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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm faced with a pretty serious dilemma, fellow bikers. Please give me your opinion on this matter. If you don't want to read all of it, then simply scroll the bottom and read the last two questions.

On September 29th, I was involved in a life-changing motorcycle accident. I was in the hospital for three weeks recovering from a traumatic brain injury and a shattered clavicle bone. I got out a week ago. I remember absolutely nothing about the accident and the first two weeks I was in the hospital. I don't even remember getting on my bike that day. The following is simply what others have recalled for me.

The worst part of it: I was probably going less than 20mph when I crashed. I was simply making a protected left turn at an intersection when, witnesses say, my rear tire lost traction (probably something in the road I didn't see), I instantly lost control (one witness who visited me in the hospital said my handlebars started wobbling viciously.. I must've gotten speed wobbles from something other than speed), and I proceeded to get bucked off, probably with force, directly onto the pavement, headfirst.

The damage to my helmet was by far the worst. The rest of my gear didn't look all that bad. The bike fared even better... one tiny scratch on the side of it. Me? Not so much.
I was instantly knocked unconscious. My eyes were open but I was unresponsive to medical personnel. I continued to be unresponsive for the next three days. I stared at a wall, eyes open, unresponsive, for three full days. It was actually because my injury didn't have room in the skull to heal because my swelled brain was pushing against it. The swelling subsided, and now I'm here. The brain actually doesn't heal, so us humans believe. It just compensates for lost tissue with other brain tissue. Going to work and doing somebody else's job in addition to your own, so to speak.

I'll spare you further details, but suffice to say, it was pretty gruesome... especially for my parents. The medics didn't know if I would ever even talk again. They both claim to be suffering from PTSD after the things they witnessed me go through every day in the hospital, even if I was unconscious. I underwent multiple surgeries, tubes of all sorts were sticking out of me... it was too much for them to bear.

BUT: Those guys in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) don't mess around, and I'm back up and running again. Now, I'm forced to make a substantial decision.

I will never put my parents through something like this again. But motorcycling, both on the street and on the dirt, is my life and always has been. The doctor said another knock to the head, like this one at least, will likely leave me a vegetable. That is definitely scary. And for my parents, seeing me in a vegetative state would reportedly be worse than if I died.

But what I find even scarier, and the reason I am so on edge about this, is that I cannot for the life of me remember getting in this accident, at all. So I don't know how I crashed, and I can't mentally correct what I did. I don't know what caused the accident, and probably never will. That is near-torturous, especially when making the decision to either give it up or keep riding. The brain is not worth sacrificing for any activity. But I fear that giving up motorcycling will have serious consequences on my mental health (oh, the irony). I'm not sure what I'd do for fun if I didn't ride motorcycles! Is it possible to give up a passion for something and replace it with something else without longing for that previous passion?

So I have one question for you all: If your passion threatened your very identity, your brain, and of course your life, would you give it up? With motorcycling being the passion in question?

Also, how would you celebrate turning 21 in the hospital while unconscious?
 

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That sounds like a very bad accident. Glad you are doing OK now. Wow, and I thought my accident was bad.

As for your question, only you can really answer that question. The only reply I can give you is what I would do and have done. I would continue to ride. I would never stop riding unless I was physically not able to do so.

However, that is me. This is something you have to think hard about and decide if you think it is worth the risk. And with every rider, you take a risk by riding. Only difference is, you now understand what motorcycle riding can do to you and the risk of riding. Are you willing to take that risk again?

No one here can really answer that question for you. You have to make that decision on your own.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That sounds like a very bad accident. Glad you are doing OK now. Wow, and I thought my accident was bad.

As for your question, only you can really answer that question. The only reply I can give you is what I would do and have done. I would continue to ride. I would never stop riding unless I was physically not able to do so.

However, that is me. This is something you have to think hard about and decide if you think it is worth the risk. And with every rider, you take a risk by riding. Only difference is, you now understand what motorcycle riding can do to you and the risk of riding. Are you willing to take that risk again?

No one here can really answer that question for you. You have to make that decision on your own.
Thank you for your input. Motorcycling is my life and giving it up would be absolutely heartbreaking. But in my eyes, it would be worse to continue riding and get in another bad accident with my parents experiencing it. I'm at a loss for a reasonable solution, but I will continue pondering it. Thanks again for your opinion. Hopefully I'll reach an acceptable resolution. Luckily, it's now winter, so I've got some time to think about it.
 

