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Crash strategy?

Old 11-17-19, 10:14 PM
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kayak4water
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Crash strategy?

I've had two minor crashes in the last five weeks.
Has anyone practiced flying from their bike?
The best strategy to minimize injuries?
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Old 11-17-19, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by kayak4water View Post
I've had two minor crashes in the last five weeks.
Has anyone practiced flying from their bike?
The best strategy to minimize injuries?
The best strategy is to avoid the crash in the first place. Every time I crash or even almost crash I try to figure out what happened and why. And I spend some time thinking about what I can do avoid letting it happen again.

The only advice I can give as far as actually crash strategy is to try to roll. Sometimes it just canít happen depending on the type of wreck. If you can roll, though, at least some energy is absorbed. This has served me well on dirt bikes and on one occasion a street bike which decided to part ways with me mid-ride.
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Old 11-18-19, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
The best strategy is to avoid the crash in the first place. Every time I crash or even almost crash I try to figure out what happened and why. And I spend some time thinking about what I can do avoid letting it happen again.
Yup. learn from your mistakes or end up crippled or killed. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started to ride in seriously bad traffic---with a seriously bad attitude. (For some reason I rode with resopect in my childhood and teen years, when you might expect I'd act out more. I waited until my mid-20s and grew a big shoulder-chip .... breaking both shoulders helped cure that.)

If you got hit, a lot of things went wrong. Not saying you will never get hit when it is entirely out of your hands ... but everybody I know who commutes or has commuted has learned a whole set of actions/responses which are so ingrained they are unconscious ... and which obviate a lot of potential encounters while they are still potential.

No one should ride afraid---fear will keep you from reacting/responding properly, and limit your awareness. But everyone who rides on the road should always be aware that that stuff is Real. Every encounter with a multi-ton metal death-missile is potentially incredibly damaging or even lethal, and while a rider should be a participating actor in traffic, the rider will never win the fight with the motor vehicle.

All crashes hurt.

Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
The only advice I can give as far as actually crash strategy is to try to roll. Sometimes it just canít happen depending on the type of wreck. If you can roll, though, at least some energy is absorbed. This has served me well on dirt bikes and on one occasion a street bike which decided to part ways with me mid-ride.
I used to know how to roll (a little martial arts dabbling which served well in my actual life) but that only works with flat pedals. If you are clipped in your reactions are constrained. And a lot of the time everything happens so fast .... the best thing to do is get up and get out of the road after it is over.
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Old 11-18-19, 12:04 AM
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Don't give up- often much can be done in that fraction of a second to make the best of it.

Tuck and roll- spread the force, don't take it all with the arms, protect the head.

Ride defensively, be aware of potential hazards, outlets, and landing zones.

Wear gloves. Some slow trials-type riding is good for bike handling & can improve emergency maneuvers.

I knew a guy who practiced riding increasingly fast into crashes on a lawn, but he died of a degenerative disease so there's that...
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Old 11-18-19, 04:02 AM
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Do not panic, stay loose, tuck in towards the torso and roll with the fall.
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Old 11-18-19, 04:40 AM
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I doubt a cat puts too much thought into landing on its feet, but manages it none the less.
If it did have a conscious, methodic technique, I'd be very interested in a cat telling me how...
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Old 11-18-19, 05:05 AM
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hard not to land on hand wrist knee. done it myself & saw a kid get hit by a car & he also landed on a hand & knee. I've read to try to keep your hands on the bars & to go down on your side striking meeatier parts of your body like hip & shoulder. there must be a pro video on the topic. oh yeah interesting searches on giggle & the ytube
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Old 11-18-19, 06:32 AM
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I'm assuming the question is about what to do when the crash avoidance fails, so I'll just focus on that.

My experience is that I generally don't have a lot of time to adjust, so my best strategy is to hold onto the handlebars and try to recover right up to the point I actually hit the ground. This serves 2 purposes. First, sometimes I've actually pulled the bike back into control at a point I wouldn't have thought was possible. Second, it keeps me from stretching my arms out ahead of me, which is my instinctive reaction, and just about the worst position to be in. I find my riding position is already pretty close to my rolling position, so it's just the best way to play the odds.

