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Old 11-05-2013, 07:10 AM   #1
tattoogunman OP
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Research Project Help

Mods, hopefully this is OK to post and if not, you can nuke it:

I'm a born again college student and am currently doing a research paper on motorcycle protective gear, primarily helmets. What I'm looking for is real world stories of people who have been involved in accidents on their motorcycle, what the outcome was, and what you feel your gear (if you were wearing any) did to help you. Post accident pics of gear would be appreciated as well. Even if you weren't wearing any gear, I'd still like to know since that plays into my research project. I don't need anything fancy, just basics of what happened, etc.

No names will be used, no pics will be published, no money is being made from this, it won't even be published anywhere, I can offer no compensation other than my thanks - it's just for my class (it may be used as a sample for other classes though). Most of what I have now is all from various government sources, MSF, etc. and I just want to get some real world input from real people who have had incidents.

If you feel like sharing, I'd appreciate it. You can PM me, etc. and if you have any questions or concerns, let me know.

I don't want this thread to turn into a legal rights issue, helmet law issue, or any of that jazz - just stories and/or pics from real world people who have had mishaps. I can make an Off Topic thread if we want to do a debate on helmet use or what not

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Old 11-07-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
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I had a get off on wet roads. Mostly broke mirror, turn signal, few scratches on me, sore muscles. I was so proud my helmet never touched the road. About 2 weeks later, parts were in and installed, I was gearing up for the ride and noticed the helmet. Dead center in the top, was a small chip, around that was a 3 inch diameter oil can type crack. It must have hit the bike somewhere on my way off. I instantly became soaked in sweat and I wondered what might have happened without the helmet. I never felt a thing. Helmet took all the force. '

I went right out and bought another, same brand. ARAI

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Old 11-07-2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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I've "crashed" many times off road and on road...I was always fully geared up... My helmet saved me from head injury many times...
In some cases minor bodily injuries occuured but serious injuries were prolly hindered by protective body gear...
More specifics available upon request...
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:06 AM   #4
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I've had 2 getoffs while racing that would've resulted in someone else whiping my ass had I not been wearing my gear. One at Rally West Virginia on pavement racing up snowshoe mountain. I crashed going around 50mph on a steep/sharp right hander...landed on my right hip and slid on it about 30 ft....nothing injured but my pride and my back after deadlifting the bike to get back at it. Crashed at Sandblast rally this year....Don't remember what happend and I was out for 30 seconds or so, came to with limited memory loss. Tore some sternem muscles and had a mild concussion....nice sand scraped helmet, was wearing Alpinestar compression suit and a Klim Traverse suit with D30 hip and TF3 knee armor, Acerbis X tight MX boots, Aerostich competition roper gloves, Arai XD3, Smith Goggles, no Leatt brace though. I was wearing the same thing for both crashes. I was good to go after both crashes. Yes, I did get a ride to the hospital for the second crash. Backboard and brace, lights and wasn't cheap

 photo CB2B2712-57BF-43F9-8626-6B0BC8D926D0-38687-00003323F03008A6_zps0b3b1717.jpg

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Old 11-08-2013, 05:55 AM   #5
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two real crashes so far, both times thanks to cage jockeys not paying attention.
first time, leather jacket, helmet, gloves, sneakers(was on a scooter actually). nothing but a little road crash on the left elbow(no protectors in the jacket) and a small bruise on the left foot.
second time...on my gs...jacket with protectors, helmet, gloves, boots and a jean. detonated in a cage at ~30kmh since he pulled out right in front of me without looking.
landed on my left knee which caused a portion of the kneecap to break off. serious road rash on both knees. even tough i rolled off on my right shoulder the protectors in the jacket did their job and apart from sore muscles the next day nothing more came of it.
had i worn the my regular motorcycle pants with protectors i would most likely have walked away unscathed...
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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tattoogunman, go check with your local EMS as well. Not their headquarters, but go to the local fire station or EMS house. They will have stories and pictures as well.

I am a paramedic and can relay a few of the more memorable. None personal and I plan on keeping it that way.

Incident 1- We responded to a couple who were high on meth doing over 100 mph when they struck a car pulling out from a side street. The male struck his head and died of his injuries later that day. The female was wearing only a helmet. That with the fact that witnesses said she landed on her boyfriend saved her life. Unfortunately, she skidded down the road and looked like someone took a potato peeler to her whole body. Most loss of skin I have ever seen. To add insult to injury she landed in a huge pile of fire ants that covered her and started biting her through her raw and missing skin. I gave a lot of pain meds for that call.