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Nightfly
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The worst thing your parents or anyone who claims to love you could say is "don't be stupid." As in getting back on that bike and riding again. You need to have communication with your parents, wife if you have one, or any and all "good friends."

Hopefully they will understand that riding has been you passion for most of your life and to just give it up without serious thought on your part just isn't possible.

If your friends give you a hard time and insist on telling how stupid you are for wanting to continue to ride, then you need new friends who understand "YOU." It should be your decision not theirs that you ride again. True friends would allow you that freedom, but you would prefer to have their support.

Letting fear of riding prevent you from doing something you truly love will be very bad for your mental health. Fear will lead to other fears and it will just drag you down and increase your anxiety.

Good luck my man.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The worst thing your parents or anyone who claims to love you could say is "don't be stupid." As in getting back on that bike and riding again. You need to have communication with your parents, wife if you have one, or any and all "good friends."

Hopefully they will understand that riding has been you passion for most of your life and to just give it up without serious thought on your part just isn't possible.

If your friends give you a hard time and insist on telling how stupid you are for wanting to continue to ride, then you need new friends who understand "YOU." It should be your decision not theirs that you ride again. True friends would allow you that freedom, but you would prefer to have their support.

Letting fear of riding prevent you from doing something you truly love will be very bad for your mental health. Fear will lead to other fears and it will just drag you down and increase your anxiety.

Good luck my man.
Honestly, now that I think about it, it's not a fear of riding that is making me consider it. It's my fear that my parents will experience the impact of a bad accident on me. I really don't want to be a mentally disabled vegetable. But I really, really don't want my parents to see their only child in that state forever. That is what's guiding my decision. Not my own health, so to speak, but my parent's health.

And to clarify, and make things probably worse, I am the only child of a single mother. I don't have two caregivers, I've just been referring to it that way in my posts. I am all she has. She has no partner and is almost 60 years old. If I were to die, she'd probably follow along sooner or later. That thought is tortuous.
 

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Honestly, now that I think about it, it's not a fear of riding that is making me consider it. It's my fear that my parents will experience the impact of a bad accident on me. I really don't want to be a mentally disabled vegetable. But I really, really don't want my parents to see their only child in that state forever. That is what's guiding my decision. Not my own health, so to speak, but my parent's health.

And to clarify, and make things probably worse, I am the only child of a single mother. I don't have two caregivers, I've just been referring to it that way in my posts. I am all she has. She has no partner and is almost 60 years old. If I were to die, she'd probably follow along sooner or later. That thought is tortuous.
That makes sense. You have to do what you think is right. :thumbsup:

The way I am reading your posts (even before this one) it seems to me that you want to stop riding so you should do so and move on to safer interests. :)
 

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I'm faced with a pretty serious dilemma, fellow bikers. Please give me your opinion on this matter. If you don't want to read all of it, then simply scroll the bottom and read the last two questions.

On September 29th, I was involved in a life-changing motorcycle accident. I was in the hospital for three weeks recovering from a traumatic brain injury and a shattered clavicle bone. I got out a week ago. I remember absolutely nothing about the accident and the first two weeks I was in the hospital. I don't even remember getting on my bike that day. The following is simply what others have recalled for me.

The worst part of it: I was probably going less than 20mph when I crashed. I was simply making a protected left turn at an intersection when, witnesses say, my rear tire lost traction (probably something in the road I didn't see), I instantly lost control (one witness who visited me in the hospital said my handlebars started wobbling viciously.. I must've gotten speed wobbles from something other than speed), and I proceeded to get bucked off, probably with force, directly onto the pavement, headfirst.

The damage to my helmet was by far the worst. The rest of my gear didn't look all that bad. The bike fared even better... one tiny scratch on the side of it. Me? Not so much.
I was instantly knocked unconscious. My eyes were open but I was unresponsive to medical personnel. I continued to be unresponsive for the next three days. I stared at a wall, eyes open, unresponsive, for three full days. It was actually because my injury didn't have room in the skull to heal because my swelled brain was pushing against it. The swelling subsided, and now I'm here. The brain actually doesn't heal, so us humans believe. It just compensates for lost tissue with other brain tissue. Going to work and doing somebody else's job in addition to your own, so to speak.

