I dropped my motorcycle not once, but twice!
After taking the basic rider course a few years back through ABATE, I was so excited to finally get to ride my own motorcycle. Squee! My fiance had bought me a beautiful black 2006 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom (which is the bike I still have today) and I was chompin’ at the bit to get that girl out and ride her.
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The ABATE instructors were absolutely great and we rode our little Honda Rebels for 2 days, not getting over 2nd gear. But I just knew that I was ready! As soon as I got home, I had my fiance take me to the high school so I could practice my new moves on my bike. Oh boy, was it different! I was actually a little intimidated at first because my bike is so much bigger than the ones from the course. But in no time, I was rockin’ those figure-eights and turns. Over the next couple of weeks, I practiced riding around my neighborhood and basically got comfortable with riding.
Then it happened. I dropped my motorcycle. I went too slow into a turn and before I could think, “Oh S#!t!” we were down.
So what do you do now?
It probably happened so fast, you didn’t see it coming. Or you felt it going, but there was nothing you could do because it was already past the tipping point. Even experienced riders drop their motorcycles. It happens. You are most likely OK physically, but it can definitely cause you to lose confidence. The most common times it can happen is while stopped or during slow speed turns and maneuvers.
Follow these steps if it happens to you.
- Assuming you are not seriously hurt, get up and shake yourself off.
- Kill the engine and turn off the ignition as soon as you get up.
- Most likely, if you were in traffic, people will run to help. I was lucky both times and got help picking my bike up.
- Make sure your bike is in gear.
- If you are alone and your motorcycle is on its right side, put the kickstand down before lifting it. That way you can just rest it on the stand after you get it up. If it’s on the left side, be careful not to overtip it to the other side.
- Clear the ground so you have good foot traction and make sure that no fluids have spilled out on the ground. Put your bottom against the seat of the motorcycle. Use your legs to walk the bike back up. ( See the video below)
Now assess the condition of your bike and check for damage.
Here is a great video demonstrating how to pick your bike up.
I would also suggest installing engine guards, sometimes called highway bars or (cringe) crash bars, on your bike like these. They will help if you do tip your bike by keeping it from being flat on the ground. Hence, protecting the engine and making it easier to pick up.
I hope you found this helpful. The most important thing is to get back on that motorcycle and finish your ride. I know it can feel devastating, but you can be prepared if it happens and quickly get back on the road.
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