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My First Close Call or Holy Moly, I'm Alive!


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It will be two years this February. Time goes by.


I’m a fortunate chap. I have an easy five mile commute from home to work. It’s pretty too, a couple of twisties, a straightaway for fun, pines, oaks and firs. Fortunate, like I said. Two years, 23,000 miles and not a close call. The only time my heart has beat this fast was from joy.


But today I went home for lunch. Lunch with my youngest son who wanted to talk about a biology project he was involved in. It’s pleasant today, sixty-five degrees, a slight breeze to rustle the last of the now brown oak leaves. I’m going to ride back to the office, I thought. Smile.


Do you know the feeling? Do you do this? You’re riding down a road, up ahead a car is about to turn left in front of you. Do they see you? Don’t, Don’t… Stay there…See Me… I often whisper to myself as I approach the car. Sometimes I imagine that I willed them to stay.


Three miles from home, I’m daydreaming a little and up ahead is a slight right turn followed very quickly by a road from the left. Not blind really, but it comes up a little fast. There is a car in that little road from the left. Don’t….Don’t….Stay there. Wow! It’s not staying, it’s pulling out! The driver is looking the other way! I brake hard, but it’s not enough. I brake harder. Uh-oh…I’m not going to stop in time! For some reason, I let go of the brakes and start to turn or swerve in front of the car.


Has anyone ever measured the speed of thought? In the split second it took to get around the car, I thought how fortunate it was that there was no oncoming traffic, I thought about how frightened the driver of the car looked once she saw me, I thought that I was going to make it, I thought about what a big dent I would make and, good god, I thought about my insurance coverage.


I’m past the left headlight now and notice scratches on the hood of the car. I pass the right headlight and feel a push, a motion counter to my direction of travel. I didn’t make it! I’ve been hit? The bike moves sideways slightly and stops. I’ve gone past the car.


I pullover right away. My heart beats wildly and my knees are bit weak. As I get off the bike, I’m compelled to kneel. Not out of thanks, mind you, I’m scared! The car drives away…she drives away!

It makes me sad, I feel as if I’m about to weep.


In the office now and the Thanksgiving cheer is all around me. My heart has stopped racing. I’m looking forward to riding home.


P.S. No one else rides in this office. I haven’t shared this story, I’m not sure anyone will understand. I think everyone on this board will though.




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Oh my God John when you said you dropped to your knees I was right there with you. Good GOD she didn't stop? How could she not? What kind of person was she? Well, I'm going to just prefer to hope that she was just that scared. I cannot think that she cared so little. I have such an urge to read your post all over again, but I'm not sure I can do it. I can and I can't imagine how you did it, but you did. And you are probably wise to not talk to non riders. Well, eh, you know. They say stupid things sometimes. And the last thing I'd want is to be agrivated. GOD, she didn't stop! Let me at her! crazy.gif

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Great story and great writing. By the time I was done reading it my heart was beating wildly. I was with you all the way.


I'm so happy you're okay. The car just drove away? Was that woman in a trance? That is a typical example of no regard that there is a real live person on the motorcycle.


I understand about not sharing this story in your office. Unless one rides you cannot relate nor understand. I have a group of friends who I see several times weekly. No one rides. If I mention a trip or a ride we went on I get blank stares. I'm sure they don't approve but don't want to hurt my feelings. I feel so alone sometimes in that I can't share my experiences with them. After I healed from my accident only two said they were happy I was riding again and doing something I loved!


It's the reason why our riding buddies and this forum is so important and addictive to us. YOU UNDERSTAND and I'm so thankful for it!





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My Lord, you noticed the scratches on the hood of her car. Holy shnikeees! Let’s hope this is your close call for the decade.


I can relate to your habit of talking to the left turning motorist. I do the exact same thing, and I believe it makes a difference. I am so glad you came out on the best end of what could have been a nasty situation. Someone up there has a plan for you and it doesn’t include becoming a hood ornament.


Glad you’re ok.


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Wow! Those things can really shake you up.


