Dad, Watching Motorcycle Crash Videos is Morbid

What’chya doing dad?

Watching motorcycle crash videos.

That’s morbid!

This was a brief conversation I had with my adult daughter while she was visiting us from Maine a few weeks ago. I was sitting on the couch on a lazy Saturday afternoon and thought I would do what I like to do – watch motorcycle crash videos. She apparently heard the videos which piqued her curiosity resulting in the above conversation.

I explained that there’s a good reason I watch motorcycle crash videos – to try and prevent me from ending up in one of those motorcycle crash videos.

You see, I believe that as a motorcycle rider I can learn from watching these videos. By observing the situation and resulting crash, I am better equipped to understand the parameters that led to that crash. Once I understand those parameters I increase my own situational awareness while I’m riding my own motorcycle. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying all crashes are avoidable. I’m simply saying that I’m managing the risk of riding to significantly reduce my chances of ending up in such a crash.

I cannot imagine not riding my motorcycle and my goal is to do everything I can to keep riding as long as possible. Not being involved in a motorcycle crash should go a long way in helping me realize that goal.

So I’m starting to provide reviews of those ubiquitous motorcycle crash videos we see on the web. I will offer my reviews of those crash videos in an effort to help every rider interested in such safety concepts to also be able to ride as long as possible.

My goal for these reviews: Pick out just a couple of crashes and analyze what happened that resulted in the crash so we can be aware whenever we find ourselves in a similar riding situation and avoid becoming a victim of a motorcycle crash. One thing I will try to avoid is using the term “accident,” because in my opinion there are not such things. Crashes are caused by someone — either me as the motorcyclist or the other driver — not doing what should’ve been done. This includes things like driving incorrectly for the conditions, distractions, excessive speed, etc.

Here’s my first review.

Time in video: 0:08 – 0:13

The rider appears to be drifting right as a possible result of target fixation. In an attempt to not hit the guardrail the rider may be fixating on that guardrail and the natural tendency is to go in the direction one is focused on. Optimally the rider should look through their turn – ahead and left – when negotiating a turn. Also a firmer application of counter steering may have helped — pushing down harder on the left grip would have forced a steeper turn angle possibly helping to avoid this crash.

Time in video: 0:34 – 0:42

Riding in urban environments presents significant risk. In this case the rider appears to be (1) focusing on the rider who is doing the wheelie and (2) assuming that his green light means go (that the intersecting traffic will obey their red light). This is a real challenge in urban riding, but 2 things could help to avoid this crash. (1) Be cognizant of approaching intersections and keep your focus – don’t be distracted by the stunting rider and (2) Don’t assume that intersecting traffic cares so much about hitting you – a motorcyclist always loses when crashing with an SUV. Adjust your speed and lane position when approaching intersections to minimize your risk.

Time in video: 0:57 – 1:03

Observe how the red car in front of the white truck begins to slow down – indicated by the brake lights. Be aware of what’s happening in your 4-second and 12-second travel distances and adjust your riding based on changes in traffic conditions and patterns. This means that you observe ahead of you the distance you will approximately travel in 4 seconds and in 12 seconds. Adjust your speed and position based on those conditions.