10 Things to Do With a Dropped Motorcycle

The embarrassment is immediate. Then there’s that sickening feeling when you see your bike lying over on its side. It’s even more painful when it’s new. But that’s not the worst. Assuming no major damage to bike or body, shattered confidence can be the most disabling outcome from a dropped motorcycle.

While no one wants or expects their bike to tip over, it will happen to even the most experienced riders, usually while stopped or during slow speed maneuvers. Ironically, it happens very quickly. Once you’ve passed the tipping point, you don’t stand a chance of keeping it up. The good news is that other than the damage to pride, there is usually very little injury.

With the first 10,000 km under my belt, I was proud that there was nary a scrape on my beautiful new bike. And then we were over. My drop happened because of improper slow speed control. After stopping to let the driveway clear, I proceeded with a slow right angle turn on a bit of a grade. Overly cautious, I held back on the throttle and ended up stalling it during the turn. We were over before I could say damn! I relate this story not because I’m particularly proud of it. Rather, it’s to encourage new riders for whom dropping their bike can be devastating.

There’s a saying the best offense is a good defense. By far the best defense is to know how to manage your bike during those situations most likely to result in a spill. It’s also wise to be prepared for the inevitable so that when it happens, you know how to react. Rather than letting it get the best of you, here’s what to do:

  1. Shake yourself off and get up – unless you’ve managed to jump clear. Then you’re already up and just need to shake yourself off.
  2. Turn off the engine using the kill switch. Follow up by turning off the ignition as soon as it is safe to do so.
  3. Make sure there are no fluids leaking, especially gasoline.
  4. Take charge of the situation. You got yourself into this pickle; now get yourself out! This helps restore confidence too.
  5. Engage help if it’s available. Fortunately, my friend was right there and lent a hand – and manpower. And he took direction well.
  6. Make sure the bike is in gear. The last thing you want as it gets upright is for it to start rolling.
  7. Since my bike was on its right side, I put the side stand down before lifting it – just in case we “over” lifted.
  8. Clear the ground so you have good foot traction, make sure no fluids have spilled and use one of two methods to upright the bike.
    1. Back into it using your legs to provide strength, or
    2. Cock the wheel in the direction of the lift and then complete a two stage lift. Surprisingly easy and the method we used.
  9. Make sure the bike is stable and assess it carefully for damage.
  10. After taking a few deep breaths, get back on and continue your ride. Learn from what happened and avoid a repeat.

Be prepared.  Practice your skills in a parking lot, free from distraction.  If you drop your bike in traffic, you’ll be able to react quickly, minimize the embarrassment and be on your way before too many people notice.

Since posting this article, I’ve become more familiar with the method shown by Clinton Smout from SMART Adventures in the video below and prefer it to the one I described above

Additional Resources: 10 Causes of a Motorcycle Tip Over and 10 More Reasons Motorcycles Tip Over

Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: ,
87 comments on “10 Things to Do With a Dropped Motorcycle
  1. Chris says:

    Good advice Liz.

    From now on, try to keep it up!
    🙂

    • lizjansen says:

      I try Chris!

      Liz

    • Lisa Thompson says:

      Liz – You mention two methods to lift the bike – one using your legs & the other “cock the wheel in the direction of the lift”. Youtube is FULL of videos displaying the first technique, but I am having trouble finding a video showing the 2nd technique you mention. I have seen it done before & it looks WAY easier than the first method. Having long legs actually works against you when you try to get your butt in the saddle & use your legs to push/lift. Do you have a link to a video showing the other way?

  2. Lexie says:

    Hi Liz.
    Being very new to riding and gaining confidence every day i was devastated when I dropped my bike this morning in almost exactly the same situation as the one you’ve described. Not only have your words have helped me to identify what caused it to happen but it’s reassuring to read that it can happen to very experienced riders too.
    Thank you so much!

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Lexie,

      Thanks for sharing that. You’ve got your first tip-over under your belt now. You just learned something about managing your bike and how to deal with it. It is devastating, embarrassing, frustrating, humbling – all of those things. But you pick it up and move on. You’ve got lots of fabulous riding ahead! Safe travels.

      Liz

  3. Chris says:

    actually dropped my bike this morning, a truck had left a heap of gravel on the round-a-bout. Confidence is in shambles ahaha, hopefully i’ll recover quickly.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Chris,

      Sorry to hear that and hope you weren’t injured – other than your pride. I know it can be a blow to your confidence but don’t let it get you. You know what you did wrong, you are in control of the bike and managing that power – not the other way around. 🙂

      PS – I’ve had to work on myself the same way after my little spill last summer. Safe travels!

      Liz

      • Sam says:

        Hi Liz,

        Very new to riding. Did the MSF course and all that, did great. Decided to go with a larger bike to start and grow into instead of smaller bike and working my way up. Lots of mixed thoughts on that from different people. Anyway, have had bike for a week and been doing great and taking it bit by bit. Not trying to do anything fancy and not venturing out too far or doing anything I am uncomfortable with. I am finding slow speeds are tough though so I went out last night to a parking lot to work on and dropped the bike with the first slow speed turn attempt. Dropped a second time, opposite direction, can’t even remember how that happened. With confidence completely gone I managed to circle the parking lot several times not dropping again, (not the best turns) then went home to assess the situation and damage. Minor damage, nothing significant (amazed at that) and did not get hurt, even better. Today my confidence is so shot though I want to just give it all up. The only thing right now making me feel that having the larger bike may not have been such a good idea is handling at slow speeds. I am fine with the rest. I am now completely full of fear to go back out. I did order a DVD on handling larger bikes and doing slow turns to see if I can pick some tips up. Would love to hear your thoughts on what I have shared here. Thanks much.

        Sam

        • lizjansen says:

          Hi Sam,
          First of all congratulations on taking and passing the MSF course! That’s a big accomplishment. Thank you also for having the courage to write your story here. You have no idea how common it is. It’s why many brand new bikes are parked in garages and will never be ridden.

          I advocate starting small, building your skills and your confidence and then moving up to a bigger bike. A new rider is simply not ready to handle a bike with that much power and size. It affects your confidence and your safety – no matter what speed. You don’t know what the road is going to give you and you need to be able to handle whatever it is. Any kind of urban driving involves slow speeds and you need to be able to handle your bike skillfully through all kinds of situations. You mention that it’s only the slow speed where you have a problem, yet you also say you’re completely full of fear to go back out.

          I want to focus on getting you riding again. You obviously want to ride or you wouldn’t have gotten this far, so my first advice is don’t let a little set back turn you off riding.
          I don’t know the size of your bike but you are saying it’s too big for you. My best advice is to cut your losses, and trade your current bike for a smaller version. Keep it for a year or so, and then move up. You’ll be so glad you did. Motorcycle skills develop with practice and repetition. The MSF taught you the basics – but that’s only the beginning and now you have to continue. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the right bike makes.

