Wear your protective gear

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rero360

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Back on the 22nd of last month, I had spent the morning at work (machine shop for the Carnegie Observatory) and the afternoon at my engineering design class (solidworks) Shortly after hoping on my Harley to make the 15 minute drive home, apparently I was hit by an oncoming car, the driver was a woman who had a few to drink celebrating her birthday and misjudged the distance in making the left hand turn.

I woke up in bed at home the next morning, totally losing the evening prior, getting hit, taken to the hospital, and the refusal to spend the night there, apparently I told them I would crawl home if need be. Well my girlfriend had come and took me home and then looked after me for the next few days, bless her.

I later learned that I wasn't wearing my gloves, cue the swollen right hand middle finger base knuckle, and a few scrapes on the back of the hand and wrist. My helmet saved my life, I hit my head so hard the helmet was cracked and I still received a small gash to the back of my head, two staples. My Oakley M Frames perished but saved my eyes and left me with nothing but a small scratch above my right eye. my leather coat and shirt were cut off of me, and the laces for my Oakley boots were cut to get the boots off, however the boots themselves survived. On the lower extremities I suffered a bruised middle toe on the left foot, and some bone in my right foot/ankle/leg is fractured with a small amount of swelling, bruising and pain. My left lung is also bruised.

I have a lawyer taking care of everything for me, and I'm slowly healing. I just wanted to relate my story as a lesson to always wear your protective gear as it can and will save your life, I'd be dead if I hadn't worn a helmet but my injuries could have been less.

Unfortunately the Harley is dead (last silver softtail standard to leave the factory in '07) the frame is bent, front end sheared off, rear wheel ripped out I'm told. Also my internship at the observatory ended last week, so I lost out on the last two weeks of it, but my boss said I could come in to keep working on the two projects I have going on off the clock, who knows, he might even work it to get me paid. But I received a recognition at my college for my work and received an SPI 6" digital caliper, a 0-1" micrometer, s pretty decent C clamp and ton of Thai or Vietnamese instant coffee.
 

dsquire

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rero360

I am glad to hear that you were wearing your safety gear and that it did it's job to help protect you. I'm also glad that you weren't injured worse than you were. Hopefully you will have a speedy recovery with no lasting effects.

Thanks for taking the time to tell about your experience. It may help the next person to wear their safety equipment and prevent or reduce their injuries if involved in an accident.

Cheers :)

Don

 

Ken I

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Glad you're recovering and the loss of a signature Harley must be painful.

Over the years I've been asked for advice on bike safety gear and my answer is always the same - "In this order - helmet, leather gloves, leather jacket, stout boots, leather pants - and preferably the entire kit because when you fall off you are going to need it !"

This normally gets the response "You mean if I fall off ?"

"No - when you fall off - its a certainty!"

I think the longest if took any novice to have his first tumble was about two years, the shortest was about 3 weeks - but I don't think I've been wrong yet.

As in your case, no matter how careful or competent a rider you are its alarming just how often the crash is caused by some idiot in a car.

Ken
 

picclock

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Had an accident on a Suzuki bike too many years ago. Driving below the speed limit - it was dark and wet - white van pulled out of a side road without looking and I was thrown over van into the path of an oncoming double decker bus. Impact paralysed me and I thought that was it. Bus skidded to a stop. Helmet saved my life - it was near enough cracked in two. Helmet buckle cut into my face and needed stitches. Thankfully paralysis went after a while and just had a leg fracture.

Never rode a bike since - seems it doesn't matter how careful you are, if you are in a fight with a 4 wheeled vehicle they will win. ;D

Glad you are mostly OK, with no long term issues.

Best Regards

picclock
 

pkastagehand

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A number of years ago my brother took a dive when a car pulled onto the road in front of him when he was passing another car on a two lane. Illinois has no helmet law be he had always worn one and was at the time. Doctors said he wouldn't have made if he didn't have it on.

Doctors and EMTs have a name for cyclists who don't wear helmets: Organ donors. Apparently deaths from head injuries leave the rest of the organs intact or at least enough of them to be useful.

Paul
 

rero360

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Thank you for the well wishes, other than my knuckle and ankle, I'm feeling pretty good considering, although I do feel like my mental clarity has been effected by the blow to the head, not much, and hopefully it goes away, but its there.

I have rode without a helmet before, once when a friend's car broke down and needed a quick ride back home, late at night, less than two miles (NY) and a few short rides in Maryland a number of years ago for the bike week in Ocean City, right after Indian Larry passed away. I'll never ride again without a helmet of some sort, not just the safety involved, but riding without one also made my scalp hurt lol.

So far this is by far the worse bike crash I've experienced, but I do intend on riding again in the future, I figure when I get a new bike I'll retake some riding training as the last time I took the MSF course was back in '04
 

Admiral_dk

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Glad to hear that you all are reasonably OK.

I've took the first dive in 1987 - the car I was overtaking suddenly turned left without any warning :eek: Nothing broken and only the right arm in a sling for seven weeks to cure the soft tissue.

The next where the big one : 1st of April 1994 - very bad April fool - The car in front of me took a u-turn across double lines and I partly got away with my trying to turn too, but smashed my very expensive helmet on the corner between the door and the roof of the car - that ruined my memory and a good part of my speech center in the brain, smashed tree of my right toes and left arm => a left arm with stainless steel for ulna and radii (the two bones in the under arm).

December 2006 - some idiot in a stolen car (no insurance to cover me) run the red light - that only cost me a few ribs and two months of pain + a smashed 20000-Kr. ~ $3200 front fork on the winter bike.

