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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Crash

Well, I finally crashed. I've been riding motorcycles off and on since 1981. I've put 20,000 miles on my VN 750. And the worst I've ever done is tip over in the driveway or at the gas pump (more times that I would care to admit). But I finally crashed.

It's a long story and I don't feel like writing it down. (It happened on the interstate in stop-and-go traffic during rush hour, and it was entirely preventable.) I will say that I'm VERY lucky (which is what the ER doc said three times) to get off with 15 stitches in my right elbow (my Fox Creek leather jacket was only slightly scuffed, not torn at all!), a traffic ticket for "failure to control", no other vehicle involvement, not needing a tow (thanks to a little free roadside service), and relatively minimal damage to the bike ~ primarily to parts I was planning to replace anyway. (I could post pics later if anyone was really curious.)

My wife was very compassionate at first. Then she got angry and said all the things one might expect a wife to say. About 95% of it was beyond dispute, pointed comments about what would happen if I was killed or suffered a catastrophic injury while riding. (It didn't help that I had dropped the bike on my foot a month earlier, and that she is simultaneously dealing with aging parents who need 24/7 care in a nursing home. It also didn't help that, while being stitched up, I sadly noted that I was missing three days of great fall riding weather!) Fortunately, she is slowly calming down and starting to let it go...

I can't see not riding, I love it so much. But I am, I think, quite sobered and shaken by the experience. I'm also angry at myself ~ there is so much I cannot control; but paying closer attention and taking extra care in this case would have prevented the crash.

Meanwhile, my bike is being repaired (frankly, I'm grateful ~ I need a little time to settle down), and I expect to get back on it. I'll re-read my motorcycle safety books, perhaps sign up for a second advanced MSF course, and ~ above all ~ vow to ride with greater awareness and caution. ("living to ride, not riding to live")


Last edited by EasyRector; 10-22-2009 at 11:18 AM.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 10:27 AM
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Sorry it happened EasyRector. Glad to see your injury is limited to what it is and the bike is being repaired. Oh, and women don't let anything go, ever.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:27 AM
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I can relate (except to the wife not letting go, she went earlier this summer). I spilled when the throttle cable of my kz440 stuck open on the inline fuel filter I installed a few weeks earlier. Quick decision hit the car in front of me or drop the bike. I low sided it and no one else was involved. Looking back there are so many things I should have done but I didn't. Didn't get stitches but I did get a broken rib and some road rash on the backs of both hands and knees. Again the leather jacket and helmet saved some real injuries. Just wish I was wearing gloves, had them not 15 minutes earlier decided not to wear them (it was such a nice day). Not being able to grip the throttle or pull the clutch kinda took a lot of the good riding weather away from me.

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:51 AM
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Sorry to hear about the crash, but glad you are OK. Time will improve or remove most of the issues.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
"Black Beauty"
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 11:55 AM
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I'm glad to hear your OK. But I think I'm missing what actually happened?
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 12:06 PM
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Glad you're alright man, it sounds like it could have been alot worse. Maybe a quick description of the mishap if you're up to it? We might be able to use your experience to help us avoid something down the road.

Either way, heal up quick bro, both physically and mentally. Be careful out there ladies and gents - keep your mind where your wheels are...on the road!
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 12:28 PM
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Glad you're OK. At least your crash happened at stop-and-go speeds, and your sobering experience left you only with a few stitches. It could have been a lot worse.

How'd it happen that your elbow was ripped up but your jacket wasn't? Ouch! Did you get blood inside the jacket then? That's pretty hard to get rid of if you did.

Hmm. Your description is of a "preventable" crash at low speed that left you with stitches on your elbow. It happened in congested traffic, yet involved no other vehicle. A cop wrote you up for "failure to control" but not "improper passing", so you weren't splitting lanes (whitelining), the #1 reason for traffic related crashes I can think of offhand. My guess is that you daydreamed while tailgating, followed by a too-hard swerve to the side to avoid hitting the car in front, where you careened into the center guardrail or divider with your left elbow taking the brunt?

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kanuck69 View Post
what actually happened?
In stop-and-go rush hour traffic I was in the far left lane of the interstate. The brake lights suddenly flashed in front of me. I grabbed a handful of brake (didn't use the foot brake). The front began to wobble badly. Split second decision: veer left (between the barricade and car)? Straight ahead (and probably hit the car)? Put it down? I wish I had done #1 (there was sufficient room if I could only have gotten over there), but I instinctively chose #3.

I experience this commute daily, so I know how the flow goes. I honestly don't know if I was being careless/inattentive or the guy in front of me stopped unusually swiftly and unexpectedly. In any case, coming up from behind, I was clearly at fault for either "failure to control" (as the cop decided) or not keeping assured clear distance (which would have given me more time to stop or veer left if necessary). I also suspect that if I had used both brakes (as I had learned in the advanced MSF course) my stopping might have been quicker and more controlled.

As for the gash in my elbow (5 deep stitches, 10 surface stitches), I think it was an "impact injury" on the road surface. I was wearing a t-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt, a fleece (red!), and my Fox Creek (thick) leather jacket with quilt liner ( My chinos got torn up in several places (very light road rash), but there were no holes whatsoever in my jacket or the layers underneath. I think the black shirt and red fleece absorbed most of the blood. I washed them along with the liner and all seems OK. The jacket almost looks like new.


Last edited by EasyRector; 10-22-2009 at 01:53 PM.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 01:03 PM
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Sorry to hear ya went down. As it's been said, glad you're mostly OK and that the bike suffered little damage as well.
Heal quickly to ride again. And remind the wife, riding isn't just something you do, it's something you are!!

AKA: Tim & 'The Adventure Cycle' VROC #24567, NEVROC, SteelCity VROC

"When life throws you curves,
Aim for the apex."

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 01:25 PM
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I'm sorry to hear that you went down, EasyRector, but glad that you're here to tell us about it.

Time out is not a bad idea. You may want to consider taking a break from commuting for a while but still taking it out on weekends. City riding is easily the riskiest part of motorcycling (in my experience) and doing it in a car for now might help your wife relax, while still leaving room for riding the rest of the time as an outlet.

When I ride in traffic I try to look well beyond the car ahead. If there is an obstruction, I will see the brake lights come on up ahead and ripple back down the line. Usually I'm on my brakes before the car ahead of me is. This gives me a head start on his possible panic stop and also gives the car behind me an early heads up so I don't get sandwiched.

The only drawback is that I found the VN750 seating a little low to get me that field of vision. For that reason I favour a UJM bike for city riding.

I do have one question: if your fully applied front brakes were unable to stop you in time for the car ahead, how were you able to avoid it while sliding? Is it possible that the alarm state you were in distorted your perception?
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