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Crash Poll Stories

The Crash Poll has become a popular place and the page has become BIG, so I broke the stories into seasons of the year.

I am on several "Bike" lists with a total of about 1000 members throughout the world...
The topic of "get-off's" came up and the stories started, many have found them very educational and some find them entertaining.

I really tried to avoid duplicate stories, but...

Visit the Hurt Study.
A real study into the details of how and why motorcycle accidents are what they are.
Read This!
Spring Time Stories  Summer Time Stories  Fall Time Stories  Winter Time Stories

...No offense, but I do enjoy reading them. Also, probably good for us new riders.
1 month KLR650 owner, 1st bike.

On my A13, once, real hard going backwards down a very steep hill. My bike was brand spanking new and I didn't want to lay it over when I failed to crest. Well..I didn't lay it over, it tossed me off as we aproached the bottom of the pit. Broken turn signal lens, and a badly bent shifter. I McGyvered it into 3d gear and rode it home.
Biker Mike

In 41,000 miles, perhaps 500 of which has been on dirt, my bike has been on its side perhaps a dozen times, Only three were on pavement and those were at aa average speed of about 3 miles an hour. Two were the result of the bike stalling (okay, *me* stalling the bike) during low-speed manouvers. One was the result of a car pulling out in front of me while riding home from work one cold, rainy night. I locked up the rear wheel, looped it out and dumped it: Bent OEM shift lever and a bruised thigh. Off road crashes have usualy also been relativly gentle, usualy stemming from stalls on realy uneven ground that kept me from getting my leg out to support the bike and causing me to step off of it One encounter last October with a barbewire fence resulted in a gashed fork boot but no other damage. I've demolished both rear OEM blinkers and bent both the front brake and clutch levers once each.
Oh, yeah: the padlock-through-the-rear-brake-rotor incident That was both ugly and expensive :)
'96 KLR 650

I've got over 350,000mi logged on motorcycles over the last 25 or 30 years with about 250,000mi of it on dual purpose. I couldn't even imagine trying to dredge up all the spills I've had in the dirt, and wouldn't believe you'd want to hear about them all anyway. Most of my spills as you might expect, happened earlier in my motorcycling life. Are you looking only for street spills, (these I have NO trouble remembering, as the consequences, either to myself or the machine always seems to be much worse) or are you only looking for spills with injury/significant machine damage? Do you care about street only, or dirt only bikes?
I can quickly recall about 3 or 4 spills on the street with dual purpose bikes. The bike damage in all cases was never any worse than some scratches and a broken turn signal or two. Only one, in which a mini-van tagged me, had significant damage to myself (knock wood). I was bare-handed and the street sanded the palm of my left hand off; it didn't even take a second. I also got that little knob on the side of my ankle sanded down; I had bike leather hiking boots, but the road sanded the laces through and managed to take my boot off. The bike was on top of my leg and the mini-van was on the other side, there wasn't any way out from under the bike. Fortunately, I recovered completely.
The injuries I've sustained in the dirt on dual purpose that I can remember off the bat (knock wood again) have been broken ribs (twice), sprained thumb, sprained ankle, sprained toe, and once I managed to bend both my big toenails up in the middle of the toenails. The toenails was one of the worst, as the bike was completely stuck, and I had to walk about six or seven miles to get to a house with a telephone to get a friend to help me. On the other hand, broken ribs suck bad. I really tweaked the bike bad on the one with the messed up toenails; frame, forks, handlebars, etc.
Although it may sound as if I'm the new spillmaster or something, you've got to put it into the perspective of how many miles I've put on these beasts.
By the way, I skateboarded for about eight years, surfed for six or seven years, snow-skied actively for twenty years, a little snowboarding, rock-climbed for two or three, skurfed (wakeboard) for six or seven years, backpacked forever (once for three months in the Andes), have my pilots license for both powered aircraft and sailplanes (unpowered aircraft) with about 1000 hours in all types, hang-glided for eight or nine years (>600 hours), flown ultralights a little (~20 hours), mountain-biked for a few years. I have taken up sea kayaking and kayak sailing a couple of years ago. What have I left out?? BOTTOM LINE: IMO, motorcycling, particularly in the street is BY FAR the most dangerous of all my pursuits. I started young, and just can't seem to give it up though.
I feel like I sound like I might be trying to blow my own horn here a little, but I'm just trying to put it all into perspective. The only sport that I've gotten any significant injuries in (knock wood again, real hard) is on the motorcycles. On the other hand, every injury that I've gotten doing anything, in hindsight, I've felt as though I just might have been able to prevent. Most of the time, I just plain did something(s) stupid.

