Robinson Hill Road – Guest post by a co-workerPosted: September 26, 2012
A co-worker of mine had a scary close call a little while back. I asked him to write down what happened so I could share it with you all. Here is what he wrote:
Picture this… a steep downhill stretch of road that’s over a half mile long with a sweeping left-hand curve at the bottom. Now imagine that you’re below, on your motorcycle, approaching that same curve ready to head up the hill. What you don’t know is there’s a car barreling down the hill having lost its brakes. Off to the right, woods block your vision so everything seems perfectly normal until you catch your first glimpse of the car rounding the bend at a meteoric rate of speed. Suddenly your ride home is now a game of survival and the odds are not in your favor! For me, this daydream became all too real.
Many emotions go through your head at a time like that. My first thought upon seeing the speeding car was “what an idiot!” Too often cars come down that hill too fast but never like this. This was different. I could immediately see they were on the edge of control but it looked like amid the screeching of tires they might actually save it. Then the car lost its grip with the road and slammed into the outer guard rail with a crunch. Now I’m thinking “Wow! I just witnessed an accident.” However, the car bounced off the guard rail and shot back across the road into my lane, now totally out of control. It was at this point that I started (finally) to get alarmed. Remember I’m on my bike still moving up the hill and the gap is closing in a hurry. There’s a ditch to my right and a guard rail to my left. I don’t have a lot of options. My thoughts now are “I’m going to be part OF the accident!”
The car continued to careen towards me while teetering on the edge of the ditch. I thought “Is it going into the ditch to my right? If so, will it stay there? Or will it come back out of the ditch and start rolling? Will the car correct its course and manage to get back into its own lane and zip past me? Or, worse yet, will it just continue on towards me?” These are some of the outcomes going through my head in what was really only a matter of seconds. What should I do? How is this happening? Will I survive?
The woman driving the car, in hindsight, did quite well under the circumstances. Instead of “duck and cover”, it seemed she continued trying to control the car. After bouncing off the guard rail and nearly going into the ditch she must have thought she had dodged a bullet. I can only imagine what went through her head when she saw me sitting on my bike directly in front of her brake-less 1999 Buick (I had come to a complete stop by this time). She may have wrenched on the steering wheel because the car started swinging broadside to me, now blocking both lanes. I still had hopes there might be time for the car to grind to a halt before hitting me but that wasn’t to be. Instead, the car just kept coming… and coming… and coming.
I now shifted into survival mode. It didn’t appear that standing my ground was going to work. Therefore I started to dismount to the right side of the motorcycle with every intention of throwing myself off to the right since the car now seemed to be heading back to my left. I had one foot on the ground and was swinging my other leg over the bike… when time simply ran out. The tail end of the car swept around and smacked my front tire knocking the motorcycle to the ground. I was left standing on my feet, watching the bike disappear from under me and the car continue to slide across the road where it planted itself nose-first in the bank on the other side.
Then it was quiet.
I can’t tell you why the planets lined up that day to bring the two of us together in that manner. All I know is that she and the three children in her car survived and so did I. Our vehicles took a beating but we walked away without a scratch, at least physically. Had I been just a hair sooner leaving work, which would have put me just a little farther up the hill, things could have ended very, very differently. Believe me, I’ve played out all of the “other endings” in my mind and none are very attractive.
I always ride with safety gear: full-faced helmet, armored jacket, gloves and riding boots. I have taken the motorcycle safety course. I am always expecting the worst from other drivers when I’m on the road. I KNOW this sport is dangerous. Therefore I treat it with a great deal of respect and try to minimize the risks. But I ask myself; on some days…like this day…does any of that matter? Perhaps my TRAINING did have some impact on the outcome. I was SCANNING the road in front of me which caused me to immediately slow and eventually come to a stop. I did ANALYSE the situation and decide my only course of action initially was to wait until the car’s path became clearer before I acted. I eventually MADE my choice and left the bike in time to avoid being injured. I will always wonder though if I could have done more. Maybe it all comes down to fate. On the other hand, I like to think it just wasn’t my time!
So when I see some of the stunts other motorcyclists pull when out on the road and I see bikers wearing shorts with their passengers in halter tops, or when I see them zipping up between lanes of cars and passing in no-pass zones, it’s obvious to me they haven’t had the close call yet that I just experienced. Perhaps their riding styles would change if they did. Perhaps not. Maybe they believe that “today” isn’t their day. I just have to ask “why ride in a manner that only hastens that day’s arrival?”
Life is short. Life is wonderful. I ride a motorcycle because I like to live. Living is riding. Riding is living. Just be smart about it.
As I’ve said in the past, you never know what’s gonna happen on the road out there. I’m glad everyone involved in this accident was OK. It could have ended much worse.