Head on collision, lost my nerve

zirconx

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A few weeks ago I was riding around in Arkansas. Beautiful back country roads. I was riding around a curve, blinked, and then there was an SUV right in front of me, in my lane. Coming at me from the opposite direction.

I was helicoptered to a hospital about an hour away (drive time. About a 10 minute flight). After 4 nights in the hospital I was released. I am very lucky, I will probably be able to start trying to walk again 10 weeks after the accident. I might have some minor life long effects, not sure yet. I am still unable to use crutches, but I get around a little with a special walker.

My NC700x was totaled. At first I was immediately ready to get back on the bike, I couldn't wait, I was shopping for a replacement. But the more I think about how close to death I was, the more I consider giving it up. But it's been my favorite pastime for my entire adult life. I have so many great memories from many motorcycle trips. So I am unsure what I will do. With my careful riding style, my training, my full gear all the time (ok I used to sometimes wear jeans but not anymore), I know that I am in the safer demographic among motorcycle riders. But if I can't count on other drivers to respect the sanctity of the center line, then none of that matters.

To top it off, the other driver shirked responsibility and left the scene. Thankfully we were able to get the vehicle and insurance information. It's complicated.
 
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dduelin

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I was in a plane crash during my 4th lesson some 40 years ago. The engine failed and my instructor and I landed in a forest in the tree tops. My instructor and I walked away from a bent-up Cessna 150.

I was flying again as soon as I could. My family and friends thought I was crazy. My thought was the odds are long it will ever be my time again particularly if I am meticulous about reducing the odds against me. And if it does............I'm living my life and doing what makes me happy.

Most motorcycle riders never have a life-threatening crash in their entire riding career......so what are the odds it will happen to you again?

Oh...glad you are here talking about it. You go on living!
 

ld_rider

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Nothing has to be decided today. Wait until you are healed and then make a decision. Nothing wrong with walking away for awhile (or longer). Motorcycling is fun, but there are many other pastimes that are probably just as fun and a lot less dangerous.

Heal well...
 

Agent

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Glad you're on the mend. I hope your recovery goes better than expected. Maybe try the old saying, "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn't, it never was yours to begin with." You can hang up motorcycling for a little while. If the bug bites you, hop back on. If not, then you will have moved on. No shame in that.
 

GunNut37086

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Glad you're alive to tell the story. I hope it was the gear that made that possible, because I'm also an ATGATT guy and that confirmation would be welcome.
 

zirconx

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Glad you're alive to tell the story. I hope it was the gear that made that possible, because I'm also an ATGATT guy and that confirmation would be welcome.

My gear saved me from a lot of road rash. I had very little rash, and it wasn't from asphalt it was from something sharper (rocks? shift lever? The SUV's fender? Not sure). My foot damage would have been much worse if I had not been wearing boots. My hand damage would have been much worse if I hadn't been wearing gloves. My jacket & pants had abrasion marks. I had pains that would have likely been more broken bones had it not been for my armor.

My next pair of gloves & boots will be "better" - more expensive, with more armor. I was wearing basic motorcycle boots (Alpinestars Ridge boots), and the one that took a hit was pretty destroyed. The collision ripped the sole right off. If I had hard knuckle armor on my gloves I might not have broken my hand.
 

supertux1

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That sucks. I hope you're getting better and that you recover all that is owed to you.

This is why I always ride with video cameras and ATGATT.

I have already documented three or four occurrences of drivers (and pedestrians!) doing the wrong thing where I had to react to avoid an accident.

Driver flinging his door open all the way and stepping out into the right side of my lane. Swerve left.
A pack of college kids following herd mentality running across the street in my path. Emergency brake.
A woman crossing the road, half way across she decides to look then saw me coming for the first time, she kept walking anyway. Swerve right.
Truck nosing into my lane to look over parked cars. Swerve left.

I'm also re-reading Proficient Motorcycling and taking the advanced rider-course this weekend.
 

Beemerphile

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I have had two motorcycle incidents where if I was in a car I would have been dead because a car would not have fit where I had to put the motorcycle to avoid an impact. My son died in an accident in a car that is considered "very safe". A man in a nearby town died sitting on his front porch when the roof collapsed onto him.

You just never know. You can exercise daily and watch your diet and then someone could pop a cap in you while you are pumping gas into your Toyota Prius. My personal takeaway is to do what adds value to my life. Each person must decide for themselves. If I die on a motorcycle, many people will say that they figured that was how I would go. Seems like a reasonable guess to me as well.

Very glad that you are in a position to make a decision and wish you the best with whatever you choose.
 