I'll spare you further details, but suffice to say, it was pretty gruesome... especially for my parents. The medics didn't know if I would ever even talk again. They both claim to be suffering from PTSD after the things they witnessed me go through every day in the hospital, even if I was unconscious. I underwent multiple surgeries, tubes of all sorts were sticking out of me... it was too much for them to bear.

BUT: Those guys in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) don't mess around, and I'm back up and running again. Now, I'm forced to make a substantial decision.

I will never put my parents through something like this again. But motorcycling, both on the street and on the dirt, is my life and always has been. The doctor said another knock to the head, like this one at least, will likely leave me a vegetable. That is definitely scary. And for my parents, seeing me in a vegetative state would reportedly be worse than if I died.

But what I find even scarier, and the reason I am so on edge about this, is that I cannot for the life of me remember getting in this accident, at all. So I don't know how I crashed, and I can't mentally correct what I did. I don't know what caused the accident, and probably never will. That is near-torturous, especially when making the decision to either give it up or keep riding. The brain is not worth sacrificing for any activity. But I fear that giving up motorcycling will have serious consequences on my mental health (oh, the irony). I'm not sure what I'd do for fun if I didn't ride motorcycles! Is it possible to give up a passion for something and replace it with something else without longing for that previous passion?

So I have one question for you all: If your passion threatened your very identity, your brain, and of course your life, would you give it up? With motorcycling being the passion in question?

Also, how would you celebrate turning 21 in the hospital while unconscious?
My advice is to take some time. Don't make a permanent decision, immediately. Right now, you're influenced by fear and trauma. They say "never make a decision while you're mad", and that certainly applies to a situation like this, as well.

The fun part, is that you still have all the rest of your life in which to decide to get back on. If you're too scared now, that's fine. It's only to be understood. But choosing to stay off of it NOW, doesn't mean "forever", unless YOU make it mean it.

Another option I will suggest, is to go trike. All the freedom of the road, for a fraction of the risk. And by the sounds of it, your accident may not have happened on 3 wheels. It's definitely an option. And nobody laughs at a triker. For one, under best case scenario, we'll all end up on them, eventually.

As for model suggestions, it kinda depends on your individual preference. If you like to ride cruisers, then the sky's the limit. You can find a triked out cruiser, any day of the week, with a little effort. Especially with Harley Davidsons, but certainly not exclusively.

If you're more into the "rockets", like the Kawasaki Ninja, and so forth, options become much slimmer. But not absent. I believe the Can-Am Spyder is a popular choice among rocketeers looking for that extra safety. I doubt you'd still be able to do some of the tricks, like wheelies, and high speed hairpin turns. But I wouldn't personally recommend those, anyway.

What I would do, myself? Get back on. After some time, of course. And slowly working back up. Possibly even retaking the BRC, to help. But then, I'm one of those "too stubborn to give up" types.

I had an accident earlier this year, in fact ( nowhere near as bad as yours ), and it put my bike out of commission, and me on the shelf for 3 weeks. A month or so later, newer ( and bigger ) bike, and I'm back at it. Only noticeable difference being that I'm noticeably quicker to pass, and am not nearly as trusting of vehicles being beside me, as I previously was.

As for celebrating 21...well, that's not been a concern for me, for 9 years, now. But hypothetically, I wouldn't be too bummed. I've never been that worried about drinking. I like to drink, but I do not get drunk. I savor flavors, and relax. And honestly...I was doing it ( with parental consent ), already. So to me, 21 was just a number.

Bottom line is this: whatever you decide, make sure it's the right decision for YOU. I know you care about your mom, and don't want to put her through something, but you can't live your entire life for other people. Trust me. Once in a while, you have to put your own needs and wants first. You're entitled to that. So whatever you decide, make sure it's what YOU really want.
 

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... The doctor said another knock to the head, like this one at least, will likely leave me a vegetable...

...I don't know how I crashed, and I can't mentally correct what I did. I don't know what caused the accident, and probably never will...

...So I have one question for you all: If your passion threatened your very identity, your brain, and of course your life, would you give it up? With motorcycling being the passion in question?

