Yep, I wrecked. Quite spectacularly, if I might add. [B)] Damn near killed myself in the process. I had to be airlifted to the trauma center, and spent 3 days in the hospital. Fortunately, I'm OK.
While the rest of the bike is crumpled (looks like it went through those junkyard compactors), the engine still works - a testament to Kawasaki, I suppose [8D] . It seems that the frame did an amazing job at protecting the internals. And in case anyone is worried, NO, I won't be telling people that it's "mint condition" or "just like new"! [8)]
Hopefully, I'll have pictures to post as soon as my friend burns them onto CD for me.
Glad to hear you are O.K. Why dont you keep it and try to rebuild it for a track bike? The problem with selling a motor is that it will be just about impossible to title a bike that does not have matching frame and motor numbers (they will think its hot) so the best bet is just put it in the garage and shop Ebay for race fairings and a frame and whatever else it needs to be track legal. If you do end up looking to sell the motor let me know (sorry but I wont be able to give you anything close to $3000) I may want to build myself a race bike!
1. Because I lost consciousness during my wreck, much of the following is from what my friends told me afterwards.
2. I take full responsibility for what happened. I do not blame anyone else. There was no stray dog in my path. There was no errant car driver. I make no excuses. I wrecked because I was riding beyond the limits of the road. If anyone has read Keith Code's books, I "overspent my 10 dollars." I was going waaaay too fast - plain and simple. So, having said that, no need for the "obey the speed limit" speeches. I screwed up.
On September 21, my friends and I were riding the twisties in Maryland. We were on a road (West Willard Road for folks familiar with the Poolesville/Damascus area of MD) which is rather infamous for having tight turns (which I enjoy) and bumps (which I do NOT enjoy). I'd been down this road before, so I had a good idea of what it's like. However, I did not know it enough (as I was to soon find out).
The speed limit is 35-40mph. We were all doing somewhere between 60-100mph at different times. There is one section in which it is easy to catch air. You basically look like someone running the Isle of Man TT. You go over the crest of the hill, lose contact with the ground, come down with a small puff of smoke from the tires, and your bike shakes around a bit. Trust me, it may look really cool, but you crap your pants each time you do it.
That was my last *full* memory - catching air and coming down safely. A short distance later is where I wrecked. (And since here is where I blacked out, much of the following is gleaned from what my fellow riders who were right behind me saw...)
There was another bump/hill. This time, however, as soon as you go over the crest of the hill, the road goes sharp right - NOT straight like the previous hill. The guys behind me say that while everyone else had known to brake hard before reaching this turn, I maintained much of my velocity (presumably somewhere between 60-80mph) and went airborne. They tell me that I was leaning in mid-air (perhaps because I realized the turn was there...too late obviously). Since the road turns sharp right, I made contact with the ground in the *oncoming lane*, at which point I quickly lowsided. Although a lowside usually sounds harmless, it's what happened next that made it a very bad crash.
Judging from how I immediately blacked out, and how my helmet cracked all the way through (yes, cracked all the way through!), I presume that may have fallen directly on my head. I weigh ~165 lbs. Assuming I was a maybe 5 (?) feet off the ground (given the height of the bike + a couple of feet off the ground after having gone airborne) it's a tremendous amount of impact which my head suffered. What is it in physics, m=g*h, right?
I went sliding/tumbling off the asphalt and into a grassy ditch. My bike initially slid on the asphalt, until it went off the road. At this point, according to the rider directly behind me (one of my best friends), once the bike "dug in" to the grass and dirt, it started flipping end-over-end, just like we've all seen in those crash videos. Parts were flying all over the place. The bike eventually tumbled back onto the roadway, causing two riders behind me to scramble to avoid hitting it. My best friend behind me tried in vain - he collided with my bike, was thrown headfirst through his windscreen & fairing stay, and somersaulted to the ground. He had an RC51. The second guy was a bit luckier - he managed to avoid hitting my bike and my friend, but only because he swerved off the road and into the shoulder. He had a beautiful red Ducati 996.
I had no idea any of that had happened. The next thing I actually remember is waking up in the grassy ditch, seeing someone standing over me telling me "don't move, we've called 911 for you." When you hear those words, you go into panic mode. In my 7 years of riding, I remember numerous times telling that to other riders. I'd never heard someone say it to me.
I have no sense of time. I have memory fragments of EMTs/paramedics working to stabilize my neck, loading me on a gurney, lifting me into an ambulance, talking about "whoa...this guy is really lucky" as they passed my helmet around inside the ambulance (I now know they were referring to the crack in the helmet), removing me from the ambulance and loading me onto a medevac helicopter, and arriving at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD. I think all my memories are fragmented because 1) I suffered a serious concussion and 2) that "panic mode" I mentioned. All I kept doing when I was in the stretcher was looking down at my toes - to make sure I could still wiggle them. I was praying to God that I don't end up paralyzed.
