Learn crash video

Learn from motorway ramp crash video

We can all learn something from this video from a Canadian truck’s dash cam that captures the moment a rider hits a freeway barrier and flies over the side of the off-ramp.

It happened in Montreal last week and the unlicensed rider suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The male rider is lucky to be alive and owes his life to the truck and a police officer who was nearby.

What can we learn?

The lack of a licence indicates the rider was unskilled, although he wasn’t traveling very fast.

Some suggest he had target fixation.

If you don’t know what that term means, think of it as “if you look at it, you will run into it”.

Learn crash video
Target fixation

Target fixation often happens in a corner when a rider goes in too fast, looks at where he thinks he will crash and that’s where the bike goes.

However, you can actually make target fixation work for you by consciously choosing where you want to be and the bike will go there.

Click here for more information.

Counter steering

Learn crash videoThe other interesting take from this video is that the bike keeps going.

It shows how important rider input is in steering a motorcycle.

Above about 8km/h, a motorcycle’s wheels have a gyroscopic effect which keeps the bike upright.

Without any rider input, a bike sits up straight and continues on.

To steer, you have to “counter steer” in the opposite direction.

In an emergency situation like this, your instinct is to turn the handlebars toward the direction you want to go.

While we can’t see this rider turn toward the wall, even the slightest bar movement in the wrong direction can have a catastrophic effect.

Check out this video where a rider makes several mistakes.

First, the rider enters the corner too shallow which makes the bike run wide. The rider should take a wider approach so the bike is leaning and turning away from oncoming traffic.

Read more about apexes here.

Second, the rider sees the truck and develops target fixation.

The third problem is that the rider has not practised counter steering, so he swaps back and forth between steering and counter-steering, weaving into the truck.

You need to practise counter steering to ensure that it becomes your reflex action in an emergency.

Click here to find out how to practise counter steering.

  1. The commentator in the head on truck crash does not understand counter steering and how it works. Counter steering has nothing to do with shifting the front wheel, it is all about gyroscopic forces. When we talk about gyroscopic forces it is easy to demonstrate. Firstly gyroscopic forces keep your motorcycle upright and going in a straight line. Secondly to change that line we have to counter steer, in other words steer left to go right etc as in the video. So just how does the gyroscopic force work, simply put in a force (as in push right) and the gyroscopic force leans the wheel to the right or 90 degrees to the force. It is simple to demonstration, borrow a pushbike wheel, hang onto the axle and get someone to spine it, does not have to be fast, then try and turn right, the wheel will lean left and there is nothing you can do about it, the forces are quite strong. Next time you watch an aircraft doing aerobatics think of the massive gyroscopic forces acting on the propeller, that is why the crankshaft is so strong, they do occasionally loose the prop. Fascinating subject.

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