Whenever I would ride my mind would inevitably picture what a crash would be like. I’d think about falling to the side, getting scraped up, how it might feel to hit the pavement at a high speed. Then I’d stop and force myself not to think about such things.
Now that I have crashed I can say it’s nothing like what I imagined.
First of all, it happens so fast you really can’t take in what’s going on. From the moment I hit the brakes to when I stopped moving was a total blank. The only thing I can remember is thinking, “oh, there goes my head bouncing off the ground… oh, again.” So fast.
It was International Female Ride day, May 3rd, three weeks ago. A bunch of us met up at Alice’s at the juncture of Routes 35 and 84 near Woodside, California. There were roughly 40 of us who RSVP-ed to the event. Afterwards we split up into small groups heading to Moto Shop. I was with six or seven ladies on the way back.
While we were riding something got into my right eye so I pulled over to remove it. None of the ladies behind me stopped. I’d like to interject here, that this is very bad motorcycle etiquette. Always, always, always stop if you see another motorcyclist pulled over. This is a very simple rule to follow.
Anyway, I got left behind. I continued on and thought I was going the right way, but I really wasn’t. I pulled over to consult my phone and see where I needed to go. Thinking I figured it out, I circled back and rode on. I must have been heading south on Route 9 which, by the way, was the wrong way.
As I was coming around one of the big sweeping turns a white van started to turn left in front of me. He hesitated, then continued turning anyway. HE TURNED ANYWAY! I slammed on my brakes which caused me to lose control of the bike. It skidded around and I fell on my left side. I bounced around on the pavement like a rag doll, noting that my head hit the ground twice. (Here’s the drawing from the police report, I’m V-2)
When I stopped rolling I was facing my bike which was still sliding away from me. I sat up and started crying and yelling, “why did you do that? Why!?!?!?” I might have also punched the pavement with my right hand — the left arm didn’t feel so good. I also remember thinking, “great, there goes my week.” See, my mom and aunt were coming to visit for the first time in the eight years I’ve been in the Bay Area. They came for my wedding, but it was a super short stay and I didn’t get to show them around. I was so looking forward to showing off my city and now it was ruined.
The man from the van stopped and got me out of the road. The woman behind him had pulled over and was waving at traffic to make sure no one ran me over. He also called the ambulance. I think he was hauling a wine tour in the van, because they were pulling into the driveway of a winery.
I sat in the driveway and cried, eventually calming down. Then I just sat there staring straight ahead. When I tried to use my right hand it was very shaky. I must have been in shock. My shoulder, side, knee and ankle all hurt on the left side.
One of the man’s passengers sat with me on the driveway. I asked her to call my husband for me — I still had my helmet on and earplugs in. I got my iPhone into her hands and she just looked at it puzzled. Her iPhone was sitting on the ground right in front of her. I said, “you know how to use an iPhone, right?” She found the phone icon and I directed her to my husband’s number. When she got him on the phone she said, “your wife was in a motorcycle accident, but she’s ok, nothing is broken. She did really well, she did the right thing. She tucked and rolled.” WTF? Why was she saying all that? And how does she know nothing is broken? None of it mattered! I only wanted her to say I was in an accident, I’m ok and I’ll let him know what hospital I’m at later. Apparently she was breaking up anyway because we were in the mountains, but he got the gist of it. I ended up texting him more useful information with my shaky right hand.
Finally the ambulance came. They secured my neck then removed my helmet and immediately put me in a neck brace. Then laid me down and began to remove all my leathers. It took a while, asking questions and feeling for broken parts, but eventually we got in the ambulance and headed to the hospital.
I ended up with a broken collarbone, a very bad knee laceration with five stitches, my left torso was all bruised up, my big toe on my left foot has a blood blister and my left ankle is sprained. The first week was extremely difficult and full of pain. The knee and collarbone were the worst, both hurting a lot in their own unique ways. But I’m on the mend at week three and feeling much better.