It’s Sunday night, 8:30PM at the time of starting this entry. About twelve hours ago, I rode to meet with my friend Jenn. She had previously asked me if I wanted to ride today. I hadn’t planned on it, but Jenn wanted to join a group ride, but not by herself, so I agreed to join the ride as well.
She and I arrive at the group meet spot just before 10AM, and the rest of the attendees started to filter in not long after. This group ride is effectively the only group ride I ever attend, so it was good to catch up with familiar friends and faces, and see the new crop of regulars and attendees. My interest may have been waning as of late over street sport riding, but having a laugh with friends never really gets old.
Kickstands were up at 10:30AM, with the riders divided in two groups – spirited and mellow – as is customary to this type of ride. I stayed with my friend Jenn in the mellow group. Thirty minutes later, we came upon a scene that I never want to see again.
The aftermath of a head-on collision, in the first group ahead of us.
The rider failed to negotiate a corner at speed, going too wide and colliding with an oncoming car in the opposite lane. Another rider – a friend of mine – was also involved, as the bike pictured above slid back into the lane after impact, right in the path of the second rider. My friend suffered serious injuries, but he will be fine.
The first rider did not make it, seven days until his 30th birthday.
When our group got there, I tried to do what I could to help contain the scene and clear up the road. I’ve done it before, more times than I care to count. But I’ve never seen a rider motionless, with pools of blood under them. I’ve never seen emergency personnel take turns to do CPR on someone for what seemed like forever. I’ve never seen a tarp go over a rider lying on the side of the road.
The same road that’s one of many I have frequented for my own riding pleasure.
Once law enforcement and medical personnel were able to contain the scene, we were all given the go ahead to vacate the area. Jenn and I rode together on our way home. We said our goodbyes, and I’m sure she was as glad as I was that it wasn’t one of us involved.
I got home, and I renewed the registration for my R1 that is to expire next month.
My days of suiting up for sport riding in the canyon and mountain roads are done. For how long, I don’t know, but it’s done as of now. What I saw today did not scare me, but rather gave me clarity. I’ve done these roads enough to last me two lifetimes, and it’s clear to me now that there remains nothing for me to gain by continuing to ride them the way I’ve been.
There is more riding to be done in various disciplines, and I’ll continue to ride my NT650 to and from work, while my R1 will only be ridden at the track now.
I mentioned that my interest in street sport riding had been waning as of late, but I never could quite put my finger on exactly why. Well maybe it wasn’t something for me to figure out, rather, something I needed to see
Even if just once.