Common Tread

Video: Rider gets blown off the road by fierce crosswind

May 01, 2018

YouTuber Nebraska Rider had a close call while riding his Honda CBR500R down a wind-strafed interstate. Blown completely off the road, the rider took a short, uh, detour into the grass at more than 80 mph before rejoining traffic. That's one lucky Husker.

The Midwest is known for high winds, but they can happen just about anywhere. In addition to fatiguing riders (physically and mentally), crosswinds can push a bike across lanes or off the road if not anticipated or corrected for, especially when combined with wet roads.

In the video, Nebraska Rider loses the battle after accelerating past the trailer, then coming back into the wind blast. At 84 mph, bike and rider were covering a lot of ground without much time to react. Speeding up can stabilize a motorcycle, but reaction time is reduced. Sharp changes in wind speed or direction could easily surprise a rider. 

Ken Condon, author of Motorcycling the Right Way, offers some pointers for dealing with the overlooked hazard of crosswinds. Adopt a semi-tuck position (like Nebraska Rider did for a short section of the video) and avoid tensing up. Relaxing your body while compensating for the wind provides some defense against a sudden gust. And while it can be tempting to speed up to gain stability, Condon advises reducing speed to gain valuable reaction time. If the wind makes a funnel shape and starts sucking things up, you’re on your own.