Motorcycle Myths: You Don’t Lay a Bike Down… (it’s called crashing)

“Both motorcyclists took evasive action and laid their motorcycles down on the sides, sliding on the asphalt. The Honda struck both motorcycles and one of the motorcyclists.”

“It appears that the accident occurred as the result of Mr. Lemire putting the bike down to avoid a collision, and Lemire came off the bike at that point,” Stewart said. “The bike continued on and actually stood back up and hit the car.”

Real quotes from Officers of the Law, about motorcycle accidents. I am bothered quite a bit that some people still have the idea that laying your motorcycle down is an actual option that some how prevents accidents.

I’m going on record now and saying here that despite myth busters not having tackled it, it isn’t a thing, at least not anymore. There was a time (according to people older and wiser than me) that this was taught in motorcycle classes as a way to avoid or at least reduce injury in a motorcycle accident. However this was back when tires were bad and brakes were worse. (or was it the other way around?) Now brakes are pretty amazing and tires are phenomenal, which means that sliding along the ground (in hopefully your leathers and not your skin) is not going to slow you down faster than the rubber hoops and brakes that are designed for such things.

In addition to giving up your ability to slow yourself, you also surrender your ability to change the direction that you are moving when you “lay er down”. Why people think that it is a good idea to no longer try to avoid whatever it is you’re worried about running into is a little disturbing.

Here is a good site that covers it all in pretty good detail:

When I first started riding I got told a few stories about people having to lay their bikes down to avoid a crash, I thought this sounded a bit odd since it was never covered in any of my training. I nodded sagely like I knew what they were talking about and moved on.

As the years passed and I rode more, hung out with some great motorcyclists and read more as well as going a track day for even more instruction I wasn’t too surprised to learn that was a myth of motorcycling. In nearly every bad situation it’s always better to  brake or swerve to avoid the crash, or at least slow down as much as possible before hand.

Now when I hear about someone laying a bike down I don’t hear “I had full control of the situation” I hear “I grabbed too much front brake and went down, and I’m claiming it was on purpose so I don’t feel so dumb”.

It’s always better to just own up to your mistakes and learn from them. You’re not alone in making mistakes, everyone does it, even Celebrities:


About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
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One Response to Motorcycle Myths: You Don’t Lay a Bike Down… (it’s called crashing)

  1. I am hoping I don’t have to make an excuse for laying down my bike ever. I guess it may happen but until it does, I will be happy.

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