Shark of the Month October 13
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Was northern Maine, now gulf coast of Florida
Bad crash at Laconia
I was at Laconia Bike Week from Wed. til Saturday. Friday a.m. I had just gotten onto Rte. 106 N headed to Laconia HD. They had a special on doing fluids and filter for all three holes for $129. and I was due. About 2 miles up the road I came across three bikes from CT. They were behind a car that was doing about 40 on a road that you'd normally do about 50 on. No one is in a rush and no one tries to pass the car. It was a bright sunny day and Rte. 106 had just been paved and was like silk.
The next think I know I see bike #1 make a move to the right and then it looked like a bomb went off. There was pieces of fiberglass, plastic, metal, and a few personal items 'raining' from the sky. Bike #1 realized at the last minute that the road going off to the right was the road he wanted to take. He got on the brakes fairly hard to take a right turn and unfortunately bike #2 rider had taken his eyes off the road and ran smack into the ass end of bike #1. Bike #1 was a Road Glide CVO, and bike#2 was a silver Street Glide. There were bikes and riders flying through the air everywhere.
Bike #3 and I managed to get stopped before we became part of the accident. We moved our bikes to the side of the road and went to check on the other two. Rider #1 ended up being thrown onto a grassy spot beyond the road shoulder. He was fortunate that it didn't happen where there were stone walls, huge oak trees, fences or other things that you see along this road. He got up on his knees but was disoriented. He did manage to say, "This is a hell of a way to start a vacation!". After he and I checked him over, the only complaint he had was that his right shoulder was killing him. He could move both arms and hands but the right one hurt - most likely a broken collarbone. He was wearing a half helmet. I think he was in shock as he wasn't paying any attention to his buddy who was laying motionless in the middle of the northbound lane. Instead, he started picking up his saddlebags and all his personal stuff that was all over the place. I went over to rider #2. Rider #3 was kneeling by his side but #2 didn't regain consciousness. He was laying on his right side with blood running out both nostrils and his right ear. He was not wearing a helmet. He started to come to and moved his arms and legs but then lost consciousness again. He was totally unconscious when they loaded him into the ambulance.
The next day the newspaper said this had been the first injury related accident involving a bike all week. Rider #2 was taken to the local regional hospital but after being evaluated there, they air lifted him to a large regional trama center at Hitchcock Hospital. He was reported to have serious head trama but it wasn't thought to be life threatening. Hopefully there won't be permanent brain damage but it didn't look good the last I saw of him. His name was Bob and I guess in his mid-late 50s. They had taken Friday off work and had ridden up from CT. You can imagine how excited they were to be there for their first full day and it was such a nice day weather-wise.
In the proverbial blink of an eye, their vacation was ruined, two late model touring bikes were totally trashed, one guy had shoulder/neck injuries, and the other left close to a pint of blood in the middle of the road and may never be the same person again. I ask that you have a good thought or a prayer for Bob from CT.
I'm not preaching to anyone here as I strongly believe wearing a helmet is a choice and shouldn't be mandated. However, rider #3 and I both said that we thought Bob would have walked away from the crash had he been wearing a helmet.
The crash was very violent. Bob's Street Glide at one point was flipping over going backwards and was a good 5 ft. off the ground. One thing was very evident. Touring bikes don't just slide down the road on their side like a lot of bikes do. #2 bike went down hard on the right side, something (highway pegs, crash bars or foot boards) dug into the asphalt quickly and the bike then high sided violently to the left side, dug in there and flipped again.
It's been 60 some odd hours now and that scene keeps playing through my mind. When you go to one of the major bike rallies, you expect that there will be a handful of accidents and maybe even a death or two, but you're never prepared to see a bad one play out 75 ft. in front of you. Had I not given myself extra room behind this 3 some to stop, I wouldn't have had an escape route if I couldn't get stopped in time. #2 bike on the center line, it's rider sprawled across the middle of our lane, #1 bike at the edge of the road to the right of rider #2, and rider#1 off on the shoulder. I was glad that I decided to retain the double discs and ABS when I switched to a 21" wheel 3 years ago.
I came away with three observations:
It confirmed my personal decision to wear a helmet .... ALWAYS. A habit I got from doing some racing many, many years ago.
I saw first hand how not wearing one changed this guys life forever, plus it will always remain a horrific memory for his two buddies. His buddy saying, "If only he had been wearing a helmet" kept running through my mind.
I was grateful that I have a habit of always leaving an extra 4-5 bike lengths between my self and another rider, even when riding in a staggered formation.
Ride safe guys and gals. It was just a couple of seconds of not paying attention to what was going on in front of them that caused this violent accident. We all take our eyes off the road for a few seconds to look at some road side attraction or scenic view multiple times on every ride. Give yourself some extra stopping/maneuvering distance when you ride with others.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” - HST
Last edited by Uncle Fuzzy; 06-25-2015 at 10:04 AM.