--Motorcycle Consumer News
by Ken Codon
The intersection you ride through on the way to work is under construction. Up until now, the extent of the work did not involve tearing up the pavement. But today was the day the intersection's tarmac was removed.
It rained earlier in the day, so the surface is a bit wet. You decide to keep your wheels in the drying area located in the center of your lane. You roll off the throttle and downshift well before reaching the spot where the pavement ends and prepare yourself for the drop-off where the asphalt ends by weighting your foot pegs and gripping the handlebars a bit more firmly.
Just before your front tire rolls over the edge, you notice that the dirt in the center of the lane has a different look to it than the area on either side where the car tracks have packed down the dirt in the center where you are about to place your front wheel is soft. As soon as your tire rolls onto the dirt your front wheel turns unexpectedly. The next thing you know you're on the ground with your bike laying on top of your left leg.
A few passersby help lift the bike and ask if you are okay. Your left leg aches, but you are able to stand. Your bike looks scratched and dirty, but other than a broken mirror and clutch lever it looks to be okay. You look back at the surface transition to see a trough in the soft, sandy dirt where your front tire dug in a washed out.
It was smart to approach the construction area with caution, slowing early and downshifting before reaching the surface change. You decided to ride in the portion of the lane where the pavement was dry to maximize traction, which is usually a good tactic.
What you failed to do was predict that the dirt in the center portion of the lane could be hazardous without the benefit of hundreds of car tires compressing the ground and clearing the dir surface.
When riding in constructions zones, it's important to prioritize the surrounding hazards. Even though the drier pavement might have offered a bit better traction. It would have been smart to recognize the advantages of shifting your lane position to where the cars had compressed the ground before dropping off onto the dirt section.