          Motorcycles teach us many lessons, not all of them having to do with riding. This is a perfect example. It’s not worth it to stick with the wrong bike (just like the wrong partner)

          Don’t be discouraged. Consider it tuition for one of the best lessons ever. You want to ride so get out there and ride, but set yourself up for success this time. There are many roads waiting for you, so don’t let this lesson stop you from experiencing them.

          Hope that helps.

          Best,
          Liz

          • Sam says:

            Hi Liz,

            First, thank you for the quick reply and words of encouragement. The bike I have is a Victory Kingpin. I won’t go into all the reasons how and why I ended up with a bike like this. I have one advantage of where I live is that I can completely avoid urban area riding until I feel ready. I am very fortunate that I have an easy 2 mile up and down road from my house with little to no traffic for me to practice on. I also have at least 2 other alternate routes with traffic that require no difficult turns. Skill building controlling the bike as far as turning, shifting and braking has been going well. I think if I went through the process of selling it after all I did to get this far I would not get another bike so in that sense I am committed to this one.

            I do not have fear in getting back out with the riding I have been doing well with. It is the slow riding I have fear with now based on what happened yesterday. I do not feel my skill level will be good enough to venture out on any other roads until I can get that down. Right now that seems to be the main issue for me with starting out with such a beast of a bike. But you can dump a smaller bike too. Saw that in class.

            So with all that being said and pushing forward on this bike, how do I go forward with slow ride practicing with my confidence shattered? One thought I had earlier today was to put crash bars on to act like training wheels sort of speak. If I fall again trying something new this way any damage is limited to them and might make the bike even easier to pick up. Got to hand it to myself in one area though. I picked that sucker up by myself twice and dusted myself off and kept at it. Just trying to find a way to compensate for the demoralizing situation and fear of it happening again. I appreciate you taking the time to listen and sharing your thoughts. Bought it used by the way….

            Sam

          • lizjansen says:

            Hey Sam – are there any courses available near you where you could get instruction on slow speed maneuvers on your own bike? I’ve taken them here – as recently as this spring. Barring that, can you get 1:1 training, preferably from a qualified instructor? It really helps to have someone watch and coach you – and make you do it over and over again. Crash bars will protect the engine and make it easier to pick up so they’re good for those reasons. They don’t teach you how to ride though.

            Don’t be too hard on yourself. Skills take time to develop and slow speed stuff is hard. Get out and practice for a set time but don’t over do it. It’s better to learn in small short stints rather than push yourself too hard (and end up dropping the bike). Stop while you’re being successful. Then take a break, go back the next day or two. It takes time to assimilate your learnings.After you’ve been out, write down your successes on your bike – no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Writing them down imprints the success and is positive movement in learning.

            Kudos to you for picking it up and for the determination to continue! Set that fear aside and focus on how you were taught to ride. Remember that you control the bike, it doesn’t control you.

            Good luck!

            Liz

          • Sam says:

            Thank you Liz. I think that one on one training is a great idea. If I can get someone out to my house that would be perfect. I will look around for that. Thanks for the tip and nice words.

            Sam

  4. Vicki says:

    Thanks to all of you for your comments; my ego appreciates it. I’ve been learning to ride this summer at the age of 52 and I’m an embarrassingly slow learner. In the first morning of the novice course I took, they had us doing the motorcycle skills test activities — tricky slow speed maneuvers. A tight u-turn on a person’s first morning on a bike? I switched to one-on-one instruction to do the rest of the course at my pace. I passed the skills test and the novice course, and yesterday I took the first day of the traffic skills course (4 students and one instructor). I dropped the bike before we even left the parking lot and four more times throughout the day! Clearly, my role in life is to make other people feel better about themselves. I showed up for day two just to tell the instructor that two 7-hour days on a bike in a row are too much for me; I wouldn’t feel safe. He was very kind and said I was very close to mastering all the skills and I shouldn’t give up. But come on — it was a 250 cc bike!

    I had previously done tight figure-8s on this bike two days before. I’m really not sure what happened. I don’t have my own bike, so I can only practice if I take lessons, which is rather expensive. Maybe I should switch to lawn bowling.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Vicki,

      Thanks for your comments and candour. As much as you think you’re the only one that goes through this, you’re not alone. Continue to listen to your intuition. Learning to ride a motorcycle, especially as an adult, involves far more than the technical skills of operating the machine. There are all sorts of reasons that affect our learning that we need to get by to be successful. If you really want to ride for your own sake, don’t give up. You’ll be amazed at the effect it has on the rest of your life.

      Best,
      Liz

      • Vicki says:

        Liz and Sam,
        Thank you both very much for your words of support, advice and encouragement. I agree that learning this skill is not as easy as it looks. However, it’s great fun and I’m delighted to have discovered that all the riders I have met are kind, pleasant people — what a great community to join.

        Yesterday I put a downpayment on a bike, which I can pick up on Saturday. My ego (yes, that troublesome creature), wants me to ride it home from the shop, but there are a few tricky maneuvers between the shop and home, so for the sake of the spiffy new bike (a Honda CB300FA), I’ll ask my more experienced husband to deliver it. From there I can do as Sam has done and work my way up in experience and confidence at my own pace.

        Again, thanks to everyone for your kind and generous support and encouragement.

        Safe and happy trails,
        Vicki

    • Sam says:

      Hello Vicki,

      I hope you don’t mind me chiming in. I just read your post and I know exactly how you feel. I will be 57 in about a month and I am about 3 months into this learning experience. Sometimes I feel like a waited too long to try this because my fear level is greater now than it was when I was 20. Still though, I like the challenge. If you can imagine what I am going through as I learned how to ride in class on a 250 and my first bike I buy is a Victory Kinpin, 700 lbs, 1600cc. Many told me I was nuts. Actually, I found the bike to be not so much the issue. Yes, maybe at slow speeds it is harder than a smaller bike but I am doing better with practice. The big thing for me is I am finding it to take much longer than expected to get comfortable riding in traffic. It is one thing to learn in the class in what is basically a huge parking lot. It is entirely different to ride in traffic. Therefore, I am doing baby steps and not worried too much about how long it is taking. I won’t go on to the next step until I am completely comfortable with the current thing I am working on. My current journey is an 8 mile ride I have done over and over again for the last two months and my last time out I finally felt like I have it. Curves, stop lights, a little traffic and some turns. Prior to that I was doing only a two mile fairly straight road and I did that for a month before I would go on to where I am currently. I am ready now to venture on to the next leg which is to head to a big parking lot to practice a lot of slow speed stuff. The stuff that caused me to drop my bike the first time and gave me all sorts of confidence issues. I knew I had to get a course on slow speed things and I bought a great DVD for that. Only 10 minutes in I found out what I did wrong that caused me to drop my bike and how I need to practice. I have a set of things I need to try from the course but I can’t do that until I can get to a parking lot. So my last couple of months has been just trying to get comfortable so I can ride to a nice big flat one. Unfortunately where I want to go will get me into way more traffic hence why I had to switch gears and do what I have been these last couple of months. The peer pressure from a buddy of mine sometimes makes me feel stupid as he is a seasoned rider. But hey, this is your safety at hand. Do what you only feel comfortable doing and in your way only and don’t worry if you take months practicing one thing. Just know there is someone else out there doing the same thing. Sorry for the rambling. I hope some of my story may help you. Oh, one last thing. Since I live in Arizona this last month has been extremely hot and humid. If I get out once a week I am lucky as I can’t stand all the gear on in this heat. Again, others can make you feel like a baby about it but I can’t handle it so I stay away and do my own thing.