Also, how would you celebrate turning 21 in the hospital while unconscious?
Every person and situation is unique, and yours has some extra sauce. But it could be even harder to keep going, like if you had kids depending on you, for example.

Not remembering does not seem like a deal breaker, because you don't know that you could have avoided the trouble. I remember getting hit, and don't feel there was any way to avoid it.

Nobody can answer this for you. My answer was to stay off the bike until I felt I could ride without fear again (a bit less than a year, it turned out).

The last bit. Well, I think a lot of us were ' unconscious' to celebrate turning 21, so I would not worry about missing that celebration. Celebrate getting out of bed and back to your life. Celebrate turning 22 by riding, if it is what you want.
 

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Sixteen years ago I had a minor crash but complications almost killed me. I spent 31 days in the ICU, and my surgeon later told me that he only gave me a 50/50 chance of even surviving the surgery. The surgery was a thoracotomy, the worst thing I ever went through in my now 73 years. My wife and kids begged me to promise I would never ride again. I didn't ride for 5 years, but at that point I bought a scooter. Two years later I bought a "real" motorcycle and have been riding ever since. I decided that riding a motorcycle is just too important to me.
 

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Truth is only you can make that decision and it will not be an easy one,

If you do decide to ride again, you should invest in a much better helmet.
 
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What Critter said.
Your memory will likely recover some with time, a lot of time. The crash can be reconstructed from the witness accounts. What I would do, and have done, does not matter. It is up to you. However, I would go slow. We can all make bad decisions in times of a bit of stress.
At 60 your mother is not old. There is a world of opportunity for her. And you too.

Unkle Krusty
 

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I've lost several months of memory, in and around the time of a serious accident that happened to me many years ago. I was doing 60 to 65 mph when I T- boned a car that ran a stop sign. The first emergency personnel (a State Trooper) that arrived at the scene, pronounced me deceased. Paramedics arrived and I don't remember if they revived me or what, but they got me to the hospital. Witnesses stated that my upper body caught the roof of the car and I went flying into the air like a rag doll doing a helicopter spin. My head slammed into the road cracking my helmet in half. They stated that the Styrofoam and padding remained on my head, and the shell separated. I spent 3 months in the hospital with serious head injuries, a broken neck, broken shoulder and collar bone, broken right arm, broken ribs and internal organ injuries. I was in a comma for the first three weeks. My brain also experienced serious swelling and fluid build up as yours did.

Similar to you, I don't only not remember the accident or anything the day of the accident, but to this day, I am missing many many months of memory before and after the accident. Some little memory events during those months have slowly come back, but only in bits and pieces over the years, so I'm not sure if some of them are even memories or not. I loved riding, and always have. But, I didn't even look at another bike for at least five years after the accident. When I finally decided to ride again, I purchased a 250 endure and strictly rode trails and off road for a couple of years. I think it took that long to get my confidence back before I purchased a street bike again. I rode almost problem free for the next 20 years or so. Then, in 2006, a high school student driving her moms car and playing with here phone, made a left hand turn in front of me while I had a green light going thru an intersection. I managed to miss her, but I lost control swerving to miss her car. The bike went down, while sliding on the road, me and the bike hit a concrete medium in the center of the highway. I reinjured my neck and had to have spinal neck surgery again with additional titanium hardware installed to make me good again.

I'm 55 now and I'm still riding, more cautious than ever, but my family thinks that I'm crazy. I've tried other sports and hobbies, including being a certified skydiver, and I've been a certified scuba diver since I was a teenager. I gave up the skydiving because the jolt that the body experiences when the canopy opens, was too hard on my neck and spine and I risk re-injury and possibly paralysis. I gave up cave and wreck diving because I eventually found it boring after years of doing it. The one thing that I've always found joy in since I was 14 years old is riding. Its never gotten old and I never find it boring. So, its the one thing that I do that I really really enjoy, and because of that, I've chosen not to give it up.
 

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--

My situation wasn't as bad as yours, but I was in ICU for three weeks and suffered some aftereffects for several years. I highsided at 70 mph and remembered none of the accident itself.

I was ready to quit, but started thinking how some of us are swimming in waters in Florida infested in part by water moccasins. Some live in narrow canyons in Colorado where a sudden flood has inundated a canyon in moments. Some live along riverbanks or below sea level along the Mississippi River where flooding happens. Some live where hurricanes have struck more than once. Then we have tornadoes, wild fires and diseases galore. But then more lives are lost either from inner city crime or highway accidents. So how do we cope?

