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  • Is Laying Down Your Motorbike to Avoid Accidents a Wise Move

    Is Laying Down Your Motorbike to Avoid Accidents a Wise Move

New riders hear a lot of scuttlebutt. In most cases, it’s dangerous to believe any of it. Surfing your bike in a wreck is not always the best course of action in an emergency situation. “If you’re about to crash, lay your bike down.” Ride with me as we delve deep into this much-debated topic in the biking world, and we’ll break down the logic (or lack thereof) behind this controversial suggestion.  

Everyone knows a car accident is no fun. But a motorcycle crash is typically catastrophic, leaving behind many brain injuries and deaths. The belief that laying down your motorcycle can prevent accident injuries is a prevalent fallacy among motorcycle enthusiasts. As will be discussed, you should keep your bike upright while trying to counter-steer. You should only surf your bike if you lose control and can’t keep it in the upright position.

“In the heat of the moment, a rider’s main priority should be to reduce speed and attempt controlled emergency braking. Laying the bike down should not be the first response,” says prominent personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline.

I dropped several motorcycles after my bike’s center became unstable due to speed wobbles. As I will discuss, your best chance of survival comes from shedding as much speed as possible pre-collision while keeping your motorcycle upright. And you’ll do that best, using the front brake in unison with the rear brake till you come to a complete stop. The best advice I can offer as a top-rated Los Angeles motorcycle crash lawyer is set forth. Please enjoy!

Practice Makes Perfect

Anyone who rides a motorcycle should be prepared for other drivers and threats. By practicing swerving and braking, you can better face an emergency. 

Tip: Set up cones in an empty parking lot (get permission). Practice swerving around them, slowly at first, and then building speed.


You might have heard standard advice – to lay your bike down. But is it a viable strategy? What if you can’t stay upright? In the early days of motorcycle history, riders were told to lay it down in a crash. Many think this was because early bike brakes failed quickly. To them, attempting to stop before a collision was not an option. In addition, early motorcycles were not very maneuverable compared to modern models. Back then, swerving to avoid accidents could mean trouble in the street or crashing into a guardrail.

SCIENCE TIP: The friction and traction between rubber (your tires) and the street are more significant than plastic, steel, and chrome (the materials found on the side of your bike). In the first place, for purely scientific reasons, stopping your bike upright is the best bet to escape with your life. The distance traveled on a speeding piece of red hot metal could send you into a truck’s tailgate, off a cliff, etc.

Better Motorcycle Accident Avoidance Technology

Motorcycle technology has vastly improved from the days of “Easy Rider” movies. Modern bikes come with:

  • Improved mirrors: Better mirrors help bikers see their rear areas better
  • Sticky tire: Better tires with increased traction
  • ABS: Anti-lock braking systems, preventing imminent front or rear suspension compression
  • Improved steering. 

TIP: Wear Protection

Protective gear reduces risk and protects your body during a tumble or dangerous swerve. For example, a thick leather jacket can protect your skin on the random chance you are thrown and slide onto the pavement.


  • DOT approved helmet
  • Steel-toed riding boots
  • Riding armored gloves
  • Full face helmet
  • Leather chaps
  • More.

Laying Down Your Bike: A Suitable Strategy? 

Laying down your bike, also known as a “low-site crash,” might”seem like a sensible strategy to avoid a collision. It’s a last resort measure when a rider feels they’ve got all the options to prevent an accident, choosing what might seem to be the lesser evil. However, the risks could compound things rather than alleviate them. 

Why It’s Not Best 

Taking a deliberate plunge could exacerbate your injuries, given the unforeseen dangers of sliding on open road surfaces.


Keeping upright means you can brake, steer the handlebars, or twist most efficiently. Quick thinking can eliminate sudden collisions with an unexpected obstacle.

Never Drink and Ride

Braking Successfully

First and foremost, you must aim for controlled braking. Both wheels must stay on the ground for maximum braking power – the quickest way to reduce speed. Rapid stopping is fastest by quickly applying your front and rear brakes simultaneously. If your front wheel locks, you must promptly disengage and rapidly reapply pressure to the rear brake.

Rear Wheel Braking

By contrast, if your rear wheel locks up, gingerly apply the brakes until you have stopped completely.


Swerving as Opposed to Laying Down a Bike

Safe swerving and counter-swerving till you stop are the most important things here. 

