All riders know that motorcycles are inherently less stable than automobiles. So, when we ride our shiny new bike away from the dealership, we begin the life-long task of attempting to keep our motorcycle from achieving its natural position. What is a motorcycle’s natural position, you ask? Why, that would be lying on its side. Our motorcycles depend on us to stay upright. It is our sacred task.

However, we all know that gravity works and you can only bend, not break, the laws of physics. This leads to the old saw about there being two kinds of riders: those who have been down and those who are going to go down. Some would argue that there are there is a third kind: those who are going to go down again.

So, let’s check in with out fellow MOrons. How many times have you crashed a street bike? (Let’s keep dirt out of this because tip-overs are so common off-road.) Since we recognize that riders with more years in the saddle have also exposed themselves to more risk of having their bikes achieve achieve their natural position, we’ll include a second poll to establish how many years our readers have been riding.

This should be interesting.

  • Old MOron

    Fewer than Evans!

    • Evans Brasfield

      Hey, that hurts!

      • On occasion the truth may hurt.

      • Old MOron

        Aw shucks, I just wanted to keep the gag running.
        How about this version?

        Q: How many women have you satisfied?
        A: Fewer than Evans!

        • frod

          Witty, but i’ll be surprised if you get more than one upvote for this…

          • Old MOron

            Ha ha, one upvote from Evans, and one downvote from Mrs Evans. So I’m perpetually at zero.

            Let’s see. Must be 20:00 or 21:00 for you about now. Hope this message finds you in comfortable surroundings with a nice ale in hand.

          • frod

            Close, it’s 22:00. Back in France, nearly home — 10,000 or so miles into the trip. Book in hand, early start 😉

          • Old MOron

            Well then, perhaps some cognac when you finally get home. Tonight Mackie and I are going to hear Irish fiddle music. We’ll raise some Redbreast to you.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Was their also a sampling of their finest meats and cheeses?

          • therr850

            Military time does not use : ‘s. Do you mean 2000hror 2100hr?

          • Old MOron

            No, I did not intend to use military time, just the 24-hour clock.
            ISO 8601, if I have to pin it on a standard.

          • therr850

            Sorry. In all these years I have never noticed the difference but after checking my phone in 24 hour time and my tablet in 24 hour time, you are correct. There is a colon. Sorry.

          • Old MOron

            No worries.

  • Gruf Rude

    Hit by a left-turner about a year and a half into riding career. Slid out on an interstate on-ramp when the car ahead blew its transmission and oiled the pavement a couple of years later. Dumped it on a right-hand slow speed corner on spilled diesel fuel a few years after that. That last spill was in 1972 and none since then, so 3 crashes in 52 years. The left-turner broke my femur, but that was the only crash that resulted in injury.

  • 1.) More than ten. (only once on a public road, about a dozen on race tracks, parking lots practicing, etc.
    2.) Thirty or more.

    • Roger

      Professional Racers don’t count along side of us mortals

  • Shaun Olcott

    Twice…both doing under 10 miles an hr. Not my most graceful moments.

  • JMDGT

    Twice. Once in high school. A driver hit the concrete median in the parking lot at my place of employment and drug a chunk of it into the middle of the road. It was at night. I hit it going about 30. Once in college. I low sided on a curve on my way to the lake. There was some oil on the road.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    I dropped my bikes 2 times at a standstill. 1 time on a kinda sandy closed road learning to control wheelspin.
    The most heartbreaking was dropping my shiny VFR12 in the garage after about a month since I bought it. That 600-pound bike with 0 leverage on clipons is a bitch to toss around! Or maybe someone just needs to gain a few pounds to his 135…

  • gerhard toxopeus

    I think we have some dishonest pollsters here

  • Sayyed Bashir

    I dropped my 2007 Harley for the first time in 10 years when the front end wiped out on deceptively mushy leaves in my driveway. Broke clutch lever, bent gear shift lever, and had a hard time picking it back up. Seriously crashed my 1986 Harley in Big Bend National Park, TX when the rear tire blew out at 60 mph, 400 miles from the nearest dealership. $3500 in repairs and twice that in medical bills.

  • spiff

    If you counted dirt the awnser would be hundreds. Crashin’s learnin.

    • Born to Ride

      Used to always keep an extra set of levers in the tool kit haha

      • spiff

        Next to a master link?

        • Born to Ride

          Next to my extra spark plug in bubble wrap.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Next to the oil drain plug?

          • Born to Ride

            The plug for my gear oil was always secured. The extra plug was because I rode a two smoker, and had been left stranded by a fouled plug before.

  • Mahatma

    Twice here.One where I was lucky to walk away.

  • Matt O

    None on the road, but twice in the driveway at a standstill. And the one time I walked out of work to find my manga on its side. I have no idea how it got there.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Magna?

      • Matt O

        Yes, stupid autocorrect

  • Ken Floyd Jr.

    Three times. Once a slow speed tip over. Once at 70 mph hitting oil in the rain. Very dramatic but no injury and little damage. And the very worst, a very public and embarrassing kick starting accident. Ended up pinned under my own hot bike and couldnt get up. For the second poll, 30+ yr rider.

  • TC

    What is the statute of limitations on crashing? None in the past 35 years.

  • allworld

    Statistics can be made to suggest anything;
    I have crashed twice but have been hit 4 times. The 2 crashes, I claim, were my fault and both did not involve another vehicle.
    I find the question “how many years have your been riding” a deceptive means of riding experience.
    For those who ride less than 1000 miles a year but have been riding for 30 years doesn’t really compare to someone who rides 15,000 miles a years but has only been riding for less than 5 years or so.

    • seangee600

      Fair enough. 30+ years, 18k miles per year. My four include 1 black ice, 1 diesel and 1 SMIDSY where a driver executed a U turn while I was stationary beside her. Of course she looked in the mirror – just forgot to look out of the see through thingy next to her face. The fourth was a biggie – but in the first 2 years of riding.

      • Same for me pretty much. One black ice on the road in front of the closed gate of the level crossing- I had to slow and down I went. Indeed, I couldn’t get up without slipping over again. Took me five attempts before I was able to get upright! Another was spilt diesel on a roundabout. I had one seized engine when I was over at full lean angle and the other, the big one, a car that pulled out in front of me when I was flat out on the tank on my 250 X7 Suzuki back in 1980. I was lucky to walk away from that one: fully expected to die.

        • Ozzy Mick

          Wow!

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      I fell over on Texas St. when I put my foot down into a pothole. Does that count? 😀

      • allworld

        It depends who you ask. If you are asking me that isn’t a crash.

        • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

          Agreed. Neither was the time my kickstand fell off, imo.

      • Vince Weldy

        Yes!

      • Hot Stuff

        That’s not a crash that’s a tipover

    • W Donald

      Agree , the majority of mine were in my first year of riding , since then it has been due to mechanical failure , oil on the road and being sideswiped by a car , but my first year was blatant ignorance and lack of anything closely resembling skill .

  • Only once from Ducati Diavel

  • HazardtoMyself

    Is it a crash if you have been hit but didn’t go down?

    • Gruf Rude

      Nope, that’s a save.

  • Buzz

    Never on the street. Plenty of times in the dirt!

  • Deryl Clark

    Prefer not to temp fate by taking this poll.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You can just whisper it.

  • Tom Ruff

    30 years riding, I dont believe you…

  • Kyle

    Twice in parking lots, once in the garage, four times (I think) on track. I can only imagine I’m not atypical for regular rider and commuter…

  • Patriot159

    Twice on the street, thrice on the track. Almost 50 years riding.

  • Joe DeBiasi

    Years of riding actually means nothing. Hours with your butt in the saddle and type of riding matter a great deal. Until you hit the magic 250 hours of saddle time on a moving bike you are still a squid. 54k miles on a 2.5 year old bike on LA freeways ….. no crashes …………. knocks head on counter!!!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Yes, number of miles matters more than years of riding. Over 250,000 miles. So not a squid anymore.

  • Ray Dangman

    Twice on ice (44 years ago) and once on a roundabout when I hit an oil slick (25 years ago.) Hope I’m not due again.