I've had only one real crash on pavement. It was about 4 years ago on my KZ650. I went down on wet pavement at 55mph. The bike and I slid gracefully about 75yds and 50yds respectively. The only damage to the bike was 2 turn signal lenses, 1 turn signal housing, 1 mirror, and the clutch lever. Also, the word "Kawasaki" was erased from the magneto cover. I had a few bruises and a trashed jacket. Found out later that the carb overflow was spitting gas onto the rear tire! Actually, the crash was quite a rush, but not something I'd intentionally strive for anytime soon.
Countless times. I just graduated from physical therapy for my last (real) crash off a jump back in April...ankle and foot ligaments...still sore in the morning and at day's end. I've slid, been launched, tipped, flipped and dunked. My favorite is a tie between going end-over backwards on a steep climb and crashing my kid's 50cc KTM into the garage at 25mph. If I wanted to ride like a lady on the way to church, I would have a Harley.

One thing that would be good, is to be able to add incidents as we remember them. As I read more postings, it stimulates some of those old brain cells. After reading this one I remember back around '75 or so riding out on an old DT175 having the float valve get stuck and pissing gas on the rear tire. First turn and I was down. Just like the back tire was on ice. Don't remember any damage to me or the bike, wasn't going more than 15mph, although the operative word is "remember". I'll bet I took out one of those old rigid rear turn signals though.

More times than desired and harder than I would have chosen.
Background: 30+ years exp, mostly competition dirt -mx, enduro, hare scramble. Laid back dual sport last few years - getting old and brittle.
Pavement: #1. My fault. Just a kid (12?) drag racing my buddy, he on a yamaha 100 twin jet and me on a 80cc Ducati (two-stroke). He was ahead about 1/2 bike length and turned to see where I was, came over on me, I reacted by yanking the bars (bad move) and induced a speed wobble (my first experience of that helpless feeling that things ain't exactly in my control no more). Wobble increased in magnitude (throttle still pinned) until it pitched me off. No helmet, cut-offs, t-shirt, penny loafers - - road rash anyone? My pride hurt, my body hurt, I cried like a baby. Picked the bike up and road home. Twisted and dinged bike, twisted and dinged body. I looked like a mummy with gauze wrapped all over and around my bloody limbs. Not a scratch on my unprotected head - thank you Lord.
Pavement #2: Not my fault. Little older, not much wiser. Having achieved success on the MX track, I believed that I was such a good rider that I could avoid any accident and that riding safely on the street was a "no-brainer". Wrong! I was riding my Dad's honda XR250 (73?) back and forth to school. Well, I was traveling on a 4-lane with turning median, 45 mph and a gal in the on-coming lane turns in front of me (most common MC accident scenario, I think). Just enough time to grab the binders and realize -- I can't stop -- this is going to hurt-- no-- this is going to kill me! Bang!!! Bike totaled, Me- broken hand , knee ripped up (must have caught the roof on the way over the car). This happened right in front of a hospital, they rolled out a gurney and rolled me right in, 3 days later I rolled out again, 12 weeks later I was riding again. Full coverage helmet - not a scratch, mc jacket, gloves - few abrasions. Could'a, should'a killed me. Thank you Lord #2.
MORAL of the Story: Don't care how good a rider you are or what kind of gear you wear, at the point of impact - you loose. Take the MSF experienced rider course, it will make you a better and safer rider. At the MSF class the instructor told us to think of traction management just like money management - it is best to keep some in reserve! Ride 10/10ths all the time and you will pay for it someday. Another bit of wisdom - "Go into a corner to slow and come out fast. Go into a corner too fast and come out DEAD" - Graham Hill, f-1 champ. It is a dangerous sport to echo Steve A's experiences. Be careful.
Avoid those high traffic areas if you can. My street riding is for recreation - backroads and getting to and from the woods. The dangers of using a MC as daily transportation is too risky for me. And remember, the throttle goes two ways. Slow down and Enjoy the Ride.
Dirt Crashes -- Past, present and future - Many and on-going. If you don't drop it every now and then, you ain't really hav'n fun! And remember, when in doubt - gas it! Na, slow and enjoy the ride!
Ernie P.
Chattanooga, TN
xrl, gspd