Do we give up on all attempts to live? I think not. Riding is just one example of some activity that happens and has some degree of hazard inherent. But it also has a high degree of pleasure associated with it--much more than most of the other situations I mentioned. So I would council to give up tornadoes and floods first, long before riding.

You mitigate the possibility of harm by having as much protection as is reasonable, such as protective gear, defensive conservative riding, and choice of place you ride. Now you're ready to live.

--
 

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Nightfly
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As others and I have stated, only you can make the final decision. I can relate the experience I had when riding horse back on the farm. I was bucked off; foot caught in stirrup and was dragged a couple hundred yards over some serious landscape before someone finally stopped the horse. I was tore up pretty good but not with the serious injuries you had. My leg was kinda messed up and I still have a few issues with it.

I think it's like picking yourself up after you fail at something. You gotta climb back on the horse/bike as soon as possible. The longer you simmer with your thoughts the more likely you will never ride again. I understand your situation with your parents but don't live your life trying to please others; you'll end up resenting them.
 

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Hi i to was in a very bad motorcycle accident and should have died at 14,you have a second chance, wait until you are out of your parents house if not already, give yourself plenty of time months or years to recover and see a neuro doc to retest your functions and then if good see how you feel about getting back on a bike. I still ride and realize how vulnerable we are as riders just don't be crazy with the throttle, remember rubber down and shinny side up and be as aware of your surroundings and whats on the road ahead of you.oh by the way i didn't have a helmet on when i was knocked out for 5 seconds im soo lucky, good luck to you.
 

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I remember as a young boy, riding my three speed with very thin tires, on a paved road by the neighbors house, within a day or two of him placing large size gravel on his driveway, like he did every fall, in preparation for a rough winter in northern Maine.

I saw the gravel and I tried to ride through it; I remember falling which means my bicycle tire must've gotten tripped up on a few of the larger chunks of gravel.

The next thing I knew, I woke up and I was laying on the road and looking at everything sideways. legs the belonged to adults, and a 1957 Chevy that was just sitting there. they were apparently standing around me evaluating what was wrong with me.

I don't remember hitting the ground or any of the accident other than knowing that my bike got caught up by the gravel, so I simply got up, picked up my bicycle and walked home. I had an egg on my forehead, but I was basically OK.

certainly your injuries were much more serious and I'm glad to know that you're OK. Whether or not you should continue to ride a motorcycle is of course totally up to you, but I would suggest that the odds are in your favor now, because you've gotten your big accident out-of-the-way.

I mean, what are the odds that you'd have another serious accident like that for the rest your life?

I don't know if it's pigheadedness or stupidity or just common sense, but I got back on my bicycle and I continued riding, right up in my 40's even when I was a father of two little girls I was riding to work in the summer. Then, when I switched to the motorcycle, naturally I was concerned, but I also trusted myself.

I was able, as you are, to look at my own performance and determine whether or not I could function with that motorcycle with acceptable risk. Was I a good driver or not? did I have the skills necessary to keep myself safe or not?

I realize there is the unknown stuff like the gravel on the driveway, or something on the road that your tire skids on, or some irresponsible driver, and I realize that you're more exposed on a motorcycle been in a car.

I guess it depends on how much you trust in the possibility that your life is not an accident, and that you're not going to be killed until it's time for you to be killed. Somebody would have to show me statistics but, I would imagine the people that parachute jump are more likely to die in that sport, than those who ride on motorcycles die from accidents on the road.

Maie an informed decision. Which probably means we need to see some statistics from someone who knows, what the percentages of accidents and deaths are, relative to the various recreational activities that there are out there. Anybody got those stats?
 

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You have to learn how to deal with failures before you will learn how to succeed. Let failures rule your life though and you'll never succeed. Even in baseball you get 3 strikes before you are out so think about that.
 

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I went through a dilemma much like yours when I was 20 years old. I wrecked bad enough that I spent 26 days in the hospital and a total of 6 months off of work. I also enjoy riding and it is a part of my life. My final question became, am I willing to give up this part of my life or will I go on enjoying it even though it can be dangerous. I still ride today at 69 years old so you know what my answer was.
 
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