How many times have you heard…”you’re not a real rider until you crash!”
There are a lot of riders entering the ADVcommunity coming from other forms of riding, or returning from a long absence of riding and a little knowledge goes a long way
Crashing is something none of us want to do, but its kind of inevitable for a massive percentage of us, so is it possible to be prepared?
Riding defensively is obvious and trying to be prepared for other road users, good training can be a huge help and be honest with yourself about your own skill level – be it on the pavement or in the dirt or track, but let’s go a little further than that.
Could you possibly save it and not go down?
- A natural instinct for most of us is to grab the front brake, its a natural reaction, and usually too much front brake. The first thing is to do is counterbalance that with some back brake. This might be enough to straighten the bike up and not go down
- More throttle in some cases will straighten a motorcycle back up more than the brakes will and might get you out of trouble more times than you’d think
- Riding at or below your skill level goes a long way to not crashing, if your riding buddy is a great rider let him go and meet him at the next checkpoint. If your skill level isn’t as high as there’s, your possibility of crashing can increase exponentially
Worst-case scenario – you are on your way down and the crash is imminent.
- If in street traffic and you are going to lay the bike down to avoid being hit, if possible always look to send yourself away from oncoming traffic, obviously.
- If its a slow speed crash and you can low side the bike, try and stay with it and avoid the impact. You are statistically less likely to get severely injured if you don’t bail away from the bike. If you do let the bike go then that’s one more thing that could injure you…obviously, circumstances dictate the outcome
- If it’s a high-speed crash let that bike go, it weighs more than you and that weight will keep it moving and its momentum could drag you a long way
When you hit the ground
- Crash well, try and keep relaxed but also keep your head off the ground. Moto GP race crashes, a lot of time, are very good examples of how to crash well, keeping the head up, tucking the arms in or crossing them and letting the fast moving bike go
- If you do get separated from the bike try to cross your arms across your chest ASAP, and again if possible, relax, easier said than done
- If you go into a roll, go with don’t fight it, let the momentum stop naturally, trying to fight it can cause more injuries
- Once you do stop take a second before you move and try and feel your body internally and if it gives you any signals that you are injured.
- Remember that your adrenaline will be racing so injuries may have happened that you aren’t aware of, so don’t move too quickly, try and slow that instinct down to just jump to your feet. Your bike is already on the ground, leave it there, you are more important than a machine. Running to pick it up could impact injuries that your adrenaline is not letting you feel yet
- Unequivocably NEVER let someone that isn’t medically trained take your helmet off if you can’t – NEVER!
- If you feel ANY sort of pain just say “call 911” if there are people around, if not then it is up to you to do whatever you can to make that call or hit that emergency SPOT button and lie still until help arrives. At that point, don’t let machismo take over, let a professional tell you that you are ok to move
You went down but you feel good and are certain you don’t have an injury
- Once you are up and moving and there are no apparent injuries and ‘if’ you can take your helmet off without any discomfort at all, look at the helmet closely. Does it have new scratches? If so strongly consider calling 911, as you may have gotten a concussion and its time to stop riding for now and seek a medical check-up
- If you are riding with someone else let them check you over and look at areas of your body you can’t see and describe to you how you crashed if the saw it
- Sit for a few minutes, let your adrenaline get back to normal levels
…and the obvious way to help reduce possible injuries, ATGATT, All The Gear, All The Time…Use the best gear you can afford, ride smart and never above your skill level
if you have anything to add, any specific ways you have learned or been trained to keep you safe in a crash, please add them in the comments below.
…for more on general topics like this be sure to read – The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths
The lead photo I took during a photo shoot of riders training to ride big bikes in the sand, it’s of my friend Ron, training with W38 moto, he crashed well, held on in this slow speed crash and walked away unharmed!!!
video courtesy of YouTube – crambno29 R