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Discussion Starter #1
To all my fellow bikers,

I had my first major crash last week. I'll admit it may have been partially my fault. Regardless of who made what mistakes, motorcycle crashes are inevitable, especially in urban environments. It was me versus a minivan, head-on, so I got the short end of the stick.

When my bike collided with his fender, my groin took a huge impact against the tank--still very sore. I'm lucky I can still have children, no joke. Then my arm hit the hood of his van and both forearm bones snapped. I've got sixteen screws holding everything in place. I gashed my shin somewhere along the line. I have crazy, gory pictures of all of this by the way, let me know if you'd like to see them. I'll spare the rest of you for now.

The reason I'm writing this is thus: That as I was bouncing off his car and onto the pavement I hit my head several times, but although I wound up with a small gash on my chin (probably the result of worn-out, loose padding) my head was otherwise unscathed. No brain damage, no crushed-in jaw or vicious scarring. My helmet saved my life because it was a high-quality, FULL-FACE helmet. Even if I had worn a half-helmet or worse, a skull cap, my life could have ended, in essence, any of three ways: debilitating brain damage, mutilation or literal death.

That small gash on my chin would have been a destroyed jawbone. I shudder to think of how I may have looked after that kind of an injury. My visor has maroon paint along one side from the guy's van. A skull cap would have left me with a dented-in cheek/eye socket and probably significant brain trauma.

My first bike cost me $1000, my first helmet cost me $600. There are excellent, lightweight helmets out there for $300.

Get a full-face helmet and use it every day you ride. Accidents happen in the most unusual places. You might carve twisties every weekend for fifteen years without incident only to find yourself t-boned by a careless driver on your way to catch a movie. Trust me, if you find the right lid, it won't get in the way of you enjoying your ride. If the helmet feels hard to get off and on in the store or if you feel a little claustrophobic at first, don't worry, they break in.

Please take my advice on this or at least think about what you have to lose and how much trouble it would really be to switch to a full-face helmet.

Above all, ride safe, good luck and have a killer time before you die!

-Ed
 

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Sorry to hear about your crash glad you are relatively ok. I appreciate you guys posting your crash stories, it helps my inner hooligan from getting out too much. and I try and learn from them as much as possible. Thank you
 

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First crash I ever had, I was 11 yrs. old on a SL70 Honda. I hit a pothole on the side of the road and ejected face first sliding down the road on a hill. I was wearing a Bell Star full face helmet. The front of the helmet was ground down beyond the paint and the shield was worn almost all the way through. Though I had serious road rash on my arms and legs, the helmet completely saved my face. I have smacked my head a bunch racing motocross and never had a concussion, but I always replaced my helmet after an impact. I get a new helmet every three to four years. I feel that old helmets do not offer the same protection as new ones, for what it's worth.
 

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Thank you for posting nycsv, I'm glad you are better off then you might have been. When you have a chance maybe post what you were riding, how it happened etc?

I didn't start wearing full race quality gear head to toe until 2000 but for the street I've always worn a full face helmet and at least covered my skin.

Every crash is different, in some you can get away with a non-full face helmet, or a cheap one, in general I'd rank the importance of using and picking a helmet:

Always wear it
full face
fits you well
always use and tighten the chin strap
quality of the helmet



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Wow...it must have take you ages to type that post given your arm injuries. I wish you a Speedy recovery.

I used to wear 3/4 helmets while riding dirtbikes as a kid, because that was all we had. I couldn't imagine getting on a bike now without a full face, I would feel naked and exposed. But your story is incredible...good luck friend
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First crash I ever had, I was 11 yrs. old on a SL70 Honda. I hit a pothole on the side of the road and ejected face first sliding down the road on a hill. I was wearing a Bell Star full face helmet. The front of the helmet was ground down beyond the paint and the shield was worn almost all the way through. Though I had serious road rash on my arms and legs, the helmet completely saved my face. I have smacked my head a bunch racing motocross and never had a concussion, but I always replaced my helmet after an impact. I get a new helmet every three to four years. I feel that old helmets do not offer the same protection as new ones, for what it's worth.
Yeah it's crazy looking back on a crash and thinking what could have happened...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for posting nycsv, I'm glad you are better off then you might have been. When you have a chance maybe post what you were riding, how it happened etc?

I didn't start wearing full race quality gear head to toe until 2000 but for the street I've always worn a full face helmet and at least covered my skin.

Every crash is different, in some you can get away with a non-full face helmet, or a cheap one, in general I'd rank the importance of using and picking a helmet:

Always wear it
full face
fits you well
always use and tighten the chin strap
quality of the helmet
Yeah, sounds about right.

