First of all, lets talk about gear. I definitely started out as an ATGATT person, but as I got more comfortable riding, I would ride without my protective jacket and just a regular jacket. Then I started riding more often with a mall-leather jacket, and this summer I started riding with no jacket at all. Sometimes in only a T-shirt and in this instance, a crop top and overalls.
Here, I was wearing Forever 21 overalls, a thin crop top, my Dianese AirShoe boots, and my helmet. It was about 80 degrees and sunny, so I opted NOT to wear my jacket although it was in my BF’s saddle bag.
My biggest mistake was not wearing my jacket. Because this was a low speed impact (I was going ~15mph and my BF hit me at ~45mph) and there were no other vehicles or obstacles involved, I only suffered from mild road rash on my arm. If I would have hit a car, a post, or slid off of a cliff, I would have had a broken arm or much worse. I got lucky.
Another mistake was not wearing protective riding pants. Now I haven’t invested in protective pants, so I usually ride with a pair of jeans (7 for All Man Kind) which are not that thick. I’ve been eyeing the GoGoGear leggings that are made of Dupont Kevlar and have knee and hip protectors. If I had been wearing those leggings, I could have avoided the gash and road rash on my knee.
All of this could have been avoided if I used my signal! Well, I’m not sure if Felipe would have noticed it, but it would have helped. Also, I should have just kept going straight and turned back around if I knew I wasn’t going to make the left turn at a safe speed. Welp, you know what they say, hindsight is 20/20.
Usually Felipe gives me space, and I as well, but for some reason he was riding really close to me. Give the rider in front of you some distance! Ride staggered too. I have more experience riding in groups, so I am used to riding staggered, but Felipe doesn’t ride in groups often, if ever, so he is a little rusty. We need to make it absolutely clear that he should always be to my right or left (I usually lead) and not directly behind me.
Swerve swerve swerve! When Felipe saw me suddenly slow down, he should have swerved out of the way. It’s one of the fundamental techniques they teach you in the MSF course. If there’s an obstacle on the ground, swerve out of the way.
Getting Back on the Saddle
I would be lying if I said this incidint didn’t have me shook. One of the biggest concerns Felipe had was letting this accident scare me into not riding anymore. For a long time, since we do ride carefully (and slowly thanks to me), I never had a single close call. The thought of getting into an accident had been pushed so far back in my mind. Although we do lane split frequently, we are always careful and ride slowly (I’m usually in 1st/2nd gear).
This accident was a wake up call for me to realize that accidents are bound to happen (regardless of who is at fault) and I need to be prepared. I could die, Felipe could die, or we could end up severely injured in the hospital. I always see posts of GoFundMe links to support a fallen rider with medical/funeral expenses, but not until this incident did it really hit me that this could be me. I could be on the news for blocking the highway and messing up everyone’s work commute. I could be on the newspaper. I could be one of the statistics.
And then I started thinking about what this could mean for my family. My parents live 300+ miles away in Southern California. If I get into an accident, they probably won’t know until a few hours or days after the fact. The stress they would face having to travel, knowing their youngest daughter might have been severely injured, the waiting and wondering would absolutely kill them. I don’t want to put anybody through that.
Is it worth it?
Initially after the accident I didn’t even want to think about motorcycles. I would open Instagram and see my friend’s posts and immediately close the app. I couldn’t look at a motorcycle. I couldn’t even talk about it either. I was so embarrased for a few days that I didn’t tell anyone about what happened, not even my closest friends.
When I went to Vegas the weekend after the accident, I saw a few motorcycles and started to really miss riding. I started talking about my motorcycle to friends and finally told a few of them that I was, in fact, in an accident. It’s kind of hard to hide a scraped knee when you’re by the pool.
Everyday at work I see people from the offices next door coming into the building with their riding gear on, and although it would annoy me at first because they were riding and I wasn’t, I started to REALLY miss riding. Two months after the accident, and once my BF got his bike back, I rode pillion. It wasn’t fun at all and I wanted to be the one on the front seat.
What really got my confidence back was ordering a pair of GoGoGear Kevlar leggings in November and buying my Roland Sands Riot jacket as well. I look forward to the day I can ride again because I have comfortable and stylish gear that I WANT to wear. I WANT to be ATGATT and now I feel like I can comfortably do so.
I should be back on the saddle mid November, so keep your eyes out for an updated post!