Wednesday 7 May 2008

Motorcycles DO EXIST on the road!

Some of you might have noticed that in the recent weeks I wasn't active at all online. This was because I was on a vacation in Italy. On the way back I was eager to write about my experiences, but after entering Romania, I found out that may parents had been involved in a motorcycle accident due to a careless driver.

The accident took place on the second day of the Orthodox Easter (on the 28th of April)[1] while my parents were coming back from my sister's, just 20 km away from my home town, Caracal, in a village called Zănoaga. There, a Daewoo Cielo was parked on the left side of the road[2], facing the direction towards Caracal. The driver decided that it was a good idea to turn his vehicle and, according to his declaration, instead of looking himself if there was anything comming, he asked a passenger if there were any cars comming.

Since a motorcycle is not a car, I guess the passenger thought it was OK to answer "no".

So the driver simply started his maneuver and managed to occupy the entire right lane, according to the accident schematics (I saw the official police schematics of the accident site with my own eyes). There were only 30 cm from the front most point of the car to the ditch on the right side of road, while the rear wheels were on the mark indicating the axis of the road. That left only 2 meters free on the opposite lane out of the 6.60 meters wide road, so there was no way for my father (driving the motorcycle) to avoid the collision, in spite of the fact he was travelling at about 40-50 km/h[3], within the legal speed limit (50 km/h).

My father barely had enough time to avoid the central pillar and aim for the rear right door of the car, obviously, a safer place to hit. Still, this wasn't enough to keep my mother on the motorcycle, a safer place for her than anywhere on the road.

My mother was projected over my father and over the car, and, luckily, landed on the side of the road, between the asphalt and the ditch, on an area covered with grass. She landed straight onto her head (the helmet protected her really well), and the shock of the landing propagated along the spine, resulting in the fracture of the L1 vertebra. She also got a fissure in the right clavicula, but that should already be OK now.

My father managed to remain on the motorcycle, but the impact was violent enough that he managed to bend the gas tank and has two huge bruises on the inside of his thighs (one for each leg). He also accuses pains in his shoulders and the lower end of the spine (unfortunately he "managed" not to do the medical investigations after the accident), but I hope all of these will pass soon and will have no ill effects. Also, out of sheer luck, at that time, my father was wearing a full-face helmet, contrary to his habit of earing an open-face helmet; due to this, his face was protected and suffered no harm, while the chin of the helmet broke after the impact with the motorcycle windshield. Also some deep scratches starting from the half of the helmet windshield up to the top of the helmet were the signs of a (probably second) violent impact with the motorcycle windshield.

So, the next time you are on the wheel, please look out for motorcycles, too. Motorcycles do exist on the road!

Also, I advice anyone driving a motorcycle to wear good protection equipment like a full-face helmet, jacket, pants, boots, gloves, etc. These helped a lot my parents, and will help you too, if, God forbid, you are involved in an accident.

My mother is in a cast that covers her from hips to shoulders to help with the fracture recovery and also wears a collar (just for safety reasons since she is suffering of spondyloses).
My father is able to walk (with some pain) and seems not to have any injures (I will take him for a close investigation some time soon in spite of his stubbornness).

[1] worrying for us (me and my future spouse), my parents didn't told us and waited for us to return to Romania
[2] in Romania the vehicles travel on the right side of the road, so the driver also drove on opposite lane, a fact which, according to the law, is punished with the suspension of the driving license
[3] he speed was confirmed by the measurements done by the police