  5. Mandy Edwards says:

    Hi! I am so happy to have read these recent comments by Vicky, Sam and Liz! I am 52 and new to riding as well. In April I completed the MSF course on a little old Honda 200 (with a kickstarter!) that they provided. It was an small, easy to handle bike. I learned to love it! We did four riding classes, starting in just the big empty parking lot and eventually out on the roads.

    I went from never having ridden, to riding in trafffic, and even a short stint on the freeway at up to 110 kmh! I was quite proud of myself! I did a lot of online research and talked to a lot of people before buying a bike. Everyone has a different opinion! Some said start with a small bike, but most said get something around 650cc otherwise you’ll grow out of it right away. I ended up buying a Moto Guzzi V7 Stone (744cc) from a guy down the road from me. It’s a retro looking bike which I like, not too heavy and not too tall.

    I bought it in mid-April so have been riding it for three months. I don’t mind traffic and am ok with slow-speed turns… I’ve been practicing u-turns and corners in an empty church parking lot. But I have a horrible time on the freeway! My bike has a tiny cafe-style windscreen which doesn’t protect me much from the wind. I feel like I’m hanging on for dear life! It’s ok if I’m just going from one exit to the next, I’ve done this lots of times hoping to get used to it! But I have no desire to go any further! I see other people on the freeway and they look so relaxed! I have no problem going on side roads where the speed limit is 80kmh, but once I’m going over 100kmh, it scares the heck out of me! Any advice on this?! I don’t really want to buy a big windscreen. Will I get used to speed if I keep doing it?!

    Thanks!
    Emme.

    • lizjansen says:

      Congratulations Emme! You’ve accomplished a lot and I’m glad to see you not only enjoying it, but doing your homework and approaching it practically and wisely. I’ve ridden the Stone and it is very nice.

      Without seeing it though, I can’t comment specifically. It does sounds more like aerodynamics than a speed issue. Please make sure it’s set up properly for higher speeds, and it sounds like your intuition is telling you that. Things can go wrong quickly so don’t risk it. Have someone qualified look at it and assess, and then decide what to do.

      Your riding adventures are just the beginning of many wonderful miles. Wishing you many happy memories. 🙂

      Liz

      • Mandy Edwards says:

        Hi again… sorry I realize I went off topic totally! lLiz, the bike is totally stock with a small Moto Guzzi windscreen. I had it checked by a good mechanic when I first got it and he called it “rock-solid”. And I have a good Arai Vector 2 helmet which fits perfectly. I

        I think I am the problem, not the bike or my gear!

        • lizjansen says:

          Hi Mandy,

          The aerodynamics can be affected by how you fit on the bike, that’s why it’s good to make sure the bike fits you. There are many adjustments that can be made to make the ride more comfortable and safe for you. No doubt there are some novice jitters, but don’t assume the problem is you without checking it out. Intuition is always right. Wishing you many miles of wonderful adventure!!

    • Sam says:

      Some of these comments may or may not apply to the immediate question but nevertheless, I wanted to share just a couple of things. I too was a bit uncomfortable at higher speeds. Even though my Victory is a heavy bike and handles it well, the turbulence can sometimes be scary at 70+ mph. In my particular situation, I found the riding gear to help greatly with this, especially the helmet. I finally broke down and bought a Scuberth and it is a night and day experience. Not only is it extremely quiet but the turbulence on your head is greatly improved, even when looking side to side. The Germans know their stuff. Best money spent on the bike so far!!

      This I know will be way off topic so more of just an update on my particular situation. I am only a little over a year into this biking thing now so still a novice at age 58. I have wanted my wife to start riding with me two up but she is too scared. As we get older we have less tolerance for fear. So I added a Voyager trike kit to my bike. Awesome!! It gives me the best of both worlds since it is removable. My wife will ride with me now. I am finding that I love it so much I keep it on. In spite of the comments from friends and others in the biking world, training wheels, motorized wheel chair etc., I love it!! Everyone will reach a point in life that if they still want to ride, going to a trike will become a necessity. You can’t beat the stability. Higher speeds is nothing. The adverse comments you get from others basically shows their ignorance and are idiots. They are the ones who probably don’t wear helmets!!! No matter what you bike on, you are part of the community. Appreciate it and respect it. Thanks for listening….

      • lizjansen says:

        Agree with you whole heartedly on the Schuberth helmet Sam. That’s what I wear – for many reason, including the superior aerodynamic design. It really reduces buffeting. It’s not necessarily the answer for Emme though – whatever’s going on needs to be looked at from a safety perspective.

        We all have different preferences and you and your wife need to come up with what works best from you. Many people have opinions, and those kind of ill-founded comments don’t even reach my ears. They’re speaking through their own filters, based on their personal experience. I do my own homework, consult people I trust as necessary, and decide what’s best for me.

  6. Wayne Albrecht says:

    Great post –

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure (sarcasm) of dropping my Yamaha 1100 Silverado for the first time since buying it three years ago. Actually, let me be more precise, yesterday I dropped a bike for the first time since riding and owning bikes since I was 12…I am now 54.

    My wife and I had just finished a two hour ride and were parked in a neighbors driveway chatting before going home. We were both still on the bike and after about 10 minutes, my wife wanted to get off the bike. I don’t know if it was miscommunication between us, or she stepped off differently than normal, or what…but as she got off the left side, I lost balance of the bike and it dropped over. It did not hit hard as I was holding onto it as it went…but it went nonetheless.

    With no one and nothing hurt but my pride, I was able to lift the bike back up by myself. It took two tries, but I did it. Let me tell you, 650 pounds of dead weight is freakin’ heavy.

    Again, great post and, I guess, sooner or later, it’s going to happen and being prepared on what to do when it does goes a long way.

