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Stroker

Psychological Effect Of A Highside?

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Hey Guys,

 

So i highsided a month ago....broke my left femur and ankle.Recovering now.The bike was smashed....there was no front end at all.My helmet, jacket and gloves saved my upper body any injury though.The jeans i wore didnt help much in the crash....shredded instantly.

 

Anyway....im sure you guys have had a bad crash at some point. How did it feel getting on the bike later? Was there fear....or a change in the experience? I'm no chicken but i don't want this accident to kill the thrill of riding.

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First I'm REALLY sorry to hear about the accident. I hope you are well on the road to recovery. You are in my thoughts my friend!

 

I can't comment about a bad crash as I have yet to have one (give me some time I'm sure I will eventually). Perhaps some others might be able to share their experience.

 

One thing I can comment about is fear. I have had lots of it in my experience on two wheels and it's helped me out a lot. In areas that require "blind trust" I have to understand everything 100% and tend to over analyze every tiny detail to the point I annoy the heck out of people. :) It's certainly a different approach to what most have and I'm happy to be the oddball. When I fear or dread something I try to figure out why and fully understand everything I can. It becomes not so scary pretty quickly. Some of my favorite turns on the tracks I ride are turns that scared the ###### out of me at one time or another. That fear inspired me to ask one simple question "Why". Following that Why as far as you can and conquering your fear is a very rewarding experience.

 

I'm sure you will have a bit of fear when you get back on the bike. It's perfectly normal and It's not a character flaw. It's part of being human. Just use that fear to find out the why and you can use it to your advantage.

 

One place to start is understanding the why behind what caused your crash. Despite the crash there's useful information in there if you look for it.

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I had a serious crash last year about this time and the fear was so strong that I thought about selling my bike. Then I talked it over with a close buddy who I ride with and he suggested I don't. It was so obvious to him that I had a serious love for riding. Then my wife, who is not fond of my riding, said I should stay with it for the same reason. That was a year ago and I although I have increased respect and for riding, I don't think about the crash in the same way. It was just a learning experience.

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It happened early in the morning....it was dark. I was taking a gentle right turn at maybe 40 mph when suddenly there was no bike underneath me. I flew for what seemed two seconds, landed hard on my left knee and elbow. I slid for a bit and put my right hand on the ground to slow down...but my glove caught on the tarmac and i rolled 4 or 5 times. The road was a bumpy section with patches of badly repaired tarmac. I can only conclude that some sand or the tire hitting a bump at an odd angle caused the highside. The bike flipped me to the side with an unbelievable violence.....i can only imagine what highsiding on a liter bike at 150 mph may feel like.

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Stroker,

 

Very sorry to hear about you recent accident, its unfortunate but it sounds like you made out OK overall thanks to some good PPE choices on your part.

 

So my question to you is, Do you know why and how it happened ?

 

I ask this because the mental affect of a crash can be very different if you know why it happened or if you're left bewildered and cannot figure out what went wrong in the first place. In my experience I've had 2 wrecks at the track , both low sides and both in the same corner. The first one I was a little unsure of exactly what I did wrong to cause the wreck and couldn't quite figure out my mistake. In that instance it took quite some time to really get my confidence back both in that turn and in left hand turns in general. The second one, I knew exactly why I crashed, what I did wrong and what mistakes I made. In that instance it was able to head right back out on track and turn lap times within about a second of my personal best with no issue.

 

Everyone's psyche is different, and while some might be chomping at the bit to get back out there others might be a bit more timid and ease back into things. Its really hard to tell how you will be affected from the experiences of others. I've had 2 wrecks that resulted in hospital time, one street and one dirt, and in both instances there was no fear as a result of it. My MX wreck did change my riding style at first, I was less aggressive and more cautious and took time to build back up to the level and pace I was riding at prior, but now all that remains in a sweet scar and a story to go along with it.

 

 

Tyler

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To be honest Tyler, one second i was on the bike....and the next second there was no bike under me. I did not notice the rear step out or anything....was focused on the road ahead as it was dark and i suddenly found myself flying.

 

I have no fear....maybe ill be extra cautious.Will definitely need to work on my riding from the ground up as my left foot would have forgotten to shift etc lol....

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When you are able I would revisit where the crash happened. I'm sure you will find in that corner some gravel, debris or even oil that was likely the culprit. Examine the tires too. Gravel sometimes leaves gouges and pits in the rubber where it made contact getting between the tire and the road. Oil leaves a residue behind.

 

We have never met but I recognize the passion you have for riding. In no time at all I'm almost 100% certain you will be back to enjoying what you love so much!

