Well, last weekend, my husband and I were first on the scene at a motorcycle/car collision on the highway (I’m a Wilderness First Responder). The motorcyclist was seriously injured.* I don’t know squat about motorcycling, but I’d like to offer some advice based on having just been up close and personal with what can happen when things go very wrong:
–Helmet. I’m glad you’re getting a big ol’ helmet. The motorcyclist was wearing a big full-face Shoei, and I’m confident in saying that it saved his life, or at least saved him from severe brain damage. Within 15 minutes of the collision, he was showing clear signs of a severe concussion (one pupil dilated, one constricted. Quickly sinking down the consciousness scale). Fortunately, the life flight was arriving at that point. I shudder to think of what would have happened if he wasn’t wearing a good helmet.
–Leathers & gloves. The motorcyclist was wearing a tank top and nylon jogging pants. He had come to rest on his back, and that’s where the road rash was, so I didn’t see too much of it. I don’t know if the leathers would have saved him from his other injuries, but given the nature and severity of his other injuries, the treating the road rash will complicate his other treatment. There were also some pretty nasty avulsions on his legs and hands (where the skin is torn away). He was wearing Timberland work boots, so his feet still had the skin on them.
–Ride conservatively so you have time to respond to things outside your control. I didn’t see the collision, so what I’m about to describe is based on hearsay only. Apparently what happened is that the motorcyclist was speeding and riding in a hot-doggish manner. The car entered the highway, maybe too fast, hit some gravel, and spun out of control. The motorcycle hit the spinning car. The motorcylist was thrown quite a ways. The car came to rest against the guard rail, and the car driver appeared un-injured. (Fortunately, there were witnesses who stopped who saw the whole thing. ) If the motorcyclist had been riding more conservatively, he might have been able to avoid the collision.
My husband was the first responder of another motorcycle/car collision which probably could have been avoided if the motorcyclist hadn’t been going too fast. I sometimes see motorcyclists riding between the lanes in traffic jams. While this is technically illegal (I think), I don’t have any problems with it if the motorcyclists are riding slowly and carefully. In this case (again based on hearsay), the motorcyclist was riding too fast to the left of a lane of jammed traffic. A car suddenly pulled left out of the traffic lane, and the motorcyclist slammed into the car, hard enough to blow the glass out of the car windows, even on the side he didn’t hit! Miraculously, the guy flew off of the motorcyle, into the air, somersaulted, and landed right on his feet! His only injury was a broken collarbone. But the collision might not have happened if he was riding more conservatively.
gleeb, I’m glad that you are taking safety seriously. I didn’t tell you all this to scare you. Obviously, the issue of motorcycle safety has been much on my mind lately! My lifetime choice has been to not ride motorcycles because of safety concerns. And the events of last weekend has certainly cemented that decision. Motorcycle accidents will occur, but you can do a lot to help yourself. Please keep your concern for safety at the front of your mind. Always.
*The apparent injuries were as follows: two broken legs–tib/fib on one side, ankle on the other. Broken collarbone. Severe concussion. The spinal cord was definitely not severed at the time that I was caring for him, but I’d be pretty surprised if there wasn’t some sort of spinal injury. Road rash, and some severe avulsions. No internal injuries or shock were apparent at the time I was with him. The paramedics felt he wasn’t in any imminent danger of dying from his injuries, at least in the time before he got to the trauma center. But he was one hurtin’ dude.