It was a marginally ride-able day today, and we haven't had many such days since November, so I was intending to exercise our stable of motorcycles. While riding my V-strom 1000, just a couple miles from home, I got cut off in traffic, had to brake hard and the bike and I went down. This was on a 4-lane highway; we had just gotten a green light, I was in the left lane and a pickup truck was in the right lane. Very suddenly, just a few feet past the intersection, the pickup truck swerved left to pass the vehicle in front of him, completely ignoring the presence of me and my bike in that lane. It was either hit the truck or brake hard, I braked hard. A little too hard I guess, locked up the front wheel and went down. Fell on my left side, and was lucky the car behind me was able to stop in time. Of course, the truck didn't stop.
I'm reconstructing this from memory, as the whole thing took place in less than a second.
Soo....... the bike's basically OK, just a busted turn signal. I'm OK mostly, just bumps and bruises and sore, and one little boo-boo on my right knee (fell to the left... how the heck did I whack the right
knee, I'm wondering?)
1. Mrs. Stark has wanted to get GroPro helmetcams or something similar for awhile. If I'd had one today, I might have captured the license plate of the truck that cut me off. I'd really
like to have a little conversation with that person....
2. Gear works. Wear your gear. ATGATT, folks. My helmet died to save my face. Already ordered a replacement. Jacked and pants are ruffled, but wearable... will be replacing those too as soon as I can get down to Revzilla.
3. Crash bars work. My V-strom has SW Motech engine guards mounted. The engine guard took most of the force of the drop. Only other damage was the left turn signal, and the mount for the left passenger peg is ground down some. I've ordered replacement engine guards - the left side guard was pushed in more than inch. It's mild steel, it's supposed to do that.
4. There was no warning. NO warning. None. Light turned green, we started moving, and 15 feet past the intersection, I was down. I'm an experienced motorcyclist with tens of thousands of miles riding in heavy commuter traffic. By all means, be careful, be vigilant, be skilled.... but the accident that gets you will be the one where you have NO warning. No motorcyclist is immune from this. As they say, there's only two kinds of riders: those who have been down, and those who are going to go down. What we do is risky; know and accept the risks, folks.
5. ABS is cool, and can save your bacon. Unfortunately, 2005 V-strom 1000's didn't have it. Two of our family motorcycles do have it. No way to know for sure, but I've been wondering if I was riding one of our ABS-equipped bikes, maybe I could have avoided the brake lockup.
6. Drivers are crazy. I've been riding since 2004, and there's been a noticeable decrease in the skill level of the general driving public, and a noticeable increase in the insane frantic drive-over-your-own-grandmother hurry. The pickup truck had been next me in the other lane at the red light. How the heck did he not notice a motorcycle in the adjacent lane? A state trooper showed up at the scene, and while we were chatting, two cars got into an altercation with horns honking and brakes screeching -- we were expecting hear a crash any second. The trooper looked at me and said "this is how my day goes, all day every day."
Stay safe, friends.