Drive Safely, Wear Protective Gear ...

Two lives, as different as night and day.  Unrelated, unconnected, and under normal circumstances, destined to never cross paths.  On this day, the fickle hand of fate thought to forgo normality, choosing instead to reshuffle the deck.  Creating a confluence of events, bringing together two individuals at a specific time and place, in a collision of chance.

In the gray light of early dawn, events unfolded as they often do.  A six o'clock wake-up call.  A cursory reconnoiter of the weather situation, with a decision to proceed with, or abort, our planned route for the day.  By the time my friend covers the 50 kilometers between our perspective homes, I am showered, dressed, armored and ready to go.  Not feeling one hundred percent, I suggested that my riding partner lead, as he often does anyway.  So seven o’clock and we were on our way.

Cool and dry, with a high dense cloud cover and excellent visibility.  In short a perfect day for a ride.  Very much indeed, like a ride we had enjoy just three days before.  Seventy some kilometers into our ride, I became the unwilling audience to what played out before me.  It was no more than a glancing blow as the two motorcycles crossed paths on a long straight section with but one entranceway from a local petrol station.  The slower plodding bike and driver dropped immediately in place but suffered relatively minor injuries, as I watched my partner do a fair impersonation of a professional racer sliding tens of meters on his back, before friction took to rolling him for greater effect.

My eyes fixated on my friend, I have no recollection of what the bike did but we found it later, in the ditch a bit further down the road.  Being Thailand, help was immediately at hand.  One very helpful lady arranged for a passing pickup truck to take both injured parties to a hospital eight kilometers away.  I stayed behind to see to the bike and was quickly offered assistance in extracting it from the prickly brier that lined the roadside ditch.  It took every ounce of force the three of us could muster, to right the bike and get it up the embankment. 

The sliders and fairings took most of the impact from the fall and the slide.  The bike duly rescued and parked at the petrol station, I followed on to the hospital to offer moral support and translation service when needed.  A few hours later the bike was in the back of a friend’s truck and headed for the garage.

In stark contrast to those horrible tales propagated by some elements of the foreign population here, everyone without exception, behaved in an exemplary fashion.  Strangers on the highway, relatives, hospital staff, even the police were wonderful and caring.  Fault was clear but not made an issue.  My friend and his wife offered financial assistance, though none was requested or expected, feeling sorry for the old man who was fated to stumbled into our path on this day.

Though my friend took the more dramatic fall, he fared very well, due to his protective clothing and armor.  A reminder to all, not to ride without the appropriate gear.  Helmet, jacket with armor, gloves, boots and leg guards.  Today could have been much worse without these items of apparel.  So drive safely and defensively, but always dress for a fall.  Keep the shiny side up when you can, wear your gear and may good fortune be on your side, when things take an unexpected turn.  Ride on.