Screech... Crunch! Tinkle, Tinkle...  

rm_95Renegade 51M
110 posts
9/12/2006 11:27 am

Last Read:
10/7/2006 7:59 pm

Screech... Crunch! Tinkle, Tinkle...

On the way home from work this morning I was traveling west in bumper to bumper traffic trying to enter the base. Well, technically, I was fender to bumper because I was on a motorcycle. We were doing about 30-35mph in a 40mph zone. Apparently, the driver of the car in front of me wasn’t paying attention because I hear screeching tires and look up to see puffs of white smoke coming from her sliding tires. (Aren’t most new cars these days supposed to have anti-lock brakes?) Anyway, I also hear the inevitable CRUNCH, tinkle, tinkle… It turns out the car in front of her was trying to turn into the McDonald’s parking lot instead of following the rest of the cars around the bend to enter the base gate.

So after 32 years of motorcycle driving experience my eyes immediately go to my left side mirror and I now have a split-second decision to make. It is amazing how much information the human brain can process at once. In the split second it took for me to see what was happening in front of me and then glance in my mirror, my brain had already calculated my chances of getting out of this incident unscathed.

Here is a peek inside the brain of a motorcycle rider with 32 years driving experience:

“What the? What’s going on up there? Smoke, screeching… This isn’t good, ok there is a curb to the right, not a good escape, can’t keep going forward, gonna get messy. The two lanes on the left look clear but the signal just 20 yards away is red and there are cars stopped in both lanes at the light. Oncoming traffic in the two oncoming lanes, not a good place to be… Gonna have to make an emergency stop…”

About this time, I reach for the brake and clutch but engage neither as my brain is still processing information.

“Check the mirror, dummy… Don’t drop the bike, road rash isn’t good… If you have to take the impact, do it in an upright position, don’t slide under the back of the car. Boy, this is gonna hurt. I wonder if I’ll be able to contact my son’s school in time to let them know I’ll be late picking him up. Haven’t been in an accident in years. Wonder what friends at work are going to think.”

About this time my eyes reach the left side mirror and I can see the car behind me is close enough that I could just about reach back and touch his grill. There are also cars approaching quickly in the two westbound non-turning lanes on my left.

“Ok, stopping is out of the question unless I want to get rear-ended. More deaths are caused that way than any other. If you’re going left you better hurry, those cars are coming pretty fast. Do something, dummy! Break left! break left!

So, I cracked the throttle and broke hard left, entered the first westbound non-turning lane and began to stand the bike back up.

“The light is red… Damn the red light! Damn the cops!; A traffic ticket is better than broken bones! But there are cars stopped at the red light a mere 30 feet ahead and I’m moving closer to 45mph now. Do something, dummy! Accident to the right, can’t go that way, cars approaching from the rear, cars in both oncoming lanes, cars stopped at the light in both lanes just ahead, damn this is gonna hurt! Did I remember to update my will? Whose going to take care of my son when I’m gone? There goes my plan to go back to college. There goes my dream at finishing my college football career. “

“Damn it! You aren’t dead yet!!! This isn’t over!!! Do something, dummy!! Break left! Break left!”

So again, I leaned the bike to the left a bit and stood it back up, zipping cleanly mere inches between the two cars that were stopped in front of me and I ran the light. Thankfully, no cars were making the turn out of the base heading east. I drove on about half a mile, shaking...

“Dear Lord, if you’re listening, thank you for the experiences you’ve taught me. Thank you for giving me a way out and the ability to use it. Lord, thank you for being there for me when I need you.”

I turned the bike around and came back to the light this time from West to East; had to make a left turn into the base gate instead of a right. By this time, one of the gate guards had walked down the hill from the gate to assist in the accident. The other guard was standing just my side of the gatehouse shaking his head as I approached. I stopped the bike and put it in neutral gear then lifted my helmet visor so the guard could see my eyes.

“Pretty slick driving there, Dude.” He said.

“Thanks,” I said as I showed him the military Id that was strapped in a see-through armband around my left upper arm. “I thought it was going to get messy there for a second.”

“Alright, Dude,” he said. “Have a nice day”. The guard was smiling from ear to ear.

“Thanks,” I said, unable to contain my own grin as I put the bike back in gear. “It’s looking pretty good so far.” Then I drove through the gate.

Anyone out there ride a motorcycle in city traffic? How many years experience do you have riding motorcycles? Have you had similar experiences as the one I’ve just described? What went through your mind as the situation unfolded?

VCF1962 106F

9/12/2006 12:21 pm

I think after that escapade, I'll stick with the can on wheels ! I think the outside world is probably safer for others if I stay that way !!

Mistress Innuendo
Taking what you say and turning it into something naughty !!

rm_95Renegade replies on 9/21/2006 9:31 am:
Ah, come on now... Where's that sense of adventure?! In 1989 a car pulled out in front of me on my bike and I hit him at approximately 65 miles per hour. I lost 3 upper front teeth (now have permanent bridge), broke my jaw (wired shut for six weeks), broke my right wrist and was bruised on just about every part of my body. Fortunately, no road rash because I didn't fly over the car.

I got $27,000 from StateFarm and I used part of the money to buy a Kawasaki Ninja 600R and was riding it to work with my jaw still wired and the cast still on my right arm...

Personally, I think life is too short to not live it to its fullest. Of course there is a fine line between living and being insane and sometimes people tell me I flirt with it...

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