That said, most of my wipeouts have occurred when I have taken a turn on a bend or corner that was unexpectedly slippery, and I'm usually on the ground before I really know what happened.
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Old 11-18-19, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
I doubt a cat puts too much thought into landing on its feet, but manages it none the less.
If it did have a conscious, methodic technique, I'd be very interested in a cat telling me how...
If you find a cat is talking to you, that may be a sign you landed badly.
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Old 11-18-19, 07:19 AM
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Wear a good helmet (buy one with MIPS), make sure it is adjusted properly (=snug), and watch out for sand and gravel on corners.
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Old 11-18-19, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
If you find a cat is talking to you, that may be a sign you landed badly.
Did Alice land badly when the Cheshire Cat spoke to her...and she answered?
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Old 11-18-19, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
Did Alice land badly when the Cheshire Cat spoke to her...and she answered?
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Old 11-18-19, 07:44 AM
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Try to crash on the left side at least to protect the bike! I used to practice rolls by running and diving into them but looking back don't think it was a beneficial exercise. If you have time to choose it is better to 'lay the bike down' rather than to stay upright before crashing. Crashes happen fast though your mind 'processes in slow motion' during the crash! I still remember the crash (in leather hair net days) that resulted in a broken right clavicle even to feeling my jaw break the clavicle. I heard the 'pop', too. What a miserable injury. I'd rather take that than one that keeps me from riding, though!
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Old 11-18-19, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Do not panic, stay loose, tuck in towards the torso and roll with the fall.
I learned this naturally as a kid playing sports. Go loose, don't fight the fall, get up* and assess the damage.

Football (American) of all things teaches one how to go to the ground without getting hurt worse than what the tackle causes. I imagine Rugby would do the same.

It has paid off through the years in motorcycle and bicycle crashes. Every time I crashed on two wheels and didn't get severely hurt, I swear it made me think of a hard football tackle. Probably the reason I moved over to soccer in 6th grade.

Edit: *get out of harm's way, of course

Last edited by FiftySix; 11-18-19 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 11-18-19, 07:59 AM
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Your body’s natural instinct is to protect your head by extending your arms. Keep this in mind as you land and keep your elbow bent and cushion the impact to the ground to prevent a collar bone fracture. Once you make contact with the ground now it’s time to think about where you are and if your in danger ie sitting in the middle of a busy street. Get to a safe spot before you asses the damage.
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Old 11-18-19, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I see, so all you need in order to have a conversation with a cat is a really bad crash...or really good drugs.
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Old 11-18-19, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
All crashes hurt.
True.

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I used to know how to roll (a little martial arts dabbling which served well in my actual life) but that only works with flat pedals. If you are clipped in your reactions are constrained. And a lot of the time everything happens so fast .... the best thing to do is get up and get out of the road after it is over.
I've crashed too many times to count. Being clipped in is never a problem. My feet have always come out of the pedals but my pedals aren't adjusted to be tight. That said, the idea isn't to "roll" so much as to let the bike take the impact. If you come off the bike, of course roll with the crash but staying with the bike lets the bike do the hard work.

Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Do not panic, stay loose, tuck in towards the torso and roll with the fall.
The first two pieces of advice are spot on. The next two aren't as good. As I said above, stay with the bike. You can't tuck and roll if you are on the bike but that doesn't matter. Keep all the extremities attached to the bike as much as possible to avoid breaking them off. Arms or legs stuck out to "catch yourself" simply won't. They will just break.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
hard not to land on hand wrist knee. done it myself & saw a kid get hit by a car & he also landed on a hand & knee. I've read to try to keep your hands on the bars & to go down on your side striking meeatier parts of your body like hip & shoulder. there must be a pro video on the topic. oh yeah interesting searches on giggle & the ytube
Yes, keeping your hands and arms attached to the bike as much as possible is the correct course of action. Your arms and legs just can't take the impact. Bones will break.

Originally Posted by SayWatt View Post
Your bodyís natural instinct is to protect your head by extending your arms. Keep this in mind as you land and keep your elbow bent and cushion the impact to the ground to prevent a collar bone fracture. Once you make contact with the ground now itís time to think about where you are and if your in danger ie sitting in the middle of a busy street. Get to a safe spot before you asses the damage.
Like a broken record, don't put your hands out to "catch" yourself. It doesn't work. You won't "break your fall", you'll just break your arm (or leg). Once you are headed for the ground, there is nothing that is going to minimize the impact. Hang on to the handlebars, stay in the pedals and ride the bike down. If you can take the impact on your hip towards the posterior side (fancy way of saying your butt) and on the shoulder, again towards the posterior side.

