I've been riding for several years and consider myself to be a pretty safe guy on the bike. I push myself, but I'm not reckless. I used to laugh (on the inside) when someone would say, "On a motorcycle you either have gone down, or at some point you will go down."
I arrogantly never thought I would go down—especially how I did.
I was pulling out of the neighborhood to run a quick errand on the Sporty like I've done hundreds and hundreds of times. I was making the turn off our street when the back of the bike started to slip out from under me. To be honest, I'm not sure how. I must have instinctively (I say that because I know grabbing the front brake is not the right thing to do in that situation, but I must have done it anyway) grabbed a big handful of front brake because the next thing I knew I had the wind knocked out of me and could hear my helmet grinding as I slide down the road.
I had just shifted out of first, so couldn't have been going very fast when I low-sided and slide for only eight to 10 feet on asphalt that felt pretty hard when I got slapped down on the pavement.
I had, just a few days before, replaced the rear tire and had only been on it a time or two, so it's possible the new cold tire just wasn't gripping, but it really doesn't matter. It happened so fast I can't really say what went wrong, but something surely did. And, my guess is that operator error was involved.
Nevertheless, the bike actually survived the crash a bit better than I did.
I ground off the clutch lever, gouged up my new grip, and bent up the shifter, but other than a minor scrape mark on the left turn signal, the bike came through a little bruised, but relatively unscathed. Should be pretty easy to bring her back to pre-slide condition.
That being said, I didn't do too bad either. Other than a cracked rib and a couple of bruises, I came through this pretty good too.
I know there are a lot of guys who like to ride without a helmet. I can appreciate that you can make that choice, but I have to admit to being a little amazed at how much damage to my lid this low-speed crash did and can't help but wonder what kind of state I would be in had that been my noggin rather than my helmet grinding on the asphalt.
I don't think I would be at the computer today writing about last night's accident—that's for sure.
Years ago, when I started riding, I decided that I would just always wear a helmet. Since I made that decision, I don't have to make the choice every time I get on the bike. Today, for the first time, I feel like the choice was completely validated and will continue to wear a helmet every time I get on the bike.
If you don't wear a lid, please consider wearing a helmet.
I also had on a mesh jacket that withstood the slide with only a very small puncture in the sleeve over the armor. You would see it if I pointed it out to you, but otherwise, I don't think you'd notice. I'm a big fan of the textile motorcycle jackets and their ability to slide in a crash, and have been wearing a textile jacket since my friend Kelly went down a couple of years ago on the Interstate and was able to basically just slide to a stop.
I'm convinced that wearing the "gear" just makes sense. If you don't now wear a helmet yourself, please consider protecting yourself with a decent brain bucket. My rib will heal, my bruises will heal, even my bruised ego will recover, but that can't always be said about head trauma.