Incident 2 - 20 something year old male on a crotch rocket early morning with light rain was tailgating. The truck in front tapped his brakes, the rider locked up his front wheel. He was wearing a helmet, jacket, and boots. No injuries in those places. His hands looked like hamburger due to no gloves and his knees were ground down to the bone through his jeans. If he had gloves and riding pants he would have picked the bike back up and ridden away with the bike scraped up and his left turn signals damaged. Instead he was transported to the hospital.

Incident 3 - A 65 year old teacher bought a Honda Goldwing a few months before retiring. He took it on a short road trip with friends. On his way home he had a rear tire failure. He lost control of the motorcycle on an interstate. Injuries were minor as he was wearing full gear. Unfortunately, due to the way he landed he broke his neck. We found him unresponsive and not breathing. We were able to resuscitate him, but he is a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.

Incident 4 - 23 year old male was riding a motocross bike in a motocross park. He jumped a sand berm, went over the handle bars landing on his face, his legs came up behind him and over his head severing his spine in the middle of his back. Worst spinal fracture I have ever seen. He will be a paraplegic the rest of his life. This young man was wearing all the appropriate gear. No gear would have made a difference in this crash. This was witnessed by two off duty military paramedics. They said he did nothing wrong other than the way he landed. He was not riding at excessive speed or riding recklessly. Sometimes bad things just happen.

Incident 5 - 50 something year old female on the back of a harley wearing only a half helmet, boyfriend was tailgating. When the car in front stopped quickly to make a right hand turn the boyfriend lost control of the bike. They slid down the road and into a saltwater canal. Her right forearm was tucked underneath her between her and the road as she slid. She suffered significant tissue loss. Her forearm was an anatomy lesson of tendons and muscle. She was wearing a long sleeve shirt and blue jeans.

Incident 6 - 46 year old male riding a chopper style bike. Intoxicated and wearing a "beanie" helmet. He tried to make a U-turn, fell over and struck the side of his head on the curb. No other safety gear. His injuries consisted of a significant brain injury. He was actively seizing upon arrival. He was chemically sedated, intubated, and flown to a trauma center.

Incident 7 - 50 year old male who owned a custom motorcycle shop failed to pull his kickstand up. He wrecked his very expensive motorcycle in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts. His injuries consisted of road rash to his hand. No safety gear.

Incident 8 - 23 year old male being pursued by Sheriff's Department on a Kawasaki Ninja at a high rate of speed failed to stop at an intersection. No gear. He impacted the side of a cadillac. What I remember about that one is that his right arm was split in two lengthwise like a funky lobster claw. He also sustained a major head injury. I believe he ended up being a fatality. He was transported by air to a trauma center.

Incident 9 - An approximately 25 year old male lost control of his motorcycle and slid down a major highway at approximately 60 mph. Bystanders said he was wearing full gear. He was gone upon arrival. We assumed no significant injuries. He had picked his bike up and ridden away.

Incident 10 - An approximately 45 year old male impacted the side of a car that crossed his path. Helmet only. This one was years ago, so memory is fuzzy about his specific injuries. We really forgot about him as we assumed he was a fatality. One year later he came back to thank us. We had trouble remembering which accident his was as we wrote him off at the time of the accident. I do remember he creased the roof of the car he impacted. When we finally figured out which accident his was, we were amazed he was alive. He said he had been through multiple surgeries and rehab. He would never walk right again and would always need a cane. Other than the helmet, I am not sure if he had been wearing gear and if it would have made much of a difference on this one.

Incident 11 - 80ish year old male failed to see a red light. Entered the intersection and impacted a car crossing the intersection. He had a helmet only. His injuries were a fractured femur and a head injury. He kept trying to stand up on his broken leg. He was unable to understand that his leg had an extra bend in it that wasn't supposed to be there. He likely would have been a fatality without the helmet. I don't know the extent of his head injury, but I am sure age played a part as well.

Incident 12 - 22 year old female riding on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle. He popped a wheelie and she fell off. She had significant road rash down her back. Obviously no jacket, but because she was presented to the hospital ER I worked at and was not an EMS run, I don't know about a helmet or gloves or the rate of speed. (Something to note, ER nurses frequently debride road rash without pain meds. They do it to teach you a lesson. I have brought this up on this website before where someone wanted to argue that it wasn't ethical. Doesn't matter, it happens frequently. If you don't want that fate wear the frigging gear!)

