By June 27, 2007

Crash test dummy

No, not me — my friend-by-way-of-Starbucks Special K. Special K is a nice fellow, whom I put in the early twenties at most. Very friendly and easy to talk to. As such, it wasn’t long before we spent long periods of time discussing motorcycles. He owns a 1200cc Suzuki Bandit, and it’s his first street bike. According to him, he practically grew up on dirt bikes and ATVs. Despite spending a lot of time on two wheels, Special K is having some difficulties acclimating to road motorcycling. In the two months that we’ve discussed motorcycles, he’s crashed three times. I’m not talking about the new-rider snafus like having your feet go out from under you while pushing the bike backwards, or slipping on a patch of oil at a stoplight. I’m talking about crashing the bike, with injuries and all.

Special K has been working on getting his turns tighter and tighter, which is accomplished by leaning the bike, sometimes at drastic angles. His first wreck was the result of taking a corner too fast, at too steep of an angle, and riding across some loose gravel in the turn. The bike went out from under him, and Special K slid for awhile on the pavement before ending up in the grass. Being a typical rider, Special K was only wearing a helmet, t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. Damage: road rash covering his entire right shoulder, and the majority of his right arm from the mid-forearm to the mid-tricep area. Bike/equipment damage included a completely destroyed helmet, faring (body) damage, and some minor damage to replaceable components that typical fly apart during a crash, such as part of the handlebars, mirror, and footpeg.

Just about when Special was healed up from his first wreck, he managed to dump his bike again. Still working on those high-speed, tight radius turns, Special K dropped onto about eighteen inches of pavement before skipping off into the underbrush again. Instead of learning from his bonk last time and wearing some protective gear, Special K trashed his jeans, his t-shirt, and scored some road rash on his left arm. I’m guessing he bruised his hips both times, but I wasn’t going to ask. There did not appear to be any significant bike damage, especially since Special K decided not to replace the plastic faring bits he destroyed the first time.

The third incident just fucking sucks, and isn’t really his fault. On the way home from his second wreck, one of the footpegs snapped off while riding, sending him down again. Apparently the peg was weakened in the second (maybe even the first) crash, and came clean off. I can’t imagine the size of the brick I would shit if all of the sudden my footpeg came off and I was headed to Crashyland.

Now, eating shit on a motorcycle is considered more of an eventuality than something that can be avoided entirely. I’m not sure if I believe that 100%, but I do believe shit happens that is beyond our control. This is why I wear protective gear at all times, and try to avoid high-traffic areas at high-traffic times of the day. Nevertheless, it makes me wonder why riders like Special K don’t invest in some protective gear. The cost of the designer jeans he detonated would have covered the cost of a pair of textile overpants, or even a pair of leather riding pants if he timed a sale right. My summertime leather jacket and leather pants cost me about $325. While that is a lot of money to spend on gear when you are making about $8 an hour, it’s still better than sustaining a severe road rash injury or worse.

When I asked Special K if his incidents would prompt him to buy some gear, he replied to the negative. “I just like the feeling of riding with as little on as possible. I think wearing gear would take away from the experience.”

I hope you have enough skin on you by this time next year to enjoy it, Special K. Also, please make sure your motorcycle insurance isn’t through State Farm. 😉

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Posted in: motorcycling

3 Comments on "Crash test dummy"

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  1. RawCode says:

    You have interesting pseudo-friends. 😉

  2. Ed says:

    Actually, being that most likely the peg was weakened by the first two crashes, you could probably argue the third crash was his fault too.

    Amazing, road rash usually teaches people to wear protection for a few weeks at least. I hope he hasn’t bred yet, this is a chance to get one out of the gene pool…

  3. BushPutin says:

    I was riding my Honda CBR600 (many years ago) on the back roads of Marin County CA. I was an impetuous youth who really hated the slow ass tourists in the area and I hit a nice stretch of straight road with about a dozen of these f*ing tourists all doing about 20 MPH. 20!!!

    Fuck that I was on a crotch rocket from hell! So I dropped it down to 2nd gear and laid it flat out. I passed all the tourists in about 3 seconds flat.

    It was a HUGE rush. Just as I was swinging back into my lane the face plate of my helmet whipped right off and I was instantly blinded since I was doing about 120 – 130 Mps at the time.

    I have _no idea_ how I managed to not down the bike, but I instantly slowed and pulled off the road. I spent about 40 minutes trying to convince myself to get back on the bike and go the hell home. Which I did. I haven’t been on one since (boo..).