Some iron-man riders can seem...
Some iron-man riders can seem to wrestle a crashing bike into submission, but for most of us the best option is to let go and get away from the motorcycle as
quickly as possible to avoid getting hit by it.
One of the sad realities of our sport is that crashes occur more often than we'd like, and those crashes often end with an injury. Rather than avoid thinking about the possibility and what you would do in the event of a tipover, you can help minimize the resultant injuries with some forethought and action during the crash itself. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your viewpoint), the Sport Rider staff has plenty of experience in this area, and has learned the skills associated with crashing a motorcycle.
First, however, it can't be stressed enough that your goal-especially on the street-is to stay upright and on two wheels. There is no "badge of honor" or prize money for crashing, and no judges with scorecards. There are far too many immovable objects to hit and an accordingly higher risk of major injury. Things are different on the track, however. Learning skills and improving as a rider means toeing the line occasionally, and crashing is more likely. You've heard it before, but we can't say it enough: If you're going to be pushing your limits, take it to the track.
The initial ground impact...
The initial ground impact during a crash can cause the most injury. Keep your arms and legs as tucked in as possible to protect them, and relax your body as much as possible to prepare for landing.
Before you even turn a wheel, you should be prepared for an accident. Good gear is a must, as is a motorcycle in proper working order. You definitely don't want to crash because your tire pressures are low, or for any other similarly avoidable reason. And you have to wear your gear (rather than leave it at home) for it to work. Being in good physical shape can help lessen the severity of your injuries in a crash; stretching regularly, and before you ride, can help as well.
Now for the crash itself. Our first instinct in an accident is to tense up and perhaps close our eyes-the completely wrong response. There is plenty to do in a crash, and you want your eyes open to see what's going on. Try to stay alert, and don't simply give up and wait for the sky-ground-sky-ground to stop. That said, one big mistake that many riders make is holding on to the motorcycle well past the point of no return. Racers sometimes get credit for keeping a death grip on the clip-ons, allowing them to get back up and in the race all the more quickly. The reality is that by holding on and staying close to the bike, you are increasing your chances of getting hit or caught up in the flying machinery. Let go once you realize a crash is inevitable, and if possible even push the bike away from you.
With the crash now running its course and the ground rushing up at you, it's important to stay as relaxed as possible and not tense your limbs. In any type of fall, resist the natural urge to try and cushion a fall with your hands; trying to break your fall with an outstretched arm will almost certainly result in a broken wrist. Your gear is padded in strategic places for just this occasion, and it's best to let the padded (and stronger) areas of your body such as the outer portion of your arms, shoulders, and back take the brunt of the impact rather than your hands and wrists-the least-protected (and most fragile) portion of your body. If you can make it past the initial landing without serious injury, chances are good you'll walk away when it's over.