What it’s like to crash a motorcycle – Head-on collision


It depends on what type of crash you have. I was in a head-on collision with a car. It’s not fun and it happens really fast. There is no time to do anything. You just see the car coming towards you and then you are flying through the air. When you hit the ground you might be lucky and start rolling instead of sliding.

Overview

This post is a bit different from the others I usually do, but I figured that if you are new to riding, you should know what you are getting yourself into.

Of course, I still ride, and my accident wasn’t related to speeding or error from myself or the driver of the other vehicle.

You could call it a freak accident. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

WARNING: Some images may be upsetting for sensitive viewers

The day before I crashed

I think it was a long weekend because we were at the clubhouse Thursday night discussing whether we should leave on Friday or Saturday. Ether way, we decided to leave Saturday morning before the sun rises.

Mathew had put some Youtube videos on for us to watch and it somehow ended up in motorcycle accident videos for some reason. 

We started talking about what we read in the newspapers that week because apparently there was a sudden increase in crashes all over the country with multiple fatalities.

Mathew was one of the members in the club and was also the one who was got me into the club scene. At that time, I was just a friend of the club and didn’t know much about clubs at all.

Mathew remarked later that night that he had a bad feeling about our ride. I thought it was because of what we talked about earlier and the videos that came on with the autoplay.

So I just thought to myself that it’s just all of those things that made him more aware of his mortality. I didn’t think much of it at the time.

It was just myself and Mathew who was going to ride the next day, so we decided not to stay up too late. I had a bit of a tough week behind me and was glad to get a bit of sleep.

The start of our journey

Both of us slept at the club the previous night so we could leave early and not have to worry about meeting up somewhere. I had my own bed there and some other stuff I might need as I usually worked behind the bar on weekends.

I made my way downstairs and saw the red light shining over my bikes engine from underneath the fuel tank. I walked by and turned the lights on to make us some coffee.

I don’t know if Mathew was awake before me, but I just gave a knock on his door to let him know we need to get ready.

After coffee, we got our stuff packed and also had a quick shower. It was still dark, but we both needed to be in the capital by the afternoon, so we didn’t really have a choice.

I had spent the previous day polishing my bike and was very determined to try out my new tail bag that made my bike look very short and sexy.

The bike was by far the most beautiful I had ever owned. It was a Kawasaki Z750.

In the tail bag I had a 5L jerry can because it was a long stretch, and if I was travelling at a higher speed, I probably wouldn’t make it on a single tank between towns.

So at about 5 AM, I think, we started our journey to the capital. Even though it was pitch dark, we didn’t hold back too much; we still put on a good pace.

Mathew was leading because he had better headlights on his BMW and also because he was Roadcaptain int the club, so it would just make sense that he was in front.

I remember one of the cars we passed speeded up and trying to overtake us again. I kinda raged on him with my bad mouth, but of coarse the dude couldn’t hear me.

If it wasn’t so dark, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all, but having these lights right on your ass makes it feel like he’s going to hit me any second.

I don’t know what he wanted to prove because my speedo just stops showing my speed at 299kph and I know by the sound of the car he can’t even reach close to that speed.

Anyways, I put my indicator on as if I was pulling off and let go of the throttle a little. He eventually passed, and I could carry on again.

The road was very straight most of the time and we didn’t have too much traffic so we stuck to a good pace but we intended to speed up a little when the sun came out.

The almost fatal crash

We were about 25 miles from the nearest town where we would refuel for the first time. The sun had started lighting up the sky but wasn’t out behind the surrounding mountains yet.

We were on a bit of a downhill and traffic was picking up so we weren’t doing the speed that we intended but we had made good progress and everything seemed fine.

We were behind a huge 18 wheeler that was doing about 60 mph and we didn’t get much room to pass because the oncoming traffic was spread out.

For those that don’t know, the Road Captain will usually wait for a chance where everyone can pass safely in one go, but if it isn’t possible, he’ll give a signal that he’s going forward and you shouldn’t feel pressured to pass with him.

So this is exactly what happened; Mathew passed and I decided to wait a bit because my bike was a lot faster on the straights in comparison to his Dakar 650, and I might end up rear-ending him if I push too much to get around the truck.

