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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Scary.  Glad you're ok.  Certainly a Hobson's Choice.  I suppose I'd rather go high for the reasons suggested.  But I've seen people break the windshield with their head so ideally you should wear a helmet.

laura - *so* gld you are OK. yes this is scary. to answer your question ("which is better...") it is hard to say. every situation is totally unique; the variables are always different; and we all have different modes

, etc. of reacting. We are all good at making quick decisions and changing quickly based on unknown variables (cars, pedestrians, shifts in predictable patterns of behavior, etc.) and I think that is the key.

someone else here may have acted / reacted differently to the same scenario you faced and endedup OK. some may not have. this is a good reminder / wake up call for us all as summer tends to make folks drive / behave strangely.....

 

 

DB

Glad you turned out ok!

+1 on relaxing your body and tucking in your arms, most injuries are broken arms/leggings from trying to brace the fall.  

I'd say over is probably better, you'll get the same impact force, but lose some of the risk of getting run over/pinned/dragged.  Of course in an accident its sometimes hard to remember to do anything, since it happens so quickly.  

Anne Alt said:

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. 

It's a topic of discussion in motorcycle circles, too: whether it's better to "lay the bike down" or hammer the brakes (as much as you can without locking up the wheels) and stay with it. The consensus seems to be that the slower you hit something, the better, so stay upright -- rubber has much better grip on the pavement than metal (or skin).

Not much discussion about side impacts, since that tends to happen so fast there's really not much you can do to minimize the consequences.

Go high, and roll. There's not many good outcomes resulting from going under a car... but apparently you found one!

I'd rather go over than under.

It's best to go over and tuck, if you can jump do it.  The less contact you make with the car the better.  If you duck down theres a big chance of getting stuck under the car or being hit by a wheel.  Your helmet can't save you then. Glad you're ok.

I was going to mention this too.  I was on the U of Oregon club sports tae kwon do team and one of our black belts was also a judo instructor so we would mix up our workouts a lot.  For a while when we first started judo all we would do was fall.  Starting with learning to summersalt (sp?) forwards and backwards from a sitting position.  Tucking your chin down to your chest, relax, curve your arm so the outside edge of your palm -> wrist -> forearm -> elbow -> upper arm -> shoulder form a loose "wheel" you guide yourself over with your head safely inside.  Keeping in tight through the end of the roll prevents your limbs from splaying out and whacking the ground hard.

When you can do a roll from the ground correctly you won't feel any impact, just a smooth motion starting from a squat and ending back in that squat.  Then you can try it standing (all on a mat or soft surface, of course) and bend yourself down and into the roll.  Then just drop and roll.  Then take a couple steps and fall into the roll.  Then take a few steps and skip into a roll.  Then take a few jogging steps and fall into the roll with a bit more speed.  Eventually run and dive forward and upward and let your roll catch you on the ground.  The point is to get the motion engrained into muscle memory.  Then the quicker reaction in the moment is more possible, hopefully.



Anne Alt said:

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. 

Damn girl, you're crazy. Never in a million years have I ever thought about laying low so I'd have an extra feet or two for the car to stop.

In my mind, I'm a super hero. If a car came at me, I'd have jumped over my bike and onto the hood of the car and jump over it as the car hit my bike and stop afterward - if at all. But I'm probably too slow to do that in real life. I would most likely just close my eyes and hope that I wake up, and with not too much damage.

Well, we're all glad you're OK, though. That must have been a really scary incident.

I just got hit by a car last weekend, and sometimes there is just not enough time to think about what's the best way to go down. In my case, I was sideswiped by the car while moving parrallel to the vehicle and as a result hit the ground, with my bike taking the brunt of the impact.
I feel like it's almost natural instinct for humans to avoid hitting their head (for the most part) and that's what I would try to do when I have another accident.

I had a similar experience last summer.  I got away with just some bruised ribs and abrasions on my elbow where it was dragging along the side of the car.  My bike had relatively minor damage and I think the majority of that damage was due to hitting the ground at the end.  If I'm going to hit a car, I'd rather go over than under.

Cameron Puetz said:

If you have time, turn so that you hit at a glancing angle. The last crash I was in, was a left cross with a cargo van. I didn't have time to stop, but I bled off some speed and swerved so that I hit the side of the at a about a 60 degree angle and slid along along the van after a weaker initial impact. If I had not swerved and hit at a 90 degree angle I would have gone over the bars and all of my kinetic energy would have gone into the initial impact.

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