Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

You're going down! What are some tactics to crash as safely as possible?

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

You're going down! What are some tactics to crash as safely as possible?

Old 01-14-06, 01:34 AM
  #1  
djtrackie
wannabe cycling nerd
Thread Starter
 
djtrackie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 369

Bikes: Giant TCR Comp 3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You're going down! What are some tactics to crash as safely as possible?

Okay, so the scenario is that you're flying down a slight downhill at 30mph... hit a rock, and now you're front wheels are wiggling around. In about .75 seconds your body will hit the pavement.

What do you do when you're about to go down? How are you going to break your fall while doing the least damage to yourself?
djtrackie is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 01:45 AM
  #2  
furiousferret 
Senior Member
 
furiousferret's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Redlands, CA
Posts: 6,221
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 801 Post(s)
Liked 357 Times in 200 Posts
Aim with your head. The helmet will break the fall.
furiousferret is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 02:07 AM
  #3  
Joe Dog
One Hep Cat
 
Joe Dog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: N 44.91577 W093.25327
Posts: 748

Bikes: Surly Cross-Check (commuter), Lemond Sarthe (sports car), Schwinn fixed gear conversion (for fun)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Roll when you hit the ground. Unless you are next to a cliff. If you are next to cliff, try not to roll.
__________________
BikeLove

Website
Joe Dog is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 02:46 AM
  #4  
mrkott3r
Senior Member
 
mrkott3r's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Newcastle Australia
Posts: 1,185
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i guess also with the roll, try and get your feet out of the cleats, dont want to drag that bike with ya
mrkott3r is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 03:45 AM
  #5  
cs1
Senior Member
 
cs1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Clev Oh
Posts: 7,067

Bikes: Specialized, Schwinn

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 205 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 13 Posts
I don't know about high speed falls but read the article in bicycling about Police bike school. I actually tried that technique and it worked very well. The asphalt was still hard though.

Tim
cs1 is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 03:46 AM
  #6  
macca123
taking the piss
 
macca123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: albury
Posts: 380

Bikes: avanti vivace, repco piece of $#IT and a raleigh mtn bike.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Pray, even if you're not religous.
macca123 is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 03:59 AM
  #7  
bkrownd
kipuka explorer
 
bkrownd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Hilo Town, East Hawai'i
Posts: 3,297

Bikes: 1994 Trek 820, 2004 Fuji Absolute, 2005 Jamis Nova, 1977 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Shoulder roll! (easier said than done...) As he said above, get out of those cleats while you still can.
__________________
--
-=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
Friends don't let friends use brifters.
bkrownd is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 04:01 AM
  #8  
socalrider
Senior Member
 
socalrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Upland, CA
Posts: 5,041

Bikes: Litespeed Liege, Motorola Team Issue Eddy Mercxk, Surly Crosscheck Cyclocross bike, Fisher Supercaliber Mtn. Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 5 Posts
There is that split second when you are going to go down where you have to make that decision to let go of the bars and try to roll.. If you apply the death grip to the bars and go down, usually a dislocated shoulder will happen..

When I raced I had a few crashes and people who did not ride would always ask, what did it feel like?

I told them to imagine themselves in the bed of a pickup truck, in lycra material, the truck gets up to speed at 30mph or faster and then you jump out of the bed of the truck onto the asphault..
socalrider is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 04:49 AM
  #9  
Jared88
Nightrider
 
Jared88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 445

Bikes: Ellsworth , Scott , Giant

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ok so you are about to crash in 0.75 secs. Here's what i usually do...
0.10 secs : Move hands to cover shifters.
0.20 secs : Make sure i am clipped in.
0.30 secs : Try to fall on my left.
0.40 secs : If falling on left is impossible , i would unclip my right foot.
0.50 secs : Brace for impact.
0.60 secs : Close eyes.
0.75 secs : If falling on left use body to adsorb impact. Make sure hands are on shifters to protect shifters from being scratched.
0.76 secs : If falling on right , swing right leg back on the last moment to protect drivetrain , falling as usual , with hands on shifters.
Please note that this is only the OCP way of falling , it is only effective in preventing scratches on bike. This WILL NOT WORK FOR CHEAP BIKES.
For cheap bikes :
0.50 secs : unclip
0.60 secs : look for safe spot
0.70 secs : jump
0.75 secs : roll
The cheap bike method is also useful in preventing serious injuries.
Jared88 is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 04:55 AM
  #10  
macca123
taking the piss
 
