Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I Got Into Heavy Metal this Summer
It's kind of interesting to think that I was leaning like normal on all the curves on I-5 between downtown and our house. Thankfully I made it home before the tire went flat.
An engineer at one of the hospitals in Portland was returning home a few weeks ago from a 10 day road trip in Canada with some friends. They were just outside Wenatchee, WA and he was in the lead on his 09 Honda ST1300. At this point when he tells the story he says he was on the downhill side of a hill. He noticed something ambling on the side of the road but it didn't register with him what it was. As he kept watching, it made a change in course and was now heading to cross the road. About the time he thought to himself, "That's a bear!"... he hit it.
The next guy behind him was near the top of the hill and had a panoramic view of the whole incident. He would later say that it looked like the two of them were on tracks and were meant to collide. This is what we all learned in our motorcycle safety class as "target fixation". I'm thinking though that it would be pretty hard not look at a bear ambling on the side of the road. Probably the best bet would be to slow way down or even stop.
After the impact the motorcycle low-sided. The rider separated from the bike and did a combination of sliding, rolling, and basically flying around like a rag-doll. The guy who had the view said he thought he was dead. He said the bear was knocked into the air and landed back on the side of the road. He attempted to get up then fell back down and died.
The rider was very fortunate. He broke his throttle wrist, cracked a rib, and his big toe on his left foot was swollen. All of his gear did the job it was intended to do including his Draggin' Jeans with Kevlar inserts. He has a plate in his wrist and is looking forward to riding again.
When you think back on close calls that you've had in life do you sometimes wonder how you managed to get through them? I've had at least two incidents where I shouldn't be here and those weren't on a motorcycle. And then there are countless close calls we're not even aware of.
Anyway, keep checking your tires and watch for furry critters along the roadside.