Why motorcyclists crash

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/22/why-motorcyclists-crash.html


I just came to say that’s a gorgeous R90S. Mine may have looked like that 20 years and 80k miles ago, but that was long before my stewardship. Interestingly at almost 90k miles it doesn’t appear to have ever been down.


Kind of crazy that people are frequently dropping their bikes in low-speed incidents. What does that point to other than bad practices and exceeding skill levels? In 4 years I’ve dropped mine twice, and only while parked or moving it with the engine off.

So that their families can have fun get-togethers in trauma ICU?

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The next interesting bit will be to see how motorcycle inattention compares to scooter inattention, or bycycle inattention. Or how the pose on a motocycle plays a role. Do racing style cycles suffer more crashes than hogs or choppers? Does travelling in a pack hurt or harm?

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Upon instrumentation and survey completion, riders were released […]


That’s a lot. In 14 years, I dropped my bike twice, both times soon after I got it.

Dropping bikes isn’t really surprising though: the article didn’t make this clear, but motorcycles are really heavy. Even the smaller ones usually weigh more than the rider. The big touring bikes weigh a LOT more, and riders aren’t all huge weight lifters. Plus, motorcycles tend to be sized for tall people for some reason.

When the bike is at speed, gyroscopic stability takes care of everything and it doesn’t require any effort to stay upright. The difficult part is when you’re slow or stopped, when you need to balance carefully and use leverage and muscles.

Most of my beginners riding class was about practicing maneuvers at low speed.

Shiny side up, rubber side down.


We drop our bikes more than we’d like to admit.

Anyone that says they never have is lying.


What the actual fuck? I’ve been riding most of my life and the only incident like that I can recall I was actually off the bike and checking the oil level. I mean srsly, is this the biker equivalent of the dumbasses that “bumper-check” every time they park?

Lol, I see wut u did there!

And yes, in my experience it does. The increased visibility to other drivers is great, but your options are severely limited if you actually do need to GTFO. I’ve done group rides just enough times to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, they all suck.


“Never”, I’ll agree with, but as the saying goes, “there are old riders and there are bold riders but there are no old, bold riders”. If you’re dropping your bike more than once a decade (and you’re not a track racer) then you’re doing something wrong.


There are two kinds of riders, those who have dropped the bike, and those who will drop the bike.

My one not parked drop was just a goddamn day after getting my endorsement. Whee leftover black sand on the road from winter ice control. The brakes locked up and I was down before I could finish screaming oh shit in my head. Hooray for gear and a place right nearby to sit down and let the adrenaline rush pass.


A lot of bragging in here about how we don’t drop our bikes in the driveway, unlike those OTHER punks in the thread. “More often than we care to admit” is an understatement. Me, In thirty-odd years of riding, I’ve dropped EVERY SINGLE BIKE I’ve owned, except the most recent, which I’ve only owned since October. So there’s time.

Maybe you guys just don’t ride your bikes?


I have noticed that some are wa-a-ay more prone to dropping than others. Not sure what it is, either, but you can tell pretty much as soon as they get on.

ABS for everyone!


That’s why I don’t want a motorcycle.

The only thing I want to drop is boss beats.

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I have a gravel driveway. First time I brought my Street Triple home I dropped it trying to set the sidestand. That bike was always a handful.

Last bike I dropped was maybe 1 year ago, when a pal left his F800GS in my driveway, then needed me to move it for a potential buyer. A propane tanker was coming down my tiny road as I was going up. I pulled out of the way into a neighbors sloped driveway. when I went to put my foot down I realized I was a LOT higher than I’m used to and couldn’t reach the ground. Unsurprisingly the F800 with GS armour was fine with a 0mph wobble over. My hands and leg weren’t so much.


Holy crap!
Glad you’re still here to tell the tale anyway. Sounds like you’re a “dropper” then. :slight_smile:
We’ve been riding about the same length of time, I’ve got something North of 250k miles on an assortment of bikes.
Besides the one I tipped over checking the oil, I also totalled one my first year riding thanks to being side-swiped at 45mph, (no injuries thanks to proper gear, and yes I could have avoided it if I’d been paying better attention). Otherwise just a scraped mirror from being forced out of my lane at 75mph with a wall next to me, and lots, and lots, and lots and lots and lotlotlotlotlotlots of near misses. And I don’t like iron-butt road-trips, this is almost all day-to-day city and suburban riding.
I’d suggest considering all of your drops and seeing if there’s a pattern? Maybe something small that you have control over?

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Not a good fit then, I can’t tell you how many times a good foot plant has kept me from going down at low speed, but that’s because I won’t ride a bike that’s too heavy or tall for me.

For anyone following this thread who’s a “dropper”, there’s two things to check:

  • you should be able to stand up straight straddling the bike and have both feet firmly on the ground
  • you should be able to “ease” the bike all the way down. I.e. from that stradding position you should be able to set one foot farther out and then lower the bike slowly and gently all the way down on its side

If you can’t do both of those things then your bike is not a good fit and you will be dropping it at slow speeds whenever you hit sand, mud, gravel, leaves, roadkill, greasy spots etc.


Why wouldn’t I be here? Dropping a bike at 0MPH isn’t very dangerous. The pattern? “Doing stuff” with the bike. Pushing on a dirt driveway. Loading into a truck or van by myself with a board for a ramp. Balancing the bike on it’s sidestand and a floor jack while I pull the wheel or forks. An unskilled pillion. Diesel fuel on the crosswalk. um, what else? Bikes, by virtue of only having two wheels, will not stand up on their own when still. Better quality motorcycles are built with this in mind, and will survive a tip-over with little or no damage. Some brands require thousands of dollars to make right if you decide to let it go rather than strain yourself when it gets out from under you at a stoplight. I don’t buy those bikes.


you don’t consider this a drop? It’s a drop. You do this, you dropped your bike