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What Was Your Worst Motorcycle Crash, And What Did You Learn From It?

Illustration for article titled What Was Your Worst Motorcycle Crash, And What Did You Learn From It?

Crashing is a part of motorcycling, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. While the words “crash” and “accident” are often interchangeable, they’re still learning experiences just like the rest of our time on two wheels. What have you learned from hitting the deck?


My good friend Wes has crashed more times than he wishes I could keep track of, but each of those has taught him a valuable lesson. Whether it’s just that wearing jeans on a motorcycle is a bad idea or crashes are always the rider’s fault.


I have something I have to get off my chest: I’ve never really crashed a motorcycle. I have an irrational fear that crashing a motorcycle means I’ll be horribly maimed or everyone will hate me or I’ll get fired or something. The reality is that crashes happen, even amongst motorcycle journalists, and they’re an important part of the learning process. Look at any racer; think any of them haven’t crashed or are ashamed to admit they have?

I think that a large part of the reason I progress personally as a rider so slowly is that I likely don’t push myself as far as many people do. If most people ride at 10-15 percent past their comfort zone, I never really push it more than five. While it’s nice to not have the physical scars that can come with crashing, I’m not a better rider for it and I’m not better than any of you who have crashed.

Illustration for article titled What Was Your Worst Motorcycle Crash, And What Did You Learn From It?

The extent of my crashing has happened in the dirt, like where I dropped a massive BMW R 1200 GS about a million times at Rawhyde Adventure Riding School this past weekend (in preparation for a very special story coming soon) or on dirtbikes. There was the one time I crashed the DR-Z400 Supermoto on Glendora Mountain Road, but that crash was technically in the dirt - and I learned that I should never try to keep up with CycleNews’ Rennie Scaysbrook, especially when he’s on a Super Duke 1290.


I learned a ton from my falls in the dirt, and can say that I don’t regret any of them. Oh, except the one time I was trying to balance on it standing completely still longer than my buddy who was with me. I hate losing.

So let’s hear it, ‘Splitters. What are you worst crashes and what did you learn?

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Andrew P. Collins

Have had a few biggies, my worst was 2011 when I hit my second kangaroo. The only animal that actually brought me off a bike. So far.

What I learned:

1. I was riding faster than I was looking. Never doing that again.

2. “Expect the unexpected;” shit pops out even in the middle of nowhere. (In Australia, especially in the middle of nowhere.)

3. Where gear that actually fits. I was broke and borrowing a friend’s jacket which had the shoulder plate in the wrong place for me. If I’d been in my own gear, I probably wouldn’t have a left arm that rests one inch lower than the right today. Might have dodged the collarbone chip I got, too.

I have full range of motion now, but I’m probably going to be paying for this all over again when I’m old and arthritic. Shitty price to pay for being young and stupid, but sometimes that’s life.