Today was a warm day in my area. Unusually warm for the middle of January. It was warm enough that I decided to take my motorcycle for a spin since I was getting home earlier than usual. I inflated the tires to the proper pressure, and off I went. I reached the turn exiting my neighborhood at the traffic light. The cross street was 45 mph. The light was red, so I stopped, and then proceeded forward. As I was going around the turn, I hit the throttle slightly to accelerate, and my rear wheel slipped out from underneath me. I managed to briefly get the motorcycle upright again, but I was slipping and sliding all over the place. What was about to happen was inevitable, and fear overtook me. I just loosened up as much as I could, and as I headed towards the curb, I made one last attempt to avoid injury by jumping from the bike.
I failed. Although I cleared the bike, I slid head first into the curb, and my helmet hit the curb with a crack. I felt some pain in my ribs on the left side, under my arm, and I turned over on my back. I lied there wondering if the pain was going to get worse. I also wondered why I had not blacked out. A voice asked if I was OK, and for a moment I couldn’t speak. She asked if I needed an ambulance, and I told her I didn’t know. I stood up. I was OK. The pain in my ribs was getting worse, and right now it hurts like a bitch, let me tell you, but I’m OK.
I examined the situation. I looked at the curb that my head smashed into and it was not a 90 degree curb. It was slanted, maybe 30 degrees at most. My visor was smashed, but my helmet only had a couple of scratches on it. The ambulance came. Of course my pulse and blood pressure were up there, but my eyes were clear, and reacting equally. I supposed this meant that I probably didn’t have a concussion. The paramedics asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, and I said I didn’t think I needed to. Maybe I will go. My ribs hurt pretty bad. But we will see how it goes.
I looked around at the shattered pieces of my motorcycle. All in all, it isn’t too bad. The gauge cluster is gone. The key is jammed in the ignition. The mirrors will need to be tightened, and the front brake lever replaced. The valve cover gasket is scratched. The exhaust is dented. The turn signals on the front are bent, but functional. The throttle will also need to be replaced. It’s not going to be cheap, and neither was the tow truck ride home. See the cops called the tow truck, at my request (stupid because people helped me get the bike out of the road), so the 1/4 mile back to my house cost me $250. But I’m OK.
So many people stopped to help. Everyone from the paramedics, to the police officer, to the tow truck driver to all of the other people that stopped to help, it just really made me feel taken care of when I needed it the most.
My motorcycle is in my garage. Maybe I will fix it soon, or maybe I’ll wait a while. But one thing is for sure, I’m getting back on it. Either it, or another one, that is for sure.
Two things happened tonight that made it so that I could stand up and walk away. The first was that I was wearing a full face helmet. Not a half helmet, or a skull cap, a full face helmet. The second was that the curb was not at a ninety degree angle. Who knows where I would be right now if either of these things was different.
A war story, this is not. A great dramatic ending is not what you are going to get. I just had to write this down anyway, because you would not believe the fear I felt as I was going down and headed for that curb, and the relief I feel now. Thank you to the people who helped me tonight, and thank you to the city planner who decided to make that curb a slanted one.