Obstacles In The Road

I think the craziest obstacle I have been hit with was a bird, not so crazy but scared the crap out of me and I felt terrible….on the road itself??? A garbage bag full of what I think were dirty diapers.  So, nothing totally out of the ordinary lol.  What about you?
HFL – December 14, 2013


Watson On: Obstacles In The Road


Photo by Chris Cornwell

Every one of us who rides should know the risks that are involved each and every time you swing a leg over a bike and head out. Aggressive, texting drivers and crazy traffic are just the tip of the iceberg, so you’re constantly forced to ride defensively. It often feels like everyone is out to get you and they probably are.

But there is another dimension to all of this because being a motorcyclist means you become a target for some very odd things. A few years ago I came around a corner to find that a produce truck had deposited its entire load of watermelons in the road.

The melons had broken free just a few seconds before I arrived so I was faced with what looked like massive, green cannon balls rolling all over the place. The first melon struck my bike’s front fender and the second clouted me on the knee. It was like being hit at 40 mph by a very hard medicine ball and for several days afterwards I had a purple bruise on my leg to show for the melon attack.

Watson On: Obstacles In The Road

Photo by Saffanna

All around my bike was a moving obstacle course of bouncing fruit.  I had to pull over pretty quickly and park my bike until the swirling mass of melons had come to complete stop. The guy driving the truck was apologetic and for the next few minutes I helped him kick the melons to the side of the road. Other drivers were less helpful and forced their way through the sea of melons glaring angrily at us for daring to hold them for a few seconds.

Another time, early one Sunday morning I pulled up at the lights alongside a young guy in a Ford Mustang who was playing loud music that was blaring out of the open windows. He looked across at me and nodded and had a cigarette between his lips. As the lights changed we both moved off together. He was clearly not going to hang around and accelerated away from me. A few seconds, later that cigarette he had been smoking came arcing through the air. It hit me in the chest and then fell down into my crotch trapped between the top of my bike’s saddle and my gas tank. That sort of thing – a lit cigarette butt – really focuses your attention when you’re riding and for me the carelessness of Mustang Man’s actions made me lose a little more faith in humanity.

My real pet peeve though is people who spit chewing gum out of the windows of their moving vehicles. I’ve had this happen to me a couple of times. The first occasion I saw the fat glob of spittle and gum come barreling out of the open driver’s window of a passing car I instinctively ducked making my bike veer across the lane I was riding in.

That previously enjoyed lump of gum still got me though and thwacked itself onto one of my saddlebags and sat there like a glutinous sticky lump of nastiness. I’m not a big fan of spitting in public places at the best of time but come on people doing this from your car seat, while in traffic, is truly disgusting.

The freeway always provides a near endless succession of interesting things that can have you off your bike in the blink of an eye. Pieces of exploded tire rubber really hurt when they are flung out from the rear of a vehicle you’re following. They’re also not a good idea to ride over. Ladders are mere obstacles to try and weave past, as you’re not going to have enough time to get your bike correctly positioned to ride straight over one. This means you have to take your life in your hands and dart into another lane and pray that you’re not going to hit the car that is now speeding up alongside you.

But I have to admit that a Queen-size mattress in the central lane had me and the other freeway users rushing for the same clear lane all at the same time. I and my bike just made it but it was close and I had to pull off at the next off ramp to calm down because it had scared me that much.

Watson On: Obstacles In The Road

Photo by Julian Nguyen

On the upside as a motorcyclist you do find some ‘interesting’ things in the road. In recent years I have stopped for a wallet complete with driving license and $76 in cash, which I think a fellow motorcyclist had lost. I handed it in to the police to return to the owner. I have found two hammers, a gremlin plush toy and would have stopped for a rather fetching baseball hat but was trying to overtake an 18-wheeler when I spotted it blowing around in my riding lane.

