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Discussion Starter #1
My non-riding friends just don't understand, so I figured I'd rant to some people who would.

A little less than a year ago, I got taken out by a drunk driver (he blew a .17). Crossed over the center line and hit me head on. Broke my neck (NoC5 isn't a chemical compound), damaged my spinal cord and almost left me paralyzed, wrecked my left knee. Amazingly, I have recovered almost 100% (don't ask me how, I totally dodged a bullet). But now that I am healthy again, I sooooo badly want to get back on a bike. I was riding my Monster, which was wrecked, and then sold my 998. I'm bikeless, and I hate it. All I think about is buying a 999 and a Multistrada.

But I just can't rationalize it. I mean, I should be dead or at least paralyzed. How can I justify engaging in the same activity that nearly ruined my life? There are arguments on both sides, and I'm not really looking for advice. But what totally pisses me off is that this idiot drunk driver took one of my loves and turned it into a total mind-screw!

Like I said, I just wanted to rant to people who would understand. Don't freakin' drink and drive, and don't ever think it's a victimless crime.

Jason
 

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"How can I justify engaging in the same activity that nearly ruined my life?"

Glad you're better now. But remember the activity that nearly ruined your life was a drunk driving a car into you. YOU were engaging in an activity that 99.999% do not get paralysed or killed doing. There - that is pretty rational! Now get a new bike and stop yer grumblin'... ;-)
 

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Jason -- I'm glad to hear you are recovered.

I have some advise to give you, but before that, may I ask what day and time you were riding when your accident occurred?
 

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About a year ago my cousing fell snowboarding and broke his neck around c5 (not sure exactly the level). He is now a quadreplegic. Simple accident. He was an experienced snowboarder and wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately accidents happen, sometimes through no fault of your own.
When I started riding, I knew all of the risks (I am an ER nurse) and weighed them carefully. I decided that it was what I really wanted. In 1995 (new years eve) I wrecked my bike . As a result of the injuries I spent about 6 months in a wheelchair. I tried to stay off the street, decided I woud race and stay off the street. That lasted about 8 months. I hated every minute of it.
It sounds like what happened to you was not your fault. Accidents happen and what happened to you could have happened in a car just as easily, including the level of injury. Life is really about living. You don't get a guaranteed amount of time here, you might as well enjoy it. Protect yourself the best you can and avoid unneccesary risks, but don't stop living. Good luck.
 

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Just wait a while..and when the need to ride becomes overwhelming, you will ride again. I had my 'big wreck' about 22 years ago. A wreck that was 100% my fault. I waited a year or so..re-adjusted my attitude, and started riding again. Today, 1 of my legs is still shorter than the other, but I live for the daily ride and have had the good fortune to not lay a bike down once since then.

Just wait a while.
 

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Wisdom, experience and history have proven that people tend to regret the things that they do not do in life. Will you look back at some point in time in your life and regret not getting back on a bike and riding?
 

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What you have been through will mess with anyone’s mind. I can't even come close to understand what you're feeling. I have learned something over the years, Life is fragile. Just like your drunk driver crossing the line, it can be over just like that. What ever you decide. Don't stop living for fear of dieing. Like the other have said, take reasonable precautions in what ever you do but live your life. You don't want to be an old man looking back on your life and seeing....nothing.
 

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Would it have been any different if you were in a car?? Maybe... Maybe not but I bet you wouldnt be questioning whether or not to get behind the wheel again I would be. Atleast thats how I THINK I would sort it out if I were in your shoes

If you do decide to get back on a bike I bet you will be paranoid as hell of oncoming traffic for awhile...
Good luck coming to a decision you have your eye on some nice rides, hopefully you wont be let down after riding the 998
 

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When the horse throws you off, what are you supposed to do? Easy to say, but harder to put into practice.

Seriously, I try not to carry baggage from one situation to the next. Just because X happened last time, doesnt mean that X will happen this time.

I am gonna LIVE until I die. Survival stopped being good enough a long time ago. And when I do "shuffle off this mortal coil", I will do so with a smile, even if I happen to be on fire when it happens.

Get back on a bike, or dont. But make sure its your choice, based on your desires, your will. To be afraid of something, and do it anyways, that is courage.


Oh, and buy a Multistrada. Even if you never ride it. And tell everyone you know to buy one too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In response to Migz123, the crash happened around 7pm on a Saturday on the last day of April. It was still broad daylight out. I had three rules for riding -- never ride in the rain, never ride at night, and never drink and ride.
 

