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Author Topic: Have you avoided a crash?  (Read 857 times)
Doctor of Scooterology

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Location: Louisville, Ky (Lou-a-vul to the locals)
Bikes Owned: '16 Can-am Spyder RT Limited SE-6, '08 Suzuki Burgman 400 w/Tow-Pac (better half's), '07 Honda Reflex Sport (also better half's)
Posts: 636

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« on: June 24, 2019, 07:14:58 PM »

Started riding "late" at 59.  My "go down" was 7 years later after thousands of miles on my Yamaha Classic 650 cruiser and my Burgman 400 (this incident).  Doing 35 (the limit) on a neighborhood road following ~20 yards behind another car.  Spotted a car coming down a church driveway on my left and noted that she was slowing as she approached the end of the drive, so my primary focus shifted back to the car ahead.  But instead of stopping, when I was around 100' from the driveway (note, 35 MPH is about 50 ft/sec), she took off, turning left out of the driveway and into my lane.  I clearly remember thinking, "she IS NOT doing that" (though, obviously, she was).  Despite having practiced emergency stops many times (the result of an MSF course), before I'd made any conscious reaction, I'd instinctively grabbed two hands full of brakes - locked a wheel and the back end came around to the right (low sided).  I managed not to hit her but I apparently jammed my left leg while being dumped and crushed the top of my tibia.  I wound up laying in the street with the bike 50' further down the road on the shoulder.  I didn't really know what was behind me so I immediately rolled off the pavement onto the shoulder, intinctively cradling my left leg with my right.  I didn't know what I'd done but I knew my leg just didn't work.  Fortunately (I guess) the lady stopped ... she "didn't see me" despite two headlights (brights on), two strut lights, and hi-vis helmet & jacket.  Maybe if she'd actually stopped and looked ...

Three days later 3 3/4 hours of surgery deposited an 8" plate, a dozen screws, and some bone "putty" in my leg.  The hardware came out a year later, at which time the surgeon commented, "when I went in to repair your knee I could identify 5 to 7 pieces of bone, but the rest was just dust".  The knee couldn't simply be replaced because a replacement attaches to the top of the tibia, and the top of mine was half missing - but's it's good to go for that now should it get too troublesome.  Four years later it doesn't give me a lot of trouble but I can't fully straighten it, so my gait is a bit off.

As for the bike, it was mechanically OK but sliding on it's left side tore up all the plastic, and replacement thereof would have cost about 3/4ths of what it was worth ... so it was totaled.

Bottom line - maybe a professional rider could have avoided going down and maybe ABS would have saved my bacon ... but maybe if I'd done something else, I'd have hit her and broken my neck.  Playing the "what if" game is pointless.  Riding is inherently more risky than driving so do everything you can to mitigate the risk - make yourself and your ride visible, get good gear and wear it*, take a riding course, and ride in adverse conditions only if you absolutely have to and, if you do, take extra precautions.  With regard to the latter, I've heard riders all the time talk about how bad conditions are not an issue for them.  While that may be true (doubtful), bad conditions are an issue for most everyone else on the road, and you've absolutely no control over them.

* I was on an errand of no more than 6 miles, a mile from home when I went down.  I was fully geared - boots, kevlar reinforced jeans, mesh jacket with pads, gloves, and full face (modular) helmet.  All were torn up and replaced by insurance.  I was bruised in many places, but NO road rash.

The whole story is on the forum at  If you've the time to peruse the comments there you'll find some of the types of responses that you asked for, made to me in the aftermath of my incident.

Spyderist, formerly known as ZURG

If You Don't Ride, You Don't Know
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