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The Myth of Laying Down a Motorcycle to Avoid Injury

We have all heard the stories about the grizzled motorcycle veteran "laying down" his bike to avoid injury. "I knew then it was trouble," the story goes. "So I laid it down," or in other words, put the bike on its side on purpose, sliding into the dangerous situation rather than staying upright. According to, these stories are more myth than fact. Rather than preventing serious injuries, this tactic more often results in broken bones, head injuries, and totaled motorcycles.

A Story From an Earlier Less Technologically Advanced Day

The idea of laying down a motorcycle comes from the earlier years of motorcycles when equipment was much different. Brakes on early bikes were so notoriously bad, a rider had a better chance of avoiding serious injury by sliding off the bike than actually staying on top and trying to bring it to a stop. How to lay down a bike was actually taught to new riders as a regular part of learning how to ride a motorcycle.

Enter Anti-Lock Brakes

It is a much different story today. Technological advancements such as anti-lock brakes and more efficient standard brakes make it much easier to bring a bike to a stop than in years past. The maneuverability of modern motorcycles makes swerving around an obstacle much more possible as well. Furthermore, it is a simple matter of physics. The friction of rubber on the road is much greater than the plastic, steel, and chrome found on the side of the motorcycle.

When to Lay It Down

Yet, there still may be some situations in which laying the bike down may be appropriate. If you are headed for a cliff and do not have sufficient stopping distance, it may be time to let go. Also if you are headed into a ten-car pile up and there is no way around it, then putting the bike on its side could be a valid choice. But remember, after you lay down a motorcycle, you have no control over where it or you will end up.

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, consult with an attorney experienced with this type of accident in order to ensure that your rights are protected.