On Easter Sunday of 1996, I took off on the back of a motorcycle being driven by a friend (well more like an acquaintance) and we headed towards Deception Pass for a day in the rare Seattle sun. I had riden on the back of bikes off and on since high school and although I felt vulnerable on them, it also felt great at the same time. I was a little apprehensive to ride on the back with someone I didn’t know well but was pretty game for anything at that time in my life.
I-5 was very crowded and we were zooming along in the fast lane. Suddenly two cars in front of us screeched to a halt and narrowly avoided a rear end collision. We were going way too fast to not hit the car in front of us and I watched in slow motion as Victoria tried in vain to wrestle the bike to a stop before hitting. I kept thinking, "Why doesn’t she go to the left into the median?" but before I could finish the thought our front wheel impacted and I was flying.
I flew over at least two lanes of traffic. My head and shoulder hit the ground first and I rolled. I remember the sound of my legs whipping around after the top half of my body had already rolled. I came to a stop, sat up, and braced for impact. I was absolutely certain a car would hit me and my life was over. But nothing happened.
Amazingly I was ok but my hands were covered in road rash. Victoria didn’t have an extra pair of gloves for me and told me that if we had a crash to tuck my hands in (I remember thinking, "Uh, yeah right") and my chain bracelet took off a lot of skin. I had road (jacket?) rash on my shoulders and elbows all the way through my leather motorcycle jacket and had holes in the knees of my jeans.
Victoria did not fare so well. She went down with the bike and was unconscious when I got to her. Amazingly, there were EMTs on the scene that had witnessed the accident. I helped them get Victoria’s leg in an inflatable splint. Her collar bone and fingers were broken too.
Everyone asked me if I was ok and I said I was. I was in total shock. I refused all medical treatment and a cop asked me multiple times if we’d been drinking (we hadn’t) and then let me go. He dropped me off at a Cafe in Everett where the kind owner drove me home to Seattle.
My whole body, especially my torso, was sore for days. My hands didn’t heal very quickly – I had to wear rubber gloves at my food service job for weeks. I still have some visible scars.
I visited Victoria in the hospital a few days later. She had a long metal bar screwed into her leg (an external fixator) and looked like hell. She kept talking about fixing her bike and I decided she was certifiable.
This is why I do not ride motorcycles and I tell everyone who does my story so they are careful!
It happened right here.