You need to understand how to counter-swerve as follows:

  • Shift your weight from the handlebars as you apply the brakes. (This adjusts the center of gravity and momentum, helping the brakes grab.) 
  • Grip or straddle the fuel tank: Rapid decelerate using your legs to stay upright.

Safe swerving relies on knowing your surroundings and counter-steering to realign. The goal is to slow down as much as possible.

Safely Hit Gravel In Blind Corner

When you turn a corner, you see something slick – sand, dirt, leaf litter, horses, or everything in the path that is in your path. So how to prevent this? Ride at a pace that allows you to respond like you do in a driver’s eyes. 

On the highway, slowing down and fasting are the best rules. Take an open spot for increased visibility in easy steps.  Trail brakes are a more complicated skill, and you’ve got to learn it before going off on your road.

A Car Turns Left In Front Of You

Motorcycle accidents like this happen when the car doesn’t see you or evaluates your speed incorrectly. The vehicle slams you into a corner as you lose traction or control of the brakes. 

TIP: Check for autos turning toward you at an intersection. Cars waiting at intersections, traffic gaps, and driveways are likelier to pull in front of a biker. A motorist could be on alcohol, playing with their phone, or distracted by kids or pedestrians on the sidewalk. It takes a few seconds to end a motorcyclist, especially with bad brakes, launching a rider into the oncoming lane.

Injuries From Laying Down Your Bike

Laying down your bike can lead to damage, including intense pain and suffering. Without the safety of a roll cage, the possibility of being hurt is drastically increased. The physics doesn’t lie; without riding skills, we recommend our clients avoid riding/driving motorcycles.

Potential Car Accident Injuries

After hitting the tarmac, a barrage of injuries can occur, with bodies and body parts spilling into multiple lanes of travel. Trust me, my team of motorcycle attorneys and I know about rash and head injuries. If you are wondering, here are the standard injuries riders suffer if they crash. 

  • Abrasions, or ‘road rash,’ can be painful, leading to permanent scarring.) 
  • Broken bones: Bones can break upon impact with the ground or from the bike’s weight. 
  • Traumatic brain injuries: These include MTBI, as well as concussions, especially not wearing a helmet.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These include disc burst fractures.
  • Wrongful death.

Understanding the Crashworthiness of Your Motorcycle Knowledge of the safety features of your bike may reduce injury risk and boost the chances of compensation in case of manufacturer liability.

Property Damage 

Besides the physical pain, your motorcycle could suffer extensive property damage, sending repair costs skyward. The cost of replacing the bike or repairing other property can pile up quickly. Property damage claims require meticulous handling to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Get a free consultation TODAY, call us at (213) 596-9642.

Recovering from the Aftermath 

To recap, motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in crashes due to the lack of physical protection afforded by their vehicles. The recovery process can take a while. It remains an arduous physical and emotional journey. Medical bills can accumulate quickly, along with the costs of physiotherapy or other necessary rehabilitation treatments.

Who Can I Sue?

The Bike Manufacturer

  • Bike Manufacturer Liability: The manufacturer may be liable if the crash or injuries were exacerbated by defective parts or poor manufacturing. The crashworthiness of the motorcycle, or how well it’s designed, could help determine liability. 
  • CalTrans
  • Other agency
  • Truckers
  • Bus companies
  • Other vehicle drivers, etc.

Actions Post-Accident 

  • Call the Police: In many motorcycle accidents, negligence from the driver of another car or truck is often a factor. So, immediate action is crucial when you are involved in a motorcycle accident, and calling the police should be your first step. Having an official third party assess the situation ensures the incident is documented objectively and professionally.  
  • Call the Ambulance
  • Consult with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Contacting a Motorcycle Accident Attorney 

Pay attention! Consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is essential to follow a motorcycle accident. Contact Ehline Law at (213) 596-9642 for a free consultation to discuss recovering your physical and financial losses. Our intervention is indispensable. From investigating the accident scene, gathering evidence, and assisting with insurance claims, Ehline Law can get maximum monetary compensation from the other driver, government agency, or negligent motorcycle manufacturer. We are ready 24/7 to help any wounded motorcyclist.

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633 W 5th Street #2890 Los Angeles, CA 90071 (213) 596-9642.
Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.