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Blog > November 2012 > Bob Sturm Scary Accident and Appreciation for Quality Equipment

Bob Sturm Scary Accident and Appreciation for Quality Equipment

October 9, 2012
Both my friend and I, riding 30 years, were traveling.on the Blue Ridge Pkwy entering the Parkway at Waynesboro, VA to avoid the Skyline Drive.  
We stopped at Peaks of Otter restaurant around 6:30 pm. There was no Verizon Cell Coverage at the Lodge and we knew we needed to find accommodations for the evening so we carefully proceeded down the Blue Ridge Pkwy, Hornet Electronic Deer Deterrent System in the on position.  

Around  7:15 we decided to head to Roanoke where we would have cell and internet.  Heading south on BRP.  I have expressed concerns about deer. I was reminded by my friend that I had the Hornet, and that it would provide some protection.  I took lead because of Hornet,

Approx 5 minutes later, deer ran across the road forcing both of us to brake heavily.

Approx 5 minutes later, several more deer ran across the road in front of me.  2 completed the crossing a 3rd reversed direction.  Again, we had to braked heavily.  I was told by my friend Richard Rothschild, a very experienced Cross-Country Rider, that the deer were like land-mines and we needed to be really careful.  I said, "so much for the Hornet... If anything the damn thing seems to stampede the deer.”

5 minutes later as we approached (southbound) an overlook, 3 more deer dashed across the road from the left.  As best I can remember they were adolescence.  One passed in front of my Goldwing, possibly clipping the front wheel and destabilizing him.  A second passed behind, and the third slammed into the side of the bike. First the deer pushed his head into my clutch hand and bent my thumb back to my wrist and then I was ejected from the bike on the right side.  I barrel-rolled to the right onto the grass shoulder.

As far as I could determine the deer ricocheted off the bike, stumbled back to the left shoulder grassy area and died. Meanwhile, my bike,( rider less) rolled down the road perfectly upright for about 200 yards.  

My friend Rich ran over to me, fully trained in CPR and First Aid.  I was laying on my back with torn vest, torn jacket, and torn boots.  The jaw protector from my convertible full face helmet had broken off  (HJC Symax II - an apparent helmet failure).  He asked if I had any broken bones.  I said "no", but my left hand was bleeding.  I was shaken, but intact. Rich told me not to move, because he had to see what happened to the bike.  He was worried it might have slammed into something, including a car, because there was no northbound traffic.

Rich jogged down the road and saw the bike laying on it's right side blocking the northbound lane.  The lights were on, engine was off. Rich was afraid someone would come around the corner and hit it.  He was unable to drag or lift it.

Rich looked back up the road toward me and saw that a silver sedan has stopped in the overlook.  He started jogging back up the road, and he saw that I was now on the grass on the northbound side, approximately 50 feet from the dead deer.

A silver minivan approached and stopped.  Rich again asked me if anything was broken.  I said no. He asked me if I wanted an ambulance.  I said no. At this point there were 3 men and an elderly woman. I asked the men to help Rich with the bike.  They righted it, and he was able to start the engine and drive it back to the overlook.  It had a broken mirror, crushed highway pegs; bent antenna; scratched saddlebag and trunk, shattered front fender, and assorted cosmetic damage.  

He parked the bike and told me that he needed to clean out my thumb that was bleeding. 

I began inspecting the bike.  The man Joe, who stopped indicated we were only maybe 10 miles from Roanoke. Rich asked me if he could ride.  I said yes.  He told me that he would lead, and asked the man in the silver sedan to follow behind me, just in case I got worse and couldn't make it to Roanoke.  We picked up the broken pieces and headed south.  At this point maybe 45 minutes had elapsed since the accident.

We plotted a course to the Best Western Valley View.  Rich knew there were services and an airport there.  Rich checked us in and unloaded my bike while I sat on a bench.  

My thumb hurt, my knee hurt, and my nose hurt. I asked if it looked broken. He told me it appeared slightly bent to the left. Inside the room, I removed my torn armored pants.  My left knee had two large abrasion wounds.

Rich asked me if I wanted to go to the emergency room.  I told him I was debating it.  But said if I went, I wanted a taxi because I didn't want to ride there.  I was moving slowly, but considering the fact that I was ejected from my Wing at around 40mph I was doing pretty good. Rich told me it was a miracle I was able to walk away.

In retrospect, Rich told me that I did use my brakes and the ABS worked as they should.  Rich couldn't remember what forced me off the bike.  Rich's opinion is that the deer slammed into the left side of the bike and knocked me off.    Rich seemed to remember me hitting the ground face first on the right side of the helmet  (Modular Full Face which on the 2nd roll failed but not the brackets.  They remained in tacked).   I blew my nose and blood came out, so we proceeded to hospital. The hospital staff, as a precaution, put me in traction due a suspected injury to my spine and X-rayed my thumb, my left knee and my left tibia.  All were negative and was discharged with staff being absolutely bewildered how I walked away from this 2 deer hit collision.  
Wearing the right gear, all the time is essential.  Here is what I was wearing to save my life.  
(1) Olympia Air Glide 2 Outer shell constructed in 500 denier Cordura® fabric with ballistic airflow mesh panels, Thermolite® insulated two stage liner jacket Removable CE approved Motion Flex armor at elbows and shoulders and a Removable CE approved Motion Flex articulated back protector,
Preview(2)  Cruiserworks Side Zipper Boots, without which I would be without a right two at a minimum.  Thanks so much to Cruiserworks for their superior construction.  I just bought my third pair and would never where anything else given how they held out in this accident.
(3)  Gerbings G3 Gloves that show significant abrasions that needs to be replaced.
(4)  Shampa Hood that prevented my chin from injury and wore down to nothing.  It is clear that the Symax II failure resulted in me rolling from the 2nd to the 10th roll as if I was wearing a 3/4 face helmet.  I was totally unprotected except for the hood.
I walked away from the hospital very stiff and complaining of sore thumb, back, neck and got my pain killers at 4:30 am.  A couple of weeks later, I found out that I had severed my Left Thumb ligament and broke my thumb in 2 places along with a chip.  I required screws to be inserted and the surgery went perfectly.  My Goldwing was totaled and will have my new 2012 on 11/20 but can't ride it until my Physical Therapy is concluded in about 4 weeks.  If I did have all of the above equipment on, I would definitely not be getting back on a Motorcycle.  Thanks again Cruiserworks!
Bob Sturm
GWRRA Chapter Y Leesburg
Posted: 11/14/2012 2:50:54 PM | with 0 comments

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