Do you own a small Yamaha? Have you ever forgotten to raise the side stand before you set off down the road? Then this could happen to you … I am a 60 year old lifetime rider of motorbikes and I have just had my first serious accident. I was not drunk, nor was I speeding or riding dangerously. My ‘mistake’ was to forget the side stand after being pulled over at an army check-point on the way back to Chiang Mai to visit my son. I was about to get off the bike and lowered the side stand but before I switched off the engine I was told I could keep going. I engaged gear and pulled away forgetting the side stand was still down. The road is a major highway with ample width and good surface and long corners following the Ping River. Unfortunately, immediately following the check-point the road is either straight or right hand bend and I had no warning the side stand was down as I accelerated to my cruising speed of 80kph. At the first left hand bend all I heard was a metallic scratching sound as the side stand dug into the road surface and the bike appeared to be going straight as the road swung hard left. Within moments I was heading for a concrete post, curbstone and mountainside with a nasty collision obviously imminent. The final result was both bones in my lower left leg being broken twice. I was hospitalized for 30 days with 2 operations and a constant flow of medication to avoid infection. I’ve been told it could be 6 months before I walk on this leg again. I have owned the Spark for 16 months and totaled 23,000ks before this accident. It has been serviced regularly by Yamaha garages and is completely standard with no changes ever having been made to the side stand or any other part of the bike. No-one has ever indicated this was something I should take action to avoid and I have always assumed that the side stand would pop up if it took a decent knock. I now know that’s not true. Both the Honda Wave and the Honda Dream owned by my family will do this. Forget the side stand and as the bike corners left the stand digs in, causes a little shake and then slaps up into position. Did Yamaha ever look into this? Why isn’t there a switch that cuts the engine when the stand is down? After many years as a committed Yamaha bike owner (I have owned 2 in the past and own 2 now) I am very disappointed with this safety oversight and I am very reluctant to get back on a bike that nearly killed me.