Falling Correctly

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Chris249 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:13 pm

Okay, scary question.

If one was riding down the road at a moderate clip and a car pulled out from a side street or turned into a sidestreet just in front of you, what would you try to do in the split second before you hit them?

I wonder if trying to throw the bike down and slide it sideways into the car, so you'd hit legs first, would result in less damage to the bod.

Second point is, how could you arrange that? Jam the back brake on and try to turn into the skid? That's my vague memory from MTB and BMX days.

I'm assuming that going straight into the car front-wheel first is the worst thing that could happen, unless one could tuck and roll and go over.

We crash a bit in windsurfing and while obviously it's different, it's good practise for keeping your wits around you while stacking at 30-40kmh++ (and sometimes from quite a long way in the air).
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:38 pm

Well the first time it happened I tried to accelerate around the front of them (motorbike)....but I hit the bull bars of the van.I flew 20 meters and landed in someones front yard.Shattered my ankle with a lovely compound fracture and ripped all the muscle off the front of my shin.I had very little time to react but I acted wrongly at the time...young and dumb and too much horse power between my legs.I was 16 and I am still paying the price.
The next big one was on a bicycle...truck was passing me and decided he would flash a car to cut across him.I hit it about 30-40kmph...I just dropped my shoulder and hit his front LH pillar...big damage to the car,not a scratch on me.
There has been a couple of others but the only other of note was car pulling into me at a round about....I had time to jump on the bonnet.If she hadn't of slammed on the brakes I would have been fine...but that threw me back onto the road and I hurt my wrist a bit.
I would never lay it down on purpose (I have layed down a few motorbikes on purpose though)...I would rather hit the car side on,slide out the rear a bit and take it with hip and shoulder.Cars fold a bit.Also if it wasn't my fault I would rather do some severe damage to the car than slide down the road and under the car thereby destroying me and my bike and having the car drive off.Ok I don't think that at the time but I certainly think about it after close calls.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby human909 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:03 pm

Chris249 wrote:Okay, scary question.

If one was riding down the road at a moderate clip and a car pulled out from a side street or turned into a sidestreet just in front of you, what would you try to do in the split second before you hit them?

I wonder if trying to throw the bike down and slide it sideways into the car, so you'd hit legs first, would result in less damage to the bod.


How do you figure that? Throwing the bike down will mean you stop slower. Furthermore the car is softer than your bike. I'd prefer not to be impaled by my bike as it stops against the car.

If its a tall object such as a 4WD or bus then throw your hip and should towards it at the last minute after braking hard.

If it is a shorter object then launch over it. 8)
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby damhooligan » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:51 pm

goneriding wrote:The best part is that the first thing they teach you is how to fall. When I was training we'd spend anything up to 30 minutes practicing falling! The main thing to watch out for are your fingers. Again, you'll learn this very quickly :)


True, but in judo you fall on a soft matt, wich is different then falling you would experience with cycling.
And the main reason they teach falling is not to prevent injuries when you fall, because it is in a controlled enviroment and the conditions make it a low risk,
but because it takes away the fear of falling, and without that fear it makes you a stronger 'warrior'.. :wink:

Apart from judo, snowboarding is also a good way to learn falling, as this is part of snowboarding.. :D
And probably closer related to cycling as your feet are attached to a board with cleats.. :wink:

Falling always happens unexpected, so you can never truly be prepared..
The benefit you can have from falling exercises , is that falling feels more familiair and the way you react to the fall can be more contolled.

But back to the question, what is the best way ??
My experience in martial arts and snowboarding tells me it is 'to roll', this way you divert energy to the whole body rather then just one arm/leg.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Ken Ho » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:15 pm

I heard that there is a $60 fine for falling incorrectly.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Chris249 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:17 pm

human909 wrote:How do you figure that?


