Lay Down Motorcycle Crashes in Utah: Low-Impact, High-Injury Collisions

Riding a motorcycle on Utah’s scenic roads and highways can be an exhilarating experience. However, motorcycle riders also face significant risks, especially in the event of a crash. One type of motorcycle crash that is particularly dangerous is the “lay down” collision. In this article, we’ll examine these low-impact but high-injury accidents and provide advice for staying safe on Utah roads.

What is a Lay Down Motorcycle Crash?

A lay down motorcycle crash refers to an incident where the motorcycle goes down on its side while sliding along the road, often at relatively low speeds compared to high speed crashes. This type of accident is also sometimes called a “low-side” crash.

There are a few common causes that can lead to a rider intentionally laying down their bike:

  • To avoid a more serious high-side crash when the rear wheel loses traction
  • To avoid colliding with another vehicle that is merging into the motorcycle’s lane
  • To avoid hitting an object or hazard in the road like a large pothole or debris

Laying down the motorcycle can be seen as the lesser of two evils compared to potentially being flung from the bike at high speed in a high-side crash. However, the rider still risks significant injury.

Other times, the motorcycle may fall over unintentionally due to factors like:

  • Loose gravel, sand, oil, or other slippery substances on the road surface causing loss of traction and control
  • The rider improperly applying brakes or throttle while turning, especially in wet conditions
  • Mechanical failures like a flat tire or stuck throttle causing an abrupt loss of control
  • Strong winds or weather conditions that make the bike unstable
  • An abrupt lane change or swerve by another vehicle that forces the rider to lose control

In a lay down crash, the motorcycle falls onto its side and slides across the pavement while the rider often remains on or near the bike. Unlike high speed crashes where the rider is ejected from the motorcycle at momentum, lay down crashes generally keep the rider on or close to the sliding bike. However, the rider’s body can still sustain very severe injuries from impacting the road surface, even at speeds as low as 30 mph. The potential for injury is very high despite the seemingly low-speed nature of these accidents. Proper protective riding gear is crucial to reduce harm in a lay down crash.

Common Injuries in Lay Down Crashes

While lay down crashes may seem minor because the motorcycle is traveling at lower speeds, they can still cause significant injuries, including:

  • Road rash: Skin abrasions from sliding across the road can be extremely painful and prone to infection. Road rash often occurs on unprotected areas like arms, legs, hands, and feet.
  • Broken bones: Fractures in the arms, shoulders, hips, and legs are common as the rider impacts the ground. The severity depends on the crash speed.
  • Head and neck injuries: The head striking the pavement can lead to concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. The neck may also experience whiplash or vertebrae damage.
  • Internal organ damage: Internal bleeding in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis can occur during the collision. This may not have visible symptoms but can become life-threatening.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spinal cord is possible if the rider lands on their head or back. This could potentially lead to paralysis.

While wearing appropriate riding gear helps reduce injuries, lay down crashes often cause extensive harm since the rider’s body is in direct contact with the roadway. Even a crash at 30 mph can result in weeks or months of recovery.

Causes of Lay Down Crashes in Utah

Certain conditions and factors commonly contribute to lay down motorcycle wrecks occurring in Utah:

Slippery Road Surfaces

Roads covered in gravel, sand, oil, or other slick substances can easily cause a motorcycle to lose traction and fall over. These surfaces are especially hazardous when turning or braking. Rural Utah roads often have loose gravel shoulders that can lead to lay downs.

Impaired Drivers

Intoxicated or distracted car drivers make errors like swerving, improper merging, and sudden braking. These actions can force a motorcyclist to lose control or lay down their bike to avoid hitting the vehicle. Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes in Utah.

Hazardous Weather

Rain, hail, and high winds can all make roads dangerous for motorcycles. Loss of traction is common when riding on wet surfaces. Strong crosswinds may also blow a motorcycle off course. Riders need to be extremely cautious in inclement weather.

Improper Turning

Entering a turn too quickly or at too sharp of an angle can cause the motorcycle to fall over or slide out. Insufficient lean angle is often a factor. Rider inexperience and misjudging turns are common issues.

Mechanical Failure

Equipment issues like a blown tire, broken chain, or stuck throttle can lead to an abrupt loss of control. Riders should ensure their motorcycle is properly maintained and inspected regularly.

Driver Negligence

When car drivers make errors like failing to yield, unsafe lane changes, or running stop signs, it can force the motorcyclist into a lay down crash. Even minor vehicle mistakes can put motorcyclists in danger.

Preventing Lay Down Crashes

While it’s impossible to avoid all motorcycle accidents, riders can take steps to help minimize risks:

  • Wear full protective gear, including a helmet, jacket, pants, boots, and gloves to reduce injury severity in a crash.
  • Take advanced motorcycle safety courses to sharpen cornering, braking, and swerving skills.
  • Ride defensively and anticipate hazards from road conditions, weather, and other motorists.
  • Avoid riding in hazardous weather whenever possible, and slow down if you must ride in rain or high winds.
  • Keep your motorcycle properly maintained and replace worn tires.
  • Avoid impaired, distracted, or aggressive riding, which greatly increase crash risks.
  • Be highly alert when riding on gravel roads or in construction zones.
  • Only attempt turns and maneuvers within your skill level. Don’t ride beyond your abilities.

While lay downs may seem minor, they often cause severe injuries for riders. Following these safe riding practices can help reduce your risk.

Consulting a Utah Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle lay down accident caused by another person’s negligence in Utah, it’s advisable to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney can help investigate the crash, determine fault, communicate with insurance companies, and pursue maximum compensation for your damages. A lawyer may find evidence of liability factors like an unsafe roadway, vehicle defect, or negligent driver. Professional legal representation is crucial for getting the recovery you deserve after a motorcycle wreck.

The attorneys at Monge & Associates have successfully represented numerous motorcycle crash injury victims across Utah. With 32 offices located across 19 states, including Utah, Washington, and Georgia, we know how to build a strong claim for compensation after a lay down accident.

Our firm offers free case evaluations, so contact us today on (888) 477-0597 to discuss your situation.