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Eastbound and Down

Eastbound and Down

Pensacola, Florida

I was with a group of riders out for a Sunday ride. My girlfriend was with us, riding on the back of my Honda Gold Wing. It was early afternoon and she and I decided to head back to San Antonio. Once we got back onto Interstate 10 East, I set the cruise control at 70 mph, put a CD into the player and enjoyed the ride.

Just south of Kerrville, Texas, we went into a right-hand curve that led to an incline. As we were going up the incline, the driver of an 18-wheeler in the lane to our right decided to pass a motor home. I don’t know if the diesel driver couldn’t see us because of the angle of his cab or the position of his trailer. Whatever the reason, he suddenly whipped into our lane.

Rather than tangling with an 80,000-pound truck, I opted to go into the median, where I felt we had a better chance of surviving. As I went into the median, the Honda’s tires hopped and skipped over fist-sized rocks. There was no way I could keep control, so I turned the forks to the left so we would be thrown ahead of the bike when it went down. I knew we would slide farther than the bike, and I didn’t want to run into it as it tumbled.

I can only imagine how much we tumbled as we went down at 70 mph. All I remember between the crash and the ambulance arriving was waking up and running to my girlfriend to see if she was OK. Someone had removed her helmet, which was a huge mistake! If she’d had a neck or spinal cord injury, that could have made things much worse. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, and once I saw she was all right, I passed out. When I awoke again, we were both in the emergency room.

Without my helmet, I know I would have been killed. As it was, I broke my clavicle and cracked a shoulder blade and three ribs. Were it not for my jacket, gloves and long pants, the rocks would have torn into my skin. The bike, on the other hand, was a mess. The brake cable was the only thing still holding the front forks and wheel together.

I can’t stress enough how proper safety training helps prevent accidents and how protective gear helps you survive those that do happen. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s basic and advanced courses I took didn’t just teach me how to ride, they taught me why a motorcycle behaves the way it does. Because of that, I knew what to do in an accident and am still here to share this story. Ride smart and ride safe!

  • 1 July 2015
  • Author: Army Safety
  • Number of views: 10122
  • Comments: 0
Categories: Off-DutyPMV-2