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  1. #1
    endorphin addict
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    Common denominators of mountain bike crashes

    I've been thinking about this some wanting to avoid my next crash. In the past several years I've had three pretty bad crashes and they had some elements in common. I notice from some other posts there are alot of similarities. Here's some watchout situations for me:

    1. Fatigue -- on the back end of long loop rides and feeling a little delirious.

    2. Complacency -- just cruising along unconcerned, a momentary lapse of attention, next thing I knew...

    3. Overconfidence -- pushing my limits a little too far, trying to keep up with others. I "should" be able to do this by now.

    Any additions to the list?

  2. #2
    Going, Going, Gonzo
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    Gravity


    Too much speed, loss of control.
    Signature? I don't need no stinking signature.

  3. #3
    endorphin addict
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    That says it all!

  4. #4
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    Sh!t happens

    You can't avoid being in sketchy situations if you ride a lot. You dodge a thousand bullets then blam, that root catches your front wheel and OTB you go. I think injuries get worse the more speed is involved, it's like you multiply your chances of crashing when going fast. You need to know when to commit through a problem area because if you go into it half-azz you might as well walk it. Everyone has their comfort zone, mine is diminishing with age!
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  5. #5
    Former MTBR Member
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    Reasons to crash...

    4. Thinking 'I might crash'. Think like a winner. Be a winner.

    5. Harboring a secret truffle fetish. The first step is to admit you have a problem.

  6. #6
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    Is it possible to add random to the list also

  7. #7
    Team Chilidog!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushPilot
    I've been thinking about this some wanting to avoid my next crash. In the past several years I've had three pretty bad crashes and they had some elements in common. I notice from some other posts there are alot of similarities. Here's some watchout situations for me:

    1. Fatigue -- on the back end of long loop rides and feeling a little delirious.

    2. Complacency -- just cruising along unconcerned, a momentary lapse of attention, next thing I knew...

    3. Overconfidence -- pushing my limits a little too far, trying to keep up with others. I "should" be able to do this by now.

    Any additions to the list?
    Majority of my accidents are #1. It was on the back end of a return trip that I broke my wrist. I was not pacing myself, and blew out.

    I've done #2 once or twice, but without much consequence other than fun stories.

    #3 not a problem for me. I tend to ride on the side of caution more often than not.

    Additions? Running into other trail users. Trees and rocks that grab bikes, etc.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  8. #8
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    My worst crash ever was a combination of #1 and #3. Amazingly it was on non technical ground. Three plastic surgeries later I still riding. Never quit, never surrender....

  9. #9
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    Rule of the Road

    never travel faster than a speed that you are willing to crash at for a given terrain

    Kane

  10. #10
    endorphin addict
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    Words of wisdom there.

  11. #11
    endorphin addict
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    I think going over the handlebars in a crash has alot of potential for a bad outcome, if you're gonna crash it would likely be better to use a different dismount strategy if possible.

  12. #12
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    Ego and Lack of attention

    I had a wise doc tell me once from a mental standpoint every accident always occurs because of a couple things.
    1. Ego getting too big. Showing off to others or even yourself.

    2. Not paying attention. Losing focus.

    After hearing this and looking at my accidents in the past couple years, all I can say is yep!

  13. #13
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    I'll add this

    No one will ever confuse me with someone who rides fast. I know my own limits and I bet they're lower than yours. Almost everyone I ride with goes faster and it's ridiculous for me to try to keep up with them. It's amazing how everyone's normal speed is a good 15-25 percent faster than me but that's just how it is. So--ride within your limits, choose your own lines, don't try to keep up with everyone thinking that you can if you try really really hard.

    I rode with a guy in Moab once who after crashing three times I said dooood don't you want to slow down just a bit? He said "I like to crash" like it made the ride real.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  14. #14
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    just had my first potentially major injury today. I was going too fast through a section of trail I usually could just bomb right on through without even thinking about it. basically a few roots laying randomly across a 1.5' wide trail. easy stuff. I went into it way too fast, and before I knew it the front tire was between a pair of 1.5" diameter trees, next thing I know after that I'm on the ground facing my bike and the single tree that still exists in one piece, in the middle of landing on a pair of roots. somewhere along the line the second joint on my right pointer finger got hit pretty hard and has swelled up a bit. it must have been the fact that it hit the tree that did not literally remove itself from the ground and shatter. I couldn't bend it and exert enough pressure with it to stop quickly, so I just had my dad pick me up and take me home. I still have a pretty normal range of motion with the finger, I just can't touch the tip of my finger to the underside of my pointer finger knuckle like I used to be able to, so it probably isn't broken. it's weird. the last time I was up at the "easy/beginner" trails I busted up my shin. then I went to the intermediate/advanced trails and didn't so much as fall and I pushed pretty hard in some sections. then I go back to the "easy/beginner" trails, do the entire perimiter trail in about 40 minutes, try one section god knows how many times, hit another section too fast and hurt my knuckle real bad as well as break into the small rotting tree removal business
    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    My butthole would pucker and invert until I was inside-out before I got to the bottom.

