2013 Motorcycle Accident - By Tom Lloyd

After 50 years of owning and riding motorcycles, my first and last accident occurred Friday the 13th on my like-new 2007 Kawasaki 250R. The Kawasaki Ninja 250R was introduced in 1983, given more fully enclosed bodywork in 1988, which along with continuous engineering upgrades, resulted in it being in production and a leader in its field ever since. It is the safest of by far of my four motorcycles and the one I felt most comfortable riding. 

So, here's what happened. On Saturday, Sept 14th, I woke up in the Hershey Medical Center's Trauma ICU after the accident the previous afternoon, about which I have no memory whatsoever. What we've pieced together from the police and residents who came to the scene within a minute or two is that I was completing a typical 16-mile "after work" ride on a sunny, dry afternoon, coming downhill on Pinch Road into Mt. Gretna when a vehicle pulled out from a side road, Brown Ave., a minor intersection hidden by a curve in front of me. In my attempt to avoid a collision, I braked and turned right, which catapulted me into a stone-filled ravine. The motorcycle crashed and I must have gone through multiple rag-doll airborne tosses, ending up face down on the pavement, some twenty feet from the bike. 

The motorcycle was destroyed, and I would have been killed had I not been wearing the first class Arai helmet my son Aaron had given me a year earlier, an armored jacket, heavy pants, and sturdy boots. A nearby ambulance service rushed me to the Hershey Medical Center where they did all the right things, found that I had two subdural hematomas, spinal fractures at T1 and T8, two cracked ribs, a separation of the A-C joint of my left shoulder, and cuts and bruises all over my body. After discharge from the hospital, I slept 20-22 hours a day for the first week. My loving mate Kimberly took vacation days to take care of me. During week two I slept less, spent much time trying to figure out what drugs and doses worked best, what sleeping positions were least painful, and was fitted with a torso brace. In week three I was allowed to drive short distances and returned to work three or so hours a day. 

Every careful motorcyclist must think about safety and accident prevention every time s/he rides. First of all, intelligent motorcyclists realize that they must, to a large extent, “drive” for both themselves and the operators of other vehicles on the roadways, as well as be super observant of natural obstacles. The Hurt Repot, the only comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents in the US, showed that "two-thirds of motorcycle-car crashes occurred when the car driver failed to see the approaching motorcycle and violated the rider's right-of-way. That's exactly what happened in my case. Lucky for me, I'm alive to tell you about it.

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