For the first time in a while I was able to attend a track day as a spectator and had the unfortunate event of finding out what can happen to a friend during a high side. As I pulled bits and pieces of his story together while he was still a the hospital I am reassured that a high side is nothing to play with. Feared as the worse scenario crash a rider can have, that moment you know you’re going over the handle bars, you just pray it’ll hurt just a LITTLE bit less, but it never does.
What is a high side that we fear so much? It is simply the act of the rear tire slipping away from you, kicking out the back, losing grip and just spinning. It will continue to spin until the moment it regains grip at which will act as a catapult with you basically as the melon in a canon. Once it snaps back you’re on a one-way ticket to the heavens as you’re launched up and over the handle bars, usually upside down, sideways and not knowing which is the sky or ground.
How to do combat this you ask? Keep the throttle where it is and just let the slide finish. Any input on either chopping it or giving it gas will cause it to prematurely regain grip in a crucial moment when grip becomes the last ingredient in this hay-maker recipe. Our instincts kick in to do what we aren’t suppose to, giving or taking away gas, so we must learn from this.
My friend unfortunately signed a one way trip to said heavens and knocked himself out cold on the pavement in what seemed to be a nasty high side. He was transported to the hospital to make sure internally there was nothing wrong. Bruised and battered body, concussion most likely and a few days of recovery was the prognosis. It could have been worse of course but luckily in this case his gear, SPECIALLY his helmet, quite possibly saved him from further injuries.
Have a look at his helmet in the aftermath of the crash:
I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet when you are riding, specially at the track and SPECIALLY a quality DOT/SNELL/ECE and above approved one. A quality helmet, irregardless of the price, WILL and CAN save your life whether on the track or in the streets. Imagine how much worse this would have been if this crash were to occur while riding the streets rather than a controlled environment such as the track.
Wear your gear and ride safe everyone! Here’s to a quick recovery for my friend!