A Motorcycle Crash Happens: Now What?
You're out riding your trusty iron steed like any other day and then suddenly, your worst fear comes true! You've just been in a motorcycle accident. So what do you do now?
You're on the ground disoriented and your mind is racing. Instead of staring blankly at the road wondering whether your bike is totaled, you should have a game plan. Aside from motorcycle helmets, logic and action are your best friends when it comes to dealing with a non-critical wreck.
Motorcycle drivers know the hazards that come with the thrill of the ride, but how many are actually prepared to deal with the aftermath of a crash? Let's assume you have a nonfatal accident; you were wearing the right motorcycle safety gear; and you aren't seriously injured. Once you've taken a moment to let it sink in that yes, this really just happened, here's what you should do next:
Don't panic or get angry about the accident. The last thing you want to do is make the situation worse by yelling at the other driver or freaking out. Your safety and health are the first concerns after a motorcycle wreck. If you can move, get yourself out of harm's way immediately, away from traffic. Once you're clear from any further danger, do a quick self-checkup for cuts and scrapes, and slowly move your limbs around to make sure nothing is broken.
Call for Help
Dial 911 immediately if you're injured but able to use your phone, and give them your location. If you have a first aid kit packed with your gear, clean and patch up any bleeding cuts or scrapes on your body while you wait for the paramedics to arrive. And if possible, check on anyone else involved in the accident to see if they need help.
When the EMTs arrive, don't be stubborn and refuse help. Whether or not you think you're injured, it's always a good idea to let the paramedics check you out. Shock and adrenaline can mask pain and injuries, so let the emergency response team do their job and make sure you're OK.
Clear the Road
A motorcycle wreck can leave a trail of debris in its wake. If you're physically able to and it's safe to do so, clear the motorcycle and any large scattered parts out of the way of traffic to prevent more accidents from happening. Also, keep an eye out for gasoline leaks, open flames and any other potential fire hazards resulting from the crash.
Once everybody has been checked for injuries, if the drivers involved in the accident are able to communicate, the next step is due diligence. You've just been in an accident, so make sure to exchange your contact and insurance information with any other drivers involved.
For insurance purposes, make sure you snap photos of the accident scene and note where the affected vehicles ended up. Information about the accident for insurance purposes is best provided while it's still fresh, and some insurance apps have features that allow you to upload pictures in real time while you report a claim. Make sure you get a copy of the police report for your insurance and personal records.
Plan Your Bike's Return
If your bike only suffered cosmetic damage, you can probably just limp it home. Stay on backroads if possible, and lay off the throttle to get your motorcycle home safely. Most insurance companies have tow services available to cover wrecks with extensive damage. Call your provider and arrange a pickup if your policy covers it.
If your insurance policy doesn't cover towing, and wheeling your motorcycle home yourself isn't an option, call a tow service or a buddy with a flatbed truck.
The next step after everything has settled and your bike is back home is to assess your motorcycle's crash damage. Learn more about what to look for and how to tell if your road rash is just cosmetic by reading our motorcycle accident checklist.