What Is a Low Side and High Side Motorcycle Crash?
Motorcycle wrecks can happen because of rider error, or because someone else causes an accident. Often, when another driver causes the accident, they say that they didn’t see the motorcycle. It’s more difficult to avoid a wreck when it’s another driver’s fault, but if you have an idea of how your bike reacts in a wreck, you might mitigate the possibility of serious injuries, or even death.
We can generally divide accidents into low side and high side motorcycle crashes. Should you suffer injuries in one of these accidents, a motorcycle accident attorney can help you recover compensation.
Low Side Motorcycle Wrecks
Low side wrecks are less dangerous than high side wrecks, and can happen if either the front or rear tire loses traction. The most common causes of low side wrecks are braking too much in the corners, accelerating too fast in a corner, having too much speed for the bike to handle in a corner, not enough traction caused by gravel or oil on the road, or by having slick tires.
You can avoid front wheel low side wrecks by making sure your tires are not worn, by watching your speed in corners, and by braking before a corner instead of in the corner.
Avoid rear wheel low side crashes by making sure you have plenty of tread on your tire, better controlling the throttle, and braking before corners.
A car accident could cause a low side wreck if someone nicks your tire from behind or the side. Having better tread on the tires and learning how to control a tank slapper—when the bike wobbles from side to side—helps to mitigate the chances of wrecking when another vehicle traveling at very low speeds nicks your tire just enough to make you lose control.
High Side Motorcycle Wrecks
A high side motorcycle crash is more dangerous than a low side wreck. When the rear tire loses traction, then gains traction again, it causes the bike to shimmy from side to side, also known as a “tank slapper.” The motion can throw you over the handlebars.
When another vehicle hits you just enough to cause the rear wheel to lose traction, or if the wheel loses traction on oil or sand on the road, the bike could start wobbling. The tighter you hold onto the handlebars, the worse it gets.
You can mitigate the chances of wrecking if you loosen your grip on the handlebars and release the throttle. Never hit the brakes. Tightening your grip on the handlebars and/or hitting the brakes only makes it worse—and you might take flight.
Avoiding Motorcycle Crashes
You can learn to lessen the risk of crashing through sound rider technique, but it’s harder to lessen the risk of a crash caused by someone else’s negligence.
You can mitigate accidents caused by another vehicle if you:
- Wear bright colors. Those who get into crashes with bikes often say they didn’t see the bike.
- Make sure all the lights are working on the bike and always ride with the lights on, especially the headlight. The lights could catch someone’s attention if they don’t notice you.
- Never assume that people follow the rules of the road. Because most people in passenger vehicles do not watch for bikes, you have to watch for them.
- Always come to a complete stop at a light or stop sign. Be sure the person behind you is also slowing down to stop. You can use hand signals if you think that person might not see your lights.
- Try to avoid going through yellow lights.
- Wear the proper safety equipment (helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, ect..)
- Move closer to the centerline or move into the next lane if the road has more than one lane going in your direction and you see a vehicle at an intersection or waiting to pull out of a driveway or side road.
- Ride in the safest area of the lane. This depends on the road. The middle of the road often has oil from cars, which could cause you to lose traction. If you ride on the right side of the lane, passenger vehicles could try to ride in the same lane right next to you. If you ride on the left side of the lane, oncoming cars have a better chance of hitting you. Thus, if the road doesn’t have much traffic going in your direction, take the right side of the lane; otherwise, choose the left side of the lane.
- Make sure your horn works—and never be afraid to use it.
- Keep your brakes in excellent condition.
- Make sure your tires have plenty of tread and the correct air pressure.
Its also extremely important to learn about all the different causes for car accident because along with the safety tips above you can determine your own specific precautions to the most common types of auto accident in your area.
If another vehicle caused your motorcycle accident, you might recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages have a monetary value and include past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property—including your bike, and funeral, burial, and cremation expenses if you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident. To learn more about the costs of a motorcycle accident, review some previous settlements to of similar accidents to get an idea of your potential compensation options.
Non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. The court usually orders non-economic damages if your injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities, though in some cases, you could recover non-economic damages for injuries that doctors expect you to recover from in less than a year. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you could also recover some types of non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of use of a body part;
- Loss of use of a bodily function;
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement; and
If someone caused you or a loved one to crash a motorcycle and left injuries and medical bills in their wake, see if a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you.