I spent 3 days in the hospital. Although I suffered no immediate injuries (not even a broken pinky finger), the ER doctors and neurologist wanted to monitor me. It makes no sense to me that I didn't break anything. No sense at all. However, the doctors' main concern was that in the days after the crash there still remained a possibility of paralysis. Evidentally, even though I didn't break my neck (very lucky!!), the neurologist stated that my spine could "slip out of alignment" during those first few days and thus sever some nerves. I was released from the hospital after 3 days, and 3 sets of X-rays cleared me. The neurologist had me go in for another set of X-rays a week later just to be sure. My abrasions were healed after 2 weeks.
I'd say I'm 95% recovered. 5% is for the random aches and stiffness I still feel, and will probably feel for a long time.
FYI, I was wearing a Snell/DOT-certified helmet, Firstgear S-Pilot jacket with full armor, Knox back protector, leather gloves, steel-toe construction boots, jeans (the only real weak point - all my abrasions were on my legs).
I should be dead. The fact that I landed in the oncoming lane, the fact that my helmet cracked from the severe impact, the fact that I lost consciousness for over half an hour...it's all very scary. Although I realize it's not healthy, I can't help but ask "What if there was a car in the oncoming lane?", "What if my helmet cracked even more and exposed my head?", "What if...what if..."
It was soon afterwards that I saw that thread with the gruesome pics of those two bikers who collided with the truck head-on. Although I'm lucky in that I sustained no long-term injuries, it's still sometimes hard thinking about how it could have all gone the other way.
It's for this reason that I don't think I'll be riding the streets ever again. I never thought I'd come to this conclusion. For years, motorcycles were my biggest love. Hell, they even contributed to my divorce (LOL - no joke!). But the fact that I could have easily lost so much in so little time scares me. Perhaps one day, I'll look at it differently. Perhaps one day, that "itch" to ride again will return. But for now, the only thing I can compare it to is if you've ever looked at a girl you once loved, and she no longer does anything to you. She doesn't make you long for her. She doesn't make you crave her. She doesn't stir up that passion inside you. That's what it's like when I see a biker going down the road. It's all very passive. I feel no passion like I once did. It's sad - it feels like I've lost a love of mine.
Ok, enough tear-jerking. I'm just happy to be alive and well, and not those two guys in the other pics. Like I mentioned before, I'll post pics of my bike (what's left of it) as soon as my friend sends me copies. Although I don't really know of you all personally, please, PLEASE be careful. I'm not saying "slow down" and "never go fast"...we all know that never works. Just be careful.
btw...sorry this was so long. And thanks for reading. I'll discuss what's left from the bike worth buying once I go see it in person at my friend's house. Yes, it has been a month and a half since my wreck and I still haven't gone to see it. That says it all.
Damn inca, I wondered where you have been. That is some pretty scary shit. Glad to see that you have a second chance at life, many others don't. I wish the best for you in whatever makes you happy. Hopefully, your story will be a reality check for many that think their invincable...
inca jones, thanks for the post. Sorry it happened, but glad you came through relatively unscathed. In time you may decide that riding is a risk you're willing to take.
I had a nasty accident 14 years ago. The bike hit a rock and concrete wall and was destroyed on impact, I slid a couple of feet to the left and had plenty of room to come to a stop. I walked away with minor road rash. If I had hit the wall, it would have possibly killed me. At a minimum, it would have been some serious injuries. I took 8 years off from motorcycling after that accident, it took some time to learn from the experience.
Now I take it easy on the street and go to the track for speed fixes. Crashing on the track still sucks, but its a much safer place to crash than the street.
I had been pondering for a while now, what I should get next for my bike. Gear or performance parts.
After reading this thread I think all of you know what my decision is. I don't think you have any doubt that the gear you were wearing that day is a big reason why you are here today.
We are all glad that you made it through, Inca. This has definitely impacted me more than any other advise I have yet to see on this board simply because of the fact that you actually lived through it and when it's one of ours (ZX6R Member) it's like saying it's family. At least this is how I feel.
I thank you so much for writing that in such detail and expressing your feelings. I know it had to be painful for you to write since riding has been such a huge part of your life.
I’m not religious but that’s about as close a religious experience can get.
It sounds like you could become a writer instead of a rider! Sorry to hear about your accident and the loss of a love so great! I know that love all to well and I hope that I never experience anything like you did. I don't think I've ever read a story about a motorcycle accident that caught my attention like yours did.
At least your still here to scratch that itch if it ever comes back!
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