It’s a question of when, not if. If you ride a motorcycle long enough, you will go down eventually.
What you do before, during, and after your motorcycle crash may just save your life, so it helps to pay attention and plan for the worst as a motorcyclist.
Choosing the right insurance
Insurance goes beyond your motorcycle policy. A motorcycle policy may cover your bike and the property damage from the crash. But does it cover the damage done to YOU in the event of an accident?
How much money will it take to transition from a life with you to a life without you? That’s what you want to aim for when you buy life insurance. The number, in case you’re wondering, is “a lot.”
Sometimes motorcycle accidents are gentle. Many people walk away from a crash, but a lot of people don’t. A simple low-side motorcycle crash with lots of run-off rarely results in injury or even property damage beyond the rider’s gear and bike.
The second run-off is reduced, damage goes up exponentially. And motorcycle riders don’t always walk away from crashes. The right insurance is crucial, and paying extra for increased claim limits is often worth the price of admission. This is especially true when it comes to personal injury, which may sideline the motorcycle rider from work for weeks, months, or even eternity.
During the crash
Many motorcycle riders report knowing they’re going down before they go down. It pays to get as far from the bike as possible during a crash, but many riders hang on to the handlebars of their motorcycle for dear life before, during, and after a crash. Let go of the motorcycle’s handlebars as soon as you know you’re going to crash.
Crashes are hectic, the very definition of chaos, and controlling your body during one is nearly impossible. With that said, try your level best to stay on your back and low to the ground. Motorcyclists who tumble at high speeds experience much higher rates of injury than motorcyclists who skitter gently to a stop.
It’s important to realize you have very little control over a motorcycle crash and act accordingly.
After the crash
Are you with a group? Did anyone see you? Are you broken? Are you bleeding? Can you move? Is there a snowball’s chance in Hades of someone calling for help?
These are important questions.
If you receive help, follow your helpers’ instructions explicitly. If they tell you to lie motionless on the ground, do it. If they cut your leathers off with a razor-sharp pair of scissors, let them. If you find yourself in the back of an ambulance, thank your lucky stars and your guardian angel, and be sure to kiss your wife and kids the first chance you get.
If you crash alone, by yourself, in the dark of night, and wake up without the ability to drag yourself out of the situation you got yourself into in the first place, well, that’s a bad situation.
Preparing for a crash
Keep insurance cards and emergency contact information in a place people are likely to find them in a motorcycle crash. Keep copies of everything on your person and attached to your bike. If you wear protective gear, tape your insurance cards and contact information to one of your shoulder pads. Zip tie your contact information to one of your frame rails. Don’t trust your motorcycle bike’s glove box. It is likely to come apart in a crash.
Read my motorcycle safety guide to brush up on your safety skills or learn more about terms such as ATGATT (All-The-Gear-All-The-Time), a policy we adopt here which works during motorcycle crashes. A motorcyclist who spares no expense on safety gear proves he or she has enough self-respect to endure a motorcycle crash.
Always wear your helmet, a good jacket, tough pants, and leather gloves when you ride. Stay safe and keep the shiny side up.
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