April 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm #3853IBA270Participant
I’ve seen this topic pop up a few times in several posts, and I feel it’s important to weigh in with some thoughts and observations;
The motorcycling community is a very small percentage of the overall population. Having said that, only a minority of the motorcycling population has any formal training and may or may not be minimally competent riders. It’s because of these facts that most new, beginning riders get so much unsound advice on nearly everything motorcycling related. I have neither time nor space to cover even a fraction of the stuff I hear, but I want to address crashing briefly.
Like all of us, I’ve heard the old addage that there are two kinds of motorcyclist; ones who have crashed and the ones that will crash. I find this statement to be terribly inaccurate and I believe that it opens the door for a motorcyclist dodge learning as much as possible to be safe and to avoid an incident. That statement IS true for the untrained riders and those who do not have a sound riding strategy.
Another thing I’ve seen here recently, and from time to hear about is “learning how to crash”. That usually comes from the school of “I had to lay ‘er down to avoid an accident”. Ummm, simple reply is; bullshit. The number cause of bike vs. vehicle accident is a vehicle turing left in front of a motorcyclist. The number one cause of single bike accidents is the rider failing to negotiate a curve or turn. Number three is the motorcyclist failing to brake properly and losing control. So, if you consider just the obvious top three that encompass the overwhelming number of motorcycle accidents in this country, can anyone tell me how spending your time “learning how to crash” would be of any benefit? Neither can I!
Before I get too far…Even if you slept through physics in HS, a quick calculation in your head should tell keeping two tires on the pavement braking and shedding momentum beats two to three points of metal, sliding and sparking all the way into an object. Besides, I’ve yet to see the first person, on pavement, that perfectly slide the rear of a motorcycle out enough to make it crash! That’s expert stuntman stuff…and where and with who’s bike do you even get to practice it? Next time you hear someone who says they did that, just know in your head the screwed up on braking and CRASHED, but won’t admit to that.
Point is this; understand WHY motorcycle crashes happen. Seek out and read the “Hurt Report”. It’s dated, but the data and just as relevant today as when the report was first issued. Once you understand the anatomy of the motorcycle crash, you can then work on how to avoid them in the first place instead of concentrating a single second on what happens AFTER you’ve put yourself into a position where you are crashing.
So, my advice to beginning riders is this: Your mindset should be that you are cautious, observant and you have a strategy for riding safely on each and every ride, and with each and very foot of road you ride. You are not going to crash, you are not going to “bail out” and you’re not going to “lay ‘er down”. You are going to improve your skills on each and every ride and because of these things, you will become increasingly more proficient and have a love for the sport that is safe and will last a lifetime.
Thanks for reading…April 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm #25589eonParticipant
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say above.
I would add that on learning to avoid situations where you crash the internet is your friend. The Hurt report was a statistical analysis of some 900 odd (I think) crashes back in the 70’s. These days people are posting detailed analysis of their crashes online and you get back and forth discussion on why it happened and what could have been done to prevent it. I have found these a great resource in learning to recognize potentially dangerous situations, everything from your state of mind, to lane positioning to nuances of traffic flow. At the very least they are a reminder of the consequences of our mistakes and to reign in your enthusiasm at times.
Not always pleasant reading but something I try to do from time to time.
Face Plant over at advrider is my source of this infoApril 9, 2010 at 11:21 pm #25590TrialsRiderParticipant
Sage words, I like the fact that it does not scare the crap out motorcyclists, who’s only desire is to ride the public roads safely.
If you wish to develop your riding skills to the limit, do so on a track or on the dirt or some place else where no cars go. By far the best way to learn to ride better, is to follow someone that rides far better than you.
If you are looking for riders more skilled than yourself, get involved in amateur competition events or pay for lessons.
