What To Do After A Crash

What To Do After A Crash

Posted by Mike Werner on Dec 2nd 2016

It happens often, and the more you ride your motorcycle, the bigger the chance that it will happen to you. Motorcycle crashes are the norm, not the exception. I’m not talking about crashes where the emergency services need to come with lifesaving equipment, but crashes where you and your bike go down.

In fact, my riding instructor once told me that it’s only after dropping my bike 3 times that I could call myself a “biker”. If I didn’t, it would be the bike riding me, not me riding the bike.

So, what to do if you crash? There are a couple of things you need to check, physical and mental.


Check you gear. Did your helmet hit the ground when you went down? Does the inside of the helmet move around? Can you hear more noise when the helmet is on?

If yes, time to change the helmet!
Are your leathers or other riding gear torn or heavily scratched? If you are wearing motorcycle clothing (jackets and trousers), and they are torn, chances are the next time you go down, they will no longer protect you from the impact of the crash and from road rash. They have weakened.

If yes, time to change your clothing!

Are your boots torn? Dented?

If yes, time to change your boots (but not if they are just scuffed. That’s a badge of honor).

The Motorcycle

Believe it or not, but just dropping your bike can have negative impacts on your ride. Unless you are riding an off-road motorcycle, a motorcycle is not designed to withstand the forces that occur when your motorcycle goes down.

Now, just dropping it in the parking lot is one thing. A quick visual inspection for leakages and bent parts will do the trick. But if you crashed while riding, it becomes more serious. Even after you have picked up your motorcycle and did a quick visual inspection, you never know; misalignment of the frame, forked tubes slipping, steering well a few degrees off, mud guard hitting the tires, etc.

My advice is to bring your motorcycle to a mechanic and have it checked out. Do specify that you crashed and that it needs to be checked out thoroughly. The last thing you want is to go out on a ride and suddenly your front wheel goes away on its own .. right?



If you have a nasty fall, do get checked out by a doctor. Like your motorcycle, defects can be hidden, and only an expert will be able to tell.

I had taken a low speed tumble on a circuit, falling on my right side. Apart from some bruises, I thought I was fine. But hours afterwards, my left hand was giving me problems and I couldn’t pull the clutch anymore. A few days later, I finally admitted something had gone wrong and headed for the hospital. There, they discovered my left elbow was fractured, despite having fallen on the right. According to the bone expert, the bones in my body had vibrated on the impact, and the left elbow fractured by the vibration. So as you can see, even if you think it was nothing, better to get checked out.


The mental part of riding after a crash is more complicated. You can see it with the professionals; MotoGP or SuperBike racers who crash during practice are usually much slower in the first initial laps after the crash. It’s a mental game, and you need to get over the initial fear.

If the crash was minor, and your bike is in running order, hop on it and go for a small spin. If your motorcycle was totaled and you ended up in the hospital, it’s going to take a bit more.

My advice is at your earliest possible moment (when that person in the white jacket and stethoscope hanging over the neck says so) get a smaller and easier motorcycle (rent one if you need to) and hop onto it and ride around. Take some easy roads with little traffic so you can start enjoying riding again.

Try to avoid the circumstances of your crash, in other words do not recreate your crash. Avoid its location and its weather/time of day. You need to have learned from it, but there is no need to “do it again”. That you can always do later when you’re comfortable with riding again.


Learn from your mistake! Don’t think that you didn’t make a mistake. You did! Sorry to say, but even if someone else was at fault, you made the mistake of not looking after your life. It’s not another person’s responsibility to look after you. It’s yours.

Let’s say someone suddenly turned left while you were passing. It’s the other person’s fault, but you could have watched out for that SUV full of soccer kids. The soccer mom was totally distracted and not paying attention to you. Or how about passing a car with someone in it talking on the phone. You need to have warning bells going off in your head when passing that car. Do you get my point?

Learn from what happened, and prevent it from happening again.

Now, get back on the horse motorcycle and go riding.