While turning from a stop may seem like a rather mundane topic would be true; from what I’ve seen, more than half the “experienced” riders have not mastered the stop and turn.
You may not believe this but the day after writing that article, I witnessed a stop and turn crash one block from my own home. Here’s what happened. As I pulled onto my street I saw two riders coming down their driveway. The street is one lane separated from the other lane by an island so they must turn right out of the driveway. The first rider pulled right out but the second rider was duck walking the bike down the drive and made a complete stop. Though the rider had a full face helmet on and full gear, I could tell it was a woman and she appeared a little tentative. The bike she was on was a sport bike with a custom stretched wheelbase. Since sport bike handlebars don’t turn very far, stretching the wheelbase makes them even more difficult to turn at low speeds.
I slowed up and waved her on. I could hear her revving the motor a little too much for a smooth take off and thought to myself, “this doesn’t look good.” She was looking to the right where she wanted to go, but she popped the clutch out too fast and as the bike lunged forward, she turned her head straight and looked right at the palm tree in the island where she was headed. Sure enough, she went up and over the curb and smashed right into the palm tree at about 10 or 15 mph. The rear of the bike went up in the air at impact and the rider was thrown up and into the tree. It looked like she hit the tree with her shoulder.
I pulled over and as I got to her, she was laying on her back on the ground not moving. The first rider, who I assume was her husband, had now returned to the scene. I leaned down and gently opened the visor on her helmet. She looked up at me and started to lift her head but I told her in a calm voice to stay still for a few moments. I figured she might be in shock and staying calm while talking to her would keep her from panicking.
I then told her not to move but tell me what part of her body hurt. She thought for a second then said her shins. Her pants weren’t torn and no signs of blood anywhere. She insisted that she wanted to get up so I had her first move all her limbs very slowly starting from the fingers. I said if you feel any pain stop moving. She moved everything without pain, luckily. Before I let her move her head at all, I made sure she felt no pain in that area. Luckily, the only injuries she had were some bruising on her shins. I’m guessing she hit the fairing lowers or the handlebars with her shins as she went up and over the bike. The bike was severely damaged if not totaled.
What’s the point? Learn how to master that clutch and throttle. How can you tell if you’ve mastered the clutch and throttle? That’s easy. Turn your bars full lock and take off from a full stop without duck walking the bike or straightening out the handlebars until you’ve made a complete 90 degree turn. If you can’t do that, you need some practice. It could save you from a serious crash or an embarrassing tip over.
If you’re ever involved in a crash, you should know the dos and don’ts. First, try to stay calm. Take a few deep breaths. Your first instinct will be to try to get up. Don’t do it. Try moving your fingers and toes, then your ankles, knees, etc. Move them very slowly and carefully and stop if you feel pain. Do not remove your helmet until you’re sure you have no neck or back injuries. Do not attempt to get up if you’re injured unless of course, staying where you are, such as the middle of a dark street could cause you to be run over. The bottom line, know what to do in an emergency situation before the emergency.