I was told that it was the accepted thing to do in a similar situation on a motorbike. Since the last thing I want to do is go head first into a car or the road, I was wondering whether it was a reasonable reaction.
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Chris249 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:22 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Well the first time it happened I tried to accelerate around the front of them (motorbike)....but I hit the bull bars of the van.I flew 20 meters and landed in someones front yard.Shattered my ankle with a lovely compound fracture and ripped all the muscle off the front of my shin.I had very little time to react but I acted wrongly at the time...young and dumb and too much horse power between my legs.I was 16 and I am still paying the price.
The next big one was on a bicycle...truck was passing me and decided he would flash a car to cut across him.I hit it about 30-40kmph...I just dropped my shoulder and hit his front LH pillar...big damage to the car,not a scratch on me.
There has been a couple of others but the only other of note was car pulling into me at a round about....I had time to jump on the bonnet.If she hadn't of slammed on the brakes I would have been fine...but that threw me back onto the road and I hurt my wrist a bit.
I would never lay it down on purpose (I have layed down a few motorbikes on purpose though)...I would rather hit the car side on,slide out the rear a bit and take it with hip and shoulder.Cars fold a bit.Also if it wasn't my fault I would rather do some severe damage to the car than slide down the road and under the car thereby destroying me and my bike and having the car drive off.Ok I don't think that at the time but I certainly think about it after close calls.


Thanks.

Interesting that you lay motorbikes down, but not pushies. I can understand that, given the difference in size, speed and weight. The fact that I've been told that motorbikes should be thrown down was the reason I was wondering if it was worthwhile on a bike.

I've been lucky so far - several years of commuting, lots of mucking around and six months as a courier and I've had one bus lean on me (fair's fair,we used to shoulder slide along stopped buses a fair bit down George Street so I can't complain if one slides on me) and one fairly high speed lowside 'n slide.

Oh, and some clipstacks. On a Cervelo. On a couple of the most crowded intersections in the country. At 8.45 am on a weekday.

That taught me NOT to tighten the cleats for TTs on Sunday and forget that I'd done so on Monday!
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby damhooligan » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:24 pm

Chris249 wrote:
human909 wrote:How do you figure that?


I was told that it was the accepted thing to do in a similar situation on a motorbike. Since the last thing I want to do is go head first into a car or the road, I was wondering whether it was a reasonable reaction.


On a motorbike you also have a faster speed wich means a higher level of impact.

The above would make sense for a motorbike, especially because you are wearing leather clothing.
This wil protect you during the sliding against gravelrash.

For cycling , not such a good idea..
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby human909 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:29 pm

Chris249 wrote:
human909 wrote:How do you figure that?


I was told that it was the accepted thing to do in a similar situation on a motorbike. Since the last thing I want to do is go head first into a car or the road, I was wondering whether it was a reasonable reaction.


In most if not all cases dumping a motorbike will make things worse. If you have time enough to dump a bike and live, you have time enough to stop completely and avoid collision.

Rolling rubber on the road will give AT LEAST twice the slowing power that sliding leather/skin/bike will give. I would prefer to spend the last few seconds bleeding off as much speed as possible rather than throwing myself under the wheels of a car. :shock:
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby lethoso » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:37 pm

Chris249 wrote:If one was riding down the road at a moderate clip and a car pulled out from a side street or turned into a sidestreet just in front of you, what would you try to do in the split second before you hit them?


Turn with/inside them. I sure as hell wouldn't ditch it, I like my skin attached to my body.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:41 pm

human909 wrote:
Chris249 wrote:
human909 wrote:How do you figure that?


I was told that it was the accepted thing to do in a similar situation on a motorbike. Since the last thing I want to do is go head first into a car or the road, I was wondering whether it was a reasonable reaction.


In most if not all cases dumping a motorbike will make things worse. If you have time enough to dump a bike and live, you have time enough to stop completely and avoid collision.

Rolling rubber on the road will give AT LEAST twice the slowing power that sliding leather/skin/bike will give. I would prefer to spend the last few seconds bleeding off as much speed as possible rather than throwing myself under the wheels of a car. :shock:


How many times have you been on a motorbike while impacting a car?...the times that I have been on the motorbike when hitting the car have resulted in hospital visits...the times I have manged to "throw" the bike away I have got up to walk away.Both times the bikes have been written off.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Ken Ho » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:45 pm

human909 wrote:
Chris249 wrote:
human909 wrote:How do you figure that?


I was told that it was the accepted thing to do in a similar situation on a motorbike. Since the last thing I want to do is go head first into a car or the road, I was wondering whether it was a reasonable reaction.


