Just to level set, sliding along the street at 40mph is not nearly as much fun as you might think.
All jesting aside, I was very lucky on Wednesday night. Despite the fact that I was going 40 miles per hour I only ended up with some road rash on my left arm and a (horribly) bruised hip with some torn thigh muscles when my bike laid down in the process of avoiding a car pulling out in front of me. My bike…maybe not so much (that’s roughly what she looked like in that picture above, although I had grey flames on a solid black gas tank). I haven’t seen the estimate from Freedom on what it would take, but I’m HOPING it’s no so bad they junk her.
The short of the accident: I was driving westbound on Blue Ridge heading to – where else – volleyball. A red minivan pulled out of the park near the train bridge in front of me (I was maybe 50-60 feet away). She said she didn’t see me when she pulled out, but she did after she pulled out and then she slammed on the brakes and went into reverse.
Unfortunately by the time she went into reverse I’d already slammed on the brakes and attempted to avoid (assuming she was going to continue) and my bike was on the ground (not a whole lot I could do at that point). As a motorcycle rider if someone pulls out in front of you you’ve got to consider the worst case, and that’s running head-first into the broadside of a vehicle.
The bike went down, I went down with it (ouch on the hip) and then I curled up and rode it out on my shoulder plate (the plate in the riding jacket). The plate protecting my forearm slipped a bit and I got road rash, but the one in my shoulder held tight and I was able to get up and walk away (after a few moments of mentally checking all my body parts). I curled up enough that – get this – my jeans didn’t even get messed up anywhere.
The young lady in the minivan did stay (apparently that’s not the norm, based on what the tow-truck driver was telling me) and we did the exchange information thing. I talked to my insurance company but nothing else yet so we’ll see what the next step is.
I really love my bike. When the tow truck driver (who was a rider himself) got there the first thing he said was “damn, that’s a good looking bike!” … while she’s all scraped and bent up (not the frame, thankfully, but the pedals and gas tank for sure).
My riding jacket – which I got from Freedom Cycle for $120, I believe – was the best investment I’ve made. My helmet didn’t hit the ground at all, but my jacket sure did – the shoulder that I slid on is shredded, but I can’t imagine what my arm would look like if I’d been wearing something less protective. For that, the fact I wear a full-face helmet and that I won’t ride without AT LEAST jeans on (although even that’s weak) I have a really good friend of mine to thank since she gave me that advice when I first bought my bike. Sure, it cost 3x more than something cheap, but I’ll take an extra $200 investment over a torn-up shoulder any day of the week.
Just to be clear, no – I’m not going to stop riding. I really enjoy riding and while I might invest in some riding pants (my hip really hurts) I will continue to hop on and ride. While I don’t think there was a whole lot I could have done differently in that case (short of driving down the street at 20 mph and outfitting my bike with flashing lights all over the place) sometimes that’s how it happens. I also know should it happen again I might not be as lucky, but I knew that going in, as well.
All I’d ask of everyone reading is this: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE look out for motorcycles when you’re driving. Even if they don’t hit the vehicle the simple act of pulling out into their lane and blocking their path (what happened to me) is enough to cause a bike to go from a vehicle to get around in to a surfboard on the road…and when that happens there’s not a lot of good that can come out of it.
I’ll leave you with that – I’m going to go hunt down some Advil.by