I was on the highway going about 70 mph (113 km) and saw a pickup truck with a tall ladder in the back. I switched lanes immediately (2 lanes to the left) and sure enough about 10 seconds later the ladder broke loose and it did not just tumble backwards, the wind and momentum took it into the lane 1 lane to the left.
A few lessons for us to learn:
1) Do not ride directly behind any vehicle carrying a load, a trailer, a bicycle on a rack, towing a boat, etc. Respect Murphy's Law that anything which can possibly go wrong WILL go wrong. Switch lanes right away or if there is only one lane then pull over and let a car or 2 get in front of you as a buffer before you resume your journey.
2) Give yourself plenty of following distance. This extra gap will give you more precious seconds to react to dangers. 1 extra second can mean the difference between a crash and a "close call". In my case this really helped me because the ladder first fell directly behind the truck and the started to tumble to the lane on the left. But I did not just focus my gaze directly on the ladder but rather I kept it in my peripheral vision because I also had to worry about cars that would slam on their brakes or that would abruptly switch lanes to avoid the obstacle. In many ways the cars themselves are more of a danger to me than the ladder was.
3) Wear all the safety gear ALL the time. Because you never know when a crash is coming. I talked to a guy at work that rode a Harley for 30 years and just wrecked last week on South beach (a car side-swiped him and then ran away from the scene). He decided to give up riding, saying it was "Just too dangerous in 2019, too many crazy car drivers". But he had no safety gear on and is lucky to only have suffered some road rash and bruises without requiring hospital treatment. The dude wants to blame the "crazy cars" but the truth is I have ridden with him and he is a sh!tty rider who sits in Neutral at each red light, blasts music with a bluetooth speaker, wears no gear and basically rides his bike with the same attention as a car driver drives a car (aimlessly and unaware).
That really is depressing. To see a guy that loves motorcycles decide to "hang up his riding boots" forever based on 1 crash. But if anyone wrecks and they cant explain exactly what happened or what they could have done differently to avoid the wreck......If you cant answer those 2 questions than maybe you are not ready to get back on the saddle.
But in my opinion this whole slogan of "Its too dangerous now in 2019 to ride motorcycles" is a load of bollocks. The truth is that it is no more dangerous than it was in the year 1999 either. Let me explain what I mean. The counter-intuitive truth is actually that it is getting more and more SAFE to ride a motorcycle as time goes by (In a big city I mean) and that is because traffic continues to get more and more congested as more and more new cars appear on the road. That reduces the speed that a car is able to travel. If you as a biker are willing to split lanes and to lane filter (even in countries where it is illegal) then it is actually getting SAFER and SAFER to ride a motorcycle.
Let me be frank here......traffic is only going to get worse and WORSE as time goes by. Our planet is extremely over populated and probably 30 babies where born in the time it has taken you to read this post so far. The amount of cars in your big city may even DOUBLE in 5 years. Not to mention all the redundancy of Uber drivers that are just sitting around waiting for a ping.
I have a CRAZY THEORY that motorcycling is about to make a HUGE comeback. YUGE comeback as more and more car drivers come to the realization that a motorcycle or scooter is the best commuting vehicle for 2019 in a big city. Its the most practical choice (for those that are willing to break the law and lane split/lane filter). I live in a state where lane splitting/filtering is 100% illegal. Yet I do this practice all day and every day. In fact it is the #1
reason I got back into motorcycling. I bought a moto because I got sick and tired of sucking exhaust fumes and sweating like a pig in a gridlocked parking lot for 60 minutes each way on my commute (On Miami's Palmetto Expressway)
Now the commute takes 20 minutes each way.