macca123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: albury
Posts: 380

Bikes: avanti vivace, repco piece of $#IT and a raleigh mtn bike.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
lol ^^
macca123 is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 05:55 AM
  #11  
mimis
3 summits of Athens
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Athens
Posts: 335

Bikes: SCOTT AFD/KLEIN MANTRA/BMC SSX Streetfire

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by furiousferret
Aim with your head. The helmet will break the fall.
what a catastrophic advise, think you're only joking! what you' re suggesting will probably twist or break one's neck causing an injury with major consequences(paralysis) let alone the brain injury which will probably be minor thanks to the helmet..
mimis is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 06:23 AM
  #12  
patentcad
Peloton Shelter Dog
 
patentcad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester, NY
Posts: 90,508

Bikes: 2017 Scott Foil, 2016 Scott Addict SL, 2018 Santa Cruz Blur CC MTB

Mentioned: 74 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1137 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 15 Posts
Car crashes happen in slow motion.

Bike crashes happen so fast that by the time you realize you're crashing, you HAVE crashed. So there's no time to be afriaid. Which is the good news. Or react. Which is the bad news.

The best way to enhance your crash experience is - not to worry about it until AFTER you have one.
patentcad is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:19 AM
  #13  
Hipcycler
OCP
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: MILWAUKEE
Posts: 6,289

Bikes: The kind with two wheels

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by patentcad
Car crashes happen in slow motion.

Bike crashes happen so fast that by the time you realize you're crashing, you HAVE crashed. So there's no time to be afriaid. Which is the good news. Or react. Which is the bad news.

The best way to enhance your crash experience is - not to worry about it until AFTER you have one.
Exactly patent! As I was reading this thread I just kept thinking about the three times in five years I've crashed...and not one of them gave me a bit of warning. One second I'm riding, the next second I'm in a daze on the ground wondering what the hell just happened!
Hipcycler is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:35 AM
  #14  
Barese Rider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: central jersey coast
Posts: 764

Bikes: 2008 Cervelo RS, 2004Trek 2100,1985 Nishike Prestige

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Read Eddie Bs book he has a section in it on falling and how to go to the gym to prepare for the inevitable..When my time came, I wished I had practiced what he preached..Simple advice, resist the urge to stick your hand out to break the fall, tuck the head in,and try to roll with the fall..
Barese Rider is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:40 AM
  #15  
Hipcycler
OCP
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: MILWAUKEE
Posts: 6,289

Bikes: The kind with two wheels

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
resist the urge to stick your hand out to break the fall

Been there.
Done that.
Broke my fall (and my wrist)
Hipcycler is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:41 AM
  #16  
slvoid
2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM
 
slvoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,762

Bikes: 04' Specialized Hardrock Sport, 03' Giant OCR2 (SOLD!), 04' Litespeed Firenze, 04' Giant OCR Touring, 07' Specialized Langster Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Pull the ejection lever.
slvoid is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:45 AM
  #17  
Boudicca
Conquer Cancer rider
 
Boudicca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,039

Bikes: Fun bike, city bike, Bike Friday, Brompton (also fun bikes)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by patentcad
Car crashes happen in slow motion.

Bike crashes happen so fast that by the time you realize you're crashing, you HAVE crashed. So there's no time to be afriaid. Which is the good news. Or react. Which is the bad news.

The best way to enhance your crash experience is - not to worry about it until AFTER you have one.
Nah. You actually have a fraction of a split second to realise you are crashing. But it's far too small a fraction to do anything about it.

