Planning for a crash…really

There are two types of motorcycle riders

those that have crashed and those that willLut-05hailtothethief1


Planning for the accident/crash/”lay it down”/minor and major oopses.

As strange as it sounds planning for an event such as those mentioned above takes time, effort and a modicum of intelligence. Unfortunately, few of us take the time to do it or have the brains to realize that the planning involved can help us and those around us. Just in case.

So, having insulted most everyone, here are a few suggestions to make your life and the people you ride with easier.


Part One

I’m taking for granted here that you have a proper motorcycle license, insurance, helmet and clothing. You don’t? Well, it’s time to take care of that.

Part Two

You do have motorcycle insurance right? Your state requires that you do and you should. If the motorcycle isn’t paid for, your bank/credit union/parents will require evidence of financial responsibility. Rather than sign up for the least amount of insurance available, take an hour or so and sit down to talk to an insurance agent. The amount of insurance should be enough to cover you, your passenger, any other driver (make sure the policy does cover a different driver…not all do) or object you might encounter. More importantly, it should protect you and your assets in the event of a lawsuit or other legal proceedings against you. Remember, insurance will help protect you against losing everything you’ve worked for because of a lawsuit or judgment. So, talk to an agent (or better yet, talk to a couple of them).

If you’re underinsured or not insured at all, there are major implications; continuing to pay for a totaled bike, going to prison (that’s the scare tactic) or paying lots of money for the rest of your life. Being uninsured isn’t worth the risk.

Helpful hint here: Use all of the resources available to you including the internet, owners’ clubs and other groups. Some have excellent policies for their members. Also, after checking prices on insurance websites, calling an agent can often get you a better price. And lastly, if you have home and auto insurance, talk to your agent/company about getting a package deal on your insurance. There is a great interview with an insurance agent who has been selling motorcycle insurance for thirty years on our podcast at

And lastly on the subject of insurance, make sure you have adequate medical insurance.

Yes, you can save money and worry by doing your homework now.

Part Three

Let’s go back to your helmet and other riding gear. I won’t get on a soapbox here but dress to crash. Is your helmet current? Is it DOT approved? It should be, that is the law. If you plan on racing or doing ‘Track Days’ it will more than likely need to be Snell approved as well. Helmets have a service life due to sun, ozone, that stuff you put in your hair, and the stuff from your head. Check the manufacture date and look to the helmet manufacturer’s advice about replacement.

Helpful hint: Helmets are made to be used for their intended purpose once. Did you fall down and “just chip the paint” on your helmet? Replace it.

When it comes to getting a new helmet, spend time trying on as many as you can to get a proper fit. Your dealer or accessory store can help you and there are many, many articles in the magazines to help you decide what is best for you. Just don’t go for cheap, it’s your head in there.

Still wearing that old bomber jacket from junior high? Bad idea, current motorcycle wear is designed to keep you comfortable, safe and of course, stylin’. Outwear is available in leather or textile materials. Most will have CE armor built in at impact points like elbows, back and shoulders . There are styles and designs for all weather conditions. Use your local dealer,accessory store, magazines and user group websites for advice and information about the latest in clothing. The same goes for gloves and boots. Gloves should have gauntlets that cover your wrists and boots should be tall enough to protect your ankles. Wear your gear whenever you ride because skin has a poor coefficient of friction and you need it to keep your insides in…

Helpful hint: To keep your helmet and outerwear clean and at maximum effectiveness, read the little tags and brochures that came with them when it’s time to service them. You can also find this information from your dealer or manufacturer’s website.

Part Four

This part is kind of obvious but I’ll share this wisdom with you anyway. Check your motorcycle before you ride, remember that little book you got when you bought your motorcycle? The owners manual. It has a safety check list for use before every ride. Check the oil, coolant level, chain adjustment (does it need to be lubed?) tire pressure/condition and more. Read the book, see your dealer, and learn what to look for and how to adjust it. I know; blah, blah, blah. A few minutes can save a lot of inconvenience and/or hurt.

8 thoughts on “Planning for a crash…really

  1. mountainhigh

    themotoworld – WHY would anyone want to “Plan For A Crash”????? Thats the same as saying you ARE GOING TO CRASH. Even IF you do crash on a motorcycle, no amount of planning could have helped or changed the results of my last motorcycle ride.
    I can see this post being titled, “Planning To RIDE a motorcycle” but no way, no how, can you plan the results, outcome, or even where you bare going to crash. Unless of course, thats just something you want to do!! Then yes….. BE PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED
    Take care and be safe,
    Ride On,

    1. themotoworld Post author

      Absolutely, I’m with you 100% ,this is what I tried to express. However, have you read part is more of the planning aspect. Other than your gear and training..your various insurances, letting those you ride with know if you have medical issues. Thanks for your comment I do appreciate it..

  2. Steve McQueen

    Thanks for another great post. One thing that I would like to add to your insurance discussion is that many insurance companies offer up to a 20% discount for successful completion of a motorcycle safety course. If yours does not, find another one.

    Also, thanks for the comment about helmets having a life span of one drop. People are floored when I tell them that the helmet that just fell off the seat where they left it and hit the pavement in now junk. Once that inner liner begins to crumble from taking the most minor of impacts it is time to replace the helmet.

  3. mountainhigh

    MotoWorld, I did as you suggested and came back and reread. I see your point just as well this time as I did the first. MY point being, -I just don’t agree with your chosen title.
    Being “PREPARED For a Crash” maybe, but definitely don’t PLAN to have one, or you can bet your sweet….. handlebars, you WILL crash.
    I see exactly what you are saying, just wanting you to see how others, including myself, take the contents. My first thought and I’m sure others is ‘why would you want to be planning on having a crash? and at first glance, I’d say more people than not, read it like that.
    BTW, very good tips. Didn’t know about the life span – or lack of – of a helmet. I personally don’t ride anymore, unless I have 4 wheels or 4 legs [horses] under me. I learned how little control you have in a situation, when on a motorcycle. When in a vehicle you do have protection all around you. but on a bike, you’re left so absolute vulnerable with nothing between you and whatever you crash into. Its just you and whatever. Don’t get me wrong, I love motorcycles, nothing like a Harley IMO, they’re just not for me anymore.
    Stay safe, MountainHigh

    1. themotoworld Post author

      Have you read part 2 yet? Planning vs. preparing..only semantics. Thank you for your thoughts and while you are in your car, please watch out for those of us still on two wheels. And, while you are on your horse, enjoy the peace and happiness


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