Finally, when it happens, stay as loose as possible. Become a rag doll. "Bracing for impact" will just transmit the impact throughout the body and allow for more injury. You can still get hurt but when the force isn't transmitted, the injuries are lessened.
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Old 11-18-19, 09:18 AM
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Learning and practicing how to hit the ground will save you a lot of pain but there are limitations. No matter how good you are, there are crashes where you'll just hit the ground, no technique. Losing control on a fast turn especially if it's slick and you're not paying real close attention, you may have only a split second. It's hit and miss no matter how fast you are.

So sure, it's worthwhile to sign up in a judo Dojo (or any of several martial arts) and it only takes a few weeks to get decent at this part of it. But don't rely on it to get you out of trouble. Like everyone says, it's better to stay out of trouble.
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Old 11-18-19, 09:28 AM
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Ya.... I've broken wrist by putting a hand out.... and lost a lot of skin off palm of hands. Resist the thought to put a hand or leg down.... they will break.
Ride the bike down and then get off. Get the !@#$% out of the street before somebody else comes along and runs over you.

Got doored once at 15 mph..... No bones broken, not even any scraps because I rag-dolled when I hit the pavement. I blacked out when hitting the door, don't remember how I got off, but I woke up to the sight of a buses duelly rear wheels going by my head just inches away. Sat up and look around to the rear and the radiator of the front of a school bus had stopped right in my face.
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Old 11-18-19, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

Like a broken record, don't put your hands out to "catch" yourself. It doesn't work. You won't "break your fall", you'll just break your arm (or leg). Once you are headed for the ground, there is nothing that is going to minimize the impact. Hang on to the handlebars, stay in the pedals and ride the bike down. If you can take the impact on your hip towards the posterior side (fancy way of saying your butt) and on the shoulder, again towards the posterior side.


Finally, when it happens, stay as loose as possible. Become a rag doll. "Bracing for impact" will just transmit the impact throughout the body and allow for more injury. You can still get hurt but when the force isn't transmitted, the injuries are lessened.

Not to be picky, but if you do sign up for some martial arts you'll learn that this bolded part is incorrect. I just don't want people to take this to the bank instead of learning how to do it correctly, if they are so inclined.


It's good advice for the completely untrained person, but with basic fall training you'll learn how to minimize the impact and part of that is "bracing". Not with straight arms or holding your breath of course. If I fall on my right side, ideally I want my left foot planted flat (knee bent and pointing up), my right leg stretched out (knee off the ground), taking impact on the feet, hip (not butt), back side of shoulder, and right hand stretched out sideways. The goal is to transmit the impact from these contact points through the bodies major muscle systems.


I'd say the same thing for hanging onto the bars, and "letting the bike take the impact". It may help a bit, but if I've done either of these things it's because I failed to react, had no technique, and it wound up hurting. A lot.
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Old 11-18-19, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I've crashed too many times to count. Being clipped in is never a problem. My feet have always come out of the pedals but my pedals aren't adjusted to be tight. That said, the idea isn't to "roll" so much as to let the bike take the impact. If you come off the bike, of course roll with the crash but staying with the bike lets the bike do the hard work.
We have had different experiences. I find that my hips and shoulders do the hard work. Maybe you are really thin, so that your bike is wider than your body?

I am Not really thin.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You can't tuck and roll if you are on the bike ...
My point exactly.
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Keep all the extremities attached to the bike as much as possible to avoid breaking them off. Arms or legs stuck out to "catch yourself" simply won't. They will just break.
Absolutely. When i fall clipped in i try to turn my shoulder into it to land on the back of the shoulder instead of the point, I pull my hands back so that if I hit, I hit with the backs of my wrists, and try to roll up as much as i can. Anything extended is sacrificed to physics and physiology. if you can't do a one-handed push-up at 32 feet per second, you can't do a one-handed at that force plus the added force of your forward motion on the bike. Basically, you are trying to catch your body weight at 2 gs .... How many people here can one-hand bench 500 lbs?