So after I saw him turning in, I banked to my lane again and waited for the oncoming car to pass. Obviously the car was out of my view for a while blocked by the truck in front of me.

When the car was visible to me again, it was right next to the truck as you would expect, but I clearly saw the car on the edge of the road and at that specific part the shoulder was extremely small and the tar was about two inches above the ground right next to it.

I saw the front wheel of the car leave the road and started pulling the car off. The driver obviously panicked and tried getting back onto the road but it didn’t help because both front wheels started sliding.

The car left the road completely and the rear end started coming out; pointing the front of the car directly at me. Soon the front wheels hit the tar again and had grip propelling the whole two-ton body of steel right into me and my bike.

This all happened well under a second. There was no time to think “brakes” or “s#!t”. It was so fast there is nothing anyone could have done to get out of there.

We drive on the left side of the road so the oncoming car hit me on my right at I guess a 45° angle. We were both doing 60mph in almost opposite directions so you can imagine the impact present at that moment.

The car hit me on my right leg but and I instantly flung over; airborne with the car going right underneath me. My bike was twirling right behind me according to a witness in the car behind me.

I remember hitting the ground and started rolling. I thought to myself that I need to keep my arms in or the will break as I roll over them. I tried doing this but I was rolling so fast that I couldn’t keep them at my chest as I wanted to.

It felt like forever that I was rolling over the road and I thought to myself “Is it ever going to stop?”

Eventually, I did. I was lying on the ground next to the road wondering if Mathew knew what had happened. I saw the truck that was in front of me going on. I tried moving a little bit just to feel if anything was broken.

I didn’t feel any pain. I figured it’s probably not that bad so I sat upright. I was a bit confused about what had happened.

I saw my bike lying a few feet away from me but my visor was so scratched I couldn’t see in what state it was.

That was when I heard Mathew’s bike coming along. He had realised that I had taken too long to pass the truck and turned around. My first thought was “I shouldn’t keep him waiting”.

I tried standing up to get my bike so we can carry on with our journey. But I heard him screaming “Stay down and don’t move!”

I didn’t say anything, I just did as he told me because I wasn’t feeling so good all of a sudden. Some other people also stopped to help and they brought me blankets because I said I was getting cold.

Nobody said much about my leg and I couldn’t see much because my helmet was still on, but when the car smashed into me it ripped off all my flesh on the outside and it was basically just bone from under my knee to where my short boot was.

I didn’t know in what condition I was, and the reality of almost dying wasn’t at all in my mind. I was losing a lot of blood really fast.

The fact that I thought I could maybe get my bike up and continue riding made no sense. But I didn’t see how my bike was tumbling on behind me as I was rolling over the road.

Anyone who saw only the car would have believed I was dead without a dought. The front of the car was completely caved in and wasn’t worth restoring at all.

This was the side the car had hit me. The piece of shiny metal strip sticking out the front was part of the car. You can also see the timing chain hanging out over the engine case.

What I remembered after the crash

I remember a lot of people around me trying to make me comfortable and calling my family to tell them what had happened and what hospital I was likely going to. I was starting to get really cold as we were waiting for the ambulance.

They didn’t move me except for taking off my boot and also putting one of my jackets behind my head even though my helmet was still on.

Eventually, the ambulance arrived; they had a long way to get to me. They had a stretcher that I hadn’t seen before; it was split in half and connected underneath me as they carefully moved my body to one side and then to the other.

I crossed my arms on my chest to make myself more rigid. I don’t know if it helped; they didn’t say anything about it.

They got me in the ambulance and Mathew climbed in with me leaving both our bikes in the hands of someone who stopped there that he knew pretty well.

It wasn’t long before I passed out. I don’t remember anything about being in the local hospital their but they soon decided after giving me blood that I needed a specialist to look at my leg so they sent me to the capital.

I was sent to a private hospital with some of the best doctors in the country. I woke up again when we arrived at the hospital. I remember seeing my brother and I also spoke to someone on the phone.

After that, I passed out again. In that trip, I had received about one and a half gallons of blood.

I woke up again when they took me through the scanner (I don’t remember what type it was). But they injected something into my bloodstream that burned like hell when I went through the machine.

