Motorcycle Rescue

It doesn’t get much more horrifying than that.

This video’s been making the rounds, usually taken from condensed, local news broadcasts and reporting, so I went straight for the raw video after I heard about it. It’s amazing seeing so many people pitching in to help out, and the guy is very fortunate to have survived.

Once again we have an instance where a driver did not see the motorcyclist and pulled out in front of him. Unfortunately, it looks like the motorcyclist made it worse by laying the bike down and sliding into the car.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches laying a bike down is not an avoidance strategy. For starters, there’s more traction in rubber than in metal. This is why riders like to say “shiny side up”: rubber will stop the bike, chrome will not. Second, if the bike’s on its side and the rider is on the ground, both have just become another piece of debris skidding across the road. A rider may lose steering if he locks up the brakes, but there’s zero steering and little hope of stopping if he’s just skidding across asphalt.

Instead the MSF instructs riders to ride out the crash. If you’re going to hit, you’re better off taking off as much speed as possible before impact. Reduce speed, reduce injury.

I don’t know where this motorcyclist learned to ride and it’s pointless to second-guess what he saw and felt in the last seconds before the accident. Again, he’s very fortunate to have survived at all, especially given he wasn’t wearing leather or a helmet. My takeaways from the accident and the story are:

  1. Wear a goddamn helmet.
  2. If you’re going to ride, get a proper education from the MSF or similar source. Sure, Uncle Eddie may have decades of experience on his beefed-up Harley and he may be a great rider, but that doesn’t automatically make him a great teacher.
  3. Don’t lay the bike down. Better to end up on the hood than under it.

Now I’m reminded I didn’t make the time to take the MSF’s Experienced Rider Course this year. Time to put a reminder on my calendar for Spring.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Mark Cummuta says:

    Dang! Amazing he survived at all!

  2. Eric says:

    My guess is he quickly decided that it would be better to slide on the ground than to be come superman. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best choice he could have made.

  3. Eric says:

    Although he still survived……

    • Mike says:

      I’ve talked to a few riders who consider putting the bike down into a slid is a viable avoidance maneuver. I’m not sure if that’s what people thought was safer at the time or if it’s just one of those things that seems to make sense, but I’m thinking I’d rather try to ride it out, especially since we don’t know if the other vehicle will even see us anyway or if they’ll suddenly change direction and run us over.

      I know it’s not a 100% thing; a friend put his bike down going into a ditch so he wouldn’t ram into a drain pipe and wall of dirt. But in general, I’m going with keeping the rubber side down.

  4. […] a pickup truck rear-ended a motorcyclist and pinned him beneath a second pickup. In a strange repeat of a Utah accident, the bike caught fire and bystanders ran to lift the pickup off the motorcyclist and drag him to […]