We’ve all heard stories of bikers who have laid down their motorcycles when they were in imminent danger of a collision. By laying down the bike they may have faced a few minor injuries but likely prevented a major crash. No one wants to resort to laying down their bike unless it is necessary, so it’s important to understand how and when to lay down your bike.
Some bikers go by the mantra that it’s never a good idea to lay down your bike. They believe that the need to lay down your bike is caused by careless riding, failing to be aware of your surroundings, and not having proper motorcycle skills. They argue that by laying down your bike, you deliberately relinquish all control and are vulnerable of being struck or being in an even worse crash.
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There’s definitely merit to this argument. After all, if you ride defensively, can handle your bike well, and anticipate problems that could cause crashes, you can probably avoid most collisions. Obviously the best way to be safe on your bike is to know how to ride your bike safely. That is, to know how to recognize and handle potential hazards and act in order to prevent crashes from occurring.
On its side, your bike has little traction and you will have no control. If you have ever lost control of your bike before, you know this is a bad scenario to be in. Upright, you have control and your bike has traction. The moment you choose to lay down your motorcycle, you are accepting injuries to your body and damage to your bike. Ever had road rash before? It ain’t pretty! And head and neck injuries and broken bones are not unusual when you lay down your bike. It is a fallacy to believe that you are better protected by laying down your bike.
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Years ago, laying the motorcycle down to avoid a crash was actually taught in motorcycle safety courses. But this was during a time when motorcycle brakes were weak and braking was not an option to avoid an imminent crash. Also, maneuverability of these older bikes presented more of a challenge. But today’s bikes have come a long way. Brakes are more powerful than ever, and most bikes are easily maneuverable. Although I’m not going to say that there is never a reason to lay down your bike, I think you should avoid it. Lay down your bike and your risk of injury and damage to your bike is near 100 percent.
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Let’s say, for example, that you are making a turn and the vehicle next to you didn’t see you. They are veering right into your lane and you don’t have an easy escape route. Lay down your bike and you will face pretty significant injuries, and you might still be struck regardless. But continue on your bike and steer and brake defensively and you stand a good chance of avoiding the collision, preventing injury and damage to your bike.
One way to keep yourself safe without having to lay your bike down is by maintaining your motorcycle. By checking and replacing your tires as needed, you ensure that you have proper traction in an emergency situation. And by maintaining your brakes to manufacturer specifications, you know they will be ready to stop your motorcycle in an instant. Another great way to avoid a collision is to practice riding in a near-collision situation. Set up some cones in an empty parking lot and pretend they are cars, jutting out in front of you. Practice maneuvering I and around and get a feel for how to brake and swerve in an emergency situation.
Prevention is the key to not having to lay down your motorcycle. Ride defensively at all times. Far too often, drivers are unaware of motorcyclists on the road around them. They may be caught up in their music, cell phone, or snack and fail to notice you on the road. Or they may be paying attention and just miss you do to the smaller profile of a motorcycle. Whatever the reason, never assume that a motorist sees you. Even if you make eye contact with a motorist, do not assume that they know you are there.
Safety Never Stops – Lay Down Your Bike with Care
Don’t assume that because you have been riding for years you are safe and not at risk of a crash. The truth is that any biker, no matter how experienced, can be involved in a motorcycle crash. In fact, experienced bikers often become complacent and fail to be vigilant when they ride. Remember that safety never stops! It sounds hokey, but you can never be too cautious when on a motorcycle. It could be a matter of life and death.
At Kass & Moses, we specialize in representing motorcycle crash victims. We are bikers, too, and we know the thrill of riding a powerful machine and exploring the country. But with that thrill comes risk. Be ever vigilant and ride carefully. If you are involved in a crash, contact us at 1-800-MOTORCYCLE. We will be on your side and will help determine how you can seek compensation for your injuries.
We take pride in the attorney client relationship. We are available to take your call and provide you with legal advice at any time. Often, we can give you an idea of the value of your case in one simple phone call. Remember that when it comes to motorcycle crashes, the insurance company is not on your side, so you need someone who is! Contact 1-800-MOTORCYCLE today to learn more.