  • Hammerli

    Three times going to school one morning, on ice, bumps up my numbers.
    Also, tires were not too good in the wet in the 1970s. They’re much better now.

  • Razor Hanzo

    Four years riding (daily), rear-ended once.

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      Why I split lanes at traffic lights…it’s better than being a cage sammich!

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Sometimes hard to go between cars and trucks to get to the front.

      • Joe Smith

        That’s why I line up on the center stripe, facing between the cars, in 1st watching my mirrors. Here in Texas, going to the front could earn you a “lesson” from frustrated cagers who cannot do the same.

        • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

          It really must steam the richies in LA with expensive cars to see us cruise by when they’re trapped in traffic. They just legalized lane splitting here in CA, and I am truly amazed at the number of cars that actually MOVE OVER to let you by!

  • X2xray

    I wonder how many of these accidents were a result of forgetting the kick stand was down.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Or forgetting to put the kickstand down?

  • Vrooom

    My crash involved a deer jumping over a fence and hitting me right at the side of the radiator before touching the ground. Thankful for good gear worn all the time.

    • I once had a pheasant fly over a hedge and hit me smack on the front of my helmet as I was leaned over on a country lane. I bounced the bird up and somehow, didn’t fall off. Not sure how the pheasant fared.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Did the deer survive?

  • Buzzsaw52

    I hit some sand in a turn and down we went! Twice engine died mid takeoff and over I went.

  • StreetHawk

    You might wanna define crash. Versys rolls fwd off kick stand on slight incline with no damage as my person was the shock absorber. Versus trying to get knee down powering out of a 2nd gear downtown intersection and loosing the front after cresting the camber in the road. Again my body was used as a knee puck with the only damage a messed up O ring chain from beating itself off the curb as the GS550EFF was still running.

  • Holy shit! I’m an outlier!

    • spiff

      Standing out of the crowd is an honor.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You have never crashed? You must have special dispensation from the on high.

      • Ha! I’m an outlier because I’ve crashed way more than 10 times.

  • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

    I count 4 times, but 3 of them were cages turning left unexpectedly, and one was when I laid the bike down to avoid a bicycle messenger. Hit him anyway, hah! Teach him to go the wrong way on a one way street, I did.

    Oops, 5 times! I forgot the time I was riding in snowy conditions and a Mercedes blew a stop sign, so I slid into a snowbank. No harm.

    Then there was the time my kickstand fell off…

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Or did you forget to put the kickstand down?

      • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

        Nope, it fell off.
        In a parking lot.
        At my first Airheads Beemer Club meeting.
        In front of everybody.
        (I have forgotten to put the kickstand down a few times, but this wasn’t one of them!)

  • Vince Weldy

    4 street in 50yrs. All but 1 was directly my fault.
    Yea, I’m a Fast Old Guy! FOG!!!
    In dirt we used to say, “If you don’t fall at least once a ride your not having fun”. I had lotsa fun! These days usually only once a season off pavement.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Just did a 50 mile round trip on a gnarly dirt road at 6500 ft elevation this weekend (rocks, gravel, sand, pot holes, water crossings, roots, up down hills) and didn’t spill the bike (almost lost it once). So I guess I didn’t have much fun 🙂

  • frod

    Reading the comments it appears that ‘dropping it’ counts as a crash, so I should revise the 0 to a shameful 1 after forgetting my disc lock. Got myself a shorty GS clutch lever for free, mind.

    • Old MOron

      Nice guitar. Tell me you still have the kitty cat.

  • Wes Janzen

    I ride year round, often I sketchy conditions. Mostly I’ve been caught out losing the rear on unexpected and invisible ice in the winter. The winter before last I was caught out twice as I didn’t account for the water – and the second time the extent of the exhaust water – dropped by cars entering the highway from a new gas station along my commuting route. At least I assume that was the cause.The 13 prior winters I didn’t have problems unless there was visible snow on the ground.

  • Greyadventures

    I am sure there are many forgetting those low speed spills trying a U turn with a loaded bike on a sidehill… I assume low speed tips count.