    Thanks,

    Wayne

    • lizjansen says:

      Wow – you made it a LONG time! I laughed (empathetically) when I read your message Wayne. Very few of us have not been through the disbelief, then embarassment from a situation that may have a different setting but a similar outcome to what you describe. Thanks for having the courage to share. It just goes to show that it can happen to anyone and all it takes is a moment’s inattention. Glad no person or machine was hurt. Well, now you’ve got your first drop out of the way!
      Liz

  7. Ray says:

    Well, I started riding again at 59 years old. Bought a new bonneville and have ridden for three months and loved it. Then i picked up a used thruxton and a good price. It’s a blast… until i was in a parking lot today and decided to make a slow U-turn… (complete the story… broken wrist; bike has a few scratches and a bent clutch lever) Anyway, my confidence is shot. I can’t jump on a bike for several weeks due to wrist and i know that’s what i need to do. However, the weather is turning colder and i don’t want to get away from this like I did before. This was my first drop ever and it happened really fast. I have a little repair to do on the thruxton and I guess i don’t know how it will feel when i get back on. Got some great friends who are willing to help me go again, but it’s tough! (It also put my scuba instructing on hold for a bit!)

    thanks for any input.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Ray,
      Congratulations on getting back into riding. If you really want to ride, and it sounds like you do, don’t let this spill deter you. This can make you a stronger rider. Based on my own experience, I know how confidence can take a hit and how it’s hard to get going. It comes back with practice and saddle time.
      You didn’t mention whether you’d taken an MSF course before riding again at 59. If you haven’t, that’s where I’d start. Even if you did, it’s a good idea to repeat. Great friends are very well meaning and great for support, but there’s no replacement for a trained instructor who can help you refresh your skills, evaluate and expand your comfort zone safely, build your confidence, and isn’t emotionally attached. If you can’t do it before winter, definitely start next season with some training. Then it’s more practice, practice, and practice, riding within your own ride. You’re going to have a great 2016 season!!
      Liz

    • Sam says:

      Hi Ray,

      Glad to hear you got back into riding. I am 58 and just started riding at 57. My first spill was very similiar, in a parking lot doing slow speed practicing on my Kingpin (criticized heavily for too big a bike for first bike) hit front brake with bars turned and down I went. No injury fortunately and very minor bike damage. Confidence shot to heck. Several months later, confidence way high and going strong, nothing I can’t do with bike. I made a stupid mistake in a slow speed turn on the road, clipped the curb and down I went. No injury, $600 damage to bike. I repaired bike but it took me several months to shake that off. I did though and got past it. However, I started thinking about the bike thing in general. Getting hurt at my age or any age on a bike can be disastrous. I did not get into this to screw myself up, I wanted to enjoy it and have fun. So I went another route since stopping riding was not where I wanted to go. I added a Voyager trike kit to my bike and I am having a blast with it. Getting a Kingpin not such a bad move now to all those who had nothing positive to say!! My wife rides with me now too. I took the ribbing from friends, training wheels and all that, ignored it all and now I can say I am enjoying bike riding the way I had hoped. I can remove the kit easily and go back to a bike anytime which I have but I must say, I am enjoying the trike more than I ever thought. I share this with you not to suggest you do the same. Every person is different and in a different place with motorcycles. It has been a rather scary and tough journey for me but I finally like where I am at with it. Persevere with passion in front and you will get where you want to be, no matter the obstacles. Good luck to you. Sam

  8. Failure says:

    Hello…

    I just got my bike yesterday and have already dropped it twice. I didn’t drop it at the dealer doing the test ride, but I seem to have trouble with low speed turns. I’ve completed (successfully) the MSF this past summer, rode a dirt bike as a very young child and have been riding a CT70 (with bigger engine) for about 8 momths.

    I think I am just about ready to give up and just sell the damn thing. I ride great around town, in traffic, taking off from lights, etc…it’d just the God-forsaken initial turns or trying to park the damn thing…I drop it damn near every time…and I am getting extremely sick to death of it.

    Bike is a standard bike…weighs 430 pounds dry…I’m just over 5 feet tall with a 27″ inseam. Seat height is 29.5″…the CT70 seat height is 29.3″, but about 1/3 the weight.

    I’m so demoralized…I don’t know what to do. 🙁

    • lizjansen says:

      You’ve had some challenges getting going but they don’t need to stop you. First determine if you truly want to ride a motorcycle. If the answer is yes, then keep at it. You’ll get there! I’m reading a book titled Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better – about the value of failing and how to use it to improve.
      You may want to consult a professional instructor (not a friend, relative, partner)—someone who can observe you objectively, provide constructive feedback, and coach you. It sounds like you may need to work on how to get the most out of the friction zone (clutch/throttle control) and probably eye control. This is not an insurmountable problem. Keep working it. You’ll get past it and wonder what the concern was about! The best relationships are those worth working for.

    • Sam says:

      If you don’t mind me chiming in, reading your post reminds me exactly of my first few months and the confidence shattering feeling when you make that error and experience the less than expected results. I wanted to throw the towel in for sure. However, if you have the passion for this motorcycle thing, then you will get past it. For me, I decided to start from the beginning getting used to my bike all over again taking the baby steps. I also bought the Ride Like a Pro DVD which was real good. It teaches techniques not shown in the basic motorcyle course. The friction zone Liz touched on is extremely important handling the heavier bikes. The friction zone, throttle and foot brake used simultaneously is your best friend once you get used it. Very awkward at first but once you get the hang of it you realize the basic course is just that, basic. So much more to learn. My first bike was and still is a 700 lb Victory. I just took delivery of a Victory Vision, almost 900 lbs the other day and transitioned to it quite easily. When I dropped my first bike the first time, I never imagined I would advance to a much bigger and heavier bike 2 years later. Once you get the right training or help and learn the techiniques, the weight and size of the bike becomes almost irrelevant. Sorry to ramble a bit, just want you to know that this is all very doable. Good luck and ride safe.

      • lizjansen says:

        Hi Sam,

        Thanks for your candid remarks. Well said! “When I dropped my first bike the first time….” pretty much sums it up. We all do it. The thing is to remember who’s in charge, learn from our mistakes, and get back to riding. Safe travels!

        Liz

        • Sam says:

          Hi Liz,

          Hope you are well. Thank you for providing a forum to release our troubles. I felt safe here to talk from the beginning without fear of being judged. This forum is an important step for moving on after a boo boo. Cudos to you. Ride safe… Sam

  9. Lisa says:

    Thanks for your advise and the comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one ! Yesterday I dropped my bike for the first time . No damage although as I see with others ,just pride and a couple of little scuffs . I was riding with friends through a town with very shiny road surfaces, it’s notorious . I was almost relieved when we were toward the end of the town after delegating all the roundabouts which is where people normally drop their bikes if they have the misfortune to when we approached a pedestrian crossing .. I didn’t see the pedestrian straight away so as I did I snatch on my front brake too hard ( reaction , I think ) and whoops a daisy over we went ! Luckily for me my pal jwas able to get off his bike and helped me to pick up mine . I am glad of your advise though as I panicked and couldn’t even think how to knock the power out ! What an idiot . So hopefully it doesn’t but if it does happen again I will try to stay calm and will take your advise . Thank you xx

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Although it feels like a big deal, it’s more common than you may think. It sounds like you’ve got a great attitude and are going to learn from this rather than let it get you down! Kudos to you!! My friend, a rider of more than 40 years, dropped his brand new bike in the garage this week. Side stand wasn’t fully engaged. All it takes is a moment’s inattention to lose balance.