Incident 13 - 20ish year old male lost control on an Interstate. He went over the guard rail and slid down the grass median. No gear, but only had minor injuries. He refused treatment or transport. He was obscenely lucky.

Incident 14 - 20 something male was stunting on a back road and wearing only a helmet. His friend estimated he lost control at approximately 55 mph. He sustained severe road rash.

Incident 15 - Another trauma nurse that my wife knew and worked the call when she was in EMS was riding with only a half helmet. The way she landed, the back of the helmet rotated into the back of her skull severing her neck. This is the only case I am personally familiar with where the helmet caused the death. Bear in mind though it was a half helmet that did not protect all the way down the back of the skull. For my wife, it sucked working someone she knew. That nurse also should have known better than to wear a half helmet.

Incident 16 - A 60 something year old male failed to stop at a stop light in a controlled manner. He was wearing a helmet and half gloves. His fingers presented with a degloving to multiple fingers. A degloving is where the skin peels forward and over as if the skin were a glove. Ironically, it was the light in front of the hospital. I wear high quality full gloves specifically because of this incident. I swore that would never happen to me.

Incident 17 - 24 year old male under the influence of drugs travelling at approximately 70 mph rear ended a car traveling the same direction at 55 mph. He was wearing a helmet and jacket. His foot peg impaled his left foot through his sneakers fracturing ankle and foot bones. I am sure there was also tendon damage as well, but that would have been determined after I was done with him. He also had road rash down the side of his body.

Incident 18 - 50 something year old male lost control on a rural back road. No helmet. Fatality on scene due to presumed head trauma. I never understood that one. I ride that section all the time. There are only cow pastures on either side of a very long, straight section of road.

Incident 19 - 28 year old male traveling at 55 mph on a busy six lane highway impacted a car that illegally turned in front of him. He was not wearing any gear. His left leg was severed in the middle of the lower leg by the front bumper of the car. The lower leg was found standing upright in the middle lane still in its boot. Witnesses stated he bobbled the bike back and forth after impact with the car, but ultimately impacted an aluminum light pole. With no helmet, he died on impact. The driver of the car was a four foot tall 88 year old man who was deaf and didn't speak english driving a huge luxury car. This guy couldn't see over his own steering wheel. Whoever issued him a license should have been held accountable too.

Incident 20 - This is multiple incidents in one. We have an S curve where the first turn is banked into the turn and the second turn is banked away. Motorcycle wrecks here are common as riders enter the first turn at high speed, but can't negotiate the second turn with the road banked away. These usually result in similar injuries of road rash from the short section of road they slide on before they hit the grass. It is also way more common to find the Harley type rider there who typically doesn't wear gear than the sport bike rider. I have to assume between the weight of the bike and their floor boards hitting the road, it is harder to negotiate this turn on that style of bike.

Incident 21 - 35 year old male was bar hopping and racing on a back twisty road at night. No gear and he weighed in at well over 400 pounds. He left the road when he missed a turn, went down into a ravine and struck his head on a large boulder. He was a fatality. It turned out years later that my wife and I adopted his daughter when her mother (his ex-girlfriend) died of an overdose. My (now adopted) daughter was not happy when I bought a motorcycle and will not go near it. I can understand why. I also waited until she was 18 before I bought it. Sometimes it is a really small world.

Incident 22 - mid 50's male failed to stop for a car that was stopping to turn left. The oncoming dodge pickup truck realized what was happening and slammed the brakes coming to a complete stop. The motorcycle rider clipped the back of the stopped car and struck his head on the bumper of the now stopped pickup truck. This patient was extremely overweight, was on a harley type bike and was not wearing a helmet. This occurred in an extremely remote rural location where we had a long response time. Upon arrival he was unresponsive and not breathing. We successfully resuscitated him after an extremely difficult intubation (obese people are difficult to intubate) and flew him to a trauma center. Three days later his family had him removed from life support as he had no brain activity due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) during our long response time.

There are many, many more, but this should paint a picture for you. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. My experience matches published statistics. Most motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents and involve only the motorcyclist or in many cases is the fault of the motorcyclist. Secondly, most injuries are head injuries. I strongly feel that gear makes a difference. I also very strongly believe helmet laws should be in place in every state and that only full face helmets should be used. In the case of the severed spines, typical gear won't help much. I have no experience with the back protectors sport bike riders wear and have never seen one in an accident, so I can't comment on their effectiveness. I have also never responded to a rider wearing a neck brace and can't comment on those either. Helmets, jackets, gloves, riding pants, and good boots are all necessary in my experience. Sounds like you have an interesting assignment. Perhaps you should post it when you are done with it at school.