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      AHAHAHAHA! You reminded me of this time my buddy and I were looking for an address and wound up on a steep hill. I turned around, but my friend…put his foot down on the steep side and fell over. Lawd, I lol’d at him!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      How about a KTM 1190 R (35″ seat height) which you crash while doing a slow U turn on a hill because your left foot doesn’t reach the ground?

  • Rob Sherman

    Infinite times on a dirt bike. Three times in 20 years on the street. The best street crash was when I got my motorcycle wedged under a guard rail.

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      Bike was taller than you thought? 😀

  • Relayer

    Twice on the street. 1st on a 76 750F Honda. I worked fuel terminals for a while and while in Michigan I would put the bike up in a heated building we had for the winter. Middle of Feb. we had a good weekend so it was time to change oil, clean points and time, clean air filter, etc. Took it out for a quick spin and promptly went down om my side a block or so down the road. A truck at the neighboring terminal had over filled and dumped fuel oil on the road, I just thought it was snow-melt. Wrong! Had a front tire blow on that bike once. Going 65 or so. Managed to keep it up, but it was a near thing for a bit, lol.
    2nd on my Honda 650 Turbo, Was on a road trip, going to the Smokies, 2nd morning of the trip I started leaning into a curve, suddenly lost traction in the front and bamm, looking at the pavement as my face-shield skids across the pavement. That one hurt. Turns out there was a culvert under the road and settling had caused the pavement to settle in a reverse ridge kinda way. Thank god for full face helmets with substantial screens! The Turbo also had one that I don’t count, got rear-ended once while sitting at a light. No one in front of me and it drove me right out into the intersection. Pure luck that no one was coming from the other direction. The collision pulled my hands off the bars, feet up in the air, but I managed to get my hands back on the bars and get it under control. Never went down, phew.
    I had gear on both times I went down, no road rash at all. However, my helmet contacted pavement fairly hard both times.

    Ask me if I believe in helmets, lol.

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      Me too! The last time I, erm, crashed, I was wearing a fairly new helmet, and part of my brain was monitoring the impact as I hit the SUV that turned left in front of me.
      Like an egg in bubble wrap, it was.
      Bought a new helmet. I read the warning labels. 🙂

  • Lewis

    The positives about my 1 crash. 1, I was wearing good gear and it survived in useable condition and I still wear it. Vanson Manx jacket, Held Gloves, Draggin Kevlar jeans, Fieldsheer boots, Shoei helmet. 2. Learned how to completely dis-assemble my Buell and source replacement parts from E Bay and re-assemble. 3. Analyze what I did wrong and use it to improve my riding skills.

  • Jason M.

    Two years riding, two crashes. Both were rookie mistakes.

  • Heywood Jahbleauxmi

    Wow, motorcycling has a problem. We are all about to age out of the sport. Look at the # of riders w/30 years or more of experience!

    • spiff

      How true. I wonder if people are counting their youth on the dirt, or just street.

      • Gruf Rude

        Back in the mid-60s when I started, “youth in the dirt” was not near as common as it was 15 years later, when manufacturers were making a ton of small dirt bikes, open spaces were available and parents were buying. Urban streets were where we started, with instruction along the lines of, “This is the throttle, this is the clutch, these are the brakes, down for first, up for the rest.”

    • PC

      I’ve been riding 40 years, but I never considered it a sport. The overwhelming majority of my miles are commuter miles. I have always used my bikes as a primary mode of transportation. Will I ever age out? I hope not!

  • Kevin Polito

    Four times in 44 years of riding. Was able to pick the bike up and ride home each time.

  • Born to Ride

    3 times on the same bike (SV650), all while pretending to be Rossi where I should have been riding like Lorenzo in the rain.

    • spiff

      Ha

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Doesn’t apply in Misano where rain didn’t slow him down. Crashed anyway.

  • Douglas

    I didn’t really crash, I just tipped over because I didn’t look where I put my foot at a stoplite…..in the oil leakage (on a 100* day) in the center of the lane (back in 1970, when cars still frequently leaked). But the snickers from surrounding cagers waiting at the lite were more embarrasing than actually running into someone….or something.

