FAIL: BMX Rider Gets All Wet

Brian Christopher just wanted to hit this hip. Instead he took a dip. SUBSCRIBE:

Over the past few months you’ve no doubt noticed an uptick in the number of crash clips making their way onto the pages of major BMX sites, and TCU is no different. Perhaps it’s worth discussing why that is.

The most basic explanation is that they are simply in demand. Gross crashes get a lot of views. People watch them and then they share them with their friends. There’s something about watching someone nearly die that just makes you want to show someone else. In much the same way, if I saw a fight break out on the street my first reaction would be to watch intently and my second reaction would be to yell for my friends so they wouldn’t miss it. When situations arise in which injury or death seem imminent or even just possible, people affix their eyes. And since media companies are in the business of capturing eyeballs, it stands to reason that TCU would be wise to at least dabble in crash clips.

We’ve started posting more crash clips over the past few months and as a result my inbox is flooded with these sort of falls on a daily basis. Which is great! It helps bring in viewers and those viewers help make us money that we can then spend to pay professional videographers to create high quality content for the site. But it also forces me to face some questions which previously, I had never had to think about.

What makes a good crash? Take the above clip for instance. The first thing I can say in it’s favor is that it’s got some length to it. The riding element of the clip is only 20 seconds but it’s better than say that tailwhip where the kid’s wheel falls off which is only 7 seconds. Ideally a good crash clip contains some context. If the rider tries something a few times, THEN falls and gets hurt, that’s good for the viewer. If he rolls around on the ground screaming for 45 seconds before the clip ends, that’s good too. This sounds kind of sadistic but it’s true; people want to feel like they have gotten to know you a little bit before they see you break your leg. It makes the whole experience a little more real to the viewer. Context is key.

Gore helps, as does hyperbole. As soon I watched „The Worst Shinner Ever“ (an obvious title I thought up as soon as I saw the gash), I knew it would do well. He tries the rail a few times which lets you begin to feel like you know this guy, then he falls in such a way that it’s easy to imagine it happening to you. Relatability is a big factor in why any BMX video does well on The Internet. This 18 stair 360 attempt ended with a broken ankle but it didn’t get that many views because it doesn’t look like he broke his ankle. I had serious doubts about using the clip of Joe Weist. The resulting injury is pretty disgusting (which is why I made it the thumbnail) but the fall itself doesn’t look too bad.

Some crash clips certainly push the limits of good taste. I believe at one point a former TCU blogger posted the Stephen Murray crash which left him paralyzed (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me but it could have been). It was later removed once we became aware of the extent of Stephan’s injuries. I had serious reservations about putting out Brandon Begin’s now infamous El Toro crash just because I thought it was too gross. He really wanted to put it out so I consented and he is now known as „the guy who tried to half cab El Toro“ to a lot of people, which I guess isn’t the worst thing in the world.

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