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Gosh

My story is a bit like that..back in 1994 I was taken out by a car running a red light in Osaka , Japan..Broke a lot of bones..But my 2 femurs were really
messed up..I was riding a 88 GSXR 1100 and it was around 11:30 at night.
After I got out of hospital 1 year later I met a really nice girl and married her.
I made a promise that I would never ride a bike again..Boy was I dumb.
Cue to 2005, march so I went pass a New Ducati shop here in Nishinomiya<between Osaka and Kobe> Just walked in and saw my very first
999...Wow..Guys in the shop were nice..But when I told my wife ..Holy hell she went nuts..I even posted on this BBS <My first post here as well>.
Well I went and got that bike. Picked it up in June. was kicked out of the House the next day..2 months later I made it home..As The school I work for had a room I could live in..and a great big garage for my bike. I still cant keep my bike at home and never talk about them at all in front of her..But I tell you anyone that knows me here in Japan will tell u I am a much more happy
man these days...
There is risk in everything we do but if we are worried about every little thing
that can go wrong hell..what would life be???

Mate, everyone dies..Not everyone lives!!!

Get that bike and be who you are.

Kiwi<Dean Mahoney>

PS Never end up in a japanese hospital if u can help it..GEzzz The stories I could tell.
 

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I once came very, very close to losing my life in a swimming accident. I ws trying to save my niece from drowning and did all the wrong things. It took my 25 yr. old nephew to save us both. I managed to keep my niece above water but submerged myself to the point that I needed EMT's and oxygen. The point of this story? The next week I found a pool, did a little mental imagery of all the good times I've had swimming underwater and, then, dove in. Life is raw data. I did not want fear to rule my choices.

bruce19
 

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Lots of great posts on this topic.

Here's my 2 cents.
I grapple with with your issue every time I get on the bike for a ride. Will I come home to see my daughters and wife again? Will I be able to hold my baby? Who will walk my daughters down the aisle when each gets married if I'm not there?

I really reflect on what the possible consequences are if I get into an accident and if I can pay the price or more importantly, if the people who love me can pay the price.

But, I teach my daughters living is not just to exist but to experience as much as you can. To taste, feel, hear, see and experience everything and anything as the opportunity might not present itself later.

I got certified to dive just before our wedding. It was a stretch financially because every dollar we made was going to pay for our wedding but my wife was very supportive. We were going to Austraila for our honeymoon and I wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef. We weren't rich and we paid for everything ourselves.

Scientist said that the GBR was dying because of global warming (higher then normal water temps was killing the coral). I wanted to see it before it was all gone because who knows when we would be back there again or if it would be there.

The dives were incredible, I could not have imagined how beautiful it was. Pictures and videos do not do it justice. The images are still very vivid in my mind.

To me, experiences like that IS living. I think about how less rich my life would have been if I had not seen it with my own eyes.

So use your good china and sliverware every day, splurge on that major event. Take that trip you always wanted to take and buy that bike that makes you smile.
 

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there are alot of responses here saying the same thing in different ways....and indeed it is NOT easy....passion is passion and denial of a passion or something that you are drawn to brings about a level of misery that will in fact eat at you...maybe not conciously...but it will...yes the incident you dealt with put you in a situation to really reconsider everything in life...and it seems like you have...but have come back to life with a passion rebudding in your mind...don't ignore it...you only have 1 life to live and the only things you are promised are death and taxes...so live life to the fullest of experience and screw the tax man out of every dollar you can...carpe diem as some would say...not just an archaic motto to live by...