  • JWaller

    Funny that Evans would post this poll. I’ve crashed once on the street, really, but maybe twice. The second one was a dirt road and I washed out in a river crossing; no pavement or anything, literally riding through the river bottom. Otherwise, I have crashed a KLR650 a couple times riding it off road on ATV trails and such. But only put down on a real road once when I lost the front end of a Triumph Sprint ST trying to turn left too fast at an intersection. Tar snakes, snow on the ground, and the inevitable oil and grime at an intersection with lights and me trying to push it through before the light turned red. Taught me to be patient because having to ride bitch on the back of a friend’s Nighthawk 750 in Jacksonville, NC (home of Camp Lejeune) in order to go get a truck to haul my bike home was humiliating.

  • Alf Torp

    Once. A car pulled out from a parking space being parked in the wrong direction. He did not see me properly, and I overreacted on the front brakes and locked up. It was at low speed, around 20 mph and on freshly laid, slightly damp asphalt. Rookie mistake that ended up in cosmetic damage on the bike, as well as a bent handle bar. Myself I got away with a slightly bruised ego, a beaten up shoulder and hip. Lesson learned, both for me and the very apologetic car driver.

  • rognin

    Glad they didn’t ask for the track. 😉

    • Sayyed Bashir

      How many times have you crashed at the track?

      • rognin

        Twice. But I’m sure I’ll be crashing more there than on the road.

  • Navroze Contractor

    If you are riding in India since 1960s with our roads and traffic and haven’t fallen or tilted over, or bumped into or slid on cow dung, oil, grit, silt, rotten vegetables, toppled in a pothole, hit a dog or a cow or another human more than ten times… you are lying.

  • Navroze Contractor

    One more thing. Your road riding conditions are completely different than many countries of the world.. so the poll should have had a column ‘Which country do you ride in?’

    • Sayyed Bashir

      This a mostly a poll for the U.S. motorcycle insurance industry (Progressive, Allstate, Geico, et al).

  • Phi F

    Once in a car park(slid on some diesel) and once off-road when a sheep ran out in front of me!!!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Hitting a sheep probably doesn’t hurt as much.

  • John B.

    The “How many years have you been riding?” question reveals the challenges the moto industry faces. 34% of riders have been riding “Thirty years or more,” and will soon ride into heaven, hell, or Sunset Treasures assisted living. Meanwhile only 14% of riders have been at it two (2) years or less.

    Now that motorcycles are so advanced, the differences among bikes within a given category has become nearly irrelevant. If I’m still here 25 years from now, I will remember snow covered Colorado passes in August, 114 degree plus Sonoran Desert passages, and treacherous Utah hail storms, among other fantastic experiences I have had on two wheels. My motorcycle…. meh, perfectly fine but not so memorable. (Yes, I’m a philistine.)

    The motorcycle industry should focus on selling experiences as opposed to motorcycles. Healthy people immediately discount all material things they acquire. In contrast, great experiences become more meaningful in time. Whenever I return from a motorcycle trip I talk almost exclusively about the experiences and almost not at all about my motorcycle; especially, when conversing with non-motorcyclists. That tells me the magic in motorcycling comes from the experiences and not from the bike.

    • Gruf Rude

      I looked at that 30+ years stat and wondered if motorcycling in the USA will survive. I’ll be 70 in a few months and still ride regularly, but a lot of my companions have died or hung up their helmets over the last few years (though the fastest guy in the group is 83). Biking in this country has always been a minority activity, but looking at the demographics of rallies and races I’ve been to, the crowds have not been getting younger . . .

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Only the older people have the extra money to buy toys. It has always been this way.

        • Larry Kahn

          So how did all these old guys here end up on bikes 30+ years ago when we were young?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            These are the rich old guys.

          • Gruf Rude

            I got started at 17, working to pay for a 65cc bike that I could ride (instead of the bus) and couldn’t afford a car. I must have been one of those ‘outliers’.

