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Old 06-22-2014, 11:48 AM   #1
windblown101 OP
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The fine art of crashing and walking away

The fine art of crashing is something most of us understandably try our best to not perfect. However it saddens me when I read of so many broken legs on the face plant forum. I can't help but think that some of them might have been avoided with a bit different crashing technique.

We ride all ride, and most will crash at some point. Once a crash is happening anything we can do that minimizes odds of injury is a BIG plus. Having dumped many a bike, mostly off pavement and mostly when enthusiasm outweighed skillset I offer the following tidbits.

Before I begin with the list let me get the obvious out of the
way: Decent gear that protects areas that are more fragile or prone to high impacts in a fall minimizes injury... Period. Feet, ankles, knees, head, hands, shoulders, elbows, and to a lesser extent chest, back, and hips. However, there is much more to the art of walking away injury free than just slapping on some gear. Short of a knights suit of armor one is still pretty vulnerable.

1) First off - If a crash is happening let go of the damn bike! Even a lightweight bike can generate the force required to break bones if you and the bike are occupying the same piece of real estate when you hit the ground. There is little to be gained and lots to be lost trying to "save" the bike versus trying to save yourself. That bike is your enemy and a dangerous weapon until you have both come to rest.

2) You body is capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of force and remain injury free in two ways. One is by spreading the impact across as much as your body as possible at the moment of impact (Watch a judo expert get thrown to the ground) and the other is by rolling or sliding. Sliding is good for street, especially at high speeds but for slower speeds likely to occur off pavement I prefer the roll. In most motorcycle accidents the roll is the easier to achieve since you are normally going to be impacting the ground at an angle rather than auger straight into it.

3) Sticking out an arm or leg out as a first point of impact in an attempt to arrest a fall is a recipe for pain. You have gear on, let it do it's job!

4) It sounds silly but try to relax. It's going to happen regardless of whether you are tense or relaxed and relaxed is going to provide better results.

I welcome others thoughts and insight to be added by others!
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:10 PM   #2
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This guy seems to have figured it out (don't know how to embed video):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egJzU_29C3I
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:17 PM   #3
catweasel67
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Between the thing that caused to you to have off...and actually hitting anything...drink like a fish and get mind-bogglingly drunk. It's a well known scientific actual real fact that your survival chances increase exponentially with the more booze you drink.

In order to reduce the chances of having an off, have an off. Statistically speaking, folks are unlikely to have an off more than once every 5 years so, so, if you've been riding for almost 5 years, have one. Manage that risk!

The most important risk mitigation technique you can take though is to become friends with Murphy. Familiarise yourself with his whims and his fickle fancies and you'll live longer.

Oh, and don't eat so much red meat.
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catweasel67 screwed with this post 06-22-2014 at 11:56 PM
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:05 PM   #4
Bill Harris
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That is pretty much the trick-- learning to fall. When I was a youngster I went to a Summer camp and one thing the horse lady did was drill into us how to fall off a horse. And for some reason, that stayed with me all these years.

Don't try to break your fall, spread out the impact and fall like a rag doll. No guarantees, but it'll stack your odds

--Bill
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:53 AM   #5
C/1/509
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
Between the thing that caused to you to have off...and actually hitting anything...drink like a fish and get mind-bogglingly drunk. It's a well known scientific actual real fact that your survival chances increase exponentially with the more booze you drink.

In order to reduce the chances of having an off, have an off. Statistically speaking, folks are unlikely to have an off more than once every 5 years so, so, if you've been riding for almost 5 years, have one. Manage that risk!

The most important risk mitigation technique you can take though is to become friends with Murphy. Familiarise yourself with his whims and his fickle fancies and you'll live longer.

Oh, and don't eat so much red meat.
Please post the reference. I've heard this forever and never seen anything that supports it. But since it's a "well known scientific actual real fact" it should be easy to find support.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C/1/509 View Post
Please post the reference. I've heard this forever and never seen anything that supports it. But since it's a "well known scientific actual real fact" it should be easy to find support.
Page 57*, paragraph 39, line 4.5 (south south east of the middle page) in the 'scientific actual real facts for dummies' guide is where I found it
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:01 AM   #7
catweasel67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaTTaz View Post
Page 57*, paragraph 39, line 4.5 (south south east of the middle page) in the 'scientific actual real facts for dummies' guide is where I found it
That's it :)

And here's an actual scientific real fact based on factual study article that was published on the interweb and so must be true...

http://www.connectsavannah.com/savan...nt?oid=2131177

Real Science! It's not just for Dummies! Although it's mainly for them...cos the rest of us are busy avoiding injury as often as we can afford.

