Dark Horse down...
Yeah, it's a damn Greek tragedy... The 2004 Honda CBR600RR wasn't even a year old when some clueless rectum snorkeling retard took me off of it in Lamar county. Lamar, in case you didn't know, is actually an acronym which stands for Losers Amateurs Morons Assholes And Retards. It was just after 4pm, Friday (the 13th) and I was headed home, absolutely looking forward to a twelve hour shift at the ER (after having worked 9 hours already at the DOT). I ride down Weathersby Road (near Turtle Creek Mall) and enter the turn lane, my indicator on, slowing down as there is simply no way that I can merge at the present time. As I come to a stop, flat right foot on the road, brake pulled back, bike in gear, hand on the clutch, I snap my head back to my left to look over my shoulder. There's about six cars in my lane (turn off onto Highway 98 West, no acceleration lane) before there's a three car gap that I can squeeze into. As I'm looking over my left shoulder, I see the left front headlight of a green car enter my field of vision. It is traveling way too damn fast and I realize with a sick feeling that I am about to become a hood ornament, that my greatest fear on a bike is about to be realized for I am about to be hit from behind while stopped, I am about to be struck from my blind side by a driver who is not paying attention to what is in front of them. My head snaps around forward as my hands and feet work the controls by feel and memory, trying to dump the clutch and throttle to get some speed where I can rocket out of the way, where I can head for the shoulder of the road to escape. All of my experience takes over but it is my instinct that somehow saves my life. Or perhaps it is God's direct intervention. Probably a combination of the two with a very heavy emphasis on the latter. So, what did I do?
I "Jedi Force Jumped" off of the bike.
What do you mean you "Jedi Force Jumped" off of your bike?
Well, that's about the only explanation I can give you as I don't understand the physics of the wreck at all. Do you remember that scene in The Empire Strikes Back in the Bespin carbon freeze chamber where Vader forces Luke backwards into the freezing chamber and thinks he's got him right where he wants him? Yeah, the part where, as Vader turns away to use the Force to engage the freezing chamber controls, we see a blur of movement out of the pit, straight up, as Luke jumps from a crouch in the pit up to the safety of hanging from the pipes and conduits some twenty feet or so above the chamber. I remember Vader looking up, nodding in approval and saying "Impressive. Most impressive."
Well, basically, that was what I did.
One instant I was on the bike, the next I was standing on the shoulder of the road and there wasn't a scuff, scrape or mark anywhere on my body or my gear. You figure it out because short of the miracle of teleportation or my guardian angel physically lifting me off the bike and setting me back down gently, somehow I went from being seated on the bike to standing on the side of the road, facing away from the road and the wreck. Oh, yeah, and the term "Jedi Force Jump" was used by the driver of the car, not me. He said he looked forward, saw me, slammed down on his brakes, saw me get hit, there was a blur and then all he saw was the bike. He felt the crunch and thought he had steam rollered me under his car. When I asked him where I was, he said he didn't know. He stopped the car, got out to see if I was okay, and I was standing on the side of the road, fifteen feet away, shaking my head in disbelief and anger. I went straight up out of the saddle and out of his field of vision.
That was from his perspective. What happened from my perspective?
Somehow, my mind tried to think of a logical solution to the problem yet my body said "forget it, we're out of here." All I remember is that I turned around to face the front of my bike, leaned or squatted down on the bike like I was ready to walk it down the quarter mile and then there was the sound of tires, a plastic crunching impact (the sickest sound I've ever heard in my life and I've heard it plenty of times before) and an impact that bends me backwards in a whip-lashed U-shape. I remember my left hand coming off of the clip-on but pain shot through my right arm. The bike was knocked forward ten feet (3m) (still in gear, still running) and then it fell on its side and slid for another fifteen feet (5m). I could tell this because of the scrape marks in the road surface and the distance from where I remember where I was to the spot where the bike landed. I didn't experience any of this because I don't even remember going down. I just remember my arm hurting and then landing on the side of the road, my legs buckled slightly like I had just hopped down out of the back of a pickup truck. I straightened up, hung my head and just shook it slowly in disgust and disbelief.
The driver got out of the car and started shouting, asking if I was all right. He ran over to me and stood beside me. I bit my tongue, looking from him to my bike to his car and back again. I took my back pack off, set it down beside me and didn't say a word. He kept apologizing, saying that he didn't see me and he was so sorry for hitting my bike. I reached up, undid the straps to my HJC "Smoke" helmet and took my sunglasses off. I removed the helmet and sighed, taking a deep breath and calming myself. If I didn't, I was about to chew this scoggin up one side and down the other in a fashion that would have made R. Lee Ermey look like Mary Poppins in comparison.
My bike ... Wrecked. It wasn't even one damn year old! The CBR had been my present to myself for my 35th birthday. I had walked into the Honda dealer on my birthday, fell in love with the bike and rode it out four days later. Now it had been smashed by someone who wasn't paying attention in heavy traffic.
