Motorcycle Accident: What to do after you hit the pavement
Sometimes it is the point where you know you canít stop in time. Sometimes it is when you start tumbling. And sometimes you wonít know what happened, except you are on the ground and your bike is on its side. Whatever the case, you have been in an accident, and your health, wealth, and ability to ride again are in jeopardy if you donít think clearly and act rationally.
After the accident, take stock of your situation. Are you injured? Are you in harmís way? Can traffic safely avoid you? If you are just around a blind corner or over the crest of a hill you could be in danger of second accident. Is there gasoline leaking? There are a million variables and you have to think clearly to avoid any further damage or injury.
Common injuries after a motorcycle accident include fractured wrists or collarbones, bruised hips or knees, and sprained ankles. These injuries should be assessed and may or may not impair your movement immediately, but will swell up and later restrict your movement. If you are bleeding, more than a minor scrape, or have sharp internal pains, you should call an ambulance or visit a hospital immediately. If you are having trouble concentrating and are feeling lethargic or sleepy, you may have suffered a concussion and further evaluation is needed to rule out a skull fracture and/or more serious head trauma.
It takes about 3 seconds for adrenaline to be introduced into the bloodstream and the effects to felt all over the body. This hormone will make you act irrationally; cause your hands to shake and dexterity to decrease. It will cloud your mind and make you focus on the imminent and blur your view of the big picture. You must first realize that you are under an adrenaline rush and try not to panic. Breathe deeply, take a seat, and whatever you do donít try to figure out who is at fault, you will only say something stupid, or worse, get in a fight.
Get some info
Unless you are certain that it was your fault, borrow a pen and paper and record the license plates of the involved parties and the names and phone numbers of witnesses. While you have some ink left draw a picture of the scene as well as any unusual road conditions in case you need to remember specifics later. Call the police if you think it is necessary, but in this day and age, rubberneckers will be on the phone to 911 before you stop rolling and the police will show up soon after. Most law enforcement agencies will automatically send an ambulance if they know a motorcycle is involved.
Adrenaline tends to make people chatty. Try not to discuss the accident until a police officer shows up. While excuses like ďI never saw youĒ or ďYou should have been able to avoid meĒ are flippant and frustrating, they are as good as an admission of fault. Remember, this is an accident and the other driver, no matter how poor his skills, was not intentionally trying to injure you. Donít take out your anger on them and exacerbate an already unfortunate event. Let the other driver have as much rope as he needs to hang himself. You should just keep quiet.
Some points to remember:
- It is hard for traffic to see a bike lying on its side. Try to move it to the shoulder or at the very least roll it upright and stand it up.
- Do not let anyone light a flare or you may set fire to your bike if it is leaking gasoline.
- Helmets are usually rendered ineffective after an accident. Have it inspected to determine its future crash-worthiness.
- If the bike still runs and you plan to ride it home or to the garage, test the vital components like the frame, brakes, clutch, tranny, fork, suspension and tires. You donít want anything failing while you are at speed or rounding a corner.
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