Help! How To Lift A Downed Motorcycle
Although dropping a motorcycle is something that we always try and avoid, there are times when it can’t be helped. It might not be in a crash scenario either: a poor kickstand, an uneven surface or a particularly tenacious gust of wind can be enough to bring down a motorcycle, so knowing how to correctly pick one up is a skill well worth knowing. You may find yourself alone on the road or assisting a fellow motorcyclist – whatever the situation is, knowing the procedure could be a lifesaver… or at the very least a reputation saver! No one looks cool failing to lift a motorcycle…
Assess The Area
So, you’ve dropped your bike or come across someone else with a problem, what do you do? First things first, check yourself or said victim for any injuries and consider your location. If you’re on a driveway, no problem but if you’re tucked away midway around a corner, you might want to set up a way of signaling any oncoming traffic that there is a motorcycle shaped hazard lying in the road. As soon as you’re sure that you can safely lift and move the bike, then the real work can begin.
Prepare The Bike
If the bike is still running, get that shut off as soon as possible, along with the fuel (if needs be). Keep an eye on escaping fuel because it could become a major problem if hot parts are in the way, so use your common sense before proceeding or getting too close. If the bike is still in gear, leave it in gear – if not, try and put it in gear, this will help you out when you lift. With the bike in gear, it won’t try and roll away as you lift it up! Also, if the bike is laying kick stand side up, then you’ll want to use it to your advantage. This will help to let you know that the bike is upright and where it should be when the lift is complete.
Consider If You Need Help
Not all downed bikes can be lifted easily and some shouldn’t even be touched for police and insurance reasons. If it looks like you can’t lift the bike, don’t even try it – you don’t want to pull a muscle for no reason, do you? If you’re sure that lifting the bike is possible and the best course of action, move on to the next point!
The Physical Lift
The first step is to move the front wheel so that it’s pointing towards (or into) the ground. This motion will bring the handlebar closer to the tank giving you something to hold on to. Crouch down and move your body so that your lower back is planted against the seat, grab the handlebar hand grip that’s nearest to the ground with one hand and find a suitable anchor towards the tail of the bike for the other (a luggage rack or grab rail). Now comes the exciting part: the lift. Put your feet out in front of you, about a shoulder’s width apart, with a bit of a bend in the knee and prepare to lift. Lock your arms and take tiny steps backwards, lifting with your legs and keeping your back straight. As you push with your legs, the bike will begin to right itself, just make sure you don’t overcook it or it’ll go over again the other way (unless the side stand is engaged!). Remember, this isn’t a job that’s worth rushing. Take it slowly and lift with your legs and not your back!
Check The Bike
When the bike is back on two wheels again, roll it out of the road to somewhere safe. The job isn’t over yet – you still need to assess the damage of the bike! Keep your eye out for bent or snapped levers, leaks, bent spokes (if you have them), twisted handlebars and damaged suspension. If the bike looks alright, there’s every chance that it could make it home or to a mechanic but to find that out, you’ll need to try starting it up. Don’t worry if the engine doesn’t catch on the first couple of attempts, the fuel needs to start flowing again first!
Finally, make sure that you or the fallen rider is alright before attempting to ride away, physically and mentally. If you think an ambulance might be required then call one immediately, don’t wait to find out later!
So there you have it: you’ll never fail to lift a fallen motorcycle again! And let’s hope that you don’t have to!