Editor’s Note: Back in November, we introduced you to Joe Cowan, J&P Cycles Network Administrator. At the time of the blog being published, Joe was in transition from our Iowa headquarters to Daytona Superstore. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving in Florida, Joe was involved in an accident. He has graciously agreed to share his story. After drizzling all day, it was time to go home. I dawned my rain pants over my jeans, put on my jacket and helmet. As I proceeded home down US1, the lanes were merging into one due to construction. I was aware of the black SUV in the left lane behind me as I was in the right lane going 55 miles per hour. Other than the SUV, there was no other traffic coming toward me from behind.
As the lanes were merging the SUV sped ahead of me and without blinkering moved into the right lane with me. I let off the throttle immediately to put some distance between us. The last time I looked at the speedometer it read 40 miles per hour. Within moments of the SUV changing into my lane, he made a sudden stop. The SUV’s sudden stop was very evident when its rear end arched up because of its weight. I used my front and rear breaks to stop and was not going to stop in time and my bike began to slide. At this time, I had two choices: either hit the rear of the SUV or drive the bike off the road to the right into the grass. In a split second decision, I knew the grass was the better option.
Even though the SUV played a part in the situation, I knew it would ultimately be my fault for hitting them from the rear (along with the fact that the impact with the SUV would be worse on my body than the grass). So, off to the grass I went. There was side-road pavement that I hit before the grass. As I hit that side-road pavement the bike began to ride away from me and I began to uncontrollably roll over my left side. I did see my bike pass the SUV on its right side. That was the last time I saw that SUV – they left.
When my rolling came to a stop, I was out of breath and in shock. I knew enough not to move my body at all. So laid there on my right side. Only moments passed until a passing motorist came to my aide, she was a nurse – lucky me! The paramedics arrived and removed my gouged helmet and cut off my jacket. My rain pants were shredded. Thankfully I had my jeans on underneath them (I normally wear shorts).
The injuries consisted of a shattered and dislocated wrist (shattered radius), separated collar bone at the shoulder, and road rash on my right palm. At the hospital they set my wrist straight and put a plate in with 12 screws (mine to keep). My shoulder has a Kevlar rope that pulls the collar bone back into position so the tendons can scar back (also mine to keep).
Therapy is in my future for about three months. My wrist will never be the same as the damage was so severe. The uncomfortable pain is ongoing and makes sleep difficult.
Despite all of this, I will return to riding my bike. I do get a lot of joy from riding. I’ll just be a little choosier of the days I ride.