A car hit me!

Dailies -



Riding up the 101 to the Honda NC700X launch the other day, I was cruising through congested highway traffic when, all of a sudden, a Town Car veered wildly into me without warning. This was the first of two incidents last week, here’s the damage.

Like any motorcycle crash, this one was my fault. I should have spotted the driver’s erratic behavior sooner. I should have taken more dramatic, rapid response to avoiding him. I shouldn’t have been in a vulnerable position in the first place.

As it was, he must have jerked the wheel completely to the right, as fast as it would turn, without looking. I was traveling probably 5-10mph than his speed and was even with the back wheel when the car started to veer in my direction. As soon as I saw it coming, I tried to steer out of the way, but it was coming too fast. Just as it hit, I straightened up to absorb the impact, but was still punted two lanes to the right and nearly ran into the back of another, slower car. Shaken, I pulled over to assess the damage while the car took off.

It was a big impact. The car connected primarily with my left foot, leg, hip and forearm. My bad forearm, which was subsequently sore for two days. Luckily, I was wearing my Icon one-piece and Alpinestars Supertech Rs, which appear to have taken the brunt of the impact. The toe slider was torn off and a large scrape was made across the outside of the toe. Without a proper boot, my foot may have been crushed.

This is the second time this pair of boots has protected me from a large impact. Last summer, I lowsided a Tiger 800 while wearing them, with my foot sliding underneath the bike for a short period of time. In both incidents, my foot never felt a thing. No bruises, no twisted ankle, not a hair (and I do have hairy feet) was harmed.

I think that’s a pretty good indicator of a safe boot. At $450, they’re fairly expensive, but what price absolute faith that I won’t suffer a foot or ankle injury? It’s time to scrap these and get another pair I think, I’ll be getting exactly the same ones.

Then, on Sunday, Jamie and I raced a little vintage motocross for an upcoming episode of the show. During my second race, I was mid-pack entering the first corner when bikes started colliding with each other, then me. I went down and was immediately run over by an old twin-shock Husqvarna. That bike probably weighed 400lbs and its rider another 250. The impact was hard enough to spit him off his bike too, his front wheel and rear wheels ran over my as a lay stomach down.

As you can see, I got some rash and, even five days later, some significant bruising. This was while wearing a CE Level 2 back protector that’s a part of my Alpinestars Bionic Jacket for BNS. Without that, I’d likely have broken some ribs or even suffered a fractured vertebrae or two. With it, I got right back up and finished the race.

Riding a motorcycle, whether on or off-road, fast or slow, is a pretty dangerous thing to do. Luckily, we have available to us some seriously safe protective equipment. It can be expensive, but it should also be a necessity. Buy a cheaper bike if you have to, you should be wearing the best possible gear you can. It makes riding more comfortable, facilitates the physical sport of riding a motorcycle, keeps you out of the elements and it’ll save your life. Safety gear is the only reason I’m still here to write this, please wear it.

  • http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107 stickfigure

    Too bad you can’t buy one boot for $225.

  • Гена

    Wes, glad that you are mostly OK! Do you wear the back protector on the street? I tried A* and Icon vests, and thought that they were too uncomfortable for day to day commute.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I always, always, always wear a back protector.

      This one is slim, affordable and comfy:


      • Devin

        I have a CE 1 but I find with textile jackets a CE 2 goes on just ascleanly. It’s all I bought to go with my gf’s suit and she never complains that it is too bulky.

      • BMW11GS

        Hey Wes, quick question. After looking on the Astars website it seems that the standard bionic jacket has more chest and back protection (in terms of length) than the bionic jacket for BNS. Do you wear the BNS because it seems that if you do not, then the standard bionic jacket offers better coverage. Can you shed some light on your findings?

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Yeah, if you’re not running BNS, then don’t get the jacket designed for it, and vice versa.

          • BMW11GS

            How often do you run BNS then? Is it becoming ubiquitous at offroad events for amateurs?

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              Anytime I’m off-road. Getting a broken neck would suck.

              • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

                On the subject of off-road, i’m going to Madagascar next month for 3 weeks, my host will provide most of the gear (and bikes) but he doesn’t have a neck brace for me.

                You previously talked about the carbon bionic brace from A* and i found it at a pretty good price, for my first time on a dirt bike it sounds like a good investment.

                But, here’s the question, when you talked about it you stated “They’re expensive and require add-on, specific gear like that jacket to work.”, how specific are we talking?
                This is the gear (and bikes) that i’ll be using, will it work together?

                just re-read the whole thing and the brace has to be velcro’d to the jacket/back-protector so yeah i’ll have to buy that too or no dice… damn.
                Also, glad to hear you’re (relatively) ok, take care.

  • Paul

    wow, Wes. Sorry to hear it. Good on ya for being geared up and toughing it out.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Shit, I feel like a damn fool for wearing stupid sneakers on my commute today. That is some terrifying stuff.

