The Chainlink

I am good at falling and doing stupid shit without getting injured. It just comes naturally to me. But before today I never thought about the safest way to get hit by a car. 

Some dude blew a red light and almost hit me this afternoon. I obviously wasn't going to be able to go fast enough to ride out of his way, so instinct kicked in. I slid down to the ground so the car wouldn't hit me. I ended up partially under the car. If I would not have slid down I am quite certain I would have been hit by the front end of the car.

In my situation it worked out well. The car stopped before hitting me. But if the car wouldn't have stopped I would have been ran over.  So would it have been better for my to get run over or thrown onto the windshield? probably the windshield. But I figure by laying down I got about a foot more worth of time for him to stop before getting hit.

So what do you think is the best option? Stay upright and get hit sooner and go in the air, hit the windshield and possibly under the car, or slide down and give yourself that few extra feet before getting hit.

And yes I am fine and so is my bike

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I'm confused on how you slid down but VERY glad you are ok. i ended up goin over the hood when I got hit but if I had gone down and under I feel it woulda been death vs separated shoulder. Remember to tuck your chin to your chest and try to roll is all i can tell ya. But go over not under is my vote.

I've been wanting to get hit to make some cash!

I have never been hit, but always thought it'd be safer to go high. More room to maneuver and less heavy immovable stuff to drag over your body parts. Glad you're OK.

God, I can't even think about those things. That's like the "Would you rather...?" game with horrible scenarios you HAVE to choose from. I'm just glad you're OK! I would be a complete mental wreck for a few days after ending up partially under a car. Sending wishes of safety and joyful riding to you and everyone out there.

The best way to get hit by a car is to have insurance.

Glad you're ok but like Gabe I would prefer over and not under for sure at least a windshield gives a little under pressure unlike the rest of the car.

Gabe said:

I'm confused on how you slid down but VERY glad you are ok. i ended up goin over the hood when I got hit but if I had gone down and under I feel it woulda been death vs separated shoulder. Remember to tuck your chin to your chest and try to roll is all i can tell ya. But go over not under is my vote.

Good to hear you are OK.  I would say over definitely.  When i was hit a couple of years ago, I recall having to make this exact decision.  I opted to stay upright, relax my body and hope for the best - I rode away with only a bruised foot and some nightmares that recurred for a couple months.

When I was 14 I got hit by a little Nissan (new driver hit gas instead of brake as she approached me crossing street). When I was about to get hit I jumped/pushed up off of my bike at the same time as impact. This prevented me from getting hit straight on in my legs/torso. But I then rolled into the windshield and was flipped into the air like the windshield was ramp. I then landed on my back. Coincidentally my youth football coach was there and ran over. Got the wind knocked out of me and had some really bad road rash, but overall I was very luck and was OK.


Long story short (too late, I know) is that it is always best to minimize the force of impact. So rolling, sliding, skipping, anything that eliminates direct hits is best. It's physics at work. Look at how a basketball player takes a charge or a quarterback "crumbles" when they are about to get sacked.


Then again the second impact with the ground can be as bad as the impact from the car. Of all the bike-related cases I handle as many of the injuries are from the bicyclist hitting the ground as from a direct impact from the car.

And the winner of the most ignorant post of the day is...

NYC said:

I've been wanting to get hit to make some cash!

Wow, glad you are ok, that is a scary situation.

I would say over is always going to be better because bouncing off the windshield beats the hell out of smashed under the tires.

Both times I was hit I was lucky to see it coming and 'jumped' off of the bike away from the car.  Both times it resulted in a little road-rash and some bruises but it seemed a better alternative to getting hit by the car directly.

Just glad you are ok.  It is good discuss best practices if you actually have a second to react.  I always remember the advice Martin Hazard gave me when riding on ice.  If you feel like you are going to fall, just put your foot down.  

Glad you survived that okay.  

If you've ever had martial arts training (karate, ju jitsu, etc.), the skills you've learned about taking a controlled fall can sometimes help you reduce the severity of injuries if you crash.  Of course, some crashes happen too fast for that kind of control to be possible.  

Knowing how to take a controlled fall may help you to control the direction of your fall, let your body relax somewhat so that muscle tension doesn't cause more damage (in addition to any impact), keep you mindful so that you don't throw your hands out, etc.  There's no guarantee that it will work in every situation, but can it sometimes work to your advantage if there's enough time for you to react before impact.  The faster you're going, the less time you'll have to react if something goes wrong.

On several occasions, I've used this technique to steer my fall when one was unavoidable and land on grass instead of pavement, tuck in hands and elbows and roll instead of landing on my hands and fracturing any bones in hands or arms, or shift momentum from forward to sideways and land on my side instead of doing an endo.  Sometimes shifting my balance while braking (not hard enough to cause a skid) has allowed me to avoid an impact that could have been bad.

You can use the same basic idea when you're a pedestrian on slippery sidewalks in winter.  I've sometimes been able to use it to fall on my side or a butt cheek (in snow or on grass where possible) to spare my knees.  It may sound counter-intuitive to let your body relax when you fall, but it works.

I hope you never have to put these ideas to the test out on the roads. 

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