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Old 12-18-2005, 08:22 AM   #1
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

Tough luck - glad you weren't hurt worse. Your post makes you sound like an intelligent rider, so I assume you know better than to take the "beer or wine" advice since there's a remote chance you have a bit of a concussion.

As for not counter-steering, your fate was probably sealed as soon as you slid. It's hard to imagine how not steering toward the skid would have prevented your accident. I had a similar getoff a couple of years ago in Colorado, riding my KTM Duke II to work in below-freezing weather (short commute). I turned right from a stop on clean pavement, but even though I didn't use more than a "normal" amount of throttle I found myself laying on my (right) side. It was as if I'd tried to accelerate on ice, but the tire was just cold. I was luckier than you, though- total bike damage was a scraped bar end and mirror, and I wasn't too sore to go to work. Good luck with your recovery.
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Old 12-18-2005, 08:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

My wife had a high-side a week ago; she was only going 15-20 though so it wasn't a big deal. She down-shifted into first going down a steep hill in order to engine-break and accidentally hit neutral, which screwed her up causing her to over-react and squeeze too hard on the front break, which somehow tipped her over. She can't play it out either; this is her best guess. All she knows is she hit neutral and then hit the ground. Luckily all she suffered is a banged up knee, no broken bones; her face hit the ground too but the full-face helmet saved her. She wasn't wearing protective pants; if she had knee armour she'd probably be completely fine. As it is she has been using a cane and taking lots of pain killers. The bike is ok for the most part; ninja250 with scratched up fairings and hopefully the forks are just slipped in the tripple clamps instead of twisted. She's going to retake the MSF course before she rides again.
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Old 12-18-2005, 08:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

15 years?!?! I concur with Pete --- you were

long overdue for a sacrifice at the temple of

the Asphalt Gods. Thankfully they were in

a benevolent mood, and the sacrifice was

relatively modest!

Saw some footage from one of the Safety agencies with a time scale at the bottom,

most accidents had all the full-action OOPS bits over and done with in about 200 milliseconds, literally eye-blink type time frames.

This is right at the bottom end of what a

human being can perceive and process/comprehend.

If it was a high side, and there is no documentary

evidence to say it was or it wasn't, the BEST

course of action is to be a little gentler with

the loud handle next time. Sounds like you did

the right thing and the best you could for the


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Old 12-18-2005, 09:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

The fact that you landed on your helmet makes it sound more like a high side. A low side is no less emotionally unpleasant, but probably would be a more gradual slide on your side, and not so much landing head first.

Sorry about the getoff. I hear that dirt riding is a great teacher in the lessons of riding with little (or complete loss of) traction...

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Old 12-18-2005, 10:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

You slid on gravel.. thats just bad luck, sounds like you would have went down no matter what. Just glad that your ok.
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Old 12-18-2005, 11:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

It's refreshing to hear a rider admit that he or she made a mistake and crashed. These days you hear so many (especially cruiser) riders come up with lines like, "It started to slide and I had to lay her down," as if any conscious decision and action are possible in a matter of milliseconds.
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Old 12-18-2005, 11:28 AM   #7
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Yeah, 'had to lay her down' is a good one. My other favorite is "I knew I couldn't swerve in time, so I layed her down to avoid caliper warpage from hard controlled braking"
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Old 12-18-2005, 11:59 AM   #8
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I did the exact same thing 6 years ago in my only get off. Had the wife's brand new SV650. Still in the break in period so I was keeping the revs low and just doing some stop and go stuff through the neighborhoods taking it easy. The snow had just melted and it was around 40deg. People in Ohio had warned me to take it easy because just after the snow melts there is still salt on the roads and it creates a very slick surface. I came to an intersection at the bottom of 4 small hills such that any direction you took you would be going up hill. The road looked clear and was dry except at the edges. Came to a stop , looked both ways and let out on the clutch. As I was turning left I thought "man this SV sure turns sweet the way it just leans over and the front end tucks...bang. I was on the ground. Helmet hit and left knee and left hand. I slid a few feet and popped up to run after the bike sparking it's way to the edge of the intersection. Perfect low side at 5-10MPH. I can only surmize that it was a combination of cold tires (MEZ4's with 200milies), cold road, and probably some salt residue. Never found a trace of anything else on the road or tires. Now when I am up north I follow my friends advice. Wait for a rain after the snow thaws to wash off the salt and then ride. As for your crash, it sounds like a repeat of mine. If you high sided you should launch in front of the bike as it spits you off and worry about it tumbling behind you. Low side the bike typically shoots out in front of you. Of course at low speeds, the classic high side/low side scenarios might not hold.
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Old 12-18-2005, 12:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: High Side Crash Today

Your high-side misadventure is probably normal for experienced, long-time riders, just a question of time for most people. When not if. And how bad, not if. My suggestion is that someone write an illustrative guide showing the best techniques to avoid a high side fly off when you sense one coming on. Theres not much time to react, so being prepared in advance might help.

Congratulations on surviving intact. Like pilots say, any forced landing you walk away from is a good landing. Same with high sides.
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Old 12-18-2005, 03:07 PM   #10
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It's hard to say from your post, but I'm not sure you necessarily high-sided. High siding happens when the rear end slides out and suddenly regains traction which makes it snap back in line with the front more or less instantly. When the rear snaps back in line it kicks your butt out of the seat and, if it's bad enough, you go flying forward over the handlebars (the "high side" if you will). Also, oftentimes in a high side the bike will actually keep going after it's spat off the rider, how far depends on how fast you were going when it happened. At any rate, if you were close to your bike when it was all over there's a good chance it wasn't a high side.

A low side on the other hand is when the rear (or front, but the rear in your case) slides out from underneith you and the bike just flops over onto it's side. You can still easily end up face-first on the pavement in a low side, especially if you were doing like you should have been and trying to look through the turn.

As for what you should have done, it's more about what NOT to do. The most important thing when the rear starts to slide is to NOT shut off the throttle. This is hard not to do because it's your natural reaction but it is absolutely the worst thing to do because it will cause a high-side when the rear suddenly regains traction. The best thing to do is maintain constant throttle, or very slowly roll off while standing the bike up. Standing the bike up gets weight on the fatter part of the tire and allows it to regain traction in a smooth, controllable manner. This will also prevent low-sides, incidentally. In this regard, countersteering was the right thing to do, however you probably either shut off the throttle too quickly or traction was so low that once the slide started you didn't have a chance anyway.

As for the damage, it's not particularly telling because either type of crash could have had the bike landing only on one side. Both mirrors probably broke off because the impact of the bike landing on it's side was so hard that the opposite mirror broke off as well. Some bikes (ducati's I know, for sure) have special bolts that are designed to break in a fall so that the mirrors and fairings don't sustain as much damage.

Anyway, congrats on going 15 years without a crash and on wearing your gear. The fact that you're looking to learn from your experience speaks to your maturity as a rider.
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