ha ha ha..... well...... let me count the scars.. both mentally and physically.... riding for 40 years and did the competive thing for about 14 years on flat tracking the little outlaw tracks to MX ing in the early 70's.. Heck my KLR and DR have better suspenions than my Bultacos, Suzukis ., Yamaha, Triumphs, BSA's and Matchless's did of years past...
One of my funnyest was on my '76 XT 500 Yamaha.. had it to 525 with cams, 10.5 piston and 36 VM Mik.. was natually getting drunk with some Harley buds one nite and ended up in a race back to town with my 500 showing the way.... was slowing down to about 45 and doing wheelies to about 70 in 4th gear. getting into town one of my buds pull up and wanted me to do one more.. forgetting I was in 3rd instead of 4th.. I got it up way faster than my drunk mind and bod could react to so was throwing it away and sliding down the road on rear end and back... wallet saved left cheek but ended up with good rash on right cheek.. figured that when I slowed down enuff I could dig my heels in and come up walking. well misjudged speed and came up faster than I could even run so went head first this time skinning up the back of my hands and right deltoid.. oh well... heck the bike was just laying there still ideling when got to it.. no other damages so to speak of.. Well don't do that no more thank God survived those years
worst was at a stop sign at night and came to in a hospital a few hours later to be told I had been the victim of a hit and run. still don't remember anything about that one.. good concussion.. sprung and lucky..... lost a good bike though.. '82 Yama XV920RJ

Fellow KLR riders and the rest, I have 34 years in the saddle, Never been a day with out a bike, Unless i was in ICU.
We all live and learn, Some crashes make us learn faster, I can not even begain to tell of my crashes, Way to long,

I was 17 years old riding my first bike to work(73 CL360 Honda) was watching the tach more than the road as I downshifted to make a left hand turn off of the highway onto a secondary road , the next thing I saw was Caprice Classic grill and bumper with Tire smokerolling out the sides. I got back on the throttle and managed to get far enough out of the way that the corner of the bumper caught the swing arm right behind my right leg and the next thing I remember was laying on the shoulder with the bike on my left leg ,me still straddling it and the engine still running. I was able to stand up and turn the bike off without a scratch. I was wearing a full face helmet, gloves , and a jean jacket under an army field jacket. Only damage to me was a small rip in the right sleeve of the jacket. The bike was mangled, right shock, broken .. swing arm, badly bent. left shock ,bent . rear wheel , turn signals mirrors and such were mangled. The car ended up with about 1500 dollars damage .
I was able to walk away from the scene with only a failure to yield while making a left turn ticket and my life .Its amazing the things we do when we're young don't kill us as they probably should.

I have been riding about 30 years on and off road. 99% of my crashes have been offroad. One that stands out was on a KTM 390 two-stroke blasting by all my buddies. The handelbars slipped in the bracket,I did a hand stand on them and flipped in front of the bike, it then ran me over. This all happend at 60mph on whooptedoos. Damages- massive gravel rash with much of it embedded, both elbows, both knees varius other places, one BIG bruise knee to hip 24x12 inches. Emergency room doctor said he had never seen someone so injured without a broken bone. I kept the bike 7yrs just so I could kick it every once in a while. To a lot of you out there running your gripsters and such ( stock tires etc. ) are going to crash too. Do your self a big favor and get some full knobbies for any thing other than hard pack dirt. A-6 12K FLHS 56K

One of my favorite near misses was when I was barreling down a fire road towards a blind corner, and as soon as I rounded the corner I was probably going 15 or 20mph and there was a 4X4 pickup coming at me quickly. We both locked 'em up simultaneously and I slowly and gently laid the bike on its left side with my left foot sliding on the ground and the two wheels in front of me sliding towards this guy as he's sliding towards me. I stayed upright with the left foot on the ground and my right foot still on the bike kind of pushing the bike wheels first ahead of me. When we both finally stopped, I was about a foot and a half in front of the guy, I could touch his hood, with at least half the bike under the front of the truck. Probably only few inches between each one of my tires and his front tires.
No damage to anybody or anything!!! I definitely aged significantly and depleted a weeks worth of adrenaline on that one.
Steve A.

Dumb Crash
Just got my first real dirt bike, brand new 1971 Penton 125 6-Day (now KTM).
I was out riding and my neighbor called me over to show his friend my new bike. He prompted me to, "Show'm how you can do a wheelie". This was the first bike I ever had that could really do a wheelie and I had been popping 2nd gear wheelies all week. Well, that was all the encouragement I needed.
Ease off in 1st gear, power shift to 2nd and guessed it -- looped it big time! Brand new shinny rear fender ground into the pavement. No real damage to me other than ripping a little skin, though my pride was severely wounded. We used to call guys that pulled stunts like that - squirrels. I guess I are one.
Lessons Learned:
1. Don't show-off and needless crashes can be avoided.
2. Practice your wheelies so when you violate lesson 1, you can "carry the front wheel" thru the gears and leave them speechless (in my dreams). Ever see Don K. the "wheelie king"?
Squirrely Ernie