    Glad you survived and are around to tell the tale.

    • Mr.Paynter

      Converse highs.

      I think I’ll take the short ride to my girlfriends and pick up something more substantial for my ride home, although I don’t own boots yet… FAIL.

  • KP

    Honestly, surprised there isn’t more damage to your ribs even with the protection. I’m at the track tomorrow, I’ll be fully armored by a combination of Alpinestars, Nexx, Icon and Sidi. That’s an HFL gearboner right there.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’s like a protection perfect storm right there.

  • Keith

    “Like any motorcycle crash, this one was my fault…shouldn’t have been in a vulnerable position in the first place.”
    Thank you for your honesty.
    I think if you really drill down into the info of most motorcycle crashes, I say MOST, you may find the same info.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      All crashes are your fault. When your life’s at stake, there’s always something more you could have done to prevent them.

      • Ax

        +1. A very large part of being a safe rider is accepting that EVERY crash is ultimately our own fault for allowing it happen.

        Glad you’d stacked the odds in your favor and things weren’t nearly as bad as they could have been.

      • Kevin

        Hear, hear. I cringe when I hear riders blaming drivers for being inattentive. That’s like saying life’s unfair. Sure it is, so what are you going to do about it? Bitch and complain? That’s taking your eye off the ball.

        Our personal safety is our personal responsibility.

        • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

          “Our personal safety is our personal responsibility.”

          Nice one – I like that line. I think I will use that in the future!

          • okto

            or as the insurance companies say – party most at fault

  • http://cynic13th.livejournal.com/ cynic

    Glad you’re ok!

    I also would like to say how much I like this promotion of wearing protective gear. It’s one thing to say “wear this stuff it’ll save you”. It’s even better to hear how it saved you.

  • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

    If this is what happens to an intelligent proactive rider,

    Why the hell do I still pass people riding in shorts every day?

    Glad to hear you’re alright!

    • Eric


  • http://www.codyk.net codyk

    Scary, and infuriating that the car took off. Glad you’re OK.

    • Mr.Paynter

      I would be RAGING.

      In an unrelated report I had a kid throw an apple at me off the back of a truck (passengers are semi-allowed on the backs here) and hit me in the side head at 55-60mph on a crowded highway Saturday night.

      I only shook of the bewilderment and figured it out when the 3 kids were suddenly hiding in the truck-bin and not sitting looking at me like they had been…

      I chased them down, asked the confused drier to pull over very politely and used all my restraint to inform the driver rather than throttle the kid myself.

      **Related only to drivers driving off…. rabblerabblerabble

  • El_Jefe

    Sorry to hear, Wes. Best quote about crashing: “Like any motorcycle crash, this one was my fault.” Way too many riders out there blaming everyone and everything else at the expense of not learning a damn thing. Hope you’re all healed up.

  • Mitch

    Boots are prettty resilient. If the skin wasn’t punched through and the internal brace not broken or deformed, I’d say they’re good to go.

  • Dennis

    “At $450, they’re fairly expensive, but what price absolute faith that I won’t suffer a foot or ankle injury?”

    Definitely. But next time you’re writing up how motorcycling is the transportation alternative for everyman, because it’s so cheap, be sure to mention that $450 footwear is a must-have.

    And if you don’t have gold-plated health coverage, drive a car or take public transit.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      A car costs $20k plus. A bikes a lot less. Instead of buying a $12k bike, get a $9k one and spend the dif on not dying and being comfy.

      • Dennis

        If we had $20k worth of cars at our house we’d have not enough room to park them all and no time to drive them.

    • Dani Peral

      The first time i entered a motorcycle gear shop, the guy said to me: “Youre going to spend more on gear than on the bike”. Well, he couldnt be more right.

      Have to say that i took a cheap-ass ’91 katana as my first bike, paid for it 1200eur, so its easy to out-spend that in gear, but the guy did have a good point.

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    It’s pretty easy for me to ride ATGATT. Living in the Bay Area, the weather rarely goes north of 80 degrees. In Southern California, I imagine it’s not as comfortable . Anecdotally, riders in SoCal tend to be way less dressed than Bay Area riders.

    • Kevin

      I live in Huntington Beach, and it’s shorts and a tshirt season. Or a tank top, as I saw one guy wearing today. The “G” in ATGATT around here during the summer means Gloves. Maybe.

  • mike

    Wow – thanks for the reminder for gear and the detailed summary. That was faaassst re-action n the Tarmac.
    Glad to hear you’re okay.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    It’s pretty crazy that a car could just swerve so violently, so suddenly and then just continue on not even knowing their just hit another vehicle!

    But I guess that just goes to show that you’ve gotta expect the unexpected! Glad to hear that you stayed upright & away from serious injury.

  • Fizzy Fox

    Fucking hell, this kind of shit makes my blood boil. Not the part where “accidents happen” and a motorist made a stupid move and caused a crash. I get that. Shit happens. It’s the “I pulled over to assess the damage while the car took off” part that pisses me off. Only a cowardly cunt would keep driving after hitting somebody like that.