Naked_Duc

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zironx,
I am so very sorry to hear about your collision. I cringed just reading the title of the thread. Let your body and mind heal first and don't think about motorcycling right now. By the time you are well enough, your head will tell you whether you want to ride again. Regardless of what decision you make then, it will be the right decision.

I, too, was involved in a head on collision last December, although at a much slow speed. I was entering a left-turn only turn lane (with green arrow) when an older Civic coming from the opposite direction ran a red light. He ran thru the intersection and straight into my turn lane, struck me head on, flipping me over the handlebar. Luckily, I landed on my back on pavement, instead of landing on the hood or the windshield of the car. I got an ambulance ride to the hospital and was released later that night with bruised balls and legs (geared up head to toe). I literally walked away from this incident. As for the driver, he, too, drove away and was never caught.

I took a short break from riding after the accident. I guess it was the holidays, vacation, plus really bad weather up there in Pacific NW. When the weather is finally good enough for me to think about riding, it was March already. I took a test ride around the neighborhood one evening and I was honestly scared. Everything felt weird. I was stiff as a board and couldn't even get the bike to turn around at a cul-de-sac. Every car that drove by caused me to panic a bit. I remember thinking to myself that maybe I don't miss riding as much as I thought I would.

It got really warm a couple of weekends later. I took the bike out while the family was out of town. I rode it out to the street and got up to speed a bit. It felt great. I was happy and was literally smiling the whole ride. I knew then I am ok again.

It will take time. Maybe for you, it will take a long time. But that's ok. Take as much time as you need to get better. Just like me, you will know when it's time and you will know the right decision then.

Get well soon!
 
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208rider

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I'm sorry to hear about your accident. Take the time you need to recover, of course, but don't give up doing something you enjoy. The greatest irony of life is the unparalleled amount of effort expended to avoid death—the only goal that is truly impossible.
 

TN Thunder

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Sorry to hear about the wreck. May 19th I wrecked my NC and found out yesterday from the insurance that it is going to be considered totalled. If salvage cost is right I'm buying it back and putting it back on the road again. If that doesn't work, I'll buy another one and start over. I still ride my cruiser. Today I went and purchased a pair of overpants with removable rain liner and it has body armour on knees and hips. If I had been wearing those when I wrecked I probably would not have sustained the badly bruised knee and foot. Well, the foot I would have gotten hurt but the knees would have been protected.

You'll know when you can get around whether you want to get back in the saddle. I've been in 4 wrecks and didn't like any of them. But still riding. And I'm an old geezer.
 

itlives

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I can understand how you're thinking and the emotions. I totaled my NC (my fault) from a lapse in concentration. I bought it back from the ins. co. and had it rebuilt and rode it the 700 miles home a week later. I knew if I didn't, I may not get back on for a long while.

Here it is two years later and I'm just now getting comfortable leaning into left hand curves.

Take your time, there's more to life than motorcycles- you got a lot more hurt than I did!
 

stormrunner001

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Physical recovery will be much faster than the mental aspect. Sometimes, the best way to start trusting other motorists again is to get back to riding. I've been hit by cars twice on my bicycle. It took about six months after the last hit before I was calm with traffic behind me.
 

Ruggybuggy

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The one thing every motorcycle should have is a dash cam or helmet cam. That video can speak for you when you might not be around and can also catch the driver's that flee and provide evidence to the police.

I wish you a speedy recovery both mentally and physically. Only you can decide if you want to ride again.
 
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mburgess

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Nothing has to be decided today. Wait until you are healed and then make a decision. Nothing wrong with walking away for awhile (or longer). Motorcycling is fun, but there are many other pastimes that are probably just as fun and a lot less dangerous.

Heal well...

My brother was right next to me when he got hit by an SUV from behind. Thankfully he didn't sustain any severe injuries. He was questioning ever riding again. Two years later he bought his next bike.
 

MichaelJohn

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It is unbelievable to me that drivers will crush a motorcycle and simply drive away. I'm usually a pretty easy-going and peace loving man but when I hear stories like this I want to go out and do physical harm to those idiots. It is so effing wrong to run over someone and then run away. I truly hope that Karma gets them.
 

HarveyM

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I feel your pain (I spent nine months in the hospital after being hit by a car crossing the street). My opinion, if it doesn't feel right don't push it. Some where down the line it might, if not there's a lot else in the world to enjoy!
 

jelo

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Sorry to hear of your experience and hopes for as speedy a recovery as possible. I haven't been involved in anything that significant but have had my share of close calls - Even when you're in the right on a motorcycle, you can still lose - ATGATT. Beyond that, that someone else through carelessness, inattention, or whatever . . . could take something that someone else truly enjoys from them, is a real loss. Take your time - like somebody else said - you'll know when, or whether to come back - and that will be the right decision.
 
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