle on the pavement (the paper)...

Sent from mobile device prone to spelling errors

YankeeBob 10-30-2016 05:13 AM

I think the only time I would "Lay 'er down" was if the collision with the side of a tractor trailer trailer was imminent.

Dinero 10-30-2016 10:04 AM

I'd like to lay her down but she avoids me.

Infidel! 10-31-2016 10:39 PM


Originally Posted by Dinero (Post 1490491)
I'd like to lay her down but she avoids me.

You should try giving her a bath first

MrSurly 11-03-2016 02:40 PM

I got a reply!

>>>Mr. Slaughter,

As a lifelong motorcyclist, I couldn’t agree more. I have forwarded your email to Trooper Dark and had a respectful conversation about the statement and its meaning to current and future motorcyclists.

Thank you for your interest and support of Texas motorcyclist.

Ride Safe,

John G. Young, Program Supervisor
Public Education/Motorcycle Safety
Texas DPS 512-424-2021

-----Original Message-----
From: Motorcycle Safety
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2016 6:56 AM
To: Young, John G.
Subject: FW: Fatality in Longview, Official furtherance of a Myth.

Fe Butte 11-03-2016 03:54 PM


Sent from mobile device prone to spelling errors

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