Jay Leno breaks several bones in 1940 Indian motorcycle crash

Jay Leno's Garage

Bad luck has struck Jay Leno again, landing him in the hospital with several broken bones.

While test riding his 1940 Indian motorcycle on January 17, he smelled a fuel leak:

“So I turned down a side street and cut through a parking lot, and unbeknownst to me, some guy had a wire strung across the parking lot but with no flag hanging from it,” Leno told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “So, you know, I didn’t see it until it was too late. It just clotheslined me and, boom, knocked me off the bike.”

Leno explained to Hagerty that he figures he was going about 15 mph, just doing a U-turn in the parking lot. It could have been worse for him, but the Indian did not escape unscathed. The motorcycle was a sidecar, so it kept going and crashed into a building.

Jay Leno Indian Motorcycle Riding
Jay Leno's Garage

The 72-year-old comedian suffered a broken collarbone, two broken ribs, and two broken kneecaps. Leno was admitted to the hospital, figuring he’d be out and about the next day.

A few years ago he told Hagerty that he had “one more motorcycle crash in him.” Maybe this was it.

This all comes just as Leno was preparing to return to the stage in Las Vegas, after finally healing up from facial burns suffered while working on his White steam car. As a result, he opted to lie low and not tell the media about the motorcycle crash right away. “You know, after getting burned up, you get that one for free,” Leno told the Review-Journal. “After that, you’re Harrison Ford, crashing airplanes. You just want to keep your head down.”

Jay Leno 1940 Indian Motorcycle Riding
Jay Leno's Garage

Leno understands both the risks and joys of motorcycle riding. The comedian said he’s generally been very lucky on bikes, including a couple of harrowing near-misses. In one instance, he was riding a custom Triumph for his YouTube series; the owner had run the crankcase breather tube out in front of the rear tire, so it was blowing oil all over the tire and he nearly lost control. Another time, while riding a Brough Superior, the wheel locked up just moments after he exited the freeway.

We wish Leno a speedy recovery. If history is any indication, he’ll be back in action soon.

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    I see this method of closing a parking lot used routinely and want to pull over to bolt-cut the line. I know Jay has a reputation as a nice-guy, but this is one time I’d like to see someone get sued until they bleed.

    I felt the same way. Maybe there’s some sort of rational explanation for the flagless wire, but I’m doubtful.

    Akin to placing a board with nails sticking out on trick or treat night. Guy did it where I grew up. Almost lost his house. Didn’t want anyone on his property.

    I’d agree, the sooner somebody sues these brainless idiots the better off we’ll all be Leno probably doesn’t care to do it, would make him look bad maybe, but in any case somebody needs to and the sooner the better.

    YES It’s REALLY CARELESS And STUPID NOT To Hang Flags On A Wire Across An Entrance To An Open Lot. But Maybe Flags WERE Hanging There, But Intentionally Removed By Some Prankster Punk KIds Doing A Nasty Trick Just To CAUSE Damage And Injury. UNFORTUNATLY Jay Must Have Been Attempting To Enter Someone’s Private Property, And Should Have Chosen A Gas Station Or Other Well Used Wider PUBLIC Areas To Check Out His Bike. It’s Been Said That BAD LUCK Comes In 3’s. Maybe Jay Should Have A Body Guard Along With Him For A While…

    I don’t particularly care for people entering or crossing property either. Instead of stringing difficult to see cables across likely entrances, I post no trespassing signs and mark the perimeter of said property with signed “Posted” notifications. So far no one has been injured by said signage nor have I been charged with attempted manslaughter. I also have decent relations with my neighbors.

    The owner is responsible for the posting of the property and should have maintained the signs if there ever was any.

    His insurance co, which may well be Hagerty is not going to let Mr. Unmarked Wire get away with that for sure. Better Call Saul.

    I had a friend killed by one of these attempts to keep motorcycles out of parking areas. My friend was only doing about 10 mph when he got clothes lined at dusk. He had been in there dozens of times before with no wire. Died of internal injuries 8 hours later. Unfortunately people do not think about the consequences their actions can have.

    Lots and lots of personal experience. But I would have been more comfortable if the statement was “Unfortunately people do not think about OR CARE ABOUT the consequences their actions can have.”

