When Someone Tips Over Your Motorcycle: Your Questions Answered


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One of the nicest things about owning a motorcycle is how easy it is to maneuver because of how small it is compared to other vehicles. Getting around and even parking is usually a breeze if you know what you’re doing.

But motorcycles have their susceptibilities because of their size including getting tipped over by someone else. It’s a moment that’s often unexpected, sometimes unavoidable, but always comes with a flurry of questions.

What should I do when someone tips over my motorcycle? If someone tips over your motorcycle, you’ll need to get their insurance information if it was done by their vehicle. If they tipped it over without a vehicle, you’ll need to negotiate compensation from them. If you don’t know how your motorcycle tipped over, contact your own insurance and see if they will cover the damages.

I’ve had to deal with my fair share of tipped over motorcycles. It can be a tough situation to be in if someone else’s negligence is the cause, especially if you weren’t there to witness it and know who did it. From assessing the damage to understanding liability, knowing how to handle this situation is crucial for every rider. We’ll provide you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate this challenging experience effectively.

When Someone Tips Over Your Motorcycle With Their Vehicle

Seeing your motorcycle tipped over on it’s side can be unsettling. It looks completely unnatural to have a vehicle in a position like that and will often scare motorcyclists when they see it happen. Motorcycles weren’t meant to be on their side anyway.

In lucky situations, you either witnessed the person tipping over your motorcycle or the tipper left you a note stating what happened.

Remember, it takes a lot of guts for someone to admit that they did something like this. They could have simply done a hit and run and left you in the dust. Remember to keep your cool and be rational during this situation.

Before you pick up your motorcycle, call the police and take as many pictures of the scene as possible while you’re waiting for the police get there. This is in case, insurance or authorities need to use them for your claim. The hitter may be hesitant to call the police, but if you know there is significant damage to your motorcycle you need to call them anyway.

Once the police get there, gather the hitter’s insurance information. Because their vehicle collided with your vehicle and caused damage, their liability insurance will be able to cover it if they have it. If they don’t have insurance, they are held personally liable for those damages they caused to your motorcycle. That’s why it’s nice to have the police there so they can mediate these negotiations.

At this point, you should be able to pick up your motorcycle and assess for damages. Usually the biggest damages to a motorcycle when they’re tipped over is cosmetic related and most don’t have to worry too much about engine or frame damage if the collision wasn’t too hard. Insurance and/or the police will be able to guide you on what to do next when it comes to the insurance claims.

It is for reasons like this that having comprehensive motorcycle insurance and uninsured/underinsured policies are so important. You can click here to view a list of insurance companies and compare rates that work for you.

When Someone Else Tips Over Your Motorcycle Without A Vehicle

This situation will be a little different if the person ended up tipping over your motorcycle themselves, meaning it was their body that tipped it over instead of a car. This could mean they simply used their arms to push it or they kicked it over.

A situation like this means there was probably a little more malice involved on the tipper’s part, but accidents do happen and people can still knock over motorcycles by simply accidentally running into them.

I have a few stories involving others tipping over my bikes, but this story takes the cake. I had just restored a 1980 Yamaha XS850 and listed it for sale.

A person of interested came to look at it, loved it, gave me cash, and we concluded our transaction. He mounted the motorcycle, started it, pushed forward a little bit to take it off the center stand, and tipped it over. Then he had the audacity to ask for his money back…..*face palm.* My answer was no.

Try to not lose your cool during a situation like this. Still be firm with your stance and be rational; any poor behavior from you can be used against you. Take as many pictures of your motorcycle tipped over as you can so you can reference to them later if needed. Call the police and inform them of the situation so they can mediate the conversation between you and the tipper.

The reason these types of situations are a little different is because the hitter didn’t use their car to tip over your motorcycle so you can’t use their auto insurance to fix the damages done. The person who tipped over your motorcycle is fully liable for damages done.

If the person who tipped your motorcycle refuses to negotiate compensation, you have grounds to sue them under vandalism or some other similar claim. But this only works if you witnessed them tipping over your motorcycle or have video of it.

When You Don’t Know How Your Motorcycle Tipped Over

Unfortunately, the majority of people who find their motorcycle tipped over find it too late and really have no idea how it got that way. You may have your suspicions, but without you or someone else seeing it, you don’t have grounds to really accuse anyone.

If you find yourself in this situation, again you’ll need to take as many pictures as possible of the scene. If it happened around a business, see if you can obtain any surveillance footage so you know how it happened and if so, get a description of the person or the car that did it.

If no surveillance footage is available and there are no witnesses around to tell you what happened, you’re only left with fixing the damages yourself. If you’re handy, you may be able to fix everything yourself without having to get insurance involved.

These damages likely won’t be covered if all you have is liability on your motorcycle insurance. But the damages should be covered if you have comprehensive. If you feel the damages are too significant for you to pay for out of pocket, calling your insurance and submitting a claim is the next best option.

Remember to only tell your insurance company what you know, not what you think happened. For example, if you tell your insurance that you think this was a hit and run, your insurance may decline the claim stating your comprehensive doesn’t cover hit and run scenarios. Tell the truth, but don’t tell your insurance more than you need to.

Also note that if you do call your insurance and put in a claim with them for your tipped motorcycle, your rates may go up and you will still need to pay out your deductible.

How To Prevent Your Motorcycle From Getting Tipped Over

There are a few things you can do to help yourself in the future to prevent your motorcycle from getting tipped over by someone else. First, I recommend using a disc lock brake that has an alarm on it.

Sometimes some ignorant person will try to move a motorcycle out of a parking space so they can use it for their car. A disc lock brake will stop that from happening and the alarm will sound when it senses movement which could notify potential witnesses. Click here to see the disc lock brake I recommend in my list of suggested motorcycle security.

Remember to park your motorcycle legally while you’re out and about. Some people may not be expecting your motorcycle in the random places you’ll park. If your motorcycle is parked illegally, the person who hit it may not be held as liable for the damages. See my other article here to learn more about motorcycle parking etiquette.

It also helps to have a camera on your motorcycle while you have it parked at home. This is especially useful if you live in an apartment complex where there are other strangers frequently walking past your motorcycle. If possible, park your motorcycle close to where an outside window is by your apartment. You can put a camera in the window that will provide continuous surveillance on your bike. Click here to see the camera I recommend in my list of recommended security for motorcycles.

Conclusion

It is so unsettling to see your motorcycle laying on its side, especially when it was done by someone else. If this happens to you, be sure to take a lot of pictures, call the authorities, and get the responsible party’s insurance information. If it was not done by a vehicle, you’ll need to negotiate with the person on how they’re going to compensate you.

Having gone through this situation myself, I can assure you that there are many ways to navigate this with a positive outcome. Has this ever happened to you? What did you do to handle it? Feel free to comment with further tips for our fellow riders!

Related Question

How do you pick up a fallen motorcycle? If you are stranded and left to pick up the motorcycle yourself, stand on the side of the motorcycle where the seat is and face the opposite direction. Bend your knees and place your bottom on the seat and place your hands on places that are good gripping points. Use your knees to lift up the motorcycle.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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