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Dodging the Roadkill: Why We Crash

Dodging the Roadkill - A Biker's JourneyClarksville, TN – Anybody who has ever crashed on a motorcycle is lucky to have “lived to tell the tale.”   The one thing I’ve learned about laying it down is the questions about “what happened” never go away.  

“But I’m a good rider” we say.  “I wasn’t doing anything stupid” we say.  The reality is just that “shit” happens.  Both times I’ve laid a bike down, it was “pilot error.”  I simply was trying to do too much and lost control.  Bottom line. 

If you’ve ever been hit by another vehicle, or a deer, or simply something in the road, you have a clear cut explanation for your accident.  Most of the time, there are questions.  I second guessed myself for weeks about it. 

Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle Crash

I read an interesting study conducted by Virginia Tech University.  You can read it here. 

They studied 100 motorcycles, having equipped them with video cameras, and data logging equipment and recorded over 360,000 miles to help determine why we crash.  It’s an interesting study and while it’s interesting reading, I don’t think it tells us anything we didn’t already know.   

When I left Texas last week, I left at 5:00am.  The exact time EVERYBODY warned me about riding my motorcycle.  I couldn’t sleep the night before and I just couldn’t sit around waiting for daybreak, so I took off. 

As I rode through the Texas darkness, my eyes were constantly scanning the horizon for “critters” and objects in the road.  To say I was “anxious” would be an understatement.  But it was SO invigorating and my adrenaline was at a fever pitch. 

The bottom line is that something could happen in broad daylight just as it could at dusk, and your ability to react to it would be about the same.  It was sort of creepy and while I didn’t encounter any issues, I would occasionally pass a couple of deer just standing along the side of the road.  Staring at me. Waiting for me to pass (I think). 

Spooky!

It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, and I’m contradicting myself by admitting it, but both of my “incidents” happened in broad daylight and they could have been more serious than they were.  I take it as a blessing and move on.  I don’t stress about it, I just ride.  The “what happened” moments are always with me, but they don’t paralyze me.  

All the studies in the world won’t change the fact that we live on the edge when we ride.  The only thing we can do is be as careful as we can and to not twist the throttle with our ego.

On a motorcycle, we don’t need to write checks we can’t cash. 

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