My Crash (a look back)


Sent: Monday, October 25, 1999 12:41 PM

To: FJ Mailing List; CJ; John Robinson; Timothy W. Foreman; Bil!; Al Angen; Joe Wivoda; ldrider

Subject: I said I was next.. and I was!

Looking at our "group FJ" photo this spring (or was it last fall?) I remember noticing the sequence of bikes. First, Tony Munich's Second, Bill Charette's Next in line was mine, and I remember saying it freaked me out just a little (although I'm generally not a superstitious person). A bit of history for those of you who don't know: Tony Munich crashed his bike in June of 1997 during the MN1K, Bill crashed his FJ in the spring of 1998 (or was it 1999?).

(From right to left - Tony's FJ, Bill Charette's FJ, My FJ, Jeff Bixby's FJ, and ??? - click for a larger image)

Well, well well... I94 Westbound, rush-hour traffic, heading in to work. Things are getting a little gummed up as people manuever to get into the right-hand lane for the 11th street exit. I check over my shoulder to make sure that there is a gap big enough for me to pull in. I notice that there is a black Lexis-like vehicle coming up fast from behind in the right lane -- angling to fill in the gap, rather than letting us all merge. As I look forward again, I'm surprised to see that the red Chevy Nova ahead of me is no longer moving -- at least, not fast enough to make a difference.

I put the brakes on, and started trying to weave a bit to get around her, but at a relative speed of about 30 mph and being (at the point I noticed her) only about 5 feet back, there wasn't much I could do. The front wheel hit her rear bumper and tipped the bike quickly and firmly onto it's left side.

BAM! I remember shouting in my helmet something like "SHIT! GODDAMMN IT, FUCK!" as I sorta bounced off of the bike and tumbled over a few times.

Considering the angle at which I hit the road, I was real surprised how quickly my helmet was slammed onto the road. A quick, sharp WHAM in the front-left. Frightening to think what the effect sans-helmet would have been.

As I'm tumbling, I hear tires squealing all over the place, and my next thought (right after: fuck, I actually crashed the bike after 14 years of riding with NO tipovers) was that I was going to get run over by a car. I sat up - quickly, and looked around - the traffic "behind" me had all stopped so I was relatively safe there in the road. I'd had the wind knocked out of me and couldn't catch my breath.

A guy shouted out of his car window "are you all right?" but I couldn't get out the words. I finally gasped out a pathetic "help me" while making a "come over here" motion with my arm, and lay back down in the road. WOW,there were people around me in an instant. The woman whose car I hit had come back to make sure I was okay. Another person had pulled the FJ over to the side of the road, and had his cell phone out, asking if there was anyone he could call for me. A doctor showed up almost instantly and started checking me for serious injuries. NOT A ONE even attempted to take my helmet off. Everyone (myself included) figured that it was best to leave it on.

I lay there on the pavement as the guy with the phone called my wife to wake her up and tell her that I was laying in the middle of I94. I'd seriously pulled some muscles in my back, and I'd scuffed my left thigh and hip as I buzzed along the road. Thank goodness for the nice leather jacket, the gloves, the helmet, and the big bulbous GIVI bags which had the nice function of keeping the 575lbs of the FJ from crushing my leg. I remember in the middle of all this thinking about how fragile the glass on the PalmPilot screens is. I pulled out my PalmPilot from my front-hand pocket of my Hein Gericke Concord jacket and was pleased to see that it functioned just fine. The people standing around me probably thought I was going into some weird state of shock. In all honesty though, I realized that I wasn't badly injured and what else was there to do while waiting for the ambulance?

The paramedics showed up, asked me all sorts of questions. We determined that I was actually pretty much alright, 'cept for my muscles in my back. BUT, they strapped me to the back-board and loaded me into the ambulance. The state trooper on the scene was nice enough to get my laptop out of one of the GIVIs so it wouldn't be parked overnight waiting to get stolen. I tell ya, the most uncomfortable part of the whole ordeal was being stuck to that backboard while riding into the hospital. If I'd been allowed to simply sit upright I would have felt much better, but I understood why they were being so cautious and didn't fight it.

A quick visit to the Hennepin County Medical Center, and I'm given a lookover, then they scrubbed out the scuffs to my kneecaps (using something like a wire vegetable brush), gave me some tylenol w/ codiene, and my wife takes my sorry rear end out to the car and drives me home.

And here I am now, 3 hours post-accident. I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky to by typing this from home, rather than telling everyone about it a few weeks later, after being let out of some ICU somewhere. But I'm still kinda sad about screwing up the FJ. Take care, everyone. It's a jungle out there.