All bikers know at least one story of a motorcyclist “laying down” their bikes in order to avoid a crash. In the early days of biking, many riders were taught that pulling the bike flat against the ground is a proper last resort in crash prevention, possibly because the brakes on early models were not reliable enough to stop suddenly. These days, the risks of laying down a bike are far greater than potential rewards—and that includes your recovery in an accident case.

Lay Down a Motorcycle as a Last Resort in These Situations

There are many problems with laying down a modern-day motorcycle to avoid an accident. The biggest dangers include injuries to the head and legs as they become parallel to the ground, including traumatic brain injuries and severe road rash. In addition, laying down a bike rarely prevents a crash because the bike is still traveling at speed—with the added problem that you will not be able to control where you (and the bike) finally land.

There are very few scenarios where laying down a newer motorcycle is preferable to hard braking or changing course. If you are an experienced and skilled rider, here are just a few rare instances where a lay-down can save your life:

  • Heights. If you are riding on a mountain road and are faced with the prospect of being struck by an oncoming vehicle or crashing over a guardrail down a very steep cliff, abandoning the bike may be your best option.
  • Obstructions. Most bikers have the ability to swerve around obstructions in the road, but some have been forced to lay down their bike in order to travel under an unavoidable object, such as if a semi-truck trailer is placed sideways across the road.
  • Mechanical failure. If you lose control over the bike (the steering doesn’t respond, brakes failed, etc.) and you are approaching danger, you may have to abandon the bike to avoid crashing. Laying down the bike puts you closer to the ground rather than jumping off, but is still a dangerous maneuver.

What Are the Legal Problems of Laying Down a Bike?

Just because a motorcyclist lays down his bike does not mean he loses his right to recover injury costs. However, a driver traveling in front of the biker may argue that he did nothing wrong, and that the biker made his own choice to lay the bike down rather than swerve off the road. In addition, laying down the bike may mean that no collision with the car occurred, prompting the driver to deny any involvement in the accident since his vehicle is undamaged.

Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

You can also order your FREE copy of our book, "KC Biker Bible."

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.