Please be careful my friends... - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Please be careful my friends...

Hello all...

I just wanted to say to say hi to everyone and give them my story...

On April 18th, my Dad and I headed out for a ride on my birthday, me on my Versys, and him on his 98 Honda Shadow. He is just getting back into riding after retiring a few years back (he is 66...) and is pretty green as it has been over 40 years since he had a bike.

We had only been riding for a short while when we started to head for home as the weather was taking a turn for the worse. We were heading along a quiet country road when he went into a slow left hand corner in front of me. It was one of the more bizarre and spooky scenes I have ever witnessed as he just seemed to not turn...drifting over to the shoulder, hitting the gravel, and then fishtailing on the apex and flying into the ditch. Speed was not a factor at all as he was maybe going 40 km/h which as you know on a bike isn't much at all. The road was also dry..but with a massive rain/hailstorm imminent.

He went into the ditch facefirst, going over and through his windscreen, coming to a stop on the upside of a 4' bank. I have personally seen and been in much more violent/ crazy crashes due to my history of motocross and downhill mountain biking, and honestly thought he was going to be sore as hell, but didn't expect much more than that.

I immediately pulled over ( I was about 50' behind him) and yelled at him to stay still while calling 911. He was moaning pretty badly and after getting the paramedics en route,worked on stabilizing his spine and back as he was in a massive amount of pain, mainly from his back.

To make a really long story shorter, he wound up breaking his back, requiring specialized surgery to fuse and pin his vertebrae, which resulted in no paralysis thank god, a broken wrist, and a scraped chest and legs from the windshield.

He wound up developing pneumonia and an irregular heartrate from the trauma/surgery, resulting in 2 weeks in the hospital in stepdown (close monitoring) which he battled through and beat, and now faces about 3-6 months in a bed with physio and a long slow recovery...

I am only posting this hoping that it may help or prevent anyone else from having to go through or have to see someone go through this kind of ordeal. I used to be a t-shirt/jeans and beanie guy in my cruiser days and loved the freedom it gave me, but after seeing what can happen to someone you love when they are not wearing full gear, those days are done. He was wearing my old leather jacket thankfully...if he had been wearing a hoodie or jean jacket, the windshield would have carved him up from neck to balls... He also had on
an open face helmet, and if it wasn't a grassy ditch...I can't imagine what his face would look like.

So in closing...please look after yourself, your family and your fellow riders, offer them advice if you think they need it, and spend the money on good gear, it can and will save you...
cheers,
MATT

Last edited by SUREFIRE; 05-12-2012 at 09:48 PM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 10:32 PM
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Sorry about your misfortune. I hope he heals quickly.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 10:42 PM
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Sorry about your misfortune. I hope he heals quickly.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 10:55 PM
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Glad he survived and should pull through, hope your dad heals quickly. Glad you were there with him


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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 11:21 PM
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Surefire, hoping for the best for your Dad, *sounds* like he should pull through all this, in time.

Agree 100% about the gear... we just never know when something might go wrong. It sounds like what went wrong in his case though, was the road turned and he didn't?

Hate to think of having a crash like that here in the States... I'd go bankrupt from the medical bills.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 11:38 PM
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This is rough news, indeed. So glad you were there to help him immediatly. Please let us know how he is doing now.

Back in the 70's my brother wanted to teach mom how to ride. He was behind her on a Suzuki GT370. He had planned to just ride around in the flat one acre yard. Even thogh he was helping her with the throttle and clutch, something went wrong. They shot across the yard, down the gravel driveway, over the county road and into a ditch beside a barbed-wire fence. They were wearing street clothes and no helmets. They both got lucky with just cuts and bruises.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 11:53 PM
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I hope your dad continues to improve. I usually just wear regular panta to ride in.
I too have been thinking of going to some overpants all the time.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 05:29 AM
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Sorry to hear about the crash and I hope your Dad heals up quickly, without any more complications.

As to the cause of the crash, it sure sounds like he target fixated. Wearing proper gear isn't the only lesson to learn from this incident: a refresher course or (at least) some reading is also helpful, I think.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 06:34 AM
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Sorry about your pop, wishing him a speedy recovery!

I was on a group ride with about 6 people a few years back and one older fellow fell asleep in a slow sweeping curve. He ended up in a ditch then back onto grass and a guide wire supporting a telephone pole caught him across the chest removing him from his bike. He only had a t-shirt and a beanie helmet. He ruptured his spleen, cracked a few ribs and was very sore for many weeks.