  15. #15
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    Panic braking. Combination of ego and complacency in the beginning. Then at some point you feel the danger is real - and pull the brake levers with all your strength at high speed. The rest - matter of luck and terrain.
    Pure bad luck..... often with underlying lack of attention to detail...From my experience - once, towards end of the ride I got a flat and didn't inflate the tire properly after repair. I was just 10 mins from the gas station, why bother too much? But on my way I had to make the final descent, very steep, fast and rocky. At some turn I was passing very close to a rock wall - and you bet, it was where I got a pinch flat in poorly inflated tire. I lost control, crashed into the rock, lost consciousness and all the skin on my left thigh ........

  16. #16
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
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    Dont forget:

    6) Equipment Failure - Unexpected flats, carbon bars snapping(owww!!!), pedals breaking, etc.

    7) Poor Night Lighting - Battery-powered compact headlights are a bad excuse to be riding fast(above 20mph) at night, anywhere.

    8) Front End Washout - Happens so damn fast....our hands are still gripping the bars when our heads/shoulders strike the ground. Gravity sucks.

    9) Rider Error - The majority of mtb crashes are mainly due to picking wrong lines, paying too much attention to the front wheel, and improper rider weighting.

    Any more???

  17. #17
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    Yeah, here's one more

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah
    Dont forget:

    6) Equipment Failure - Unexpected flats, carbon bars snapping(owww!!!), pedals breaking, etc.

    7) Poor Night Lighting - Battery-powered compact headlights are a bad excuse to be riding fast(above 20mph) at night, anywhere.

    8) Front End Washout - Happens so damn fast....our hands are still gripping the bars when our heads/shoulders strike the ground. Gravity sucks.

    9) Rider Error - The majority of mtb crashes are mainly due to picking wrong lines, paying too much attention to the front wheel, and improper rider weighting.

    Any more???
    I just got back from Moab and had to consciously take my fingers off my front brake lever during certain slow sketchy areas (yes, I do use the front brake all the time but sometimes...) because I found that I would panic grip both brake levers when trying to go up/over/around certain obstacles. If what I'm panicking about is just to scrub a little speed or just to manhandle the bars the last thing I want is to lock up my front wheel just as that wheel is deadending against something.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  18. #18
    mtbr member
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    for an article on crash prevention strategies including anti-crashing drills, crash conditioning and a recent crash story check out http://ultimatemountainbike.blogspot.com

  19. #19
    The plough
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    For me the single most frequent reason why I crash is:

    Tensing up when attempting a technical section.

    Stay loose.

    V.

  20. #20
    Dirt Abuser
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    Quote Originally Posted by insect_o_man
    Gravity


    Too much speed, loss of control.
    Winnah....... too much speed on a turn, tires washing out, steep technical riding = OTB...

  21. #21
    56-year-old teenager
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmajor
    For me the single most frequent reason why I crash is:

    Tensing up when attempting a technical section.

    Stay loose.

    V.
    This is a big one for me. Sometimes lack of confidence leads to a death grip on the bars (or brakes) and BLAMMO! OTB I go.

    I frequently tell myself "just let the bike float and you'll get through this fine". Whaddya know, it works most of the time!
    Work is the curse of the biking classes.

  22. #22
    SSolo
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    All great info!

    Thought about my otb crash from Friday evening and determined that I was tired from the week's work, covered my front brake on an uphill climb (wtf?), had almost crashed the same way at this spot the week before but rode up instead of walking, not enough momentum to carry me through the rocks, thinking about crashing instead of successful riding, and I was too tense.

    Basically I was going to slow, not paying enough attention to riding, kinda tired, hit the big rock with my front tire, tried to pull up on the front (which resulted in pulling on the front brake since I was still covering it from the previous downhill section!) and didn't roll with the crash very well. There was a big tree on the left right next to the rocks so didn't want to roll into that either!
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  23. #23
    Silence! I kill you!
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    User error
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  24. #24
    SSolo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemonkey
    User error
    Yes. I wanted to re-analyze it so that I don't do it again and to help others avoid my dumba$$ mistakes. Now that I thought it through, I still can't believe I did it.
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  25. #25
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    Smile Pause for the Cause

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah
    Dont forget:

    6) Equipment Failure - Unexpected flats, carbon bars snapping(owww!!!), pedals breaking, etc.

    7) Poor Night Lighting - Battery-powered compact headlights are a bad excuse to be riding fast(above 20mph) at night, anywhere.

    8) Front End Washout - Happens so damn fast....our hands are still gripping the bars when our heads/shoulders strike the ground. Gravity sucks.

    9) Rider Error - The majority of mtb crashes are mainly due to picking wrong lines, paying too much attention to the front wheel, and improper rider weighting.

    Any more???
    How about getting up and going for it just AFTER you crash. I see people take tough hits to the ground, then get up and try to hard charge to keep up the pace that got them into trouble. Seriously...you just rang your bell. Take a pause for the cause and respect the effect of crash adrenaline. And yes, I speak from experience

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