Life-saving equipment

By Mike Crow

I have an intimate interest in motorcycle safety since I had a motorcycle accident September 2006.  I believe my motorcycle safety equipment saved my life.
Here are some details of my accident. I was three miles from my home after a Saturday morning breakfast ride with some of friends when a car in front of me suddenly slammed on their breaks. I reacted by slamming on my breaks and my motorcycle dove to the left which threw me into the opposing driving lane.

I landed on the pavement.

Almost immediately I got up and moved to the side of the road and realized my left knee was in pain. Kind people stopped and helped me by calling 911, which brought an ambulance within minutes. I had shattered my left knee but not a scratch anywhere else.
After I got home from the hospital someone brought my motorcycle jacket and helmet to me and I noticed a large spot on my helmet where my head hit the pavement and several tears on my padded motorcycle jacket. I believe that if I was not wearing the helmet and jacket I would have been very seriously injured if not dead.
That morning I had decided not to wear my padded motorcycle pants and just wore jeans. It is possible that the pads in the knees of the motorcycle pants may have cushioned the impact as I hit the road and prevented my knee injury.
My safety equipment probably saved my life. As my friend Bruce always says “You only have to wear your safety equipment when you plan on going down.” Of course we don’t know when that is.
Mike Crow is the Director of the Kansas Asphalt Pavement Association and a KDOT retiree



  1. Thanks for your personal story, Mike. I love riding as a passenger, and in the "old days" I was not very smart about gearing up. Wouldn't even think of riding without a helmet, etc. now - and your story is the perfect example of why!

  2. Mike, I remember hearing about your accident when it happened and being so worried about your condition. Motorcycle accidents are so scarey. You were fortunate to have worn your safety gear. So many riders go without helmets and protective clothing. I'm glad you are alive to spread the word about motorcycle safety.

  3. Anonymous9/17/2012


    I have two helmets on my shelf at home...One is cracked from hitting a curb and the other is scraped, almost to the liner from sliding down an icy road. I also trashed a nylon snowmobile suit that had a number of places burned through.

    It's great to have the wind in your hair but, even greater to keep your hair on your head

  4. Anonymous9/17/2012

    One of the toughest things for most road users to realize is that although they are a safe driver/operator/cyclist etc. is that it may not be them at fault for when they do not make it home. It's good to hear that taking the safety precautions that you did enabled you to be able to be here to tell your story.

  5. Anonymous9/17/2012

    Mike, Thanks for sharing the story of your motorcycle accident. I am very glad that you were wearing your helmet and other safety equipment. You are an example of a rider that had options after the collision. In cases where drivers and riders do not wear safety equipment, they may not have any options. A thankful friend - Larry Emig

  6. Anonymous9/19/2012

    Wearing the proper safety equipment is essential! I'm a bicyclist and would never venture out on my bike without my helmet ... it's no different than wearing my seat belt in the car. Mike, I'm glad you weren't seriously injured (other than your knee). I remember your recovery. I'm sure you know more than most the simple joy of walking ... you can't take it for granted! -Roger Moore