How to Survive a Bicycle Fall or Crash

Dennis & Terry Struck

1. Always wear a helmet and gloves, period.
2. Pay Attention! Once a person is in a crash, stop denial and start looking for ways to minimize body damage. 3. Keep the Eyes Open for as much of the event as is possible. Your eyes let you read the situation as it
unfolds. Closing one's eyes is usually the action that results in the most body damage & the longest
recovery time.
4. Be fluid.  If an object is going to punch the body, don't stiffen up for an impact; be loose and force the body to roll the body part along with or away from the punching object - Move a body part along with a punch.
RESTATED: If someone were about to hit you in the face and the impact were imminent (it's going to happen - stop denial), does one stiffen up and take the impact (NO).  One deliberately moves their head backward, thus minimizing force of the impact.  One is going to be hit no matter what  - SO actively minimize the damage!
The more fluid a person is during a crash, the less the trauma of impact and the less the total injuries.
5. If one is thrown off their bike, then rolling is usually the best course of action (assuming that a person is not about to go over a cliff or such - one still has to actively think).
6. If something is moving toward the eyes or the face, then move the head (rotate, twist, and/or bend).
7. Be Active (as in Pro-Active). Be Alert.
8. Frequently, there are things that a person can do before coming to a rest, that may save one's life
OR minimize any injury.
9. If necessary, use arm(s) or leg(s) to keep a person's falling/moving body from hitting dangerous objects.
Dodge Stuff, roll or twist if needed.
10. Protecting the head is usually the most important thing to do, BUT on occasion a person may need to
 focus on dodging a spearing/jabbing object.
11. Keep the head off the ground. Interestingly, if a person is looking at what is happening around their self,
then a person will likely be forcing their head off the ground.
12. Always be analyzing.
13. The side (of the human body) can take the most Shock/G-Force (versus the front, back, top or head).
14. If a person cannot land on their feet, running, then the next best crash position is to land on their side with the butt side of the hip (butt-hip corner), thigh side, slightly bent leg side, forearm and hand slap (together), all at the same time!
- Keep the chest, ribs, and head all off the ground.
- Rotate, twist, and/or bend to make this happen.
- Be in a flowing fluid motion, not a statue.
- This is a Judo 101 Fall Position. It is worth taking one class, just to learn this maneuver.
- If a person yells "Heiyee" during this episode, they will double their energy, gain focus, and be in control - it works!
Domo Arigato Gozimus Dojo. [Dennis was raised in Japan.]
15. Do NOT allow yourself to be thrown on your chest and chin, use the arms to change the fall into a side impact.
16. Avoid a stiff-arm side impact, or a stiff-leg landing. Bend the appendages a little so the body parts won't break or be torn.  Airborne 101 (sneaky pun, intended).
17. Avoid an impact force to the shoulder that is inline with the shoulder and neck.
Twist or roll to the back of the shoulder (or bones may break and/or components may be torn).
18. If landing square on the butt, roll to one cheek or the other, Before hitting the ground. Force one's landing to one butt cheek or the other by rolling or twisting or using the legs and/or arms. Never hit the ground with both cheeks at the same time.
19. We don't always get to pick how we are dismounted, but a summersault type body roll
(feet over head) is better than a chin slide or back slide - Judo 201 Roll.

December 2011 Issue - Vol 5 Issue 1, 1 February 2012

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