8 Things I Learned After A Serious Motorcycle Wreck
As motorcyclists, we are well aware of the risks we take when out on the road or track. Our sport is dangerous, but that is what makes it such an adrenaline rush! I hope the riding god's bless you, and you never have a serious motorcycle wreck (being your fault or someone else's fault). Some of us will be unfortunate enough to go through something like this, and being prepared is critical.
*In April of 2014 I was hit by a truck while riding a brand new Aprilia Caponord. The bike was smashed, and I was thrown roughly 40 feet before coming to a stop on the hard asphalt. My injuries included a broken pelvis, two broken arms, dislocated hip, and torn ACL. Here are the things that I learned from this accident.*
1. Carry GOOD insurance
And this means having a good uninsured motorist policy. Don't think that just getting by with the cheapest liability coverage is good enough, cause when the shit hits the fan you will be wishing you had spent the extra $$. Think of the cost of your bike, the other vehicle, medical bills, time off work, new gear, and more. Do you have that kind of cash just laying around to throw out the window? More than likely, your conflict with another vehicle is not your fault (if you are riding safely). Did you know that roughly 25% of drivers on the road don't have insurance? Don't rely on the other person having coverage.
2. All the gear, all the time
And I am not talking the $30 half shell helmet you find at the local bike shop. Spend the extra money and buy gear that will actually protect you. Majority of fatalities in motorcycle wrecks are due to some sort of head injury. Long protective pants, jacket, gloves, boots, and eye protection should also be on your list. Did this gear keep be from breaking my wrist? Well no, but I didn't end up in the hospital getting skin grafts or in a coma due to a head injury.
3. Lawyer up
Know a good lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accidents. I cannot tell you how stressful it can be in the months following a serious accident. Having someone there who knows what they are doing is a huge help when it comes to talking to insurance companies, handling accident reports, and in my case filing papers with homeland security. Having a good lawyer allows you to relax and focus on your recovery, which is really the most important part of the whole ordeal.
4. Keep friends close
Your cooped up in the hospital or your house for weeks unable to do anything for yourself. In my case I could not walk nor use either arm. The friends that help you during this time are your best friends. They are the ones who see you at your worst and are still there to help. That being said, learn to accept the help. Don't make yourself feel guilty for being needy. They are here to help you because they know you would do the same for them.
*Nothing is more humiliating than not being able to wipe yourself after using the bathroom. If you have a man who is willing to do that for you, marry him.*
5. Don't get cocky
Just because you have been riding for 15 years does not mean you are not vulnerable. Sure, I have been in many situations where my riding ability has kept me from being involved in a wreck, but that does not mean it can't happen. Ride defensively and always have a possible escape plan, but even then sometimes shit just happens. Practice makes permanent, so get out there and practice evasive maneuvers on the bike as often as possible.
6. Get off the medications as soon as possible
Sure they help the first few days after surgery, but longer than that causes dependency along with many other problems associated to putting chemicals into your body. Suck it up and be a man (or woman). You don't need that junk in your body. Plus, you won't have to deal with the constipation, withdrawals, or nausea. Always a good thing
7. Stay in shape and stay in physical therapy
Stay in shape before the wreck, and do your PT afterwards! Did you know that 75% of your recovery is made in physical therapy? Cut it short or refuse to go and your body will never be the same. Push yourself to get better with each session by setting realistic goals to work for. Being physically active before your accident and keeping a healthy diet will also speed up your recovery time. I not only enjoy weightlifting and cardio but also yoga. Yoga helps to strengthen and stabilize your body while simultaneously working on your flexibility. All the other benefits are just an added bonus
8. Get back on the bike.
Don't push yourself to go out riding before you are healed enough to handle it, but getting back on the bike is an important step to recovery both physically and emotionally. I was sitting on my bike in the garage as soon as I could lift my leg up high enough. What a good feeling it is to sit on a bike again, especially after being bed ridden for weeks! Don't let your wreck scare you from riding again. At the very least, start slow and limit the distance or time of day you ride to avoid confrontations or discomfort.