How to avoid slippery oil patches

How to avoid slippery oil patches

This Indian video shows a lucky rider narrowly avoiding a crash after slipping in a line of oil and possibly diesel left on the road most likely by an old truck.

There are several mistakes the KTM RC200 rider makes that lead to the incident. They provide some good lessons for all riders to learn.

Go to 1:30 minutes to see the incident.

Lane swapping

The first mistake is that the rider is using the full width of both left-hand lanes, rather than staying in the one lane.

That’s fine if it was a race track, but not on a public road.

The result is that he dangerously passes blindly on the left of vehicles and frequently crosses the white lines which can be slippery and could lead to a low-side crash.

How to avoid slippery oil patches
Car moves over on the undertaking rider

Trucks mean oil

The KTM rider should also have been on the lookout for oil.

An Austroads 2015 Motorcycle In-Depth Crash Study report found that slippery substances on the road account for 13% of single-vehicle crashes.

In this case, the incident occurred on Shillong Rd in the mountainous north-east of India. It is a winding tar road that is a Mecca for motorcycle riders.

How to avoid slippery oil patches
Shillong Rd

However, as you can see from the YoutTube video, it also has a lot of car and truck traffic. Most of those trucks are old clangers that are likely to be dropping oil and diesel.

As anyone who has been to the Subcontinent will know, truck drivers are a law unto themselves and don’t stay in their lanes.

They wander from lane to lane, dropping oil all over the place.

In this case, the oil line runs from the right lane across the centre line into the left lane.

How to avoid slippery oil patches
Notice the oil crosses the white line

Whenever a rider sees a lot of trucks, especially old trucks, they should be on the lookout for dark oil lines and patches.

And don’t expect them to be in the centre of the lane only.

Knee down

What is surprising is that the rider doesn’t lose the front end.

Instead, the back end slips, which means he was accelerating through the corner as he was trying to get his knee down.

How to avoid slippery oil patches
Hitting the oil line on the redline

Leave knee-down antics to the track where you know there will be no loose gravel or oil spills.

On the road, lean with the bike, rather than leaning out further.

Pull the clutch

The rider was lucky he didn’t high side as the rear end slid then regained traction as it moved out of the line of oil.

We don’t know wether he pulled the clutch, but that is what he should have done to take power away from the spinning rear wheel.

Instead, he shifted his weight back on to the bike and put a foot down for correction.

That immediately sent him wide, crossing dangerously into the left lane. Luckily it was vacant.How to avoid slippery oil patches

Learn from your mistakes

The worst mistake the rider makes is that e doesn’t learn from his mistakes.

He continues to try to get his knee down, crossing white lines in the centre and even the edge of the road, blindly barging through the traffic and even ending up on another line of oil!

How to avoid slippery oil patches
Still trying to get that knee down and heading for the slippery white line!

If you have a scare like this, pull over and calm down.

Adrenalin will be pumping through your body which could lead to making rash decisions and poor use of the controls.

Pull over, take a moment to thank your god, consider what you did wrong and learn from your mistakes.

Hopefully the 800k+ people who have so far watched this video since it was posted on March 21 will learn something.

6 Comments

  1. Indeed the only thing you could learn from those Muppets is what not to do, an amazing display of ignoranc from a statistic in waiting.

  2. Really pull the clutch? That is a recipe for a disaster and probably a high side. I manage the throttle in a slide, you dont just close it.

  3. Here we have an example of why video footage should not be used to prosecute people for dangerous driving. It makes things look more dramatic than they are. None of this was at high speed. From the glimpses we get of the speedo we can see that most of the time they were under 80km/h. We rarely see the speedo exceed 90km/h, except for a couple of times when the road was straight and clear. The vehicles they overtook, especially the trucks, were travelling much slower than the two motorcycles, possibly doing 40km/h or less. Think about that. When you are travelling at 80km/h and you come up behind a vehicle doing 40km/h or less, what would you do? Most of us would ‘zip’ past just like these two riders.

    The riders were using their horns to let other vehicles know they were coming. Maybe that is common practice in India. Some of the cars obviously moved over to let the bikes through. The important point is these drivers were aware of the bikes overtaking them. The car that moved over when the rider was passing on the left changed lanes without using the indicator. They could have been trying to move over to let the bikes past. Obviously the lead rider made a bad mistake by riding right in the narrow line of fluid on the road. This could have been caused by target fixation. He looked at the fluid, therefore he rode in it. This indicates lack of experience.

    The main point I want to make is, that tiny slide was hardly any danger. I have survived far worse than that without even giving myself a fright. Slamming your foot onto the road like that can be painful, and it probably wasn’t necessary. It was just a little slide, the rider kept it upright, and there was no real drama. It concerns me that there are many riders on our roads whose riding skills are so poor that they think an incident like this is dangerous. That is why we have to endure so much over-regulation. If riders would put some effort into learning to ride well we wouldn’t need so many restrictions. One of the best ways to learn is to go dirt riding or riding on gravel and dirt roads. After some experience having your wheels spinning, sliding or skidding becomes normal. It can make the difference between becoming a really good rider or just spending your whole life pretending that you are.

  4. over filled tanks on a hot day and the diesel expands and leaks on the left of center not in the middle where you usually expect oil build up..Add rain after a hot spell and it makes it even worse..always allow time for the rain to wash the road clean.Most would already know this

  5. A chilling example of what not to do, a demonstration poor technique, poor judgement and total lack of road craft. He seems to have survived so far but one suspects he will be a statistic very soon.

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