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Old 06-23-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
windblown101 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Harris View Post
When I was a youngster I went to a Summer camp and one thing the horse lady did was drill into us how to fall off a horse. And for some reason, that stayed with me all these years.

--Bill
With me it was Judo lessons. Well... that and a lot of practice falling off bikes since I'm naturally kind of clumsy.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:01 PM   #9
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If you are young, your odds of walking away increase.
I've been over the bars, low sides and various other unintended dismounts. Worst injury was a sore knee cap. Other than that just scratches.
Can attribute the good fortune to low speed. Also letting go of the bike and rolling, sliding or staying with the bike can help. Which ever works best for the situation.
It is the sudden stop that hurts. Delay it, diffuse it, do anything to avoid the sudden stop.
Oh, wear the right gear for the occasion.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #10
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If a crash is imminent look for a better place to crash.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:33 PM   #11
TomInCA
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Frequent participation in high speed sports that involve managing falls, like skiing, might improve your odds. I agree that if you can avoid getting, or being old and especially out of shape like me, it might hurt just a bit less.

Remember, the fall won't hurt you, so relax...it's the stop that hurts.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:42 PM   #12
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The way I always remember hearing it years ago.....
"A fall never hurt anyone. It's that sudden stop at the bottom...."
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomInCA View Post
** managing falls, like skiing, might improve your odds. *** it's the stop that hurts.
^ Great advice ^

Any downhill fun on snow (ski, inner tube, sled) is an opportunity to remind yourself that you can still control your position, of not your direction.

For instance, if you're sliding toward an object that can harm you (tree, sign post, other vehicle) roll roll ROLL your body laterally off the slide line just as if you were on the floor and it wasn't moving beneath you. The street is just a treadmill: you can roll off the center line of the direction of travel to a parallel one.

If you're sliding head first, DON'T! Stick out an elbow/arm/leg on one side and push it into the surface to create some extra drag to push you around to any position other than head first. Head first is bad!

Unlike on snow, don't slide on one surface of your body for too long. Even the best gear can quickly wear through. Don't wait for it to happen. A few seconds sliding in one position - change it - a few more seconds sliding in another position - change it again. Left side, right side, back, roll a bit .. all the while slowing.

Switch between rolling and sliding. Think like a figure skater: arms in and legs straight(er) to roll, elbows wider and legs bent (knees 'wider') to slow or stop the roll (keep your hands in if you can).

It's all over with in a few seconds, even in a fairly high speed get-off. If you have survived the impact conscious and can stay actively involved in trying to manage a few ongoing factors you can probably minimize the remaining threats. Watch the Moto GP crashes, they do this stuff quite well.

Offroad crashes? Different animal I think. Tuck-n-roll, or just get fetal. Limbs sticking out on impact will be broken, so retract them. Go armadillo/turtle, fast! Fewer opportunities for control here.

Bob (crashed, bruised, broken, but alive!)
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:32 AM   #14
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About five years ago I had a crash at around 80-90kph on a freeway, arguably a pretty weird place to crash (who crashes while riding in a straight line?); while changing lanes I lost traction on a wet metal expansion joint, and I low sided. The crash was completely my fault for not being more observant.

No broken bones, no cuts, no bruises, no injuries save for a bit of general soreness. I can thank pretty good gear for that, and lots of luck. I think the other factor that helped was I didn't try to hold onto the bike or try to save it. Once I lost traction on the rear tire and the bike went down, I just went limp. Didn't try to stick my hands out to "stop" the fall either. That would've been pointless, and would lead to either a broken wrist, collarbone, or both.

While sliding on my back, I was just hoping my gear wouldn't abrade through, and that I wouldn't be run over by a following vehicle (hopefully the hi viz jacket and white helmet helped). I didn't try to slow down my slide with my hands either; it's likely that would've led to a tumble that would've broken or dislocated something.

So I just waited (chances are I only slid for a few seconds, but it felt like a minute). Once I was sure I stopped sliding, I got up, picked up the bike (I guess adrenaline helped here), and rolled it over to the side of the road (I was thankful again for the hi viz gear). I was ridiculously lucky, and hopefully that was my crash quota for the rest of my riding career. Of course, now that I've said that . . .
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:16 AM   #15
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Of course back in the day we'd just bounce and get up. Now that we're old and gray, I'm not so sure we wouldn't snap something. Haven't had a major getoff in years so I may be up for a reality check...

--Bill
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