thinking of when I 1st went down on the side of a mountain in a switchback where I ran a touch wide and lowsided into the side of the mountain...I was way far away from home...I was about a mile behind my friends I was riding with because I was riding at my own pace on unfamiliar road...and I was simply and shockingly shaken...hard...I was reverberating almost...passerby cagers stopped and 1 was a nurse and she did a couple of quick roadside checks of me to see if I was okay while she had her 3 teenage kids pick up my bike for me...and after she asked me several times if I was okay and she was finally semingly convinced of my answer...I got back on the bike....somewhat begrudgingly....it was a scary kind of uncomfortable....but I was thinking how I was 160+ miles away from home into a ride with friends that I had to catch up to....well....I rode over the peak of the mountain road and down the other side when a short way on my way down here they came the other way looking for me to see if I was okay....I got down to the bottom of the mountain...pulled over...pulled out my toolkit and teaked back into place the pieces of my bike that weren't quite right...lamented at the damage to my bike...questioned as to whether or not to call my wife (came to the realization on that one to tell her when I got home as apposed to calling her and letting her worry about me until I got home and she could see I was okay)...and still shaken....but determined not to be the reason my friends decided to go back home at this point in my head...got back on the bike and finished the day with 540 some odd miles ridden that day...and it was hard during the 1st say 50-100 miles...questioning every turn and move I made...riding conservatively...and fininally something clicked and it went away...and I was just riding...and I came away with a sense of relief...I had gone down...and got back on the horse...I didn't let it beat me...and I still ride today...many miles passed since then...and yes...I do sometimes question certain roads and corners...but I read them and go...and for those where I am not so comfortable...I use my brakes and/or lay off the throttle and keep on going looking to the next...maybe for you...this will happen similarly...maybe not...but the only way to garner any kind of assurance one way or another...is to get back on and ride...maybe take a track school with instruction to help boost up your confidence?...but it can only come from you from within.
 

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Zooom makes a great point about the track school. In your situation with the type of accident you had maybe a track day or school would be the best place to start riding again. No oncoming traffic to get you frazzled. Even a MSF course All of these really take riding back to the basics and let you ride at your level with out all the other crap.


Also I noticed you said you dont ride at night... that interesting I love to ride at night (in Texas during the summer its really the only option) I feel that at night I focus more on what I am doing and the Road where in the day time I tend to focus on the scenery. just an observation on how everyone rides differently
 
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My 1st wreck was no where near as bad as some of the ones on here. I honestly think i just got really lucky. I was riding a mint condition Kz (old cruser). Someone ran a stop sign right in front of my when i was doing 50. I decided to lay it down instead of hitting them and flying over the car. I hit the breaks and tried to throw myself away from the car. I landed on my side and manged to roll on to my back and slid about 40 yards. The guy never stopped and there were no other cars around. I cracked 3 ribs and had some nice road rash. But i wasnt to bad casue i had leathers on. It took me about 3 months to get back on a bike and when i did i used the insurance money which was about 2 or 3 times what i thought it would be and bought my Duck. Gettin back on was one of the hardest things i have ever done, but i am glad i did because there is nothing like riding. Welp i just figured i would put in my two cents.
 

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I remember you posted before, but I think that might have been the time we moved to the new board shortly therafter, and perhaps you might not have seen the responses to your post. But here is one I put together for you at the time:


In reply to:




How can I risk all of that by getting back on a motorcycle? But yet I knew all those risks beforehand and rode anyway. The risks are the same now as they were before the accident. And if nothing else, this episode has taught me that life can be snuffed out at any time, and you need to enjoy the moment.


You are so lucky to be alive, let alone that you are almost back to 100% normal. Very glad to hear that, the whole thing is pretty terrifying - and thanks for sharing your story.

I quoted you above on a part that I'd like to offer some insight on, perhaps it might help you, and the others on this site.

You talk about the risk -- and as we all know, we assume a higher level of risk by riding our motorcycle, and in exchange, we are rewarded with the many 'joys' of motorcycling. I manage and analyze risks for a living, and I often equate what I do in my job to motorcycling. Managing large risks in the financial world is not much different from managing higher levels of risks in life, such as riding.

But even if we are all motorcyclists, we each have and assume different levels of risks -- in other words, RISK will vary according to how intense our exposure is to particular part of motorcycling.

There is a way to segregate many of the high-risk aspects of motorcycling, in order to DRASTICALLY MINIMIZE the overall safety RISK in motorcycling. For example: (Most of these are well known.... but just bear with me. )


- People who ride their motorcycles on Friday, Saturday and Holiday nights are MUCH MORE LIKELY to get hit by a drunk driver than riders who only ride in the day time.

- Riders who stunt their motorcycles have close to 100% CHANCE of crashing. Just count the number of riders you know that wheelie, stoppie or otherwise just STUNT in any way, and if you know enough of them, you will get 8 to 10 out 10 of them that have at some point crashed.

- Riders who go 2, 3 or 4 times the speed limit, especially on the twisties are MUCH MORE LIKELY to crash than those that have a lower risk tolerance by not deviating too far from the speed limit.