    I had a similar thing happen to me a few years ago. Luckily, it was on a side street (Vermont Ave., in Los Feliz). It was a bright Sunday morning and after sending me flying through the air over 25 feet and over her Mercedes because she was too busy talking on her fucking phone while she made a left turn across oncoming traffic, this bitch tried to drive away. I was laying in the street too stunned to know what was happening and holding my fractured wrist. Fortunately, the incident happened near a church and there were a bunch of people milling around. They stopped her from escaping and we kept her there until police arrived and made a report.

    • Core

      Me to man, me to.

  • lowslydr

    Were you lane splitting? If so, any sense of whether it put you at an advantage or disadvantage?

    • lowslydr

      Not trying to be a dick – I lane split all the time, including on the bumper-to-bumper 101 through the valley this afternoon. I split lanes because it saves time and it’s legal, but I also feel like it’s probably the riskiest thing I do while motorcycling, particularly when I’m on a crowded freeway with traffic moving 40+ mph.

      Just curious if lane splitting was a factor. Also glad you weren’t seriously hurt! We need you out there.

  • Daniel Mast

    Wes, something that I’ve been wondering for a while. How worth it is wearable armor such as your A-Stars Bionic Jacket vs the armor built into racing suits such as A-Stars? Is it still better because of the comfort level or protection level or both? Do you wear both shorts/pant armor and upper body or just upper body?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I’m confused. The stuff in their suits is pretty comparable in terms of safety, construction and coverage.

      Are you asking about the difference between road race and dirt armor? If so, the two are made to do different things.

      • Eric

        is there any hybrid gear existing?
        one of my rides may include the commute, the twistie mountain road, trail and offroad practice and citytraffic,
        also extreme heat is a factor.

        • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

          If you’re looking for a do-it-all piece, a one-piece textile suit is the way to go, such as those from Aerostich or Teiz. They work as oversuits for commuting in work clothes, provide extensive protection, and good ventilation. The ability to close all vents is a big bonus once the temperature tops 100.

          Beyond that, you piece together a lot of different separates. You can find jackets and pants that flow more air or are more suitable to specific situations, but you’ll end up spending quite a bit more money that way.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          You sir, need an Aerostich Roadcrafter. Get the TF3 competition back protector and the TF5 hip armor, plus the chest armor and you’re good to go for pretty much anything this side of a GP.

          • Eric

            ok thanks guys thats all good information I’ll investigate when i have some little bit of time.

            there is good stuff out there.

            Problem is lack of time, that was the reason I stopped paying for Hell for leather back in the day….only 24 hour days..better not seeing the interesting things, or reading the threads…but then it got free anyway..

  • paul56

    Makes the idea of running a camera on every ride seem reasonable. I hate when assholes don’t take responsibility for their stupidity. I was rear ended by a hit and run driver last Dec 12. At night. Two days in the hospital, fractured sternum. If I EVER witness a hit and run I will track the s.o.b. down and get him/her reported. Then I will be extremely pleased to testify at the felony hit and run trial.

  • http://www.karinajean.com karinajean

    glad you’re ok. my stepbrother was hit by a cabbie who did nearly the same thing in LA, and he is still dealing with his significant injuries.

    re: the “my fault-” I’d be interested to see a motorcyclists guide to zero-loss health and safety systems. I’m thinking of the loss prevention systems that companies like BP and Exxon run, which acknowledges that EVERY accident is preventable. them’s fighting words to many, but I think it’s true too.

  • dan

    Sunday on a highway here in NYC almost the same thing happened. A van on my right veered into me. I moved left and he clipped my right saddle bag, sending my 40 year old airhead into a wobble. I stay up but immediately I am sent off course onto the grassy (really dirt, rocks and debris) median separating the fork in the highway. Luckily no water barrels there. I envision going down and breaking some bones. Can’t brake hard in this crap and have the clutch pulled in and nursing it. Hope to ride it through and try to get back out up to blacktop. Somehow I do it. Pull over on shoulder. No damage. Crap my pants. No one, including the fucker that nearly killed me, stops. Rerun it in my head. Noting I could have done different.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Glad you’re OK. We’re really on our own out there. Guess that’s just part of the fun.

      • dan

        I’m 57, the fun is starting to wear off as the near kill counts climb. But that’s just this week.

  • PCPaul

    I got hit on 101 in San Jose on 8/17. 3 broken ribs, punctured lung and road rash. I was out for a good 10-15 minutes but no concussion. Joe Rocket jacket did well, jeans not so much! My 1988 R100RS was totaled.

    • Eric

      Uh,take time for good recovery! Hope you have insurance!
      You might consider going to a good osteopath and/or acupuncturist to enhance the recovery and prevent longtime compensations after the injury.
      sorry for the wasted R.

      I guess you will get a new old bike?