How to Safely Pick up a Dropped Bike

How to Safely Pick up a Dropped Bike

By Diane Ortiz – President and founder of the Big Apple Motorcycle School.

For many years I’ve given “dropped bike” demos at venues across the country at motorcycle dealerships, events like Americade, bike shows and conferences. It is very popular event and always draws a big crowd! It’s great fun to see the surprised reaction of the crowd when they see me pick up a large, heavy cruiser. HDBellmoreGP005

There is a certain procedure that needs to be followed to accomplish this successfully. It’s all about leverage and using the correct technique, but the most important and the first thing I talk about is making sure you are out of the traffic flow and the environment is safe before you pick up the bike. When your bike goes down your first instinct is to get it upright as soon as possible. However, situational awareness and making sure the area is safe before attempting to pick up your bike should be the number one priority.


This was brought home very recently. A local rider hit the median on a busy street and the bike tipped over. A good Samaritan came by and together they tried to upright the motorcycle. Unfortunately it was late in the evening and an elderly driver coming up the street didn’t see what was going on and hit them, pinning the motorcyclist under the car. It was a fatal accident. The good Samaritan survived, but ended up in the hospital with serious injuries. It was a very sad conclusion to a single-vehicle mishap.


So please, if your bike does tip over, make sure you’re not in the middle of the street or in a position to be a target for oncoming road users. Make sure you are visible. Consider calling for help instead of doing it yourself.  Do not pick up the bike is it’s leaking fluids, it’s on a slope (it can roll away from you) or if you have any health issues, such as back problems.


If you do decide to pick up the bike, here are some simple steps to follow (based on the technique by Carol Yuorski with Pink Ribbon Rides). Before you start the lifting process stop the engine using the engine cutoff switch, put the motorcycle in gear to stabilize the bike and prevent it from rolling and place the side-stand down if the bike is on its right side. Also scrape away any gravel from underneath the tires and your feet to provide traction.


  1. Squat down with your back toward the bike’s seat.


  1. Grip underneath the back fender with one hand and the lower handlebar grip with the other. Your knuckles should be facing out.


  1. Place your butt between the center of the seat the upper edge of the seat.


  1. Find your foot placement, whether both feet together underneath you or one foot forward.


  1. Use only the butt and leg muscles for this lift – don’t use your back muscles.


  1. Begin to rock the bike up to a 45 degree angle, re-situate your body position and take baby steps backwards, walking the bike up to 90 degrees and reset onto the side-stand.


If your bike fell onto the side-stand side, don’t completely upright the bike because you take the chance of dropping it back down the other way. So, when the bike is almost upright, you can either put the side-stand down using the heel of your boot or slowly and carefully turn your body around so you can grip both handgrips, face the motorcycle and then put the side-stand down with the toe of your boot.


Ride Safe!

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