Like Ken said - I had some minor single accidents as a youngster too, but they only resulted in bruises and a badly bruised ego ::)

You can NEVER have too good protective gear !!!!

I always tell newbees that the gear they wear should be compared to the outside part of the car - it's protection against harm and weather - always use a good part of the money you plan to invest in the bike for the gear you wear.
 

tups

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Ken I said:
Over the years I've been asked for advice on bike safety gear and my answer is always the same - "In this order - helmet, leather gloves, leather jacket, stout boots, leather pants - and preferably the entire kit because when you fall off you are going to need it !"
Research into the consequences of bike accidents (the Hurt report) contradicts this. The most often occuring injuries after head injuries are to the lower extremities. The order should be "helmet, stout boots, leather pants, gloves, leather jacket - but preferably the entire kit".

Cris
 

Ken I

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Thanks for that - I wouldn't argue - after your head any other "sticking out bits" hands, knees, elbows, toes etc. etc. get abraded away and in the many years I was involved in motorcylce racing I saw some severe cases of "road rash".
The entire kit is the only sensible thing to do if you are going to drive a machine that has a 23 times (US stats.) fatality rate to cars per driver mile.

My own stats are 4 crashes - two my own fault - youthful stupidity, one by a car and one on the track - injuries minimal - quit while you're ahead.

I no longer own a bike but still get a kick out of riding one occasionally.

Ken
 

Xlmyford

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Hello.

Glad to hear you will get well again.
In nowadays I would never ride my bike without protective gear,the full set.
A back protector is a must too,IMHO.
When I was younger,I sometimes rode without wearing a leather jacket or
at the beginning of my motorcycle years,when there was no helmet law in Germany,I rode without a helmet.
Thank God,I survived.Helmet law came in 1978,IFIRC.
You know,heroes are very young or very stupid.More often than not,they are both.

In 36 years of riding, I only had a leg fracture,back in 1981.
Knock on wood!
In this spirit,rubber side down.
Ralph

 

Groomengineering

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The other day I had to laugh and cringe, a kid blasted past me in a large displacement crotch rocket wearing only tennis shoes and a pair of shorts. :eek: The first thought I had was "Man, that's going to be a real mess to clean up...."

I gave up riding several years ago after one too many SUV's tried to kill me. Traded my bike for a Mazda Miata, the SUV's still try to kill me but it's a little easier to dodge on four wheels. ;D

IMHO riding without at least the bare minimum (boots, jeans, jacket, gloves, helmet) is just asking for it.

Ride safe.

Jeff
 

Mosey

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In 30 years of riding on the street all over the US, Canadian Northwest, and the entire Alps, I never laid my bike down, nor was the victim of contact with 4 wheel aggressors. Lot's of luck, full armor, back protector, and helmet at all times, and paranoid attention to the enemy. Of course, on the track and in the woods it was a different story. Twice in 10 years of competition did I contact the pavement on the track, both due to stupid operator error, each resulting in a trip to the orthopedist with plaster. In the dirt there were many broken ribs, a smashed ankle, 8) 8) and untold fun.
I can't imagine having missed the excitement and fun of biking.
 

rero360

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Thank you for the kind words gents, I'm doing better, the road rash is all healed up, the lung only hurts occasionally and briefly, the middle finger is doing a bit worse but I blame that on me being on the computer more than I should. Finally, the right ankle is indeed fractured, medial meniscus or something like that, but I'm told its clean with no displacement, so I go in bright and early monday to have it taken care of. Go figure, get treated by a private (expensive) hospital and they miss it, still bothers me two weeks later so I have the landlord take a look (chiropractor) and he finds it, then I went to the VA to get it taken care of yesterday, no orthos on duty so monday it is.

I have to say, over the last 12 years I've gone to the VA for 3 surgeries (two abscess and one for my heart) with a fair number of normal visits for checkups and all that, all fantastic care. The bureaucratic side, all the paperwork and all that, sucks, but the actual care is exceptional. And thats visiting four VAs in two different states.

I'm hoping to be back making chips and working machines in a week or so. Got that 4 in 1 vacuum engine and Jerry's beam engine projects to finish, or at least get more done on.
 

Tin Falcon

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Good to here you are on the mend. I have dear friends that lost a son to a MC accident. I never did MC but have take a few spills on bicycle mostly cars not paying attention. I always wear a bell helmet when riding. and I wear safety glasses virtual all the time. And steel toe boots most of the time. good to hear the VA is taking care of you.
Tin
 

dgjessing

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My last MC accident was about 26 years ago - ran into the side of a car making a right turn (from WAY over on the left, no turn signal) at about 30 mph (my fault, really stupid...). I flew like a human cannon ball about 25 feet or so and landed on my forehead on the asphalt. Definitely would have died if not for my helmet; it slid on the road, my head would have dug in and I'd have broken my neck for sure without it. My brother was riding behind me and thought for sure I was dead... There is a picture of me a few days later holding my newborn daughter in the delivery room - I've got a splint on my left arm and my face is a big raspberry. I wonder if she remembers that first view of Dad somewhere back in the deep recesses of her brain?

That was on a 1957 Triumph Trophy 650 that I'd built/restored from parts - great bike! I sold it shortly there after. It faired much better than I did in the accident - bent fork tubes that I fixed. Sold it to a guy that had an almost identical one way back when :).

If I lived out in the country I'd get back into it (riding) - lots of fun! But it's just too darn dangerous in the city.
 

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