In most if not all cases dumping a motorbike will make things worse. If you have time enough to dump a bike and live, you have time enough to stop completely and avoid collision.

Rolling rubber on the road will give AT LEAST twice the slowing power that sliding leather/skin/bike will give. I would prefer to spend the last few seconds bleeding off as much speed as possible rather than throwing myself under the wheels of a car. :shock:


Yes, "I laid it down" is code for, "I lost control and crashed", or "I panicked and did bugger all".
I think it goes back to the days when Harley's had brakes like wet noodles, and "laying down" saved time, as you were gonna hit the asphalt anyway.
It was also a way to reduce your risk of a femur #, though I doubt anyone actually knew that. Launching forward off a bike seat upon a frontal impact would result n the leg catching under the cruiser style bar, causing one or two femoral fractures.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby bosvit » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:46 pm

Chris249 wrote:Okay, scary question.

If one was riding down the road at a moderate clip and a car pulled out from a side street or turned into a sidestreet just in front of you, what would you try to do in the split second before you hit them?

I wonder if trying to throw the bike down and slide it sideways into the car, so you'd hit legs first, would result in less damage to the bod.

Second point is, how could you arrange that? Jam the back brake on and try to turn into the skid? That's my vague memory from MTB and BMX days.

I'm assuming that going straight into the car front-wheel first is the worst thing that could happen, unless one could tuck and roll and go over.

We crash a bit in windsurfing and while obviously it's different, it's good practise for keeping your wits around you while stacking at 30-40kmh++ (and sometimes from quite a long way in the air).


I had this happen to me just last monday.

I agree with most of the comments, basically wash off as much speed as you can in a straight line then slide the rear out so you hit it side on.

Cars panels are much much softer than road or wheels or undercarriage.

As TLL said, hip and shoulder. Years of AFL saved me from injury. 40km/h impact and three stitches in my knee from when I landed, no gravel rash though!
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:47 pm

Harleys lay down at about a 1% lean angle...plus hitting a car while riding a agricultural vehicle usually leaves the car worse off :P .
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:49 pm

@mugglechops, what country was that in? Your mates aren't all laughing hysterically so it can't be australia :roll: .
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby winstonw » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:59 pm

Chris249 wrote:Okay, scary question.

If one was riding down the road at a moderate clip and a car pulled out from a side street or turned into a sidestreet just in front of you, what would you try to do in the split second before you hit them?


I presume I'd grab the brakes to get as much speed off, and steer towards the rear of the vehicle (if that wasn't into a busy road.

Hmmmm....now you have me thinking I should get out tomorrow and practise braking hard to be aware of stopping distances at various speeds. Maybe I should use the side of my car as extra incentive to stop.

Can anyone give me an idea how many metres it takes to stop quickly when riding 30-40kph? I'd guestimate 10-15 metres.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:02 pm

I fall correctly all the time, never failed to hit the ground yet :lol:
Kraeg wrote:I fell from a penny farthing last weekend. No-one had instructed me how to do so, but as I came crashing down I put my leading leg out and rolled down along the side of my leg, body, then arm, while twisting onto my back. I guess I fell as winstonw advises (spreading impact etc).


Standard drill for paratroops. Spread the impact.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby il padrone » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:22 pm

lethoso wrote:
Chris249 wrote:If one was riding down the road at a moderate clip and a car pulled out from a side street or turned into a sidestreet just in front of you, what would you try to do in the split second before you hit them?


Turn with/inside them. I sure as hell wouldn't ditch it, I like my skin attached to my body.

This is what I did on two occasions that this happened to me (two in 20-25 years is really not too bad). One occured when I was doing 55kmh. The car pulled a right cross in front of me. I instinctively grabbed a handful of brake and the rear tyre skidded, causing me to pull a classic drifter. I hit the rear door of the car side on and had no injuries. I was amazed to see my bike bounce off and fly back 3 metres into the air as I fell straight onto the tarmac. No damage to the bike and nothing more than an elbow graze and haematoma on my knee. I was very glad I drifted rather than doing a straight-line stop and crashing head on into the side of the car.

