I Survived a Motorcycle Accident: True Stories

We always hope it’ll never happen to us but accidents can and do happen. Here are three stories from motorcycle accident survivors:

Real Life Story: Ken Weissblum, New York Scooter Club member

WHN: You were in a scooter accident. Tell us what happened.

Ken: It happened two summers ago and it was a freak sort of thing. I was riding my new Vespa GTS and I was riding to the office. Traffic was all messed up and it has a hot day, it was 95 degrees out. Generally I wear an armored jacket but because of the heat that was the one day I didn’t!

The traffic was bumper-to-bumper and I was rear-ended by a taxi even though I was only going about 5 miles an hour. I broke 8 ribs and my collarbone – I probably fell at some freak angle.

WHN: What lessons did you learn from the accident?

  1. After the accident, I have a new philosophy: if it’s too hot to wear armor, it’s too hot to ride.
  2. I had only had my new bike for about a week. [If you get a new bike,] have it a while so you’re used to your bike before going into heavy traffic. Get used to your bike before hitting the highway or riding with a passenger. If it happened today, I’d probably have more control of the bike and situation.
  3. If an accident does happen, get back on the bike and get back riding. For two to three months I was afraid of riding, I was even afraid of crossing intersections while walking and was afraid of taxis.
  4. After the accident, I upgraded my horn. I also pay attention to the front tires of cars – you can see when they’re turned towards you.

Real Life Story: Adam Martin, motorcyclist and former motorcycle instructor

WHN: Tell us about your accident.

Adam: My accident happened back in 1994. I just made a rookie mistake – it was dark, late at night and I ran into a cat, panicked, squeezed the front brake so the front wheel locked and the bike came out from under me. At that moment, my guard was down – it was midnight, there was no traffic but I realized that you always have to be very vigilant, you have to be alert and on-guard at all times.

WHN: What lessons did you learn from the accident?

Adam: On a motorcycle, you have to take ownership of anything – you can’t assume that people will act favorable towards you. Take ownership of worse-case scenarios, obstacles, the weather.

WHN: What advice do you have for first-time motorcyclists?

Adam: The most common mistake is buying too much motorcycle. Start with a smaller, used motorcycle – then you don’t need to worry about denting it or dropping it. Get a smaller one – 250cc’s is good for women; 500 ccs for a 4 cylinder bike and 600cc for a twin. Start with a small bike – you’ll get the full motorcycle experience and also mitigate the risk factors. Then you can graduate to a larger motorcycle down the road.

Before you ride:

  1. Always put on protective gear
  2. Do a quick check of your bike - test your brakes, check the air in your tires, check your safety gear
  3. Check the weather before you head out.

Real Life Story: Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders

WHN: How did your accident happen?

Dean: It happened about 4-5 years ago on a Sunday morning. I was crossing a one-lane metal gray bridge and only one vehicle can cross at a time. I saw this mini-van headed towards me but there was no room to get out of the way. The van was full of kids and the woman said afterwards that she didn’t see me. I broke 10 ribs and my collarbone.

WHN: What was the major lesson you’d pass on to other riders?

Dean: If there’s anything I could tell other beginning riders is that imagine as you sit on your motorcycle, anytime you sit on your motorcycle you immediately become invisible. Remember that no one can see you. As long as you operate that way, you’ll notice these things and other drivers.

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The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.

Last Updated: 5/2009