There is a stretch of the Mulholland Highway that wiggles through the mountains north of Hollywood, California, like a grand prix track. The turns are deadly, and the view is breathtaking.
And if you follow it west, you’ll end up in a sea of bikers at the Rock Store in Malibu. This stretch of two-lane highway, commonly called “The Snake,” is a favorite among Southern California bikers. It’s also a favorite spot for catching a bit of the road rash.
I’m not about to start giving technical lessons on how to keep your R6 sunny-side up (aka rubber-side down), but I thought, perhaps, it would be fun to do a couple of blog posts of what not to do (aka The Importance of Proper Rider Training).
To begin with, if you want to race, do it on a track. Or at least find yourself some spot of desert with visibility (and no cars) for miles. Racing on the streets is foolish and illegal, and even if you are an amazing rider, remember that most cagers (aka cars) taking hairpin turns do not stay in their lanes.
So, with that out of the way, we go to the lesson I will call “Putting Your Foot Down Will Not Keep You From Wrecking.” Street riding is not the same as motocross. It is not the same as riding a dirt bike. Unless you are at a complete stop, there is no reason to take your foot off your foot pegs. It will not give you better balance, and planting your foot certainly will not keep you upright. Let’s examine a few before-and-after photos from The Snake:
In this photo, if you look closely, you can see that the rider’s left foot is down. He’s not sure he can make the turn. That will certainly keep him upright, won’t it?
Ehh, it’s not looking good. Here we are, a moment later, he’s still upright, but the foot didn’t seem to help his balance. What will happen next?
Yeah, he didn’t make it. (And yes, the people in all of today’s photos walked away from the crashes, or we would not use them.) Let’s try this experiment with a different kind of motorcycle.
This fella is on a dual-sport, surely he will be able to keep his bike upright with the old “foot plant.”
Well this lad is on a scooter. Scooters are super light. It shouldn’t be a problem to hold this thing up with his foot while going around a tight curve…
Oops. It didn’t work this time, either.
There are plenty of YouTube videos of motorcycles crashing on Mulholland. Many of them feature this same style attempt to stay upright or to regain balance. Many scream “lack of proper training.” Many just scream “excessive speed.”
As a California motorcycle accident lawyer, I see far too many accidents that could have been avoided with proper technique. If you are going to ride a motorcycle, learn how to ride the right way — not from your buddies (who probably learned from their buddies). Take a motorcycle safety course. It may just save your life.