      • spiff

        As driverless cars take over there will be even less opportunity for two wheels. The next era could be the rise of the track bike.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      If you are going to go off-road, it is the kind of motorcycle you have that will give you the experience you desire. If it is just street riding, you could just as well do it on a bicycle.

      • Larry Kahn

        For me, very different experiences depending if I’m on a Guzzi or Gold Wing or a Gamma. Just to name a few “g’s”.

    • Larry Kahn

      What motorcycles have you been riding that don’t seem to inspire you? I’ve gone through about 70 motorcycles in 50 years and a good many of them I can sit here and “feel” them again, with enjoyment. Too many to list here, and did not know this makes me “unhealthy”.

  • Visian

    Lost count of get-offs in the dirt years ago!

  • Allison Sullivan

    I said three, but it should be two. Trying to ride an RG250 downhill in axle-deep gravel should technically count as “offroad”. Luckily mine have been minor. I hit a traffic island tearing about in the dark in an industrial area with my friends, and got spat off on some gravel in the middle of an intersection.

    I have had a couple of very close calls though.

  • RyYYZ

    Sadly, I had to answer “4”, counting only actual moving falls and not walking pace (or slower) tipovers, in which case I would have to add a couple more to that number.

    1. Last day of high school, 1985. Classmate let me take his CB360 up the street and back. I came into the corner on the street a little too hot, ran wide, and flipped the bike over the curb on to the grass. Damages were largely limited to a broken spark plug. I drove him over to the local bike shop and got a replacement.

    2. Y2K. Following some friends up a twisty road, entered a corner too hot, crossed the center line, kept on going and lost it on the (thankfully large) run-off area on the outside of the turn. Bike was a write-off due to every piece of bodywork being damaged.

    3. 2004 or 2005. On a poker run in the rain, came around a corner on a twisty road, rolled off my throttle when I saw the tractor pulling the car out of the ditch – back end came around and the bike went down. Minor damage, repaired myself.

    4. 2017. Front end washed out on a patch of sand turning onto a side road at low speed. Injuries and damage minor.

  • Marco

    Street crash different than off-road/MX crash. Crashed twice on the road. Once a low side in a roundabout. Yup I was going too fast and car pulled in front. Sore knees and small damage.
    Second accident was life changing event. Splitting lanes and what do you know? out pops a jay walker on a 100 kph zoned stretch of road. Not good.. that one made deep scars physically, emotionally, financially .. ride safe guys. I learned from that.

    Off road in the desert I average 1-2 unscheduled dismounts per ride if riding hard. Zero if taking it slow. Those are a hoot..

  • sgray44444

    Reading the comments reminded me of a couple that I forgot, so 4 times! Yikes. One I would call a low speed tipover- u-turn in a driveway and my front tire found the edge of the concrete skirt. Once on ice in traffic right in front of the police station on the way to work. Two that were my fault, and I would rather not talk about, if you don’t mind. They both involve going faster than my abilities.

    • sgray44444

      Forgot another one. My Magna had a separate fork lock from the ignition, and I parked it right up against the side of the building at work. When I left, I started a U-turn and found that I couldn’t straighten it out and flopped over on the right side. Glad nobody was there to see it!

  • Joe Smith

    It happened to me once in 5 years: At the track, my 6th track day, I ran off in a medium speed left on a new to me course, 4th lap after Round Robin with the jersey and an instructor following. I had slowed to 10mph or so before leaving the pavement and hit the front brake in the dirt along side it. Parts were less than $350 for 15 pieces including a new front and side cowl, thank you Thai built Honda CBR500R. I smacked my shoulder and sprained a thumb, minor injuries. I rode that track this Sunday with much better success. Let me please say the front brake is only to be used on pavement. I knew this but I panicked. And try to remain calm at all times.

  • Chris

    Um probably too many times to count. In the rain, on cold roads, I’ve been hit by a car – breaking my pelvis and accruing some groin lacerations. One tried to beat a semi onto a merge ramp and he was NOT letting me have it, and there was a berm I had to go over, waffled both my tires. Once it was a little wet out and from a stop I gave it a little too much and washed out. A couple of times there was no way I should have been riding and minute mistakes caused some bad washouts.