      Many tip overs occur during a slow speed maneuver, often involving improper use of the front brake. You haven’t mentioned whether you took a rider training course but if you haven’t, it’s well worth it. One exercise you may find useful is practicing braking in a parking lot. Go with a friend and practice stopping in shorter distances as you get more proficient. It will help you develop the muscle memory to apply pressure to both brakes appropriately, continuously and gradually, even in a situation as you described. The only difference is you do it a little faster in an urgent situation. You’ve got many miles of fantastic riding ahead of you!! Enjoy!! Liz

  10. Ceira says:

    I just finished the MSF course this past Sunday and took my bike out that evening to ride it for the very first time. My dad rode it to a parking lot near my house for me so I could practice. I bought a 2003 Honda Shadow ace deluxe one week ago and it was killing me not riding it. Before the class this weekend I had no idea how to ride.
    I learned on a rebel 250 in class, so my bike felt like a monster when I first started riding it. I spent almost three hours on that bike Sunday and was doing great with slow speed maneuvers as well as shifting gears. I got up to 40mph in that huge parking lot, practicing downshifting and stopping over and over again. By the time I left I was more comfortable on my bike than that tiny uncomfortable rebel. Seems I took to it like a fish to water.
    I asked my dad what he thought about me riding around my neighborhood earlier this evening and he said “well you done great in the lot the other day and hit higher speeds than required around here. I think you’ll be alright…” So I geared up and was ready to take my bike out. My driveway is uphill from my garage, so I stalled it a couple times getting it towards the road. But that didn’t phase me much.
    I stopped to talk to dad one last time before I took off and he asked me again if I was sure. I told him I was nervous, but I have to learn somehow. I figure I’ll never be comfortable getting on the road the first time. The only way to get better is to do it.
    I started down the driveway entrance which is a pretty high angle. I turned the bike, let the clutch out going down, then the bike stalled because I didn’t give it enough gas when I let out the clutch. To my horror it began tipping to the left, nothing I could have done would have kept it upright. I let it slide down my left leg until I couldn’t bear the weight anymore. So really it only dropped about 6-8 inches to the pavement.
    My dad asked if I was okay and he started to lift the bike. I quickly said “No, let me pick it up. I have to learn to do this on my own.” Using a technique I learned from YouTube in January I leaned my butt up against the seat and held onto the back frame and the left hand grip. I walked backwards until the bike was upright leaning against my butt and I put the stand down. I looked at my dad and said “well… I had never experienced removing a bike from a slanted driveway. Guess I need to practice that!”
    I decided not to ride. I was much too shaken from seeing my poor innocent bike laying on its side. The thing that bothered me the most is that I lost control of it. Pulling the clutch or hitting the breaks would have done no good, it was a very humbling experience. Also very embarrassing, even though it only happened in front of my dad. He reassured me he used to drop his all the time, doing things like I was doing, which was getting it out of awkward situations, like a ridiculously slanted driveway.
    This experience only makes me want to ride more and get better at getting out of awkward situations. I’m going out riding in the lot again Thursday and I told my dad that I’ll be the one getting my bike out of the driveway! I’m determined to conquer the thing that first defeated me!

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Ceira – I LOVE your spirit! You’ve got a great perspective and know when to push it and when to take a break. It’s traumatic to see your bike lying over on its side. I have no doubt you will continue to learn and enjoy many years, and many more miles of incredible motorcycling experiences. Safe travels! Liz

  11. Thomas Cook says:

    Certainly gives comfort to see I’am not the only poor bugger to drop their bike recently. Was at the petrol station and I didnt put my side stand down properly. As I go to put the pump handle back into the holder the bike decides now was the perfect time to go over, with the fuel cap off :\. Thankfully managed to get the bike back up again but not before I reckon about $3 worth of petrol went all over the floor. One set of ruined gloves from cleaning up the spiil $40, one left hand indicator stalk with bulb $30, one clutch handle $17, lesson learned, priceless. Biggest thing I can recommend, especially for someone like me with anxiety issues, is focus on ‘resolving the situation’. So I picked the bike up, made sure the stand was down properly, cleaned up the bike, cleaned the spill on the floor. Paid for the fuel, apologised for the fuckup, pushed the bike over to the tire and water pumping area and checked nothing would stop my journey.

    The long term was getting the bike fixed asap instead of sitting there being reminded of the drop. By focusing on the resolution instead of the ‘oh god why did this happen’ it really helped keep my head in a good place and made sure my riding to work and back and smooth and safe and not rushed and anxious. Iam very glad it wasnt a very expensive mistake but the embarrassment of doing it on a fuel station forecourt after having my license for almost a week exactly did get to me for a bit. Also glad it fell to the left instead of the right, my cruiser chrome exhaust remains shiny 😀

    • lizjansen says:

      Great story Thomas! I don’t know that you’ll find any rider that hasn’t dropped their bike and it’s always embarrassing. You kept a cool head and handled it very well and we can all learn from it. Thank you! Liz.

  12. Mark B says:

    I dropped my new Harley Switchback today. Was doing a slow turnaround going up a hill on a street A few minor scuff marks on my saddlebag. Luckily I installed crash bars a couple of weeks before. I did however have to get help to pick her back up. My knees took the impact and I am sure I will be bruised and sore for a couple of days. I am now 60 and have been riding most of my life. It’s not the first time I have dropped my bike, probably 2 or 3 other times but that was years ago on much smaller bikes. My lesson learned was never turn around on a going up a hill, wait for a flat area. Other then this minor mishap, it was a great 150 mile ride. Someone told me long ago, it’s not if you will drop your bike but when.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hate it when that happens!! Thanks for sharing Mark. Glad you picked it up and still had a great day! We keep getting lessons – no matter what our age. 🙂
      Liz

  13. Virginia Rego says:

    Age 48, bicycle commuter, started riding about two months ago, logged just under 900 kms mostly on group rides with my husband, took the skills course and the traffic course, now fully licensed for a week. Dropped my first bike in a u-turn in the skills course in a parking lot with instructors. Not a big deal.

    Today though was a big deal. Had my first on-the-road drop, or “stop and flop”, during my lunch hour. It was in a rural area, narrow roads with tractors and no sidewalks but lots of gravel shoulders. Popped out for what should have been an easy 1 km trip to the fruit stand and discovered that parking on gravel is not good! I got past that, then tried to turn “right-to-right” which was not smart as the right was all gravel and sloppy – not the nice paved curbs I was used to by my house. I should have stayed in my lane position, but on such a narrow road turning onto a narrow ride there wasn’t much difference between left of centre and right of centre for lane positions!

    The drop was slow motion. Luckily an elderly gentleman, who knew nothing about bikes but at least gave me some extra muscle and moral support, stopped to help me lift it. It’s only a Honda CB300F but I’m only 5′ and it can be surprisingly anchor-like when it chooses!

    I was proud of myself for remembering to hit the kill switch, and for getting the kickstand down (it fell to the right), and for being calm, and getting back on and riding back to work after thanking the man for his kindness and waving goodbye as he and his wife drove off.

