Common crashes and how to avoid them

Common crashes and how to avoid them

Posted by Ben Baker on Nov 29th 2016

We ride and we know riding is dangerous. Some wrecks, nothing we can do about it. Sometimes a crash and burn is something that can be avoided.

Here are some common crashes and how you can avoid them.


Studies of crashes show this is the most common accident. The cage driver doesn’t see you coming down the road and makes a left turn.

Sure, the cage is at fault, but the rider can take steps to prevent this. The first thing is Be Aware. Watch oncoming traffic. Watch traffic to each side, if there’s an intersection. Watch coming up behind you.

Watch for indications, other than a turn signal, that the driver is not paying attention.

Can the driver see you?

Are the wheels already turned?

Is the car moving even slightly?

What is the driver looking at?

If the driver is already turning, you need to be braking and looking for a way to get around the vehicle without laying it down. Avoid a lay down if at all possible. You need to stay upright to use the brakes. Shed as much speed as possible.


You’re cruising along and take a curve. Right there in front of you is sand, gravel, a dead opossum or something else.

This one is all on you. Sure taking corners at speed is fun. But it’s best left to roads you know are clear. If you are not familiar with the road or cannot swear that the corner is clean, slow down. Slow going into the curve and accelerate out of it when you see the path is clear.


It’s all on you again. You’re committed to the turn and you know you’re not going to make it.

This is a time when knowing about Trail Braking comes in handy. The link will give you a lot of details and practice tips.

But if you’re in the curve, don’t panic. Ride out as much as you can. If you are leaning and a peg scrapes or your knee bangs the road, bear through it. Overcorrecting is worse.

Keep an eye out for an exit and a safe way through.


Sometimes drivers claim to not see a rider coming up on their 6.

First, don’t tailgate. Know where mirrors’ blind spots are and stay out of them.

Watch other traffic. Is one lane slowing down? If so, pretty good bet that someone in the faster lane is going to try to merge. Lane closures are the worst for this.


You get together for a group ride and someone decides he’s got to show off his skills. Maybe someone in the group just hits a sweet spot and zones out.

First, ride staggered. Veterans know this but beginners may not. Before heading out have the road captain remind everyone to ride staggered.

Watch your buddies. If one of them is zoning, get his attention safely somehow. Let the throttle rip, blow the horn.

If someone is showing out, stop the ride. Tell the stunt driver his antics are not appreciated and he can ride alone if that’s the way he wants to do it.