How To: Pick up a fallen motorcycle

It's a heart-wrenching sight:
A motorcycle on its side is never a good thing.

But that's life on two wheels.

I have yet to meet a rider who has not -- at one point or another -- dumped/laid down or accidentally dropped a bike. As much as I hate to admit it, it has happened to me.

Sometimes, gravity will take its toll on the two-wheeler. Perhaps your foot slips, there's gravel or it's just bad timing. Regardless of circumstance, the bike goes down and your heart starts to sink.

So, what do you do if your motorcycle ends up sideways on the road?

Photo: Amy Lawson

Talking with various industry experts, the most important thing is to make sure you're safe and out of harm's way, provided you are still conscious.

If you're on a busy street, wait for a break in traffic to get yourself upright, then attempt to get your bike in the same position.

After this kind of trauma -- believe me, it's trauma -- your adrenaline is pumping. If possible, take a deep breath and wait a moment before trying to pick up your motorcyle. It's not the natural thing to do, but it's sound advice.

You can really hurt yourself if you try and rush into things. I've badly sprained my wrist trying to lift a motorcycle almost five times my weight right after it fell.

Next, it might sound inane, but ask for help! Especially for female riders, the bike sometimes is just too heavy to lift. There's nothing wrong with enlisting the assistance of others.

If there's no one around, there's aslo the possibility of lifting your bike with leverage.

Typically, if you've dropped the bike, the engine has stalled. If it hasn't, turn it off ASAP.

If your bike fell on the side without the kickstand, go to the side with the kickstand and pull it out. That way, when you get it back upright, it shouldn't fall over again in the opposite direction.

Place your bottom against the seat, similar to a squat-like position. Use your hands to find a spot on the bike that gives you a good grip; it could be saddlebag bars, or parts under your seat. Then use your legs and bum primarily -- not your back! -- combined with your arms to shimmy the motorcycle back up.

When it's upright, look for any leaking fluids. If you don't feel comfortable turning your bike on, don't. Call a towing company or your mechanic.

If the bike checks out, and there's minimal damage, go ahead and turn it on. Ride it gently until you feel that it's still in safe, working order.

What happens if you are in the middle of nowhere with no one around to help and you just can't lift your bike? Wait it out. There's no point in further damaging or injuring yourself. Call for help. It might not be the most convenient thing to do, but sometimes it's the only option.