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How to Crash as Safely as Possible

By Adam Marsal

With just a little effort, all riders can learn how to fall safely. Richard Gasperotti, a four-time Red Bull Rampage participant, will tell you the tricks.

Choose a landing zone

The worst possible injuries are caused by crashing into an immobile or immovable object like a tree, a parked car or a rock. Hence, you should take your chances and avoid such barriers and try to find an escape course. Once you’re in the air, it’s probably too late to navigate your flight to the least dangerous place, so try to stay on the bike as long as possible before you catch sight of a zone for a safe landing.

Don’t fight back

You’re in flight right now, which is not what you craved for. The chances are high you’ll get hurt, yet it’s too late to take it back. So don’t wave your arms, stop kicking around and forget about fighting the inevitable fate. Performing wild motions in the air might make it even worse as you need to stay focused and well-prepared for the hit.

Keep your hands off

Your instincts and the subconscious order you to let go of the handlebars and brace yourself for the crash with hands. Despite providing a satisfying level of protection to your chin and face, such an impact usually results in the braking of hands, wrists, elbows or collarbones, as the arms are forced to absorb all the kinetic energy in one brief moment.

Perform a dive roll

If you ever watched professional Red Bull Rampage participants crash, you probably saw the riders perform dive rolls to spread the force of the impact over a larger area, which reduces the risk of injury. It works similarly to falling on a mat in judo. While performing a somersault, keep your chin tucked to your chest to prevent your head from hitting the ground. Reading about it in a magazine and executing it flawlessly is not the same, though. That’s why you should train forward rolls so you can do them even at a higher speed. Despite it sounding weird, it can be good fun.

Keep your core fit

There’s a discussion whether you should let your body go limp or keep it firm. While some experts say that contracted muscles might save you from getting hurt, others argue that drunk people avoid injuries when they fall because they’re completely relaxed. The truth is somewhere in between. Though crashing like a stiff scarecrow is not the right way, your inner muscles should be prepared to handle the entire motion. That’s why overall well-trained sportsmen often manage to get away from awful crashes unharmed, while non-sportsmen get hurt even when they fall at lower speeds.