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Haven't had a chance to look at the bike....but the pictures are cringe worthy. The bike is at the dealer waiting to get fixed i guess.....the man promised to make her good as new. I suppose that would remove all traces of marks on the tires if they are going to wash the bike after repair.

 

Suffice to say....a highside in the dark is as bad as it gets.

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It happened early in the morning....it was dark. I was taking a gentle right turn at maybe 40 mph when suddenly there was no bike underneath me. I flew for what seemed two seconds...The road was a bumpy section with patches of badly repaired tarmac. I can only conclude that some sand or the tire hitting a bump at an odd angle caused the highside.

Stroker;

You have a lot of data here to work with (that also could include dew on the road) so you may be able to piece together what action on your part pushed through the traction limits available at that place and time. I agree with Tyler 100%, my last two track crashes were clearly the result of rider error that I knew I made as soon as I hit the ground so I too was able to get back to pace quickly.

If you can dig deep into your memory you may find a slight throttle change or lean adjustment played a roll. If you hit an oil stain that your front tire missed then it would be almost impossible to avoid the crash.

Without knowing a "reason" for your dismount, it will take more time for you to restore your confidence on any bike. My reaction to my first crash was much like yours - setting my confidence back a number of rungs on the ladder because I had no clue why it happened. So I worked my way back one rung at a time.

You will get it back as well (but I might want to avoid that particular curve for awhile). ;)

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Thanks Kevin. The problem is that the stretch for a few hundred feet was bumpy as is typical in India.Now that you mention it, I distinctly remember seeing a reflective red sign on the divider ahead....there was a bit of a gap for a crossing. I picked the bike up a bit.....and then got thrown off the bike.

 

Was it that act of picking the bike up a bit that caused the crash?

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Hey Guys,

 

So i highsided a month ago....broke my left femur and ankle.Recovering now........

 

Very sad to read that, Stroker.

 

Hope that you fully and quickly recover.

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Thanks Kevin. The problem is that the stretch for a few hundred feet was bumpy as is typical in India.Now that you mention it, I distinctly remember seeing a reflective red sign on the divider ahead....there was a bit of a gap for a crossing. I picked the bike up a bit.....and then got thrown off the bike.

 

Was it that act of picking the bike up a bit that caused the crash?

 

Picking up the bike cannot be the cause of a highside in inself - picking the bike up is one of the ways to actually avoid having a highside.

 

However, you now wrote a detail which I think could be crucial: that the road is bumpy. If you ride on the "wrong" side of a bump-crest, you effectively have a road that falls away from you (negative camber), which means you suddenly have (much) less grip available. IF (and this is just a hypothesis) the bike slid on the negative camber, the sideways moveent COULD be enough to cause the highside if the (sideways) movement comes to an abrupt stop (as opposed to a gradual stop of the sideways movement).

 

I had "the world's smallest highside" back in Augst 2011, which broke my radius bone in the wrist. Due to other circumstances, I didn't ride until I was at CSS for 2 days at Big Willows in October 2012 (followed by 2 days of CodeRACE). At the time I was "what the heck" about why it happened, but since several others very inches from crashing out within a minute or two, clearly the track had suddenly become much more slick (this was on the slow-down lap). By the time I got back on the bike, it didn't affect my psyche anymore. Sure, I apprehensive, but that was the normal "I haven't been riding all winter and need to get the hang of it again" type of caution.

 

Heal well, and get back on the bike.

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Terrible injury - sorry too hear. Luck plays such a role in how we emerge from an accident. I have crashed a few times on the street where I really, really could have hurt myself but walked away unscathed. Never injured in almost 30 years of riding, until last summer when a lowside in practice at the track cost me part of my middle finger. Just bad luck - could have easily have been another "nothing" crash. Still nothing like a busted femur - that is serious stuff. Best wishes for a complete recovery.

 

To be honest, the difficulty in judging traction conditions is the #1 reason that I gave up riding at night quite a long time ago. Not saying it necessarily would have turned out differently in daylight, but it might have. Darkness is just one more thing that works against us, especially on sketchy roads. People say motorcycling is dangerous, and it kinda is, but looking at the statistics if you 1) don't ride without training and a license, 2) don't ride after drinking, and 3) don't ride at night, you cut the risk pretty substantially. Just food for thought.

 

Highsides are sometimes sort of spooky and often difficult to figure out. I agree with the others that trying to solve what happened could really help set your mind at ease. I'm just less confident that you will be able to. For sure, return to the scene of the crime (preferably on four wheels) and see what you can deduce.

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I'm guessing the rear tire went on the edge of a pothole or some thing, slid into the pothole and then abruptly encountered the upward rise which caused the highside. Either way, the result was violent.

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