On the other hand, not every rider would have the composure and relfexes to change/adjust from an emergency brake manuever into a swerve. Good going, man!!!!


As far as the lady is concerned, hit and runs are pretty common. Wonder if she would have stopped had you gone down? If you haven't already, you might consider reporting it to the police.

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Glad to hear that you're OK, and I hope in the same situation I can also adjust to circumstances when Plan "A" isn't going to get the job done. Luckily I work with a few people who also ride, and we can share stories and get and give support. I might be lost without that, being as a call to the east coast support line (brother-in-law with an 1100RT) can only take place before 7:00pm local time if I'm going to catch him while he's still awake.


A hex on the ignorant (gender suppressed) driver, let's hope it isn't someone's kid walking down the side of the road that (he/she) looks right through next time.


Mike Cassidy

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In reply to.....


>>As I get off the bike, I’m compelled to kneel. Not out of thanks, mind you, I’m scared! The car drives away…she drives away!<<


Whew.....that was close. Thank God you made it around her car. She drives away!! Of course.....she made a stupid move, is scared and drives off. She doesn't want you to kick her arse!


I developed a habit some years ago of establishing eye contact with the oncoming motorist who plans to turn into my path.


It's just a survival trick I use, so far it's worked for me.



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Wow! That had me shaking tooo! I had a friend that was on I-40 one night and was hit from behind,and was able to get it to the side of the road before he dumped it. The dip sh*ts never even stopped????? Hid bike was a total! He was not hurt,other than a few bruises from dumping it over. What a close call! I had a woman (looked middle eastern) stop in the lane ahead of me from 60mpg to 0. Talk about hitting the brakes! There was a full lane next to me on the right and left and a car on my butt. Luckley the one behind me was alert,or i would have been run over. Then the woman turned across 3 lanes to get off in work traffic. Man the tires were squeeling! Geesh! Talk about a heart thumper!

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I talk to them also. I tell them to "Sit" and "Stay," like I do to my dogs. I have also learned to watch their hands. You can see them start to turn the steering wheel from a long way off. It has saved me a few times.

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Good job on the swerve!!! Now if you had blue lights and a siren. I had had this happen on the job and too shaken up to write the ticket. Know how you felt. Again great job on avoiding the crash.

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Man I can't imagine doing your job day after day . When I was on a rescue truck we got creamed several times over the years, and that veh. weighs about five tons. Also have had the same on a 22ton fire truck.Bet you will be glad for retirement so you can get out of the city and on the road.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Your story brought back some long ago memories. I was 18 years of age, 34 years ago, and riding my Honda 305 with my youngest brother on board. I was less than a block from home, taking my brother to his friend's when a car pulled left in front of me. I hardly had time to yell the four letter word, when we struck the car, somewhere on its right side, about at the front wheel. The bike stopped instantly, but we both flew over the car as we turned a summersalt(?)in the air. That's when time slowed down and I seemed to be in a fantacy world. As I was upside down I looked over to my right and in the car waiting to pull out onto the road was a women I knew from church. I could see her screaming, her eyes so wide open and her mouth yelling out loud.

I survived that day with little more than a scratch and my brother fared as well. However, the accident has never left me and from that day on I have never trusted anyone turning left or waiting at a intersection to pull out in front of me. I say the same things as I approach intersections with cars waiting to pull out, "do you see me?" "are you going to stay?" "please don't pull out" as I cover the brake handle, slightly squeezing it, gradually applying more brake until I feel confident they see me and are not going to pull out or I come to a complete stop.

I started riding a motorcycle again two years ago. This time I attended a MSF school and I read a book about riding techniques and studied as I re-aqquainted myself with motorcycle riding. I am a much different rider now, faster, wiser, slower and much more technical. I just started thinking about that accident 34 years ago and just now understand how LUCKY I am to be alive. How many accidents have I avoided because of the caution and respect for danger I learned from that accident?


You are a richer person from that girls mistake, for the rest of your life. Maybe the accident you were really going to have, you won't have now because you have a newer reflex you never had before.


Mike Benzon

Burney CA

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