No matter how careful and safely I operate my Harley, something quite unexpected happened yesterday while riding to work…
…someone driving a car in front of me decided that she wanted my lane and cut me off. I really don’t know what happened next, but I felt myself sliding down the road. A cop said that I slid about 300 feet (90m).
Good samaritans stopped and called for emergency services. Within a minute or two, two cops, a fire truck, and an ambulance were on scene.
I knew enough not to try to move, so I lay there in the middle of the road. At first I was thinking that I just had the wind knocked out of me, but I soon realized that my condition was worse. I was numb, but could feel pain setting in, so I just lay there, bewildered.
EMTs on the fire truck initially assessed my condition and were shocked that I was coherent and not bleeding. With a fall at road speed, estimated at 40mph (64kph), they were looking for severe abrasions, a concussion, and broken bones.
I described that I was feeling pain in the center of my chest, so I was suspecting a fracture or bone bruising of my ribs.
The medics carefully assessed me again, and restated how they were amazed that I was not injured more severely. They unzipped my chaps, and then cut my pants apart to check for abrasions, road rash, or hidden broken bones. None.
After X-rays and a CT at the hospital, it was confirmed that I have 3 cracked ribs — but no other damage to my body. Why?
I truly believe in ATGATT — all the gear all the time. I was wearing Chippewa harness boots, thick leather motorcycle chaps, ballistic nylon jacket, long motorcycle gloves, and my DOT-approved SuperSEER helmet (like cops wear.)
When I looked at my helmet later, its paint was scraped off all down the left side. Imagine if that were my head — no, don’t! But that’s why I would never wear a “beanie” or no helmet even in states where helmets are not required.
I looked at my chaps, and again, I could see huge scrapes down my left leg. Imagine if I were not wearing them — my dress slacks would have torn and the skin on my legs would have been ripped off. But what do I show? A little yellowish bruising, but that’s it.
I looked at my jacket, and it appeared to be none the worse. It has built-in armor in the elbows and shoulders, so I am sure that armor helped protect those joints.
I looked at my Chippewa harness boots when the nurse in the emergency room took them off. The toe box on my left boot was torn and damaged, but did not break through. Again, those boots saved my feet and ankles.
Now, back to the ribs — man, broken ribs hurt like hell. But it really could have been worse considering that I hit the ground at 40mph and rolled/slid a long way — yet lived to talk about it.
My spouse is taking care of me. I am beginning physical therapy to walk and keep breathing… step by step toward recovery.
BTW, my Harley was rideable. The guys at the responding fire station rode my Harley to their parking lot. A couple buddies from the fire house where I am a life member went over there and one of them rode my Harley home. I haven’t seen it yet, but my spouse says that the damage is cosmetic. Whew!
Life is short: wear appropriate full gear when riding a motorcycle — each day, every ride. ATGATT!