Pretty much every motorcyclist has heard that they can lay down their motorcycle in order to avoid a motorcycle accident or stop severe injuries from occurring. The problem with this commonly shared “motorcycle safety hint” is that it isn’t really a safety hint at all. Unless you get extremely lucky, laying down your motorcycle is likely to increase your risk of suffering a catastrophic injury.
Serious injuries suffered by motorcyclists who lay down their bikes at high speeds often include:
- Road rash
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
Why is Laying a Motorcycle Down Dangerous?
The reason why laying a motorcycle down is so dangerous is that it removes the entirety of control from the motorcyclist. A bike can only be controlled, steered, and slowed while it is upright and on its tires. Once it is placed on its side, it will rattle and bounce on metal and plastic parts that were never meant to touch the asphalt unless it was completely at rest.
If you lay your motorcycle down to avoid a crash, then you will be completely at the mercy of random chance. The likelihood of you hitting another object or vehicle with extreme force will be about the same as if you stayed on the motorcycle and kept it upright. There is no guarantee that your injuries will be less severe – or even just as bad – than if you had decided not to lay your bike down.
What Should You Do Instead to Prevent a Motorcycle Accident?
Keep your motorcycle upright when you are worried an accident is imminent. While your ride is on its wheels, you can brake, steer, and swerve to the best of your abilities. Your quick thinking and quicker reactions might be able to help you narrowly avoid a collision at the last second. Again, if you lay your motorcycle down to try to skid instead of crash, then you have no options to escape the collision left.
Three tips to help slow your motorcycle when a crash seems imminent:
- Use both brakes, which will allow you to come to a complete stop in the shortest distance. Be prepared for the difference in control you will probably feel when using both brakes at once, though.
- Try to move your weight away from the handlebars as you apply the brakes. This shift will adjust the bike’s center of gravity and momentum, making it easier for the brakes to do their job.
- Grip or straddle the fuel tank with your legs, which should help you stay upright as you rapidly decelerate, probably at a rate faster than normal.
Remember that swerving your motorcycle can also be the trick you need to avoid a crash. Safe swerving relies on knowing your surroundings and how to counter-steer or realign yourself after the first swerve. Without a controlled counter-steering technique, you could throw yourself off to one side or into an adjacent vehicle.
One Last Safety Tip About Timing
Laying down your motorcycle takes a few seconds, but so does applying the brakes. If you think you have time to lay down your bike, then that means you also have time to brake and possibly reduce your collision speed dramatically or prevent the crash entirely. Because laying down your motorcycle never takes less time than braking and/or swerving, it should never be your first priority for staying out of a motorcycle accident.If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Virginia that you know wasn’t your fault, then Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, PLLC would like to hear from you. Our motorcycle accident attorneys offer free consultations to inquiring clients and never charge attorney fees unless we win a positive settlement or verdict. Contact us now to learn more.