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When a bike’s engine roars to life at the beginning of a ride, a biker’s heart soars with anticipation (though some might not want to admit it), thinking about the road and the destination ahead. It stands to reason that the last thing most people are thinking about is crashing, but today we’ll dive into the anatomy of a crash to see how protective gear can help you get where you’re going in one piece.
The Lay Down
The simplest and most common kind of crash is where the bike falls on its side and slides to a stop. This can happen on slippery road conditions or as a deliberate attempt to put the bike between an unforeseen obstacle and the rider. While a biker’s head may never even hit the ground in a slower or controlled lay down, ankles, legs, hips, and even shoulders can be severely injured, especially if the bike and rider slide off the pavement onto uneven ground.
It’s not uncommon to see motorcycle riders wearing shorts, sneakers, a t-shirt or no shirt at all, especially if they are out for a quick ride or an errand, but this kind of attire won’t prevent road rash in the event of a lay down. You may not want to dress like a motocross racer complete with Alpinestars boots every time you head out the door, but at the very least, firmly protect your ankles and give yourself a layer of clothing between your body and the road.
The Burrito Incident
A biker on the road might be observing every possible safety and defensive driving rule when a flying burrito, road debris, a June bug, or other airborne threat catches your upper torso, causing you to lose your balance and take an uncontrolled tumble. In this case, it’s possible you will become separated from your bike and both you and the bike may flip or roll.
In this case, any part of your body could become injured, especially your head, neck, and arms. The difference between walking away and going to the hospital could be the difference between whether you wore shorts and a T-shirt or appropriate protection, including padding and durable clothing materials from head to toe. Various health information exchange providers are now able to weigh in with statistics showing infections that arise from these types of injuries can be as problematic as the initial injury itself, so avoiding cuts and lacerations is critical.
Car and Driver
Past statistics show that cars can be responsible for up to 74 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents, often hitting a biker from behind in these statistics. In addition to rear-end collisions, “T-bones” and “Dooring,” unpredictable or irresponsible driving, such as crossing multiple lanes of traffic without warning are additional risks posed by the people who share the road with bikers.
For this reason, while defensive driving tactics are crucial to safety, wearing high visibility gear such as reflectors or bright colors can significantly improve your chances of being noticed before a collision occurs. Every auto body repair shop owner has heard the sentence: “He came out of nowhere!” at least a thousand times, so do your best to make your presence clear with auxiliary lights, vests, helmet reflectors, and even reflective tape.
Lions, Tigers, and Bears
Some of the most scenic byways in America are deep in the wild; majestic mountains and lakes, beautiful forests and rivers, and wild animals galore. Even in the city, having a dog chase after you can cause an accident, so always be on the lookout for animals approaching the roadway. Even if you are out in the country, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security; even small animals can cause accidents.