Just hope the momentum will carry you into someone's front lawn. Grass rash is a lot less painful than road rash.
__________________
Zero gallons to the mile
Boudicca is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:49 AM
  #18  
-=(8)=-
♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯
 
-=(8)=-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: 40205 'ViLLeBiLLie
Posts: 7,902

Bikes: Sngl Spd's, 70's- 80's vintage, D-tube Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Boudicca
Nah. You actually have a fraction of a split second to realise you are crashing. But it's far too small a fraction to do anything about it.
^^^^ Wut he sed.
This same nonsense is discussed on MC boards too.
If you have the ability to make a decision, why wouldnt you just decide not to crash ??
__________________
-ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"
-=(8)=- is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:52 AM
  #19  
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 24,360

Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Joe Dog
Roll when you hit the ground. Unless you are next to a cliff. If you are next to cliff, try not to roll.
Joe Dog = Jack Handey
__________________
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
chipcom is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:52 AM
  #20  
telenick
1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain
 
telenick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dillon, CO
Posts: 1,707

Bikes: Serotta Ottrott ST, Titus RX100, Seven Sola 29er HT in the works

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
When possible... protect your bike with you body.
telenick is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:54 AM
  #21  
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 24,360

Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by mimis
what a catastrophic advise, think you're only joking! what you' re suggesting will probably twist or break one's neck causing an injury with major consequences(paralysis) let alone the brain injury which will probably be minor thanks to the helmet..
But the bike would be safe, so what's your point?
__________________
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
chipcom is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 09:55 AM
  #22  
LA_Rider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 650

Bikes: Cannondale R5000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Hipcycler
One second I'm riding, the next second I'm in a daze on the ground wondering what the hell just happened!
I haven’t had a bad bike crash, (knock wood) but I did once ride my motorcycle off a cliff. All I remember is going off... and then laying in a heap at the bottom. In bad crashes, there seems to be a moment where you black out - which is probably just as well.
LA_Rider is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 10:49 AM
  #23  
rule
Senior Member
 
rule's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wylie, Texas
Posts: 1,922
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you know that you are going to go down, separate from the bike, just like the stunt guys do. That can save you from a face plant, busted arm or collar bone, or torqued up knee from trying to hang on. Next thing is to roll into the fall and either slide it out or just tumble to a stop. If you are going to hit something, keep your arms up and protect your head.
__________________
rule is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 11:08 AM
  #24  
Drayko
Senior Member
 
Drayko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Anyone remember when Contador lost a pedal on a high speed descent and saved it, front shimmy and all? He kinda stood up on the ground with one foot, letting his shoe drag along, on the pavement until he gained control again. If possible, that could stabalize you enough before having to bail and try fall techniques. Besides, I'd rather replace a cleat than large patches of skin. It definately worked for me when I pulled out going from a stop light in a high gear; albeit I was going 10mph. The technique is the same.

Here's a link to a thread on it:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...light=contador

Last edited by Drayko; 01-14-06 at 11:13 AM.
Drayko is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 11:11 AM
  #25  
alanbikehouston
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
None of my crashes provided any "thinking" time. One second things were fine, the next second, I was on the pavement. But, my most recent crash had good results, so I'll try to crash the same way next time. I figured out later that the crash was caused by my front tire getting caught in a one inch wide gap in the asphalt. Such gaps in the road are everywhere in my inner city bombed out neighborhood, but I didn't see that one coming.

By pure luck, I had a firm grip on the bars at the moment of the crash, and continued to hold onto the bars until after I hit the pavement. I hit the pavement with my well padded right hip and thigh taking most of the impact. So, I had some scrapes on my right shoulder, hip and thigh, and my right knee was swollen for a couple of weeks. But, I was able to finish my ride, and ride again the next day.

Why was this a "lucky" fall? Several of my friends have had serious injuries to the hand, wrist, arm or collarbone because they took their hands off the bars and tried to use their hand to "soften" their fall. The result was broken bones, surgery, and ten thousand or twenty thousand in medical bills.

So, my plan for my next crash is hold on tight to the bike, and use the "fat" parts of my body as padding. Luckily, I have lots of padding almost everywhere on my body.
alanbikehouston is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.