One last piece of safety equipment isn't really equipment at all, it is insurance. Most motorcyclists are severely under insured. Many states don't require it so many do not have it. When I get on my radio and utter the phrase, "trauma alert", I just spent AT LEAST $50,000 of YOUR money. Air transport can cost anywhere from $10,000 up to $25,000. The emergency room, x-rays, MRI, CT, blood transfusions, ER Dr, Radiologist, Trauma Surgeon, the trauma room suite, etc are not cheap. It is not uncommon to see upwards of a half million dollars for more complicated cases. By calling a trauma alert, I am telling the hospital to have a trauma surgeon ready with a trauma room complete with staff. Whether it gets used or not, you will be billed for it because it was reserved for you. Our accuracy rate meets national standards of less than 20% error. We get it wrong about 16% of the time and call a trauma alert when there wasn't a need to. We will err on the side of the patient. It is better to waste money than lives. We have a state trauma protocol we must follow. If you are over 55 that is one point on the criteria card. Get one more point like a long bone fracture and it is mandated that you are a trauma alert. Talk to your agent about what you should be carrying for appropriate protection. It is because of the large amounts of money spent to treat a trauma patient that I believe helmets should be mandatory unless you carry a policy that will cover ALL of your medical bills. Too often a hospital has to eat the costs associated with trauma. The saying in the medical field is that "trauma is a poor man's disease". That means everyone else has to pay for your choices through increased taxes and medical bills to cover the ones who don't wear helmets and safety gear. People who ride without a helmet CANNOT state that it only affects them. It doesn't.
Keep the rubber side down. It works better that way!

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Old 11-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
Yes, I did get a ride to the hospital for the second crash. Backboard and brace, lights and wasn't cheap
HA! I begged them to cut the lights and sirens on for me at RWV, and they wouldn't do it. Finally, as we were pulling into the emergency room, I told them for the $1500 I was paying for my 30 minute ride, they better cut them on, so he did, as they were backing into the parking space

My worst off was the aforementioned crash at RWV. Went off course and down about six feet of so. I was probably going somewhere in the 40 MPH range, but I dont know, I wasn't looking at the speedo. I went over the bars, head first. A very large boulder was kind enough to step in and cushion my landing. I landed on my left shoulder. I was wearing an EVS G5 ballistic jersey, and a Fieldsheer Highland jacket. I had an Arai XD4 helmet, but I never hit my head. I lucked out BIG TIME. My shoulder was destroyed. Medically its described as a 4 part proximal humerous fracture and dislocation. In laymens terms, my humerous was broken in 8 places, turned around the complete wrong direction (in 2 planes), the rotator cuffs were ripped off, and my bicep was ripped off. It took 3 hospitals in 2 states over 3 days to get it operated on. I just saw my surgeon Wednesday, and he said if your were to rate trauma to the shoulder on a scale of 0-5, I would be a 4.5, after that, its cutting your arm off time. So, it was kinda serious. But hey, I had the time of my life doing it, and it got my out of changing dirty diapers for 3 months, so I think that's a pretty fair trade off.

I didn't have a scratch on me otherwise. I seriously doubt any gear would have prevented the fractures. I am currently looking for something that provides a bit more shoulder/arm protection. I would say, even withthe severity of the damage, the gear did a pretty OK job.

If you need any more details, feel free to ask.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Joisey, not far from NYC
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Too many off-road crashes to describe. Vast majority wearing protective off-road gear (when I was a kid, they didn't make very much). It always served me very well, allowing me to always walk away with only minor scrapes and bruises.

On the road, only one. Slid right across an intersection at 30 mph with the engine on my left leg. Other side was pressed firmly into the pavement. Fortunately, I wear AlpineStars leather top and bottom as well as street armor underneath it. I was also wearing Tech 10 MX boots, and an Arai XD helmet, which never touched the ground.

I got up, bent the shifter back into place with my hand and went to work. Damage to gear was barely noticeable. Damage to bike almost zero. Bark busters and luggage rack saved the blinkers, etc. My left ankle was a little sore for a few days. Gear paid for itself in that single slide.

Have no idea why the bike slid out. Maybe the stock deathwings.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:46 PM   #9
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I always ride ATGATT now that I'm older, including full-face helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, and boots. I have not crashed on the road in my gear, ever, but have had many close calls so I still wear the gear every time. As stated by several folks above, I have crashed dirt bikes in all possible ways and styles and my gear has always done me very well. When I was a kid learning over 50 years ago our equipment SUCKED - basically a 3/4 helmet, Levi jacket and pants, work boots and gloves, goggles or maybe sun glasses if you were really cool. Like others have said, the old stuff was total crap by today's standards but it served me better than no gear at all.