    However, now I have jelly legs and my sweet daughter swapped her vehicle for my bike for a few days until I get my confidence back. I tell my husband that I only ride if I want to, not if I have to, but not sure that I’ll get to that place like him and my daughter who love it!

    One thing I learned from today though was to ride for safety, which doesn’t always mean following the guidelines, such as when choosing lane positions, and I also learned that I want to learn how to pick up my bike by myself. I can already do the trick of swizzling it around on its kickstand when facing the wrong way in a parking spot, easier on pavement though than on gravel – gravel, not my friend!

    Glad I found this thread to share what I thought was a solo tale of woe.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Virginia,

      Thanks for sharing your story. You found yourself in a very challenging position for a novice rider. You also understand at least some of why it happened. Confidence does take a blow in these circumstances but don’t be too hard on yourself. Consider it a lesson, give yourself a breather and get back in the saddle. Also consider an off-road course. They’re a great help for road-riders when dealing with situations like the one that bit you.

      Safe travels!
      Liz

    • Sam says:

      Certainly not a solo tale. In fact, I would bet that if you could get the macho riders out there to drop their guards for a few minutes and speak from honesty instead of pride, you would learn a whole new set of things about this new family you joined. I still consider myself at just over 3 years into this, a new rider. But over the last six months I have made the transition of feeling inadequate to having some extremely great fun. I went through a long phase where I was extremely nervous leading up to a ride. So much so I would get chest pains. That has since past and now the nervousness I feel is a healthy respect for the machine. I actually want to keep that as it keeps me grounded. When I finally broke out of my shell and started riding, I mean real riding like 300 miles in a day, it all started coming together. Now the challenge is to ignore the ones who ride fast and dangerous and stay within my set of rules that keep it enjoyable for me. What you have experienced and will experience is all normal. Just keep looking forward to the day when you break out to that next level. You won’t believe how much fun that is. Ride safe. Left hand extended out to you…Sam

      • lizjansen says:

        Well said Sam! Thanks.
        Liz

      • Virginia Rego says:

        Thank you both Sam and Liz, your words of encouragement and experience, and suggestions for motoring forward, are very much appreciated! I am swapping back the car for my bike tomorrow and my daughter and I will ride together for a bit as I get back in the saddle. Together in safety!

        • lizjansen says:

          Absolutely Virginia! Way to go! Let us know how it goes.
          Liz

          • Virginia Rego says:

            Rode all the way home no problem, even merging onto a highway, still don’t like going 80km but the 50km felt so nice afterwards! I rode my own ride and used lane position as a guide. Baby steps 🙂

          • lizjansen says:

            Yay!!! One day, one step. We only ever have to take one step. Then the next. Soon you’ll be looking back at 80 kph. 🙂
            Thanks Virginia.
            Liz

  14. Dan says:

    I’m not certain that this is the right place to post this since these are all *slow* moving drops… But here goes.

    Background – I’m a 44 year old male and have always been insanely curious about riding motorcycles. I never had a dirtbike as a kid, though I got to ride them (and couple scooters) on occasion and loved the feeling. So, each summer for the past decade or so I’ve considered taking the local MSF course to learn how to ride and get a sense of whether I’d be comfortable moving forward with this. This year I decided to do it. My oldest son is going to college and my youngest is starting high school. Time is marching on. Mid-life crisis behavior is in order!

    I took the class in mid-July. It was difficult, and after the very long first day I was questioning the whole idea. The class was difficult! But the second day went better and I passed, losing points only for not quite being able to do a figure 8 without going outside the lines. I ended up buying a bike a little over a week after the class – a used Honda Nighthawk 250, the same bike I rode in class.

    We live on a dirt/gravel road in a small town that has only one main highway going through it. It’s a 45-50mph road with lots of twists and turns. That bothered me at first because I wanted to go slower, say 30mph, to get comfortable. In fact, I was literally shaking the first time I took the bike out and got the speed up to 45 mph because I felt like any little movement would send the bike (and me) to the ground. I thought about this a read a bit and realized that I could relax – the bike isn’t nearly as ready to topple over at those speeds as I feared. So, a few days of riding on that road made me feel much better. I did very little slow practice, though I did stop in a parking lot for a few minutes (after riding about 8 miles going 50 mph…)

    I’d had the bike for about a week and decided to drive to work for the first time yesterday. The road for the first half of the trip is very similar, the same road that I take in town. Two lane, twisty, tree-lined highway with 45-50mph limits. Then some slower roads, and not too much traffic – one light! – and then I’m at work. So I made it to work. I even stopped off and got the bike inspected on my way in. I wore my gear (boots/pants/jacket/gloves/helmet) and changed and worked all day.

    Then came the ride home…

    I was in a bit of a hurry because we were having “family night” (with the oldest off to college, this is one of our last full family nights and we were going to see a movie.) Everything was going fine, as I’m sure it usually is before an accident. Then, on a 35-40mph road that I have driven the car on daily for 17 years now, I completely underestimated a curve. I probably should have entered the curve at 15-20mph, but must have entered it at 35mph or so. There came a point that I remember distinctly when I realized that I had messed up. Perhaps if I had more experience I could have leaned more and made the turn. But I decided to just brake while going straight off the road. The second I hit the dirt/grass on the side of the rode, I went down hard on the pavement. (I was hoping to stop in the grass but the bike had other ideas.) Pretty much instantly I knew that I was okay. Nothing hurt much, and I got up and moved the bike off the road. The car behind me stopped and helped. Of course, I was embarassed beyond belief and shaking with panic, but assured the guy behind me I was okay. I called my wife (who is not a big fan of this motorcycle thing, by the way) and told her what happened. I couldn’t ride the bike because the gear shifter had bent too much. She came with my eldest son and we were able to roll the bike into our pickup truck and take it home. We even made it to the movie, though a later screening than we’d planned.

    Obviously, I’m feeling a complete lack of confidence. I’d like to get right back out, but there was some damage to the bike (the gear shifter mentioned, also one of the front blinkers broke, and possibly other problems I haven’t noticed.) I need to get it to a shop since I’m not mechanically-inclined at all. My main takeaway from this, other than BE CAREFUL ON CORNERS, is that I’d have been hurt much more if I didn’t have all that gear on. I have a nice raspberry rash on my arm and can only imagine how bad that would be without the jacket’s protection. I have a sore left wrist, a bruised rib, and a slightly sore left ankle. But it could have been so much worse.

    I know the saying – there are riders who have dropped their bikes and those who will drop their bikes. But I didn’t want this to happen within two weeks of buying my first motorcycle, on the very first day I decided to drive to work. I thought I had cornering fairly well under control…

    I have no specific question (though – can a gear shifter be fixed by bending it back??) but mostly just wanted to share my experience. My decision not to lean further but to go straight off the road and stop there did not turn out well. And I know the real problem was going too fast into the curve to begin with.

    So, please share your thoughts as I try to regain the confidence to get back out there once I’ve healed up (and gotten the bike healed.) Sorry for the length!

