--Motorcycle Consumer News
by Ken Codon
The stretch of road you are on features corners that twist sharply in a ribbon of rolling tarmac. You brake smoothly before each curve, execute the perfect cornering line, and accelerate briskly to the next turn. You scan well ahead to identify the next corner's direction and to detect potential road surface hazards.
As you exit one corner, you see a dark line on the road surface ahead running up the middle of your lane. You immediately identify it as oil, so you slow and move to the left where the pavement is clear. Upon closer inspection, you determine that the oil spray has been there for a while. You see a slight sheen, but it's not as menacing as it would be if it were fresh. You relax a bit, but decide to keep your tires off the stained pavement, just in case. You continue your ride, but at a reduced speed, hoping the oily line will soon end so you can resume your spirited pace.
As you approach a downhill left-hand turn, you notice that the oily area is drifting left to the road's centerline. This means you will be forced to cross over the oil to avoid entering the oncoming lane. You know that riding over the oily surface while leaned could easily lead to a slide, so you straighten your motorcycle before crossing. You go over the oil without any trouble. But, as soon as you press on the handlebars to turn, the front tire slips and your bike immediately falls onto its side. You and your motorcycle slide off the road and down the embankment. Thankfully, you are okay, but you'll need help to get your bike back onto the road.
You climb up to the road and while awaiting help, you notice that the oily line is actually a thick concentration of slime. Your tires obviously became coated so that the front tire slid when you countersteered back into the curve.
You were smart to take the oily residue seriously and you responded appropriately by slowing and straightening before crossing the oil. Unfortunately, you didn't accurately assess just how hazardous the situation was. Next time, slow more before crossing slippery hazards so that less handlebar pressure and lean angle is required to initiate your turn, just in case traction is compromised. And be aware that oily residue can remain on your tires for quite some time, so if you roll through slippery slime, it's smart to pull over and inspect your tires for contamination.