by Liz Jansen
One of the most frequently read blog posts on my website is 10 Things to Do With a Dropped Motorcycle. I published it in 2012 and it’s still getting comments. Published a week later and still highly read is 10 Causes for a Motorcycle Tip Over.
If there’s any consolation to what can be a devastating, demoralizing, and embarrassing event, it’s that you’re not alone. I know very few riders who can say they haven’t had their bike go over. At least not if they’re being honest.
The good news is, is that tip overs happen at slow speeds so although you can injure yourself, it’s usually minor. The greater damage is usually to pride and your motorcycle.
Better still, there are things you can do to minimize the chances of it happening. In addition to the 10 causes listed above, I’ve collected others from reader stories.
10 More Reasons Motorcycles Tip Over
- Eyes looking at the ground instead of straight ahead. This is a fundamental lesson, and helps with balance, especially during stops or U-turns.
- Putting both feet down at a stop. Keeping your right foot on the brake and putting only your left foot down creates the most stable position.
- Fatigue. This was mentioned in the previous list, but the causes weren’t. Prime contributors are a lack of sleep, dehydration, not enough rest breaks, hypothermia, and hyperthermia.
- Lack of confidence. New or returning riders can drop their bikes often while they’re learning.
- Motorcycle size. Riding a motorcycle that’s too large for your skills affects your confidence and makes you more apt to drop it.
- Over Confidence. Thinking you’re proficient because you can ride in a straight line does not transfer to slow speed skills. The bike can ride itself in a straight line. Slow speed skills differentiate proficient riders from the rest.
- New motorcycle. Switching to a new bike takes some getting used to, especially if it’s a different style or size than the one you’re used to. Practice in a parking lot to get comfortable with it before you take it out on the road.
- Letting it shatter your confidence. If you’re not injured, and you really want to ride, pick it up and make sure the motorcycle’s not damaged. Then when you’ve composed yourself, learn from what you did wrong and get back on.
- Losing focus at a stop. All it takes is a momentary lapse and a shift in your weight to lose your balance. It doesn’t have to lean over far to go beyond the point of no return. This is even more of a factor if your bike has a high seat height or center of gravity.
- Improper weight distribution. A load that’s unevenly weighted, or carried too high can make the bike harder to manage, especially at slow speeds. Carry items as close to the centerline and as low as possible.
Tip overs happen to all of us, even very experienced riders. Regular practice and maintaining focus can minimize the chance of it happening. And when it does, figure out why it happened and learn from it. It’s all part of the adventure!