I just bought a 97 KLR 650 from a friend and I will be using it mostly for off road excursions because I am dedicating my 94 GS to road duty. Last summer I tried the GS off road many times and decided that it is easier buying another bike than to improve my off road skill of such a monster. So in my garage is a KLR with 45000km, all scratched up from an accident my buddy had on a James Bay gravel road( a good story by itself), straitened forks and in need of a lot of TLC. It has a Moose skid plate, aluminum hand protectors, a dual star center stand, heated grips, throttle lock, high Kawa windshield, Corbin seat, and Givi brackets. Iím removing the Givi Brackets, windshield and ordering some MT21. Anything else I should know to make it the perfect off road mount??? If it helps Iím 6í0Ē and a little over 200 lbs. I read a lot on the archives and all and donít want to start a riot but any suggestion on making it more off road friendly are welcome, I do not care about losing road worthiness unless it would put in trouble with the Man.
Crashing sucks but makes for good stories. I had many spills in my 16 years of ridding but real crashes (the ones that hurt the body and/or the wallet), only about 3. First one was on my little í83 XR80. Was gunning it in a gravel road when I met a Grand Marquis on top of a blind hill. Automatic hospital trip. Learned to slow down and keep to my side even thought he was taking the whole road.
Then I thought that 3 wheels should be safer. Duh. The classic went up the hill on 3 wheels and down being the wheel. Open and compound fractures, 3 hours to get to the hospital, the most pain I have ever been in. 2 wheels is safer in my book.
Then I felt the need for speed. My first road bike was a FZ750. I was brain dead and the bike FAST. Missed an offramp at about 140 km/h at 4 in the morning. Thank God for soft grass and plenty of run off, I survived with no road rash (leather and all) but some seriously bruised ribs. I learned plenty from that one. Donít show off unless absolutely necessary (you be the judge), donít drink and ride (ever) and I try no to ride during night crawler hours anymore (just me).
Hope I didnít bore anyone to death.
Waiting for those suggestions.

Whenever I get into a conversation with somebody that doesn't like to wear a helmet I always ask them if they have ever used one. They generally misinterpret my question to mean if they have every worn one and start telling me why they didn't like it. I then reiterate if they have ever USED one and tell them about my single experience of getting up with what looked like a divot from a golf shot hanging on my face shield and they generally admit that, no, they have never used a helmet. Seems those people that have had an occasion to use one don't find them so bothersome.

Thanks for the invite to respond to the crash survey. I have been riding for about 25 years, on and off, and have yet to crash. Lucky? Clean living? I don't know, but I hope it keeps up. I would be proud to never be able to respond to your survey. Hearing about others is one way to help me avoid it. Thanks for providing that information.

I am new to this board, and thought I would share a story and a word of caution. I bought my 98 KLR650 in Aug of 97 and after 5000 miles I finally talked my wife into a ride in the mountains by my home in Layton, Utah. I had traveled this road 2 or 3 times before alone. At the very end of the road it gets very rough and the road turns into a bunch of big 1 foot rocks. I forgot that I had less ground clearance with my wife on the back and tried to go over a rock like the other times I had gone on this road. The stock skid plate hit the rock so hard it stopped us dead and I dropped the bike on the radiator side. Now I have a nice dent in my gas tank. I started the bike again and we rode the 13 miles back to the paved road. I got on the main road and took the bike up to 55 when the engine locked up on me. The rock had slide along the skid plate and then hit the oil drain plug. It must have loosened it up and it fell out. $1100 later with a new piston and bore I got my bike back.

In reference to the cornering problem. I have been riding and racing since I was knee high to a grasshopper and the main reason other than confidence (which is a huge factor) for not making the corner is what's called "Target fixation." The rider spots something in the road or on the side of the road and follows it with his eye. Guess what happens next. The bike goes where you are looking. This gets amplified in corners especially at speeds and before you know it you are sailing off into never never land.

In the Jan MCN, the world famous Harry Hurt is interviewed. Harry is the brain trust of the most comprehensive motorcycle accident study ever done (and an avid rider). When asked if it was important to cover the front brake on a deserted road with unlimited visibility, he kindly reminded the interviewer, "Remember, most motorcycle accidents occur on a straight road, in good weather, when you don't expect anything to happen." If my own memory serves me, I'd add that that "straight" road also had intersections on it and accidents were of the multi-vehicle variety. As for single vehicle mishaps, I'd say they were most likely to occur while cornering.
If anyone would like a copy of the 425 page Hurt Study (1981),
send $30 USD to:
Head Protection Research Lab
6409 Alondra Blvd
Parmount, CA 90723-3759
FAX 562-529-3297

The instructor at my MSF course said that most motorcycle accidents occur when the motorcyclist is alone. Usually on corners, where the rider approaches too fast and runs off the road.
Just what I heard....

if you have or want changes to any of the stories you submitted, drop me an e-mail, I'll do what I can...

it's private

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