- Riders who FREQUENTY commute during rush hour traffic/riding in HIGH TRAFFIC area are MUCH MORE LIKELY to encounter collision than those who infrequently or flat-out do not commute during rush hour, or ride at High Traffic areas/times.

- Inexperienced riders that do not go through a safety course and cannot wait to test their bikes/their own limits are MORE LIKELY to encounter an accident than inexperienced riders who are more disciplined or safety oriented.

- Frequent speeders and riders who ride at higher speeds for longer durations are at a HIGHER RISK LEVEL than riders who are very selective about when, where and how frequent they will ride at higher speeds (;'about' more than 15mph above speed limit).

- Track Riders who make cutting LAP TIME as high priority are MUCH MORE LIKELY to crash on the track than riders who elect not to be pressured by lap time.

- Riding in the rain increases risk to MUCH HIGHER LEVELS than due to reduced traction, visibility of not just you and your bike, but also the motorists around you. So the guy who flaunts his rain-riding ability will only 'usually' flaunt an assumption of higher risk, rather than a higher level of skill or ability. You cannot meaningfully minimize the risk of getting hit by skidding car, no matter how experienced you are in the rain.

- Riding in a community that is well-populated by elderly people is an ELEVATED RISK for motorcyclists in general, as they are LESS LIKELY to see you or anticipate your speed.

- Riding without a helmet increases the risk to MULTIPLE TIMES that a rider will die or get seriously injured in the event of an accident.

- Back to drunk drivers -- for example here in California, the bars close at 1:30am. So riding on a Friday night between 1:30 and 3am carries a MUCH HIGHER level of collision risk with a drunk driver than say, 9 pm .on Friday night.. just ask the cops. The same goes for Big-Game-on-TV ending times ...

- Riding at 2:30 to 3:00pm at or near a High School, filled with new-driver, hormone-crazed kids when they get out of school is an ELEVATED RISK as opposed to riding in the EXACT SAME AREA only 30 minutes before...


There are more of course... And of course these are well known issues and are not new to most of us.

But a lot of the worst accidents will usually be a COMBINATION of TWO OR MORE of the risks above that contribute a highly ELEVATED risk level .....

We as riders basically have to take notice of the possibile COMBINATION of elevated risks every time we decide to ride... your risk today can be DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT from your risks yesterday, just because of the TIME and PLACE you chose to ride, even if you are planning to "take it slow."

While each of the risks above are relatively low BY THEMSELVES, even for stunting (say, a stunter will crash for every 50 or 100 times he wheelies -- that's about 1 to 2%) ..... the COMBINATION of INTENSITY, DURATION and FREQUENCY of overall risk-taking don't add-up in a linear way ... the add-up in an EXPONENTIAL way ...

I hope I am making a point...

If you are talking about RISK, there is a way to DRASTICALLY MINIMIZE Risk level and exposure, and still be able to enjoy your motorcycle. If you go down the simple list above, you can CONSTANTLY MONITOR, VARIATE and ADJUST your motorcycle experience so that you are always carrying MINIMAL Risk exposure.

Being very selective, disciplined and CONSTANTLY ADJUSTING the WHEN, WHERE, HOW FREQUENT, HOW LONG and HOW INTENSE you ride your motorcycle will often make all the difference.....

This post is not a list of what you shouldn't do ............... it's a post about DISTRIBUTING RISK and being in a state of CONSTANT ADJUSTMENT to minimize your overall risks in riding.

KEEPING MENTAL TRACK of the FLOW OF YOUR PAST EXPOSURES to the risks above will be crucial in making an INTELLIGENT DECISION on how much you will expose yourself to these risks today and in the future.

Hope this helps you decide whether you are going to get back on your bike or not... since you mentioned "risks..." as your main decision factor.

Hope this helps other current riders too.
 

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Almost three years ago, June of 2003, my wife was hit head-on in a blind-curve, by a completely sober young girl completely on the wrong side of the road. Her whole left side from the waist down was basically shattered. She hasn't walked without crutches or a cane since the accident, and just had a total hip replacement on Dec 8th. Her left foot is still paralyzed......It was a passion for my wife, and she still hasn't given it up. She rode on the back of my bikes for about 8000 miles in 2004. Last year, she logged over 2000 miles on the back of my bike. It would have been more, but we now have a cute, little 14-month old at the house that takes up most of our time. What is the next step for my wife........