"Man, I did not need this right now..." the driver says.
I slowly turn my head to stare at him, I say nothing. If I could Force choke someone like Vader, this guy would be grabbing for his throat and making those strangling sounds.
"I mean, I'm sure you didn't need this either, man, but I really didn't need this to happen."
Uh huh. Next you'll tell me that you don't have insurance or you don't have a license or its not even your car and you're not supposed to drive at all. Welcome to the wonderful world of Lamar county, Mississippi where, as Einstein once said, everyone is relative.
"Can I give you a lift somewhere? Do you need a lift?"
I stare at the guy incredulously. No, I do not need a lift, I need my bike, in perfect working order, just prior to your dumb ass hitting me from behind. That is what I need. My ass needs to be ten miles down the road and getting ready for a twelve hour long security detail but now I'm having to deal with losing my bike. No, what I really need to do is call in the accident. I reach down to my belt and pull out my cell phone, calling 911.
"Are you calling someone to come get you?" He asks, rubbing his hands together in an agitated state.
I ignore him. The emergency services operator comes on the line and I tell them that there has been an accident between a motorcycle and a car at Weathersby Road and Highway 98 West, no injuries and after giving some basic information, I hang up with the emergency services operator.
"Oh. Good idea. You called the police. I know some of the local guys."
Great. So do I, Jethro.
I squat down and unzip my back pack, pull out my digital camera from its case and start shooting pictures of the accident scene in case there's any dispute of what happened. I always carry my camera with me, there's just too much interesting stuff in the world you find on a motorcycle and this time, I was happy I had my camera with me.
"Man! This is exactly why I don't ride anymore!" the driver says to me.
I turn to him, silent, staring at him. He must take my continued silence as a positive sign from me that I wish him to continue his sob story in great detail. I go on taking pictures as he unloads on me emotionally.
"I used to own a Hurricane, man. The big 1000. But people ran me off the road twice and this one person came over on me in traffic and I just decided to sell it. There are too many dumb drivers out there who don't pay attention to bikes, you know?"
Yeah, and I'm standing next to one of them. I'm laughing on the inside. No, really, I am. Honest.
I finish taking the initial pictures of the accident scene then pull out my cell phone. I call my wife and ask her if she is mobile. She says she is over at a friend's house seeing their new baby and asks me what is wrong.
"A car took me off of my bike by Turtle Creek Mall." I tell her. "I'm okay but the bike is trashed. Can you come get me?"
She says she will and I have about a forty-five minute wait until she arrives.
The conversation with the driver was dull and sporadic. I wasn't very happy at the situation but I kept my opinions to myself. The fact that this guy claimed to be an ex-biker who understood about bad drivers and motorcycles yet didn't learn from his lessons only irked me. If anything else, owning and riding a bike has made me very cautious when I'm around other motorcycles, especially when I'm in one of my cars.
Yes, he apparently had insurance which makes him in the minority in Lamar county.
I hate Lamar county drivers...
The police arrive and the driver who hit me knows one of them while I know the other officer who responds. The driver immediately walks over to the first, senior officer and starts to tell them that it was his fault. Good. I won't have to fight this guy or have a legal dispute on my hands, hopefully. The officer who actually does the paper work is a new officer, a guy who went to church with Cindy and I. He walks up to me and offers his hand, I greet him and shake his hand. He can tell that I am righteously pissed.
"Cindy hasn't taught you how to ride one of these things yet?" he asks me, poker face straight.
That's all it took, I guess. The anger flowed out of me and I burst out laughing, feeling the release.
I get the paper work done, call a wrecker and load the bike up. Cindy shows up and takes me home. I ride home in silence, going over the scenario in my mind. How do you defend against a blind side strike, how do you defend against someone hitting you from the right side while you are looking over your left shoulder? Where do you go when you're between a rock (a solid wall of fast moving traffic) and a hard place (the bumper of a luxury car)? I honestly don't know. I was there, but I can't tell you how I got there or why I'm alive now other than God isn't finished with me yet.
So long, my horse. My wife and 2 year old daughter came and picked me up, just in time for my daughter to see the bike being taken away.
"Where's the zoom zoom going, daddy?" she asked.
"The zoom zoom got hurt." I told her. "It's going to the zoom zoom doctor."
Later that night, I discovered that I did indeed have injuries. My right arm began to lose some feeling and become numb, which I guess is just part of the swelling since when I jumped from the bike, I think my right hand refused to let go so my body just said "fine, we're leaving." and the hand, of course, had no real say in the matter but still... I think it held on for just a while longer thus the jerk that caused the discomfort. Later that night, I shook a guy's hand, hard, and pain shot from my palm to my elbow. The mechanical aspects of my arm seemed to be fine and a pack of ice on the arm the next morning reduced a great amount of the discomfort. By Sunday, the arm was back to top shape.