That was the last time I was awake.

I woke up

I was out for a couple of days, but when I woke up I was staring at the doctor who was smiling at me. My brother and sister were also there. Mathew had to go back after we arrived at the hospital to get the bikes sorted out but was on his way again to see how I was doing.

My parents were still in the US and couldn’t get to me as soon as the others. But my brother had told them I was fine and it wasn’t necessary to come, which wasn’t a complete lie as I was still alive. They came anyway.

I was still in ICU and was under a heavy dose of morphine. Whenever I dozed off I would imagine walking out of the hospital to have a smoke. It looked so real; I could see every detail of the flowers in front of the entrance. But it never happened. I never got up; it was all my imagination.

Only later did I realise my whole leg was enclosed in some seethrough plastic with pipes running out of them that connected to a machine standing on the floor. It was sucking out all the air because there wasn’t any skin or flesh on that one side of my leg.

But this morphine stuff was so weird; I looked at the patterns on the curtains and it was making some 3D images of motorcycles turning around. And there was a painting on the wall that had zebras in it. At night they would move around and some lions also came in hunting them (there were no lions in the painting).

I was visited by a skin specialist and also a young female physiotherapist that had me do some exercises to get the stuff in my lungs to loosen up. This included blowing into a bottle of water with a straw.

What the doctor told me

The doctor told me that according to the books they were supposed to amputate my leg but he took a chance. I was really thankful for this decision he made. The chances of losing my leg were still very high and they needed the flesh to grow around the bone before they could do a skin transplant.

I started thinking about one of the members in the club who had lost his leg and later started crying not because of what happened to me but because I imagined what he had gone through.

His situation was different from mine; his girlfriend was with him in the accident. She didn’t make it.

I guess the morphine was partly responsible for my emotions going into such an overload, but I think it was exactly what I needed at the time. I didn’t fear losing my own life, but how do you live knowing you survived and someone you loved didn’t.

I got out of ICU

I was probably in ICU for a week, I don’t really know how long it was. They moved me to the B wing on a bed so all I saw then was the ceiling and the lights as I was being transported.

I had my own room that was really nice since I’m not a people type of person, although, there was a lot of people coming to visit from time to time.

One of the people who came to visit was the pastor of the biker’s church who I hadn’t met before. We talked about some stuff and he seemed really cool.

He wasn’t like any of the other pastors I’ve met before in my life; he was very much like any other biker in many ways and didn’t have this holy posture to him that made me feel uncomfortable. The only difference between me and him seemed to be his purpose in life.

I didn’t have much of a purpose back then; there wasn’t anything I was living for. That only changed when I had a family of my own.

For the next few weeks, I was still doing exercises and had a skin transplant as the flesh was growing back quite well. I was so annoyed by this machine I had to carry around with me all the time. I was glad to get rid of it once the transplant was complete.

So the next step was to learn how to walk again because the nervous system in my leg was badly damaged and I couldn’t lift my toes anymore.

It was difficult to get the hang of it and I was scared of falling because I had fallen once before trying to move around in my room. But sure enough, I started getting the hang of it and exactly 100 days after the accident I was working again.

The next step

I see myself as fortunate; I was supposed to be dead, I was supposed to lose my leg, I was supposed to never be able to lift my toes again, but I can.

Today I’m walking around like nothing ever happened. I don’t think I walk funny, at least not funnier than before the accident.

Something to add that you might not like after reading this story; I bought a new bike while I was still in the hospital.

You could call me crazy but I know that nothing will ever make me stop riding. Obviously, I’m much more careful and wouldn’t take risks while a loved one is with me on the road.

We don’t know when it’s our last day, so I believe living every day like it’s your last isn’t that bad.

Final words

I hope you gained something reading this post. You might also like to read one of these posts: How to live on a motorcycle – A helpful guide, or Cop pulled me over on my bike – what I should have done

I always try to keep my articles interesting and informative. And I’m always thankful when they are shared on social media platforms or Pinterest.

Two Motion

I don’t see myself as an expert in every topic of motorcycling but my articles usually relate to new experiences that are relevant at the time of writing.

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