I thought it might be superfluous so I left that part out. Here goes:

On the street I was using, there are two single lanes going in opposite directions. The side streets are staggered, so there will be one to your left and then another one thirty yards down or so. Three-way intersections. There was a red light at one of the left-turn streets, where I was waiting at the front of the line. Up at the right-turn street, thirty yards down or so, the cars going the other way were stopped at their own red light.

When (I'm assuming) both lights turned green, I was at the front of the line and I took off kind of quickly--this is where I feel I made a mistake. It's hard not to take off faster than cars when you're on a bike.

The guy who I hit was making a left turn, coming from the direction I was heading, across my lane onto that right-turn side street thirty yards or so up from me. I didn't see him signal, or he didn't. I think I would have noticed if he had because it was night time and I'm an alert rider most of the time.

Anyway, he must have not seen me coming because even as I was now rapidly approaching this right-turn street (20 mph or so), he began to turn. I applied brakes and basically just braced for impact cause at that point there was no way I was getting around him.

To make things worse, he froze and stopped, blocking off my whole lane.

I hit him pretty much head on, although I angled my bike somewhat to mitigate the impact. I know his right-side headlight assembly was smashed, but that's all I could really see because at that point I was on the ground yelling for an ambulance.

Painful.

If I had done anything differently, I would have accelerated more slowly and I guess I could have flashed my brights to make myself more visible, but, what, am I gonna do that every time I come to an intersection?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow...it must have take you ages to type that post given your arm injuries. I wish you a Speedy recovery.

I used to wear 3/4 helmets while riding dirtbikes as a kid, because that was all we had. I couldn't imagine getting on a bike now without a full face, I would feel naked and exposed. But your story is incredible...good luck friend
Haha I'm getting better fast! Thanks for the good wishes.
 

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As another recent survivor, i can now fully appreciate what you wrote up. I was being stupid and used too much throttle then too much front brake. I didn't have a lot of speed, but it was too much to make the corner. Next thing i knew my front wheel had washed out and i was sliding on my right leg and arm, i hit a speed bump and i was then sliding on my face. My neck hurts. That is all the injury i received. If i didn't have a full face and full riding pants(that i bought about a week ago) my icon jacket and "armored" gloves. I would surely have lacerations on my legs, shoulders, arms, knuckles(both hands) and my face. I'm sure i probably would have at least a broken skinless nose if i didn't wear a full face. Your story wouldn't have had as much meaning a week ago as it does now and thats sad. I'm just glad that my confidence got brought down so gently, my bike is even reparable! I will count my blessings and pray for your speedy recovery. Thanks for your time!

Heres my helmet, you can tell it was slow speed, but it doesn't take much to do a lot of damage!

full face 1.jpg full face 2.jpg full face 3.jpg
 

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Thanks for sharing your story. I had that same groin impact 15 years ago when I rear ended a mini van after getting pushed over a lane by a car that hit me! I landed on my head (with full faced helmet!) but man the dent in the tank was a reminder of that crash every time I rode that bike after. A friend of mine still owns the bike so I see that dent every once in a while still. I was in a neck brace for a few weeks, but I didn't even show my doctor the manly stuff, but lets just say bruising down there SUCKED! :/ Glad youre going to be ok!

Daniel
 

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You all really need to move down to the South. Wtf are you doing even riding in the vicinity of cars?!?
 

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The "front launch" can be very dangerous. I still remember the first motorcycle accident I investigated in my career. (retired LEO) The guy on the bike rear ended an unlit trailer. He went over the bars. Unfortunately, his legs and testicles did not, and he lost one of each. In those days, everyone had analog speedometers. It didn't take much work to find the "needle slap" on the gauge that indicated the bike speed at time of impact. He was doing 60 in a 25 zone. A trailer was being pulled unlit in the dark. Two dangerous factors combined with horrific results.

I agree with the earlier posts. Wear a helmet. No amount of cool and comfort is worth a crushed skull. I crashed my first bike at age 17 with no helmet. I crashed my second bike in my 20s in a similar accident to this one, but was wearing a helmet. I've been lucky since, and haven't had a third. If I do, I want to stand a chance.
 

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I am a firm believer in high quality gear and wearing it no matter where you're riding! Going cheap on gear saves nothing but a few dollars now, but in the long run it may cost you your life. Glad you made it out alive because it could have been much worse. Get well soon and get back out there!
 

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sorry to hear of your mishap went through similar wipe out couple month ago good gear is always wise never go with out it glad you are well and can post and eventually ride again...
 

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I can remember not wearing a helmet for years riding around Northern California. Thinking back it was very lucky not to have hit my noggin the couples of times I fell off the bike. Then I discovered that I enjoyed going around the corners fast...and from then on until today, I'd never leave the driveway without a lid. I figure the more risk you take, the more gear you need to wear. I also figure I'd look pretty stupid wearing full leathers while riding around my neighborhood on a 50cc scooter...so I don't. Dress for the ride is my advice...but always wear a helmet.
 
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