8 Lessons to Learn from This Grom Crash

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Grom-CrashGroms are fun…really fun. They are small, yet powerful enough to do all sorts of silly shenanigans. Just watch my fellow scribes Ari and Zack from Motorcyclist Magazine for proof:

Gromkhana 1

Gromkhana 2

Playbike Dangers

The thing is that playbikes like the Grom can trigger a false sense of safety that can make a person think he or she is invincible.

The truth is that you can certainly be hurt or killed even on a little bike.

Another reason that small bikes can be unsafe is because they disappear in traffic. It’s hard enough to be conspicuous on a normal sized bike, but it’s extra tough on a Grom.


Case in point is a video I saw that is no longer available of a Grom crashing into the side of a car.

It’s pretty obvious that an elderly driver thought he was good to go after waiting for a car ahead of the Grom to pass. It’s a classic case of “I didn’t see him”. Likely another case of inattentional blindness.

Before you launch hate missiles at the old guy you’ve got to remember that people make mistakes. Sure, the driver was at fault…no argument there. His insurance company will pay.

Knowing 100% that we can’t possibly hope to stop people from making mistakes means it’s up to us to do all we can not to become a victim of these people.

The Rider’s Mistakes

The rider in the video could have noticed that the car ahead was blocking him from view. He should have also predicted that the driver was ready to go as soon as the gray car went past. This would have alerted the rider to slow way down and be ready to apply the brakes–hard!

By the time he realized what was unfolding, it was too late. The rider heroically attempted to swerve to the left, but there was not enough time or space to sneak by.

One significant mistake the rider did not make (unlike soooo many other riders) is to wear full protective gear. He was mostly unhurt in the crash. Unfortunately, the dark riding gear probably didn’t help in the conspicuity department.

The Takeaway

Posting this video isn’t intended to callout the rider’s ineptitude; we all act on assumptions that don’t turn out as we expect. Rather, I use this video as an illustration of one of the most common reasons for multiple-vehicle motorcycle crashes, so we can learn from it. The following lessons can be applied to any situation involving intersections. The rider in this video did not necessarily break any of these lessons, but perhaps he did.

Lesson 1: Don’t be fooled into thinking because you’re riding a small, low powered bike that you cannot get hurt or killed…you can.

Lesson 2: Recognize that you are hard to see when riding a motorcycle, and you’re nearly invisible on a pint-sized bike like a Grom.

Lesson 3: Develop a sixth sense about your surroundings and then listen to that sense.

Lesson 4: Learn about the classic crash scenarios so you can recognize when they are developing in front of you.

Lesson 5: When approaching intersections with waiting cars, slow down and cover your brakes.

Lesson 6: Have an escape plan in mind in case something does happen and do not hesitate to get help from an auto accident attorney or a motorcycle accident lawyer. Talking to personal injury lawyers will help you better understand your rights and the process of filing a claim.

Lesson 7: Plan for the Worst, hope for the best.

Lesson 8: Make sure your emergency braking skills are well-practiced, just in case.

Did I miss anything? Add you thoughts in the comments below.

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7 Replies to “8 Lessons to Learn from This Grom Crash”

  1. Like Ken said,the car driver’s view of the bike was mostlikey blocked,so she pulled out.Riders must identify similar senerios,and plan accordingly.Expect the pull- out..always! Especially when you see an older driver.

  2. Not meaning to sidetrack Ken’s thread, but this video clearly teaches us the value of two things: a) proper riding gear and b) motorcycle tank slope design.

    Because the Grom has a fuel tank level with the seat, this rider had little, if any, contact with the motorcycle itself when thrown forward as a result of the collision with the SUV. And when he was thrown into the fender, protective gear seamed to do its job.

    I commend this rider for wearing protective gear on a “play bike”. That did take some forethought.

  3. Note it is a fall day bright sunshine and rider wearing gear that offers no definitive contrast from the background. The new headlight systems like LED or projector style have virtually no visibility in daylight like halogen. He also seems to be traveling a bit too fast, but that could be that the bike does look very small in motion.

  4. Why would he swerve to the left? If he’d swerved right he could have probably had a fair chance of going behind the guy.

    I ask because I crashed myself almost exactly the same way once: I instinctively tried to get ahead of the guy crossing my path instead of going behind him. In effect I steered right at him.

    If the same thing happens again, I’ll probably react the same way. I didn’t think at all, just reacted.

    It’s frustrating.

    1. Yeah, I think most people would swerve to the left, instead of trying to go right. One reason is that even thought he area behind the car is opening up, it was probably still visually closed, which would have stopped him from making that choice.

      This just goes to show that the real solution is to never need to swerve in the first place. Predict the likelihood of the problem and respond early.

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