Motorcycle Wreck Diary
10 Years After

  At 1015 on 11 May 1999, a 78-year old woman driving a Ford Taurus ran over me and my motorcycle. It was not an "accident" - it was a collision caused by an inattentive driver.

My left leg broke horribly; my jagged tibia pierced the skin to boot. I also received tons of bruises, cuts, scrapes, and burns.

At the time, I rode a 1996 Honda Shadow (VT1100C), a big, YELLOW AND WHITE cruiser bike. I wore a full-face YELLOW helmet and had my headlight on (as always).

The woman that ran over me got cited for Failure to Yield the Right of Way and paid a $75 fine. She was not made to take an eye exam or to surrender her driver's license.

I got 3 operations, pain that hasn't ended since that day, a souvenir titanium rod that was in my tibia (pulled out & replaced by a larger one that is more or less permanent). I still walk with a noticable limp when I'm tired or it's cold outside.

Oh, and I almost forgot: I also got to spend the better part of a year learning how to walk again. Loads of fun, that.

I got a new bike not long after, a 1999 Suzuki Bandit 1200, and I still ride today (though not the Bandit). I've been criticized by more than a few people for continuing to ride after the collision, but I figure people get maimed and killed in/by cars every day and those victims and witnesses (at least the ones that are alive) continue to drive/ride in cars.

It was a pretty traumatic shift in my day-to-day life, and has certainly affected my outlook on life.

I have two very vivid memories of that day:

  • I'm lying on the gurney in the hallway behind the emergency room. The paramedics had put all my gear (soaked through with gasoline, as was I) under the gurney and the smell started to bother the other people in the ER. They kept moving me farther and farther away until finally somebody just moved me out into the hall.
  • The second: After I'd been in the hallway for several hours, a nurse finally addressed my constant begging for some medication to help with the considerable pain by shooting me up with some morphine. Good stuff, I felt better very quickly and could finally relax. I guess this was about 3 p.m. or so. Not long after, the orthopedic resident came by to check out my leg. He small-talked me to make sure I was still coherent, then lifted the sheet to look at my leg. "Oh God," he said. "I'm gonna have to call my boss."
Well, it makes me laugh NOW.
I don't have an old picture of this part of my leg, but look at the pic in the frame directly above this one, you can just see this on the right edge of the photo.

1996 Honda Shadow VT1100C - purchased as NOS with 2 miles on it.

1995 BMW R1100GS - purchased used with 9,147 miles on it.