I preface this with the short note that as a second job, I get paid to teach people to ride motorcycles. I’m one of 200 +/- instructors who teach for the TEAM OREGON motorcycle safety program.
I will also note that I’ve ridden thousands and thousands of miles in all weather on many different motorcycles and have, in fifteen years, experienced a grand total of two injury crashes.
But still, it’s damned embarrassing to find myself explaining how I manage to break my right collarbone and a couple of back ribs on the same side. Back about a week and a half before Christmas, I crashed one of my bikes while crossing wet railroad tracks in NW Portland. The remainder of that day was spent in the ER at Good Samaritan hospital.
On New Year’s Eve, I had surgery to put the clavicle back together since it wasn’t cooperating and settling itself in the right position for good healing.
So at the moment, one arm is in a sling and a week after surgery I’m weaning myself off the Dilaudid that I’ve been taking since the first day in the ER. Moving over to acetaminophen. My normal pain reliever of choice is ibuprofen, but since that’s an NSAID (blood thinner), I’m not supposed to be using that for a while until I completely heal.
How did it happen? I can tell you what I know must have happened. It was a wet day and I was crossing a single pair of railroad tracks running down the middle of a street to get around a large truck unloading on in my lane. The first crossing went fine. On the second crossing back to my lane, bang. Down I went. The basics – wet steel tracks, not crossing at a high enough angle, tires washed out, classic low-side crash.
That’s what I know had to have happened. What actually happened? I have no idea. I was on the ground faster than you can snap your fingers, with no warning from the bike whatsoever. My fault. I simply was not concentrating on the conditions and the situation. I made the mistake of thinking of this trip as a routine, quick, mid-winter ride around town to charge the battery and keep the oil circulating. The upside is that I was fully geared and while I now need to buy a new helmet, I credit that helmet and the jacket and pants I was wearing with preventing much more serious injuries than I suffered. The crash happened at perhaps 15-20 MPH. I look at my helmet sitting over their on a shelf – it’s rashed all along the right-front side and across the face shield. Had I not been wearing it at all, or had I been wearing a 3/4 or 1/2 helmet, I would have been in much more serious condition with very bad injuries to my face, jaw, eye, head, etc. etc. etc. As it was, once bystanders helped get the bike off the top of me, I walked away … and in to the ambulance.
This one gets filed in the “live and learn” bin. Bones heal.
Though I have to say – I hate broken ribs. THAT sucks.