After 3 1/2 years of motorcycle riding, "when not if" happened, and I laid down the Vectrix.
A few week ago it started lightly raining right after I left on my lunchtime commute; I have ridden in these conditions many times before, although never by choice. It had not rained here for a long time, and I was expecting the streets to be slick so I was being extremely cautious. I kept my speeds down, and steered around corners as much as possible instead of leaning, trying to keep mass centered over the tires.
I made a right turn onto a street that has a rough, uneven gap between the concrete of the intersection, and the asphalt of the subsequent roadway. I am leery of the surface of this intersection in dry weather, so I was being extra cautious and slow as I went through it... ...and AFTER I exited the turn, the rear wheel lost contact, and suddenly, immediately, the bike twisted onto its side beneath me, low-siding to the right.
Unlike other events I have experienced, there was no skid or slide or chance to correct, the rear tire completely lost all traction and the bike fell like it had been dropped.
I always see accidents in slow-motion, but it happened faster than I could track; one moment I'm riding, the next I am sliding on the ground, saying "WTF?". I was completely stunned to have fallen, at that moment I thought I had done everything possible to make it through that intersection safely. Contrary to what someone else here posted about themself, I did not find the experience in any way enlightening.
I landed on top of the bike instead of under it, probably because instead of my usual laid back seating, I was poised up high for responsive handling due to the rain. After landing, my right knee and foot caught the ground, which dragged me off the bike as it spun away, and I heard the whirr of the rear wheel way too close. I could have shattered my knee in the fall, so I was lucky I landed on the bike first. the brief slide wore through my shoe, shoelace, and sock, but stopped just short of skin.
Somehow I scraped my left elbow on my jacket's armour, but the jacket itself did not have a mark on it, and my helmet never touched down.
By far my worst injury was a torn left hamstring, like I had done a split in the direction of 10:00.
Maybe the footboard jammed my leg upwards when the bike went sideways when it dropped, maybe I hyperextended when I fell on top of it, or maybe when the bike spun out from underneath me it forced my leg up.
Because I carried so little speed into the turn, the bike only spun once and ended up 5 feet away from me; had I been going faster I would have slid into traffic waiting at the light, or maybe overcorrected, highsided, and ended up between the bike and the cars. I crawled to the curb and then it took me a few trys to stand up - when only the quadraceps seemed to be working, I instantly recognized a torn hamstring because I had the same injury on my right leg 33 years ago. I was able to hobble after making my bad leg rigid by locking my quads.
Adrenaline was flowing, so even with one good leg I was able to stand the 500lb bike right up, but a bystander had to help me with the kickstand which was on the other side. I was embarrassed by the crowd that was now watching me, and wanted desperately to be somewhere else. Someone wanted to call 911, I pictured an ambulance, then my bike on a tow truck, then a police lot, and declined.
I had been sitting on the bike a few moments; I got off, stood the bike up, and managed to get my good right leg over the seat. Then I then grabbed the knee of my pants and used it to lift my useless left leg up onto the footboard. I made it home that way, right foot down instead of left at stops, hoping desperately that I would not go down again. We immediately put the hamstring on ice, moving it around for a half hour soeverything was well chilled. I ignored my wife's admonishments to go to the Emergency room, until I tried to walk to the rest room but got too dizzy to make it there, which had me worried about internal bleeding. At the ER, X-rays and urine test came back clear, and the painkiller, slow to arrive, brought blessed relief.
I was out of work for a week, but worse it interrupted my walking routine - for the last 6.5 months, I've been getting my age 50+ posterior up well before sunrise and walking the beach, every single day. Most days I do (3) miles and (18) stories up and down, but I go further on weekends -- I had just completed a 3.5 hour/10-mile walk, 68 stories up and down, on the Sunday before my crash. I am convinced this routine will help me stay healthy enough get the most out of my retirement, and I really miss that walk now. Being able to maintain the walk is so important that I am considering giving up commuting on motorcycles to keep from jeapordizing it.
Anyone want to buy a Vectrix upgraded to a high-capacity LiFePO4 pack?
I went back and took some pictures of the intersection where I crashed. I expect I crossed from concrete to asphalt somewhere along the red line. Note the darker area, where they filled in the biggest hole with some asphalt. The pictures sort of flatten out the dropoff, but you can see where the asphalt is cracked from car tires dropping off the concrete and onto the asphalt. The silver car is where a line of traffic was waiting to turn left when I crashed.
A closer view.
And another angle.
Please ignore these duplicate images: