Accidents, they say, often occur close to home.
This one did Thursday afternoon when I fired up my Harley Davidson for a short run into town to pick up some food for dinner.
Less than half a mile from our driveway, a neighbor’s dog who like to chase cars cut in front of the bike. The bike hit him and down we all went on the hard surface of the recently applied gravel and tar on Sandy Flats Road, NE.
Unlike the crash on U.S. 221 between Cave Spring and the bottom of Bent Mountain in Roanoke County five years ago, I remained conscious and aware. The dog had run off, limping and bleeding, and I tasted blood in my mouth and had some from scrapes on an arm. Scrapes on the side of my helmet told me it had done its job but idiot me had been riding with the face shield up, some thing I normally do this close to home. The shield usually comes down by the time I get to U.S. 221 and speed up.
My2012 Switchback suffered moderate to heavy cosmetic damage — a bent crash bar, broken fog light, scrapes on the front fender and right-hand saddlebag and a windshield knocked askew. One of the neighbors helped me right the bike, check it out, ans asked if she needed to call the rescue squad.
“Nah,” I said. “No need.”
I rode the bike back to our house and Amy took one look at my bloodied face and arm and told me strong tones that I was going to the ER. I felt sore but OK and drove her car as we headed over the Carilion New River Valley Hospital’s Emergency Room, where the triage nurse took one look at me and sent me to a trauma examining room with my head and neck encased in a neck brace and a team of doctors and nurses converging to poke, prod and examine.
Then they wheeled me to the imaging unit for full body CT scans, x-rays of my head, arm, pelvis, legs and knees over the next couple of hours.
The scans showed nothing broken and my injuries were more scrapes and bruises. Bikers call it “road rash.”
After about three hours, they let me go and we headed home, with Amy driving this time since I had some pain killers in my body. I’m a sight with scrapes, bruises and swollen parts of my face, but no casts, walkers or heavy bandages. I woke up this morning stiff and sore and will spend the day calling the insurance company for the bike, checking on the condition of the dog and notifying the sheriff’s department that I was involved in an accident with a dog on a public road.
Somebody today will probably say I should think about quit riding a motorcycle. This is my third accident on two wheels in the last five years. One sent me to the hospital where doctors originally felt I would die. The second one broke the tibia in my left leg and I walked around on it for four weeks thinking it was a bad ankle sprain.
Quit riding ? Good question.