I received a blood blister / deep bruise on my right rear buttock, where my ass cheek ends and my leg begins. I can't explain this injury but it went from something that looked like a small bite (a small piece of broken skin like a dog bite) to a deep fist sized blood and purple bruise which slowly spread out with a tail towards the inside of my groin, around the back of my leg. Needless to say, sitting down on that side was done with a bit of care for about three days.
Other than that, no serious injuries and not even a scuff on my riding gear which is hard to explain way since this was a low side slide. God was with me (again) and I believe in miracles because all joking aside, I can't explain how I was lifted off of the bike and managed to land on my feet ten feet away with no injuries when the car hit the bike harder than Terry Tate does his coworkers in that funny commercial from Reebok.
To make a long story short, the bike was almost totaled out. Almost. The sum of repairs, carried out courtesy of insurance, was nearly $4000 including a brand new rear swing arm. The accident took place on May 13th, 2005. I had the bike back together and ready to ride for my vacation in the Smoky Mountains in July. I've been riding the same bike now for two years with not one lick of trouble out of it. I take a different route home now, one that doesn't involve any turn lanes with blind rear views. If anything, I've learned how to adapt my route to survive and protect myself. As Nietzsche once said; "That which does not kill you makes you stronger."
I absolutely LOATHE Lamar county drivers... have I mentioned that? Has it sunk in yet? Oh, and it was Friday the 13th, as well. I should have figured. I should have known that riding a bike in Lamar county on Friday the 13th would be tantamount to pissing on a block of sodium and hoping for the best.
Hit from behind, hit from my right side blind spot while I was looking over my left shoulder to see if I could merge into west bound Highway 98 traffic. The driver of the car was doing the same, not paying any attention to anyone in front of him. Wham! Nothing like being stopped on your bike and being hit from behind by a Chrysler Concorde LHS doing 30mph. I don't know what the bungee cords were for, but the right side fender damage is all the CBR's doing, as well as the busted driving light. As for what he did to the CBR, well...
She was leaking oil from somewhere near the crank case there. I don't know if the engine block is windowed or not. I was in gear with the engine running when I got tagged from behind. Typical scuffs and scrapes, I don't think the frame took any damage, the plastic died defending it. All control pegs are gone on the right side.
More control peg damage, more scuffing on the rear tail section. You'll notice that the rear tire is shoved all the way forward against the adjustment stop. He hit me so hard that I think he de-threaded the adjustment screw because the wheel is shoved all the way in against the swing arm and the chain fell off the rear sprocket.
More damage, you can see that the rear wheel is shoved all the way against the stop. More scuff damage to the body work near the "600RR" logo. That's his sandaled foot, I wear boots when I ride. The rear exhaust was also displaced some to the left, that's the rear right side turn signal smashed. The tag is bent as well. That's my insurance and paperwork which I keep in the area under the seat, Lord knows Honda didn't make it big enough to carry anything else there. In fact, the tool kit for the bike is located on the right side, in a special compartment in the side fairing.
The broken rear turn signal, bent tag, boogered up swing arm and the displaced center up exhaust.
Smashed right side
clip on, smashed right side turn signal, broken right side mirror
(missing the mirror completely inside) and broken off handle end with scraped up lever.
Notice the chain has been knocked completely off the rear sprocket and is hanging by the rear wheel / axle. Rear wheel driven all the way forward against the adjustment stop of the rear swing arm, broken left side control peg, scuffed up swing arm (model / adjustment information decal is scuffed and worn, it wasn't before the accident). I'm wondering if he didn't partially steam roller the bike since the tag is bent down on this side and it looks like he might have run up on the bike while it was down. The physics of this accident are strange.
Busted right side clip on, note missing end cap, and busted mirror.
Busted rear brake lever.
Close-up of the damage to the engine and fairing. That's oil on the crank case and it didn't leak out of the oil filler either.
More of the chain knocked off and the destroyed left side peg.
Loading the fallen CBR on a flat bed. The guy said he left his tie downs at the shop. I told him to lay the bike on its right side, not like it was going to do any more damage. He attached that hook there to a tie down point on the swing arm. When he tightened it, the hook tore the tie down point off of the swing arm. I just hung my head and shook it from side to side, then told him to loop the damn chain around the opening in the swing arm. Fortunately, during this ordeal, we had no sightings of plumber's crack.
Preparing for highway robbery. This wrecker company is located three miles down the road from the accident site. The towing charge for moving the bike three miles on a flatbed was well over $300. To put that in comparison, a towing company that I use in Columbia charged me $50 to drive from Columbia to H'burg (40 miles), pick up my '89 Formula 350 (which had lost its electric fuel pump), take it back to Columbia (40 miles) and drop it off at my favorite mechanic's shop. Even the insurance company was miffed at this towing company and their outrageous charge. I let the insurance company and the towing company fight it out. I never paid the towing charge. That's why I carry towing insurance on all of my vehicles. The dollar or two I pay each month for towing insurance just paid off big time.