    I would say how unlucky could a guy be… but that’s kind of hard when it’s a celebrity with a thousand cars I’d kill for. All kidding aside, I hope he has a speedy recovery and keeps on riding

    We all marveled at how quickly Jay healed after his burns. Let’s all wish his recovery from these injuries to be another example of his recuperative powers. Get well soon, Mr. Leno – we’re rooting for you!

    I think it’s important for the media to report he was riding with a sidecar, as many thought he was on a two-wheeler.

    Hey Mr. Leno, what the heck we’re the same age, hey Jay get well soon. I to have a side car but not as wonderful as your Indian. Just a Suzie with a Velorex side car, but I still enjoy it. Get well my friend and back on the horse. But next time check for the leaks before hitting the road.

    Well just slow down with the ” We hope you make a speedy recovery Jay and God speed .” talk folks. Mr. Leno doesnt know or care that anyone of us exists . To me he is someone Ive seen on television once or twice and I confess its difficult for me to conjure up any sympathy . We simply exist in the same time and space on the planet. Have a nice day.

    Sorry Eddie you called it wrong Jay Leno is a great guy He owns a home here in Newport RI and is very active with all the Audraine Car museum and events. He is super friendly when you meet him and is a regular Joe. If youve never met him your comments are way off base.

    I don’t you, but I have met Jay twice, and he is a very nice, sincere man, who does care about other people, so he has my sympathy for his injuries.

    As far as I know, Jay is a real car guy & goes to shows & meets & talks to us common folk as any other car guy would.

    Hey Eddie – do you hire out to give motivational speeches? How about eulogies? ‘Cause you sure moved me with your words here.

    Too bad you have not actually met Jay. I sold him a bike about 30 years ago, when he was subbing for Carson. We have met numerous times, and he opened his collection for me when I was writing for the magazines, or when I needed some inspiration. He still says hi at the local meets, and takes the time to talk or look at whatever car I have restored for myself. Jay shows up in interesting cars, doesn’t travel with an entourage, and enjoys the shows as anyone else would, even though hounded by fans wanting selfies. He and Mavis are real people and are involved in several humanitarian projects, backed by their 7 figure investments. They don’t publicize their contributions.
    I don’t know about you, but I worry about people in the same time and place as I and don’t think that anyone should have a motorcycle accident, especially at 72. Jay is a month older than I am. I stopped riding about a year ago but I am still involved with bikes.
    Just because a person is an entertainer, or wealthy, with the means to acquire an incredible collection of cars is not a reason to be resentful, or to think that no one cares about you. He started out much as the rest of us, and was able to leverage his humor and persona to make a good living, and enjoys spinning the wrenches on his incredible collection, while employing a skilled staff. He is a gentleman in a space where real gentleman are rare. I hope that he makes a full recovery.

    I remember what it was like when I was a kid playing football in a stranger’s backyard. I went out for a pass and got clotheslined by a clothesline! It took two weeks for my neck to heal.

    I agree with eddie…too much money and too much time on his hands.
    Well, maybe not anymore!!
    Get well and get smart.

    This is not going to help in my conversations with the wife wanting me to stop riding and sell my bikes. Thanks a lot, Jay!

    I sympathize 100%. I rode for 50 years without ever going down (on-road – I dumped them plenty off-road). When I finally ran out of luck and crashed, the first thing my wife said (I was calling from the ER) was, “Time to get rid of the motorcycle”. She was right, of course. I had not only run out of luck, but on much of my reflexes and skills. Didn’t make it any easier (and 9 years later, it’s still hard), but I honored her wishes and that was the end of it.
    Bottom line: I love Mrs. DUB6 more than I loved bikes.
    So, I’m not going to advocate that Jay quit riding. Not my job. I don’t know his physical and mental status for handling a motorcycle. But I suspect his wife does, and according to my personal experience, she might just consider it HER job! 😉

    Sorry that some of you are such jealous jerks … that cable could have taken down a kid riding fast to get home before dark. Get well Mister Leno!

    We pray for a speedy recovery, Jay is a giant in our hobby and a 16 year old would be victim to a trap like that.

    Most certainly that cable should have been properly marked! This will make for a lawsuit! Get well Mr. Leno!

    What would constitute being ‘properly marked’? What statute, rule of law or ordinance contains this requirement? Where is the basis for your proposed lawsuit? No different than the uninvited guy riding his dirt bike across my pasture and getting picked off by the single wire electric horse fence. Not trying to minimize the severity of this accident but . . .

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