    Thanks,
    Dan

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Dan,

      Thank you for having the courage to share. Spills like your are the #1 single-vehicle motorcycle accident and it’s usually because the rider approaches the corner too quickly, then panics and fixates on the side of the road, rather than looking to the exit of the curve (while push-steering) and letting your eyes help steer around the corner.

      The way to restore confidence is to get back there and practice. It takes time and repitition to develop these skills. Don’t be too hard on yourself. But also don’t deny yourself something you’vve always wanted to do!

      Safe travels!
      Liz

  15. Virginia Rego says:

    Hi Dan – yikes was my first response to your story, and then empathy because I can relate to all of your doubts and shaken confidence. While all three of my drops have been low-speed, the fear of curves at higher speeds is something I’ve been trying to work through; although my husband tells me I enter curves TOO slowly as the bike wants some momentum, so my current learning is opposite of what made your bike drop.

    As people tell me, your learning is happening from your awareness of mistakes made. Think and reflect, then put that out of your head next time you get on the bike and don’t overthink it!

    Put time and kms/miles in the saddle. I keep a log of all my rides (passed the 1000 km mark recently), and have found it’s a great way to keep track of my milestones, mistakes made and reflected upon, fun events and so on. When my self-doubts kick in I look at my logbook sitting on the bookshelf and recall the positive reasons why I ride, and that boosts my confidence.

    It helps to find other like-minded people who “get it” and encourage you, whether they be family, co-workers, friends, or a riding group, or even a blog such as this one!

    I have been riding for less than two months, and my goal is to get to that place of joy rather than trepidation. I was reminded recently that this is really no different than what new drivers go through as my nieces’ 16 yr old friend got into her family’s minivan to drive home a short distance and was terrified thinking about it! We know how quickly young drivers become confident, but then sadly they can become complacent or lazy drivers. I think the difference with the bike is that as riders we don’t become complacent as there’s more at stake if we do. And that, I think, is the joy of riding – we are fully in the moment.

    Oh, and get your bike serviced before you ride again. Safety first! And like you, I’m all the gear all the time, even wearing a dorky yellow safety vest over my jacket 🙂

    • lizjansen says:

      Great points Virginia. Thanks for sharing.

      Liz

      PS: I’m dorky too. I’m also seen!

      • Dan says:

        Thanks, Virginia and Liz.

        I need to load up the bike into the pick-up truck again, I suppose, to take it to the nearest repair shop.

        Regarding dorky-ness, I couldn’t possibly care less how I look as long as I’m safe and comfortable. I really think, based on the tearing of my jacket, that I’d be in pretty bad shape after Wednesday’s drop. As is, I’m just mildly uncomfortable in a few areas.

        Again – thanks for the feedback.

  16. Sam says:

    Hi Dan,

    As I read your story I can feel every bit of your experience.  I also know very well the after effects and the shot confidence.  I also got a late start with motorcycles, started a few years ago at about 55.  Only lost 2 points in the class and had best score.  I always ride with the gear as well.  Instead of starting with a small bike I started with a 1600cc Victory.  A lot to bite off but I felt I could do it. Although I was fine at speed, slow speed stuff was a real challenge.  Dropped twice trying more than I could handle.  Bought a good dvd and got better at slow speed.  All was well.  Too well.  Over confidence set in.  I hit a curb making a turn and crashed.  Pretty much as Liz described, fixated on the wrong target.  Minor injuries to me but not so much to bike.  I was able to repair the bike myself but the emotional repair to me was not so easy.  Took quite awhile to get back on the horse.

    Once I did, I basically started from scratch with my learning but this time with a whole new respect and outlook.  I think something that happens to us early on is our desire to learn this is so strong that desire is ahead of our skill level.  It causes us to do things we are not anywhere ready for.  I ride with a guy who can take curves much faster than me.  I am in a place now where safety is the number one priority.  If it means taking a turn or curve much slower then so be it.  You can always enter a curve at a comfortable and controllable speed then accelerate out of it when you know you have it nailed.  Pride has no place while riding a motorcycle.  The feeling you currently have and lack of confidence is actually a good thing right now.  Your focus will be stronger and you will become a better rider because of it. In just a few short years since I started this new adventure I am now riding Victory’s biggest and heaviest touring cruiser. I still have my first bike and it is amazing how different that bike feels to me now. My next goal is to try scraping floor boards at slow speed but I’m approaching that goal very slowly. Not there yet…still a bit apprehensive with that one.

    I always get a bit nervous before setting out on a ride.  It is a healthy respect for the machine and just the nature of what motorcycling is. Time in the saddle works wonders.  

    I hope you find something in my message you can use.  Ride safe my brother…

    Sam

    • lizjansen says:

      Thanks Sam – lots of great points here. Wise to start small/slow and build skills. (This does not mean going below traffic speed – that’s a hazard.) You build muscle memory and confidence so you minimize the chance of something going wrong, and have the skills to deal with it when it does. Thank you!
      Liz

  17. Bonnie Rider says:

    It feels good knowing I am not the first one. Last Sunday I dropped my new and shiny, o so much loved Bonnie T120, during a slow turn-arouns maneuver.
    I am 41, and the biggest bike I rode was my Vespa 50, since I was 19. I decided this spring to get me a nice retro-styled bike, but with all relevant safety features like ABS etc.
    I was lucky to get my brand spanking new Bonnie T120, it was the last one available – bad luck for the next Bonnie lover after me.
    I dropped it after 4 days trying to turn around to the left. Too slow, and the bar was already full left, so after catching up most of the fall with my left leg she hit the tarmac. After four days and barely 100 miles. Oh well, a few small scuffs, and I was still in one piece although feeling like an idiot. I got my Bonnie up again and felt humbled.
    Last Monday: slow turn-around to the left on a private, tight and slanted parking lot. When the steering bar hit the limit and I wanted more steering angle, I knew we’d go down. This time she hit full blast the ground. The fuel tank is dented because the steering bar bent from the impact so much that it made contact with the tank. Clucht lever broken at the breaking ooint, Major scuffs and scratches on the side of the front light, odometer chroming and who knows what else that is not visible to the eye of a layman. I got still away with no injuries, but now I know it’s time for a crash bar, ugly or not, don’t care. 550 km, second drop. Why did I not turn around the safe way, by using my head and my feet? I am torn between considering me the kingpin of idiots and still a lucky man because I still have health, home, friends and a job. i even considered selling it, but I am too stubborn to let gravity and my bike win.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Bonnie,

      You’re not the first or last. You know how to correct it and it takes practice, practice, and more practice. It hurts to see our beautiful bikes laying on their side and scratched or dented but in the grand scheme of things, those are pretty minor issues. Keep with it! Safe travels! Liz

  18. Jill says:

    Hello Liz

    I’m from Sydney Australia. Always wanted to ride. Grew up with a dad who collects and restores classical bikes….Triumph, Ariel, BSA,Vincents etc.But NEVER ridden myself. Decided in my middle age (54) that I want to go riding with Dad before we both get too old. He lives in UK. I have signed up for private lessons 1 on 1. I have done 3 lessons only. Learners in a few weeks. Was doing great. Slow speed today. Came to a stop on a hill, indicating to turn right…something happened…next thing, bike over. I was so shocked. I am still shaking. But I was with an instructor and I got back on…do I want to ride? YES but today was a huge fright! I have so loved reading everyone else’s experiences. Thank you Jill

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Jill – I love your story!! So cool that you’re learning to ride so you can go out with your dad. Thanks for sharing it.