You are correct as not all wrecks seem that violent but they tend to still do quite a number on a human body.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 06:43 AM
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May I add to all the well wishers here in hoping your pop has a speedy and complete recovery. ATGATT.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 07:15 AM
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Sorry this happened to him BUT am glad to hear he'll be OK. These things happen so quickly to the rider going down but in slow motion when you're watching someone you care about crash.

Give him my best and hope the pain passes and the rehabs not too bad.

Time

Or was that look THEN leap?
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 01:02 PM
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Thanks for sharing and pray for a speedy recovery for your Dad and yes agree with you 100% on wearing good safety gear and always wear my armoured pants and not just jeans now days because of some of the serious injuries to riders I know.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 02:16 PM
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I hope your dad has a successful recovery. You are I think preaching largely to the already converted on this forum though.

On a recent but rare visit to hdforums.com I read a thread were the general consensus was that one can tumble off a bike at 70mph in jeans, t shirt and no helmet and land on your feet and hands with no injury. Several posters claimed to have successfully done this, some multiple times, and seemed to be believed by some of the responses. The sad thing is a lot of this crap gets digested by impressionable idiots who then sometimes influence other impressionable idiots. Maybe you should post this over there.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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thanks very much to all who posted, I will pass it on today that the good guys and gals on the little Kawi's are wishing him a speedy recovery.

We are still trying to figure out what happened, whether it was inexperience or if it was a medical issue as he has no recollection of the crash. I agree that most of the riders on here probably wear good gear, but if this story helps someone down the road, it would make me feel alot better...

cheers and thanks again to everyone
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by SUREFIRE View Post
We are still trying to figure out what happened, whether it was inexperience or if it was a medical issue as he has no recollection of the crash. I agree that most of the riders on here probably wear good gear, but if this story helps someone down the road, it would make me feel alot better...
My bet is on Target Fixation. I’ve seen it before, we all have. You go where you look and if you are tired or distracted you'll ride right in to where you don’t want to go. I did it on a long mountain bike ride. I saw the boulder I want to miss it but I “Locked” on to it and rode right smack in to it, my knee’s never been the same.

Pilots are known fly into the ground, mainly military and crop dusters. Drives and riders are known to run strait into what you’d think they could miss OR ride off the road for “No reason”.

It’s the way we are “wired” upstairs. I was taught this in safety classes and we touched on it in collage as well. It’s a hard habit to break and one reason you are taught to always scan with your eyes, or to “Keep your head on the Swivel”

And yes ATGATT

Or was that look THEN leap?
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 07:53 PM
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Best wishes to your pop and hopes for a full and speedy recovery.


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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-13-2012, 10:36 PM
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Your dad is very lucky indeed. Here's hoping to a speedy recovery for him. Being retired should give him plenty of time to focus on just that.

I went riding with a friend a couple of years ago. He had just bought a new HD fat boy. He rode off the back of a 45 mph curve on dry pavement in ideal weather conditions. The impact on his temple created head injuries that he never recovered from. He was wearing an inexpensive half-shell, a denim jacket and jeans. He suffered no broken bones or other internal injuries. The bike was busted up but could've been ridden to the nearest gas station.
We're still not sure what happened. Did he black out? Was he not completely used to the shifter on the left/brake on the right which he was had on his 72 Sportster so that instead of braking he actually down-shifted, causing the rear tire to lock up and him to lose control?
I've ridden that same stretch of road many times before and after his wreck and still not sure. I do know that it takes extra effort to maintain your line when riding the outside line on a two-lane black top road that curves to the left. The pavement tends to slope to away from the direction you want to go - off camber. Is it possible this happened to your dad? Once again, hoping for his speedy recovery.

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 12:22 AM
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Best of luck to your dad
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 09:56 AM
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Wow! Wishing your Dad a speedy recovery!

Brent

Current bike - 2007 Versys, black
Givi v46 topcase, Oxford Heaterz, Motowerks lowering blocks, Barkbuster VPS hand guards, Evotech radiator cover, Hepco Becker crash bars, Aprilia Tuono mirrors, Seat Concepts all carbon look seat
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 11:27 AM
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New or returning riders often crash in this manner because they forget to counter steer. They get into the corner, and revert to the "turn left to go left" thought. This causes them to straighten up and drive into the ditch. That's why we are taught to "push left to go left" and if that does work, then push left harder and look through to the exit of the turn. When you do this, the worse you can do is to "low side".

I hope your Dad heals up soon.
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