I had a nasty tumble yesterday when doing a sharp right turn into a side road. A car was giving way to me at the junction.

I turned right and I was basically thrown of my bike. flipped onto my left side ending up on my back. It was so quick a violent I can't say for sure what happened.

The only thing I can think what caused it was my right pedal may have been in the down (6 o'clock) position.

These things must have been natural when I was younger, as I've never had a incident like this before.

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    Did the bike end up closer to the middle of the road (ie, behind you)? Or did the bike end up more to the left of the road (ie, in front of you)? If the former, you overbalanced and fell off the "outside". If the latter, then the bike slipped out from under you due to loss of traction on the sharper/faster turn. Did driver check on you?
    – Criggie
    May 11, 2017 at 9:48
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    Did you happen to examine your right pedal for damage like scratches and abrasions? Also, did you mark the road at all? Is there any gravel in the intersection that might have contributed? Lastly, what parts of your clothing is damaged?
    – Criggie
    May 11, 2017 at 9:49
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    Probably most importantly, we're glad you're okay, and hope that any injuries you've had will heal soon.
    – Criggie
    May 11, 2017 at 9:50
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    Outside pedal down and your weight on the outside foot, that 's how we were taught at the cycling school of the cycling club. You may angle the inside leg slightly away from the bike.
    – Carel
    May 11, 2017 at 11:22
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    Criggie had a really good answer here: bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/44068/3949 (Unless we were there watching, we couldn't say why it happened, but following his instructions, you could prevent hitting your pedal in the future)
    – BillyNair
    May 11, 2017 at 23:21

3 Answers 3


Outside pedal down and your weight on the outside foot, that 's how we were taught at the cycling school of the cycling club. You may angle the inside leg more or less away from the bike if you want to turn faster (cf. moto GP racers).


While the current answers about foot position in a turn are appropriate, I suspect your accident was more the result of trying to pedal through a corner, than the result of forgetting how to position your feet.

You mentioned having a car waiting for you. If you felt rushed you may have tried pedaling through the corner in order to "go faster." This will place the inside pedal in the down position at some point in the turn, leading to a the pedal strike and a crash.

Therefore, if you are taking an aggressive corner:

  1. Do not pedal until you are sure you have sufficient clearance
  2. Keep the inside pedal up (outside down) as suggested by @Carel for very aggressive turns or level as suggested by @sixtyfootersdude. Even if you keep the pedals level there should be more than enough clearance for most turns.

@Carel's answer to this question is perfectly acceptable, but I wanted provide another alternative.

When cornering and doing any kind of bike manoeuvring, you should be in the attack position. The attack position allows you to shift your weight around on the bike and has the added bonus of keeping your pedals flat ensuring you don't have a pedal strike.

More info from MTB Techniques:

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The attack position is achieved by standing on the pedals whilst they are in a level position.


Riding in the seated position gives quite a stable riding position as the bike can’t move very much under you. This stability comes at the expense of manouverability, fine on smooth, wide and straight paths but not so good when the trail gets tight and twisty. Standing up lets you easily move about the bike for cornering and negotiating tough obsticles.


  • Get your pedals level.
  • Use your arms to keep the bike upright.
  • Stay relaxed, use your arms and legs as extra suspension. Keep your knes apart to help with balance and cornering.
  • Lower your upper body towards the bars with your elbows out for better steering control.

YouTube demo of the attack position:

This video is aimed at mountain biking but still provides a good overview of the things going on here.

  • 3
    While this seems to be very useful on the trail, I don't know that I've ever seen anyone cornering on a road bike with the pedals level and with his butt raised off the saddle. For road cornering, you want your center of gravity as low as possible.
    – FreeMan
    May 15, 2017 at 20:29
  • @FreeMan - Not true. You want to have high hips so that when you feel yourself starting to loose traction you can drive them down to drive the bike into the pavement so that you can regain traction. Using this technique, it is also easier to corner more with the bike than with your body. Key for recovering from sharp corners when there is a possibility of sand or gravel. May 15, 2017 at 21:27
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    Interesting philosophy, and I'm not saying you're wrong. In all the years of riding and racing (admittedly in the 80's and 90's), I'd never seen anyone corner on the road like that. I'm not an avid MotoGP fan, but I've never seen anyone corner on a motorcycle like that either - they're always hanging their butts off the inside of the bike to get the weight down as low as possible, too. Again, this may just be a difference between road and trail riding - as you mentioned "when there is a possibility of sand or gravel".
    – FreeMan
    May 16, 2017 at 11:32
  • To be clear even when trail riding there are times when you should drop your outside foot. This helps to anchor the bike and get a smidge more traction but I think for beginners the best thing to do is to use the attack position. It is easy. May 16, 2017 at 14:56
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    Another problem with this position is that when you stand on a road bike, the front end gets twitchy. The slightest movement, especially at higher speeds could cause an unrecoverable wobble, leading to you meeting the road. I have tried this attack position on my road bike, and my confidence went way down.
    – CRoberts
    Jun 8, 2017 at 18:20

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