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Yes, keeping your hands and arms attached to the bike as much as possible is the correct course of action. Your arms and legs just can't take the impact. Bones will break.
Not always. Sometimes tendons and ligaments will tear instead.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Like a broken record, don't put your hands out to "catch" yourself. It doesn't work. You won't "break your fall", you'll just break your arm (or leg). Once you are headed for the ground, there is nothing that is going to minimize the impact. Hang on to the handlebars, stay in the pedals and ride the bike down. If you can take the impact on your hip towards the posterior side (fancy way of saying your butt) and on the shoulder, again towards the posterior side.

Finally, when it happens, stay as loose as possible. Become a rag doll. "Bracing for impact" will just transmit the impact throughout the body and allow for more injury. You can still get hurt but when the force isn't transmitted, the injuries are lessened.
This is all stuff I have tested (perforce) and found to work. Still, some crashes I have either been moving too fast or the crash happened too fast to do much.

I'd say though, if you crash enough to be able to "practice" how you crash ... get a trike?

So far, though, we have always walked away .... and been able to ride after a while.
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Old 11-18-19, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by kayak4water View Post
I've had two minor crashes in the last five weeks.
Has anyone practiced flying from their bike?
The best strategy to minimize injuries?
Sign up for your local cyclocross series. You'll get all sorts of practice crashing your bike.
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Old 11-18-19, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kayak4water View Post
Has anyone practiced flying from their bike?
Who doesn't? I have an old Huffy that I use for just such occasions. I have a neighbor who has a beater AMC Gremlin that he parks beside the road. I have slammed into it at almost all angles. My right shoulder is bad, so I practice impacting with my left. It's starting to go bad too, so maybe I need to rethink my logic. It's surprisingly easy to roll over a hood or trunk. The cabin, not so much. I haven't asked him to door me yet. I think that one is going to be the biggest challenge.
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Old 11-18-19, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Who doesn't? I have an old Huffy that I use for just such occasions. I have a neighbor who has a beater AMC Gremlin that he parks beside the road. I have slammed into it at almost all angles. My right shoulder is bad, so I practice impacting with my left. It's starting to go bad too, so maybe I need to rethink my logic. It's surprisingly easy to roll over a hood or trunk. The cabin, not so much. I haven't asked him to door me yet. I think that one is going to be the biggest challenge.
See, that's why SUVs and crossovers were invented. To raise the average hood height and eliminate trunks.
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Old 11-18-19, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Not to be picky, but if you do sign up for some martial arts you'll learn that this bolded part is incorrect. I just don't want people to take this to the bank instead of learning how to do it correctly, if they are so inclined.

I've not got any martial arts training but I've got lots and lots of crash training. I stick by what I said with regards to crashing on a bicycle.


Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
It's good advice for the completely untrained person, but with basic fall training you'll learn how to minimize the impact and part of that is "bracing". Not with straight arms or holding your breath of course. If I fall on my right side, ideally I want my left foot planted flat (knee bent and pointing up), my right leg stretched out (knee off the ground), taking impact on the feet, hip (not butt), back side of shoulder, and right hand stretched out sideways. The goal is to transmit the impact from these contact points through the bodies major muscle systems.
Most people "brace" by stiffening up limbs and probably holding their breath. In other words they tense up which means that any impact is transmitted throughout the body. However, you are describing a stationary impact that you'd expect in a martial arts setting. On a bicycle at speed, there is not opportunity to plant a foot. "Planting a foot" is a good way to get it broken.

Again, I have no martial arts training but a bicycle crash is more analogous to a Judo throwee. The person getting thrown doesn't attempt to stop the fall by planting anything. They are rag dolls.

As to taking the impact on the hip, I try to avoid direct impact to the hip joint if possible. Taking the impact on the larger muscle mass of the buttocks won't result in a broken hip. It will result in bruising but that's relatively easy to heal vs a broken hip joint.

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I'd say the same thing for hanging onto the bars, and "letting the bike take the impact". It may help a bit, but if I've done either of these things it's because I failed to react, had no technique, and it wound up hurting. A lot.
I've seen lots of people injured by trying to "catch themselves" or attempting to plant a foot or arm. I've been injured that way myself...thankfully not too seriously. After enough times of going down, I've learned to just "go with the flow" but make sure the bike takes the brunt of the impact as much as possible.
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