Second one was a similar right cross at a light-controlled intersection. I was going much slower and turned in to the left but ended up in front of the car's grille :( . Glad that the driver also stopped. I was angry that time and lost it :oops:
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby winstonw » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:46 pm

Re stopping distances, found this chart here
http://www.bv.com.au/file/AASHTO_1999_BikeBook.pdf
which is used by road designers.

It is apparently on the conservative side - makes allowances for wet weather and a 2.5 second perception and reaction time.

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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Chris249 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:51 pm

Interesting info.

To those pointing out that sliding could mean gravel rash, I'm thinking of a time when the choice is between gravel rash or (hopefully) spending time in hospital rather than the morgue, and coming out able to walk and think properly. I'm thinking about the time when avoidance options are gone despite conservative riding - I'm quite conservative downhill, partly because it's not good exercise or training and partly because it's risky.

I've laid down at moderate speed, not on purpose. It wasn't fun but it was more fun than spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair or drooling.

It's good to know from Padrone, Bosvit and TLL that you can give a car a good biff and get off OK. It sounds better than the alternatives of going under or of flying over head-first. If it ever happens I'll try to slide the back out but stay upright, or stay upright and roll over the top and protect the head and spine. Thanks guys- if I ever have to use those moves and they work, I'll owe you.

My wife's ex probably didn't get the option when a taxi did an illegal U-turn in front of his motorbike, but tragically no one will ever know. She was the one who has been told that laying down is a good option, but when you're doing 50-60 and someone turns across the double lines into you, there's not always time for that.

PS - get well soon, Bosvit - nice to know there's a way out of such incidents.

PPS- about "Harleys lay down at about a 1% lean angle" - is that because of the bike, or because there's normally so much stomach, ego and aggro on top of them?
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby human909 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:15 pm

Chris249 wrote:Interesting info.

To those pointing out that sliding could mean gravel rash, I'm thinking of a time when the choice is between gravel rash or (hopefully) spending time in hospital rather than the morgue, and coming out able to walk and think properly.


Again why are you supposing that laying down will result in less injuries? You will impact MUCH harder at higher speed. Its nothing to do with gravel rash and everything to do with wiping off speed. You can't successfully wide off speed if you are busy laying the bike down.

toolonglegs wrote:How many times have you been on a motorbike while impacting a car?...the times that I have been on the motorbike when hitting the car have resulted in hospital visits...the times I have manged to "throw" the bike away I have got up to walk away.Both times the bikes have been written off.

Come on!? Do you really think that is relevant?

Your body has momentum and its heading toward an object. Your goal is to either change the vector of that momentum (avoid the object), reduce the magnitude (slow down) or both. Your bike if far better and more powerfully equipped for doing this than your body alone.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby Percrime » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:16 pm

Modern motorcycles (post 1970 ish) stop better on the tires than sliding on their side. For the first time I agree with human909
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby thepj » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:26 pm

Had first cliped in stack in public the other day, i just held onto the bars and road it to the ground. figured i wasnt going anywere so may as well just get off once i hit the ground.
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:39 pm

Percrime wrote:Modern motorcycles (post 1970 ish) stop better on the tires than sliding on their side. For the first time I agree with human909

Never said they didn't...but better to throw the motorbike away than be on it at the point of impact.
A bicycle being a usually sub 10 kg mass instead of 150-200kg object is a totally different matter.
Maybe I should have said "throw it away" instead of "lay it down".
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Re: Falling Correctly

Postby human909 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:25 am

toolonglegs wrote:
Percrime wrote:Modern motorcycles (post 1970 ish) stop better on the tires than sliding on their side. For the first time I agree with human909

Never said they didn't...but better to throw the motorbike away than be on it at the point of impact.
A bicycle being a usually sub 10 kg mass instead of 150-200kg object is a totally different matter.
Maybe I should have said "throw it away" instead of "lay it down".

Well I can agree with that general concept. I wouldn't recommend staying seated and holding onto the handle bars during impact. As said, brake until the last second and the launch off the bike.

(Personally I find jumping off a 200kg bike easier than throwing one. :wink: But I guess thanks to Newton's third law its all the same and we are in agreement.)
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