The Big Ass Bird Story
Every now and then, I get a good story from a customer that may help inspire others to be safe. This story comes from a great repeat customer from Illinois (please excuse the self serving nature of such a story):
I was leading a group of 4 on our most recent trip to Missouri and Arkansas ,we love the roads down there. I was doing about 50 or so on County Road J, kind of a boring road, we were nearly to MO-19, a roller coaster which takes you into Arkansas from southern Missouri. The conditions were perfect weather and visibility, no traffic at all, I was loving life and the weather and roads and being with my buds, but things rapidly took a change for the worse.
Apparently I was looking down at my GPS in preparation for the upcoming turn and a large black buzzard (4 foot wingspan) chose that moment to end it all and use me as his method. I don't remember this, but my buddies heard me say "Oh sh*t, a bird" on the headset. It hit me square in the faceshield of my new Shoei Neotec and knocked me unconscious. . My buddy was right behind, saw it come of nowhere and smack me square in the face and shoot straight and drop dead in front of him. At that point I was asleep and ran off to the right and just tipped over and slid about 100 feet in grass. The bike landed on my leg and was still on it when my buddies go to me. I was out like a light for maybe 2-3 minutes. 911 was called by the property owner nearly before I stopped sliding as he was standing right there and saw the whole thing, a sheriff was there pretty quick. I woke up and saw the cop roll up. I was dingy obviously and the ambulance arrived soon after the sheriff. Also I heard the life flight helicopter overhead but they got waved off. I took a long ride in the ambulance to the hospital on a backboard with a cervical collar on.
I did get lucky because I ran off in a great spot. Also I was in my leathers, boots, gauntlet gloves and new Shoei Neotec helmet. I have no road rash whatsoever. I didn't even have a headache. What's weird is that my brand new helmet is completely undamaged except for the little sun screen thing came out. My leathers are completely undamaged.
The medical stuff at the hospital told me I was really lucky I was wearing the gear. I told them luck had nothing to do with it. I spent a lot of my money on that gear and chose to wear it. I am back home now and dealing with a severely sprained ankle and potential knee damage but it could have been so much worse. I also got in a wreck in June when I got a front flat on my DR650 and went down at about 40 mph on asphalt. People say "I don't go fast, I don't need gear". Well, I am here today (alive) to tell you that stuff happens and I ruined 2 perfectly good and very nice helmets in 3 month period due to no fault of my own. I have been riding for years, have had 20 or so bikes, done track days and raced MX and hare scrambles. None of my skills and experience helped me because of the nature of the incidents. What helped me was the gear I chose to wear, and, ok, some luck. ATGATT (all the gear, all the time)!!
Also, I'd recommend trip interruption insurance, as I spent nearly $600 renting a truck and buying gas and straps. Well, ok my buddies did it, I owe them big time. It can be purchased fairly inexpensively and provides additional coverage over that given by roadside assistance, which just gives you gas delivery if you run out or a tow to the nearest repair shop.
And here are the full size photos...
Thanks for relating Chris!