If you should find yourself among the 1% of riders out there that take interest in my favorite motor sport know this… You will crash! but seldom seriously hurt yourself, that is the advantage of a non-speed related motor sportApril 9, 2010 at 11:45 pm #25591Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Almost all of my close calls in 14 years of street riding have been from a car or truck turning left, and the driver not seeing me. This story also includes the drivers running red lights, another hazard to look for:
“This story takes place back in 1971.
I was on my motorcycle heading back to my college apartment after a lovely weekend with my family, about 30 miles away or so. It was barely twilight. A woman turned left in front of me, clearly didn’t see me (she didn’t look), and I hit her car roughly at her back wheel, was launched over the car, and literally landed on my face. Three of my teeth were broken, my knee was split open, and I broke a small bone in my foot that required me to get around with a cane for 4 months.
No serious accidents since then, though! That single incident made me paranoid. Now I think that car drivers are out to get me, so I assume that I’m invisible to them. It’s worked well so far.
A friend of mine got in a real bad accident, mainly caused by his own stupidity. He would race through intersections. What he’d do was sit at a red light, and watch the light in the opposing direction go from green to yellow to red. When it was about to switch to red, he’d gun the bike and fly through the intersection like a drag race. This is pretty stupid, since we all know that intersections are where most of the bad stuff happens, where car drivers don’t “see” you.
So, he tried this one time too many. It was around twilight again. He ripped it right into the intersection and got t-boned by an old man who sped up to beat the light. My buddy’s leg was smashed to pieces. When he finally came back to work, he brought an x-ray and showed us all the screws and strapping and bailing wire that they used to put the bones back together.
And he walks real funny now.”
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
One of my legs is a little shorter than the other and has a large lump of bone, where a fence post hit my leg while dirt bike riding. So far, I just have bruises from 2 street bike crashes, and one was at slow speed on wet grass. I cannot remember how many times I crashed dirt bikes- if you climb steep hills and ride in the mud, you are going to crash quite a bit. The Hurt Report states that riders that started out on dirt bikes are much less likely to crash on the street.April 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm #25592JackTradeParticipant
is a classic example of what happens when statistics are misused and misinterpreted: something that has a basis in fact within a certain context gets simplified and applied out of context, and eventually becomes dogma.
While I’m sure this is done with good intentions (making people more conscious of the dangers of motorcycling is always a good thing), as with many such things, it’s not entirely true, and can have unintended consequences if taken without some examination.
Allen’s philosophy is similar to mine (mine being less articulate): I’m aware I CAN crash, but I strive to NOT crash.April 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm #25615owlieParticipant
Great thoughts from everyone.
For myself, it isn’t so much when or whether you will crash, but how that possibility affects your riding now and how you will deal with it if you do crash. Just as part of everyday riding, you should do things to minimize your chances of crashing and maximize your ability to survive a crash. Situational awareness, riding skill development, and wearing proper gear all come into that.
On the back end, have you worked to minimize your other risks? Family planning, insurance, a support network, emergency funds? Most of these should be in place just for good practice, not because of riding. But they give me peace of mind when I am riding.April 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm #25598Gary856Participant
More and more I realize things are never one-size-fits-all. Nowadays when I see new riders ask about the type of first bike and the first upgrade bike, I’m unsure what to say, because there are endless different individual circumstances.
Back to the discussion of crashing. Yes, crashes are avoidable, but the plain fact is many new riders will crash hard early in their riding career, and some won’t. There are a lot an individual can do to reduce the risks, but it’s also unfortunate that many won’t take the necessary steps to gain the necessary (way beyond just the basics) riding skills. In addition to the physical skills, many won’t have the maturity and self-control to avoid riding over their skill levels; I’m guilty of this. So again, it comes down to the individuals.April 10, 2010 at 11:06 pm #25619eternal05Participant
While it is important to accept that you can crash, and get that out of your mind when you’re riding, accepting that you will crash is a terrible idea. Every crash is an opportunity to die, if not from the crash itself, from getting mauled by another vehicle as you go down. I’ve never crashed on the road, and I don’t plan to if I can help it.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.