For some of us, the occasional crash is an unavoidable part of motorcycling. It certainly seems to be for me, anyway. If it happens, it happens, there’s no point in worrying about it. That said, it’s definitely possible to make a bad situation worse. To help you avoid it, we’ve put together this list of things that you really ought not to do after a crash once you’ve picked yourself up and dusted yourself down…
Don’t: Kick off
Kicking off and causing a scene won’t get you anywhere. Even if some nipple has just skittled you off your bike, and really ought to be reminded how much of a plonker he is, don’t be the one to remind him. At this point, you need everyone to cooperate, and the calmer they are, the better. If you come out all guns blazing, you’ll probably find fewer people will be inclined to see your side of the story. No, your best bet’s to be as unintimidating as possible to anyone else that might be involved. And then you can say what you want about the prick when you get home.
Leaving the scene of a crash before you’ve had chance to chill out and swap details with anyone else involved is a bad move. If it’ wasn’t your fault, then you’re going to need the details of who’s fault it was. If it was, disappearing without handing over your deets’ could land you in serious hot water. Even if there’s no other vehicles involved, jumping on your bike and high-tailing off before you’ve got your head straight isn’t the best plan. Take five minutes to get your breath back. Check your bike over and think about what you’ve only gone and done.
Don’t: Immediately accept responsibility
If there are other vehicles involved, don’t let the first word that leaves your mouth after you take your helmet off be ‘sorry’. A switched-on third party will immediately take that as an admission of guilt; if they didn’t have you down as being ‘at fault’ before, they will now. No, before you start handing out apologies, willy-nilly, stop and have a think about what really happened. It probably happened mega fast, so don’t jump to any conclusions; even if you think you might have been in the wrong. Try and hear as many points of view as possible. Get a clear picture of exactly what happened from every angle; that way you’ll know whether you really were at fault or not. It’s not your job to investigate accidents, it’s the police’s. But it’s good to have a clear picture of what went on, in your own head.
Don’t: Play down any injuries
If something hurts, don’t try and act all brave about it and jump back on your bike and ride home. If it hurts right after an accident, when you’ve got adrenaline and all that funky stuff coursing through your veins, it’s going to really hurt tomorrow. And you might have done a bit of damage. Even if your bike looks fine, riding it home with a broken arm is nothing short of foolhardy. And then of course there is the insurance side of it. If the police take a statement and you tell them you’re absolutely fine, the third party’s insurance company are going to ask a lot of questions if the medical report says you broke half a dozen bones in the crash and you’re going to be laid up for six months. If it hurts, don’t pretend it doesn’t.
Don’t: Assume your bike is still road-worthy
Even the slowest crashes break things. And it’s usually the things you need to control your bike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the road, on the track or off-road, a small crash can turn a perfectly serviceable motorcycle into a death-trap. You could snap a lever putting the brakes out of action. You could bend a handlebar, causing the throttle to stick on. The list is endless. Well, maybe not endless, but there are a load of things you could do to your bike in a crash, that would make another crash very likely indeed. If you need to get back on the road, make sure you spend a good five minutes checking your bike isn’t going to kill you if you try and ride it home. Or better than that, ring a mate with a van and see if he’ll come and pick you up.