Many years ago I found my riding abilities really challenged when I came into a small town. There was a long downhill straight and then a sweeping left hand curve. A large truck had either ben traveling too fast or its brakes had failed. It lay on its side taking up both lanes of traffic. The driver was ok and standing by the side of the road waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

But that was only the first part of the problem. The next issue facing me was the truck had been carrying a load of live chickens. The impact had caused most of the crates on the truck to burst open and the road was now littered with chickens all trying to make a concerted dash for freedom. There were literally hundreds of them.

Watson On: Obstacles In The Road

Photo by Jennifer Louise

Trying to bring my bike to a halt amid a flurry of feathers, beaks and darting chickens was no easy task. I managed it somehow and sat there in a surreal world of escaping chickens wondering to myself why on earth I ride a motorcycle.

What is the craziest thing you’ve come across, darted around or been hit with on the road while riding?

Author: advgrrl

Avid ADV rider! This Blog is all about the adventure in adventure riding. Researching new bikes, routes, accessories, learning about other riders and hopefully a great place for others to comment and explore with me. PLUS, up and down's, wildlife, my dogs, my life!

9 thoughts on “Obstacles In The Road”

  1. I ran over a dead animal once. I think it was a deer or a large beaver. It was my own fault as I was following a semi too close and he straddled the animal and I hit it dead on with no chance to swerve. I can still remember the squishing sound as I compressed the gut with my front wheel. Lucky for me it had been run over a number of times and was quite squashed and soft. All i got was a thump and a bit of a jump, a handle bar shake and a mess of animal parts on my bike. It was one of those lesson learned days. Have also seen a lot of things come off loose loads on vehicles both passing and following in both car and bikes.

    Now I never follow anything that has a remotely loose looking load. If I cannot pass I pull over.

    It is not just the collision with the piece that will get you, it could be your avoidance action.

  2. Ran over the ring to a highway safety barrel. Didn’t see it till I was over it. The black blended in with the new asphalt.
    We went around a queen size boxspring on the highway. And then had the mattress come out of the same truck at us.
    Have had a cardboard box come at me. I was in traffic so I ended up riding right over it.

  3. Entertaining read! I’ve personally taken a suicidal pigeon to the face at about 120km/hr, that was not fun, and a full-on mission getting all the feathers out of every crevasse in the helmet afterwards – luckily the visor was down. Had a stiff neck for about 4 days

  4. Open top sports car man threw a plastic sandwich wrapper outta the car which got stuck over the visor of my helmet momentarily obstructing my vision. I knocked it down to my lap then managed to pick it up and drop it back right into his lap when he stopped at the next traffic lights.
    I ran right over the belly of a big deer that had glanced off the side of a Land rover in front ….and kept on the bike!
    I skidded on a cheese sandwich dropped on the road when I was going slowly round a roundabout. Neither bike or I were badly damaged, lucky that, because I forgot my own packed lunch that day!

    Oh, and I hit a large paint brush doing 70mph on the motorway which got swept up between the wheel and the mudguard. The most awful noise, sparks and smell of burning rubber ensued before the whole thing disintegrated and splintered away to hell. Just another of those heart stopping, buttock clenching moments that made me glad to still be alive!

  5. Best (or worst ) was 1/2 of a still alive musk turtle. Hit my visor and lander on my lap and crawled off. I’m a turtle lover so it broke my heart

    The LT in front of me kicked it up

    Part of AGATT is visor down

    1. visor down is all important…I got a bee stuck between my cheek pad and face. Got stung like there is no tomorrow, looked like I was having a seizure on the bike I bet to the cagers. I just lifted the shield to scratch my face for a second…makes me wonder how some many cruisers can have opened faced helmets and never get hit with anything? Seems so weird that almost every time I lift mine all the way I get something in my eye or almost get hit with debris.

  6. One night on the way home from work in the late 1990’s, I came across a herd of cattle in the middle of the highway. A farmer’s fence had come down some how and they all just wandered out for a stroll. It was a rural highway so, I was only the second car to come along. The first car had hit one of them and the car was totaled. The lady driving was okay, other than being a nervous wreck of course. If she had not been flashing her one remaining headlight frantically, I would never have seen those cows. It was a dark night and none of them were light colored or spotted.

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