For a more recent experience, I'll offer this up: even a half helmet is better than no helmet at all. We were riding near Silverton, Colorado and my buddy low-sided going around a corner when he hit some gravel that had been spun out onto the road by a car leaving a view turn-out. He slid out sideways, no cartwheels, just a 25 MPH low-side and bump the helmet on the ground followed by a minor tumble off the asphalt and into the dirt turn-out. He had gloves and a leather jacket on (no MC-specific padding), jeans, good boots, and his favorite "old school" half helmet. He twisted his back a bit and broke his collar bone (a very common injury in MC crashes, I'm sure you know, most likely due to the bottom edge of the helmet hitting the collar bone on impact), scraped up a knee, and was a little dazed. He got a ride to the hospital in an ambulance strapped to a backboard with me following on my bike. They determined that the only real damage was the broken collar bone; no concussion, a few scrapes, but they didn't even kept him overnight. I think his little half helmet saved his life - check it out:

Any gear is better than no gear. Have fun with your class!

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Old 11-08-2013, 01:56 PM   #10
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I was riding a bmw r1200gsa down a local freeway during rush hour at about 70-75mph. the car in front of me did a weird quick side to side maneuver, so I backed off a bit just in time to see him run over a re-tread from a semi. his weird maneuver was trying to swerve into the next lanes, but both were blocked by traffic. I did the same with head checks, and couldn't change lanes either. so I decided to ride over the tire tread which wasn't back on the ground yet, as it was bounced up into the air a bit by being driven over. since I didn't hit it directly in the center, the re tread grabbed my tire and ripped it violently to the left and from that point, I don't remember anything until I realized I was laying on the freeway during rush hour. I stumbled to the shoulder and collapsed after I crossed it, having the wind knocked out of me. the lady behind me had enough time to say "oh shit, he's dead" as I was flipping through the air in front of her.

I was wearing an aerostitch darien jacket with armor, helmet, gloves and boots. unfortunately I went without the protective pants that day, and came out of it with scuffs on my knees and a broken rib. but for a month or so afterward, I would get dizzy if I got up too quickly from bed, or going around corners too fast in my truck. aside from that, the gear was a life saver.
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:08 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone, keep 'em coming if you've got them.
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:22 PM   #12
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I fell off a few times when I was younger at below 30kmh. Including being rear ended, which wrote off the bike.

Never hit my helmet. Knee protection would be better for my crashes.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:49 AM   #13
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Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
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Back in 1972 I had a lady run a stop sign thereby pulling out in front of me. I hit her car at the point where her windshield joined the body. I was doing about 65 mph. I flipped around at impact and went through her windshield and out the drivers window. Hit the windshield pillar with my head. I then body surfed the asphalt for about 50 feet. I still had the handlebars in my hands and the gas tank between my legs when I finally came to a stop. Don't remember any of this, got my info from the police accident reconstruction people. I was in a coma for ten days before waking. Broke most of the bones in the left side of my body including the left Mastoid bone in my skull. I know that the only thing that saved my life was that I had a helmet on.

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USMC 1970-1978: HMH-463 Evacuation of Saigon - April 1975, Evacuation of Phnom Phen during the Killing Fields Spring of 1975
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:13 PM   #14
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When I was a super noob

Looped a wheelie doing 65 wearing nikes, levis, leather jacket, leather gloves, and a helmet.

Bad rash on helmet, jacket, and gloves. Tumbled over 100 feet. Jeans, shoes, and a small chunk of my ass missing.

Bounced right back to my feet.
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More stuff will clutter your life and make you poor. More adventure will richen your existence. Make do and make tracks.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DougInKY View Post
Back in 1972 I had a lady run a stop sign thereby pulling out in front of me. I hit her car at the point where her windshield joined the body. I was doing about 65 mph. I flipped around at impact and went through her windshield and out the drivers window. Hit the windshield pillar with my head. I then body surfed the asphalt for about 50 feet. I still had the handlebars in my hands and the gas tank between my legs when I finally came to a stop. Don't remember any of this, got my info from the police accident reconstruction people. I was in a coma for ten days before waking. Broke most of the bones in the left side of my body including the left Mastoid bone in my skull. I know that the only thing that saved my life was that I had a helmet on.

Doug in Kentucky
Holy Shit, Doug! You bad ass!!!
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