      Anyone can ride fast in a straight line. Slow speed skills are HARD to learn! Stopping on a hill is also challenging. Don’t be hard on yourself for dropping your bike as many experienced riders have done the same thing. You’re fortunate it’s included with your instruction and that someone was right there to help you (although invariably help arrives when you need it).

      Congratulations for having the courage to learn and persist through early challenges. You’re going to have fantastic memories!

      Best,
      Liz

  19. Rita says:

    I’m a learner in Australia. Loved motorbikes as a teenager and had a few boyfriends with motorbikes but liked their bikes more than them. Now 52 and on a 250 Intruder and taking it slowly. Had a fantastic ride today of about 80km on major roads. Was just 50 metets from home and dropped bike in a slow turn from stopping just like described in many of these blogs. GUTTED. Reading these blogs makes me feel better. At least I got the lift right and no one was around 😉

  20. Kate says:

    I’ve been riding for 5 months, and I’ve dropped my bike enough times to not be terribly embarrassed anymore. The only problem is that I can’t pick up my bike without help (and yes, I’ve watched those YouTube videos). The dropping always happens in slow-speed or no-speed situations. I know I should go to a parking lot and practice slow-speed maneuvers more, but just riding regularly has increased my skill and raised my confidence. If you’re out there feeling bad about dropping your bike, don’t. No one likes to talk about it, but all riders drop their bikes. Multiple times. Even experienced riders.

    • lizjansen says:

      Great attitude Kate! I can’t pick mine up without help either. Of course, if it’s going to tip over, usually it’s in front of an audience so there’s someone there to help. )

      Safe riding.
      Liz

  21. Leonard says:

    Well. I think I managed the mother of all drops. I haven’t dropped my own bike and have been riding only a few months. I went a ride on my friends machine and when I got off it (and I did check the stand was down) it rolled forward slightly, pushing the stand back enough not support the bike. Down it went. It was hugely embarrassing and I felt sick to the point collapse. It was his pride and joy, and very expensive. Naturally, I will pay for the damage but I fear he might give up on it and repair it cheap and move it on.
    Now my confidence has taken a huge blow. It has actually put me off riding and bikes in general and I was loving the whole biking experience. I know things will pick up but even a week later I`m still sick. I was warned that one day I will drop a bike but I didn’t think it would be like this.

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Leonard,

      Great story – thanks for shairng. Your friend placed an extraordinary amount of trust in you as a new rider with his pride and joy. Most people don’t lend out their bikes, especially to new riders.

      The first time is always the worst, and when it’s someone else’s bike, it’s that much more painful. Aside from that, take it as a lesson, like you would any other life experience. It’s easy enough to do (I once left mine running while parked on a bit of a downhill incline and the same thing happened). Are you going to let something so simple defeat you? I sense there’s more at stake here with your friendship, but even that will be a valuable lesson for both of you. You know why it happened, you weren’t injured (except your pride), learn from it, and get back on—your bike. 🙂

      Good luck!
      Liz

  22. Sarah says:

    Hi Liz,

    Having just made my first drop yesterday afternoon, I was looking around the web to just read what others had gone through and try to calm my emotions and tears. I have been licensed since this March, learning, learning, learning, with my DH as my best continuing teacher. Already taken and passed the courses and the classes and tests. My circumstances were identical to what you described. Angled driveway, extremely slow speed turn, too much clutch and not enough throttle. Stalled and down in slow motion, but still down. I already knew what I had done wrong, know what I need to do to not repeat it, and took solace in the fact that I was not the only one this had happened to, and it happens to both the tenderfoot and the well-seasoned.

    My little partner, a 2012 Honda CBR250R, suffered no damage except a broken clutch lever, and was already sporting some small scrapes from the previous owner, also a new rider. So my bike is being a great trainer. When we bought it I said I wanted a bike that, if I dropped it, I wouldn’t cry. Well, I still cried. I have no ego to wound because I know I’m learning and you learn from mistakes. But the confidence whack was harder.

    My husband was the best support ever, we checked the bike over and discussed all of the situation to fully understand what happened and what to take away. I still cried.

    It’s very helpful reading all the testimonies and soul-bearing accounts of all the riders here. I’m not alone, this happens to everyone, I wasn’t hurt, it could have been worse.

    Thank you for your article and to everyone putting it out there!

    Trying to keep the shiny side up!

    • Sarah says:

      Forgot to mention, I’m turning 60 this year, I’m not looking to slow down! 🙂

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for having the courage to share your story. When things like you describe happen to us, we think we’re the only one. Fact is, it happens to most of us. You’ve got a great attitude and know what you did wrong. That goes a long way in preventing the next time. having said that, I noticed you also said it was your ‘first’ drop. 🙂 Hopefully it doesn’t happen again but don’t be surprised if it does. It only takes momentary innattention, and it’s so easy to lose your balance at slow speed. Congratulations on starting out on this amazing adventure!! Safe travels.

      Liz

      • Sarah says:

        OMG, yes, should have said “and hopefully my last and only”! Thanks for all the encouragement! 😉

        • lizjansen says:

          Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s not.
          You’re welcome!

          • Frank says:

            This is what happened to me. I was backing out my motorcycle from my garage and I was wrestling with my goggles to get them on properly. I was almost at a dead stop when I lost my balance and the bike fell over. The only thing I could find damaged was a broken clutch lever and a few scratches on the side of the mirror. $20 dollars worth of physical damage and a damaged spirit. I did have trouble lifting the bike by myself. I said to myself, I’m not quitting and went on to rid the bike for 60+ miles that day.
            I did learn this, do not mount the bike till everything is in place on your person and don’t ride if you don’t feel good or are “off” that day. I did teach me to be damn carful and as soon as you think you are getting “foxy” on a motorcycle you will get yourself in trouble.
            A motorcycle is a high performance piece of equipment similar to an airplane and should be treated with the upmost respect.

          • lizjansen says:

            Great advice Frank. Thanks.
            Liz
            PS: Love that you’ve also acknowledged treating the rider as a high performance piece of equipment! 🙂

  23. Kiki Mann says:

    can you please advise – what should you do if there is gas dripping – there was only a little bit, and it’s stopped – but my daughter (19) just got a bike (Honda CBR250) and dropped it at a stop – a little gas leaking – happened just now — is it ok to wait and let the gas dry and then drive it? (today 0 Jul. 21 2:20 PM ET) Thanks!
    Kiki

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