View Full Version : A get-off story...

Valentine One Radar Detector

05-08-2007, 10:17 AM
Here's a pretty good story of a get-off on a Suzuki motorcycle.

This story was posted to the Triumph Hinckley "list" (Hinckley's being the new Triumphs). The bike I crashed was my *mint* 1993 Suzuki GSX-1100G (shaftie).


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Hello Listers...

How was your Friday the 13th? Here's my (abridged) story...

Scenario: Wilderness-area road, smoking-hulk bike stuffed into the shoulder. Multi-colored blob located somewhat farther down the road.

The multi-colored blob would be me.

Rounding a bend, easy sweeper, not "gassing it" but needing to slow down a bit, I touched the front brake and in an instant I went splat. The road, I discovered, was covered in a pebbly gravel (like "miniature ball bearings"). Lying there thinking "I'm screwed" along comes two *bear hunters* (bear-hunting evidently being an industry in the Sequoia/Yosemite area). At my insistence, they rendered first-aid (pouring iodine-like stuff into my open-wound elbow), ripped off the smashed plastic on my bike (which was jammed in top-gear), gave me directions to the nearest town, and pushed me down the hill (bump-starting the bike because the start-switch was inoperative). Note I declined their offer of a lift to their camp and a radio-call for an ambulance in spite of their observation that "elbow-bone was sticking out of the wound". In retrospect: Stupid me. Welcome to the world of "shock".

Ten miles later I rolled into the village of Springville where the bear-hunters had told me there would be a fire station and a paramedic (true enough, I would soon discover). Rolling into town (and yes, slipping the clutch like crazy as I only had 5th gear) I flagged down a motorcyclist on a dirt bike (thinking he would give me some much-needed help that I now realized I needed). With no prompting whatsoever, he took the bike to a local shop (about 50 yards) and me to the fire station (another 50 yards). But the paramedic there told me to "get down to Porterville and the emergency room, pronto". The dirt-biker offered to "do the best he could" with the bike. I said OK, gave him a $40 down-payment on his expenses (money which he seriously tried to *not* accept), and the key to my bike. A fireman called a cab, which came up from Porterville (20 miles) to get me, and dutifully delivered me to the
local hospital emergency room ($30 including tip; don't try this in L.A.).

God, what a mess I was! The left knee of my Broshtex "kevlar" pants was completely blown-out, like an explosive charge had gone off inside my knee. What was showing through was my hard-armor _which_I_had_attached_via_strap_to_my_longjohns_ (hey, I was riding above 7,000 feet and it had been snowing up there the previous day). Blood was everywhere; all over me. And bandages-or-not I was still dripping the stuff all over everything.

Lesson 1: What Aerostich says is true. "Kevlar clothes" aren't worth a damn in a crash situation .[Paul is speaking of the Broshtex "kevlar" jeans here, not a product like Motoport Ultra II kevlar suit] Kevlar would work OK in a high-speed *gentle* lay-down but bike-crashes are more like "explosive events". The HARD ARMOR SAVED MY KNEE. There were deep gashes in the hard armor, not a scratch on my knee or even a bruise. Had I had the armor velcroed into the pants (the normal installation-mode), or had no armor, I'd have likely lost my kneecap.

My elbow/forearm took the rest of the hit (and was pumping blood all over me afterwards). I had on a *very heavy* leather coat which was NOT "m/c-specific clothing".

Somebody recently wrote: "<< - does the stiffness of the vansons provide anything or would a thick custom jacket provide the same protection? >>

Here's your answer...

In my case the shock of hitting the ground with my arm pointing in the exact same direction as the velocity-vector "peeled back" my coat and ground off a chunk of my arm. This would almost certainly *not* have happened with a Vansons or Aerostich (or similar) "real m/c"

Lesson 2: If 100% m/c clothes + armor were in the equation, I WOULD HAVE WALKED AWAY INJURY-FREE. "Real" m/c clothing + armor is the best investment you'll ever make. Screw the Fashion Police; "just wear it".

Lesson 3: There is a strong likelihood that ABS would have prevented all of this. I distinctly recall no-problemo until I applied the front brake.

Emergency room doctors/nurses worked on me for 4 hours. What a splendid job of putting me back together! This involved some sort of "flap operation" to cover the hole in my elbow/forearm (big chunk of missing skin/meat). And they did the whole job with my elbow "maximum-bent" so I could straighten it out while healing. Then the ER gave me a phone,
dialed the Hotel, which sent a *limousine* out to pick me up (now 10pm). This for a $55/night rate! Good drugs made for excellent la-la land.

The next day (Saturday) I called the home of the fellow with the dirt bike. He told me he had relocated the bike to his barn (I recall telling him to "do the best he could"). He had made the bike 100% rideable! A bent foot peg and missing mirror the only deviation from stock-functioning (cosmetically, of course, the bike is a total loss). This from a guy who
was a subsistance-level cattle farmer, not a well-to-do mechanic with some free-time. (Almost forgot to mention that the same cabbie who took me to the hospital brought me back out to the fix-it fellows' farm; this same cabbie also waited 20 minutes on the way back while I went into the pharmacy to get my injury-related prescriptions filled. No extra charge).

God Bless small-town America!

Mandatory Triumph Content: Consider ABS as an option on high-end bikes (yes, I know: "ABS doesn't sell"; later model FJ-1200/Bandit etc).

ABS is not needed 99.9999 percent of the time. But unfortunately it's the other .0001% that gets your attention. Opinion: Anybody who says "I don't need ABS" is a Fool. Maybe you don't *want* it (OK, and I accept that) or maybe you can't *afford* it (OK, and I accept that). But we *all* need it, or have needed it in the past, or will need it someday.

Conclusion: I drove home non-stop 4 hours from Springville to Palmdale (taking the highways). Recalling this: In the initial stages of the accident, while in-shock, I said "Dear,God, just make me well and I'll never get on a bike again. Never!". Really, I said this. I said it, I meant it, and I was so mad at myself I was crying inside my helmet at the stupidity of crashing on a gravelly country road.

Enter: Inspiration. Via the recollection of list-contributor Nina (who, in the face of horrid misfortune stayed w/Triumph when lesser beings would have surely abandoned the sport altogether). And the inspiration of other injured riders who came back--wiser--to participate again in what must surely be Gods Own Freedom.

More inspiration: This time from the closing song in the movie "Duets" (now playing) which I kept singing inside my helmet all the way home today...

"...I'm as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.

Lord knows, I can't change...

Lord knows... I can't... change..."

And so I won't. I remain in the sport. Committed to living a life which contains the stimulus of a two-wheeled machine that keeps me--mentally, at least--as young as I want to be. (To the charge of "corny-in-the-first-degree" I plead... Guilty!).

So that's the end of my story, Listers. It'll be three months until I'm well enough to ride again (because if I fell on the same elbow prior to full healing--armor or no armor--the damage would likely be permanent. Something to do with the nerves in what is sometimes called your "funnybone").

05-08-2007, 11:37 AM
Good story... and, having heard others just like it (and had a few close calls myself) I never ride a sport bike without my full track gear (armored)... might be hot; maybe I look a little funny on the street in a full suit with race boots, etc. - but what the hell? If I do have to get off, I'll be much less worried about form than function!