Well, just 15 minutes ago, I was cutting a piece of aluminum for a shifter bracket. She's got a 1994 GSXR-750 in a downstairs room of the house, and we are going to rig up a Pingel electric shifter for it. We are hoping she will be back to riding her own bike, again, in the next 2-4 weeks. The only two things she's ridden is my Harley in first gear for about 1/4 mile, and a 150cc scooter that she rode for 5+ miles at speeds up to 70 mph. She's tickled that she'll probably be able to ride again, but scared to death at the same time....

BTW - She was hit while riding a friend's 1993 GSXR-1100. Must be something about those liter GSXR's.
 

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About 19 months ago a buddy of mine and I got hooked up on some fluid in a 30 mph left hand curve. He ended up with a double fracture left leg and I had a slew of fractures, etc. which had me in a wheelchair for 3 months and structured rehab for 6 (rehab ongoing, probably forever, but I am much healthier for it :D ). We spent a bunch of time in the hospital room discussing whether we would get on a bike again. At the time we shied away from it, but as the months wore on and the weather got warmer we rebuilt the bikes and rode again. We went through much of the same mental process as has been posted above . . .but hey - its a passion, so ultimately who were we kidding by saying we would never ride again?

America's perception of motorcycling is slanted towards the biker being the idiot bad guy who takes incredibly HUGE risks to enjoy his passion. Everyone who is reading this has a story or three about a 'friend' who has a friend of a friend who was on a bike and did - or not - did something stupid and lost a limb, mobility or life. I have a friend of a friend who got killed/paralyzed/dismembered in a car accident. . . .no one seems to relate those car stories very often. . .

So. . .I would say take your time in getting on the bike (whichever you buy); if you are passionate about riding almost nothing will keep you from riding. As the woman who did my exit interview from the rehab hospital told me (incidentally - a paraplegic), this will some day be just a (bad) dream. . . its that way for me now, though sometimes the steel in my pelvis and arm remind me where I have been.

I firmly believe that my odds of crashing are no greater now than back before 7/25/04. I got on my bike last Sept - it felt GREAT! It was like I never had a lacuna from riding. Am I more cognizant of crap they may be on the road? Sure. Do I maybe pay a bit more attention to outside forces than I did before? Sure. Do I ride less spirited? I don't think so - speed does not = spirit and I still have a great time whenever I am riding. One of the wierd things is that I have always felt safer on my bike than I do in my little Honda scheisse box - and still do, probably from the fact that the bike outperforms most four wheeled vehicles, especially my Honda.

Congratulations on your progress in healing!

Take your time - this is a journey that you will ultimately take alone - and ride safe!
 

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migz - Yours was a Really Good Post. I can say with confidence that most times I get on a motorcycle, I think through the risks I'm about to take. I almost always maintain the level of alertness required to cope efficiently with risks I encounter while riding. I usually don't take unnecessary risks and ride defensively.

But it's the "most times," "almost always," and "usually" that will get me into trouble. I sometimes ride aggressively, in fact, I sometimes take a ride with the intention of being aggressive in the twisties. I split lanes. I ride in the rain. I almost always wear proper gear, but I confess there are times -- particularly when I'm close to home -- that I choose not to throw on the protective pants or proper footwear.

It's also pretty easy to talk about accepting risks, and being aware of the increased risk of injury if I do crash, before I have a serious accident. It remains to be seen whether my attitudes will change after I have a serious accident. (Of course, I pray that never happens.)

Although I've had a moderate accident that involved broken ribs, a broken collarbone, multiple bruises, and a mild concussion, I don't consider that a "major" accident by any stretch of the imagination.

The bottom line is that I just can't put myself in the shoes of someone who's recovered from a could-have-died, took-years-to-recover accident. From my experience, were I to be in that position I'd start off slow and cautious, acutely aware of every bump in the road and every bonehead move from a driver near me...but then as I regained confidence and comfort level I'd slip back into my old habits of momentary lapses in caution and increase of risk under the guise of "knowing what I'm doing."

I think the real question NoC5 should be asking himself is this: are you willing to go through the same experience again, possibly with a less favorable outcome? If the answer is yes, then by all means start riding again. Do so with the awareness, though, that given your rearranged physiology that resulted from your last accident, it may not take as severe a crash next time to "finish the job" started by the first bonehead drunk.

Not sure if I'm even really making a point here -- I'm just rambling off the top of my head. I hope there's something in this randomness that you can use. ;)
 
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