Last month, a friend of mine posted this message about her son having a motorcycle crash:This message bothered me tremendously. I know this family. My heart was hurting because I knew from the description of this crash and the biker’s injuries, that recovery would be a long and painful process.
Yesterday, I learned that…
…the biker had to have nine skin grafts over his legs, torso (back, butt, and abdomen) and arms — why? He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts and suffered third-degree road rash on 40% of his body. He has had to have reconstructive surgery on his face and he won’t grow hair again on the back of his head — why? He wasn’t wearing a helmet. He had pins installed in two broken ankles — why? Because he was wearing sneakers.
Goodness knows that I have ridden a motorcycle wearing light unprotective clothing. Yes, there are times when it is a choice to ride or bake. If the ride is a ride, you’ll shed layers. I get it.
But never, ride without a DOT-listed helmet. Man, when I had my crash last May, if it weren’t for my helmet doing its job, I may not be here today. Or at a minimum, I would have sustained disabling injuries like a concussion, skull fracture, and disfiguring injuries to my face.
Had I not been wearing motorcycle boots, I also would have likely broken both ankles like this guy did. A cop who investigated my crash told me that witnesses reported that when I slid some 300 feet when I hit the pavement, I was “feet first.” The boots proved their worth in saving me from harm. No broken legs, ankles, or even a scratch.
I also was wearing a balistic nylon jacket. Man, it saved my hide. No road rash. No skin grafts followed.
What’s worse for my young friend who had that crash is that he lost his job because he was off work since the crash. He was hospitalized for 22 days and has ongoing hospitalizations required for more surgeries and follow-ups. But since he lost his job, he lost his health insurance. He has no money to buy a health insurance policy, so his parents bought one for him. He already has more than $10,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by his low-level, high-deductible insurance plan.
Every crash is different and I wasn’t there to see what happened in this friend’s crash, but for me — I was off work for three days and had $117.50 in out-of-pocket medical expenses. Hospitalization was an emergency room of a local Catholic hospital that threw me out once they realized that I was in a same-sex marriage (but the discrimination complaint was settled out of court and is an entirely different story.)
Yes, indeed, this will be a long road of recovery for my young friend. I am not saying that I am better than him or anyone. Come to think of it, he is probably a more skilled rider than me because he rides every day, is young, and has about 10 years of riding experience.
I may very well be an old granny when it comes to this, but I always advocate “All The Gear, All The Time” (ATGATT) because… you never know…
Life is short: wear protective motorcycle gear, including a DOT-listed helmet and motorcycle boots — every.single.time.you.ride. Period.