How to crash in Thailand....

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by rhiekel, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Was tempted not to post this report as I really do not like to make myself look like an idiot. But something may be learned from it so here goes. Pretty weak on exciting crash pics as it happened at night so you will have to bear with my scintillating prose. Had left Bangkok early to head up to Chiang Mai with my newest Africa Twin. Smooth ride, about 8 hours. Once there did a bit of work and then jumped on my KTM.
    Plan was to ride about 5 hours east to a small town called Dan Sai to meet my friend David Unkovich for a festival there. Did not leave until about 5 o'clock in the afternoon so knowingly went into the ride with night time riding hours...... Had been on most of the road before so was not really worried about it. About half the way over I decided to take a shortcut over the mountains as it would cut off a lot of time. It was a good two lane highway with very limited traffic. Was about 25 kilometers away from Dan Sai and riding a bit faster than I should have. Because of the darkness was a bit more difficult to judge speed. Came up over a rise, and then there was long slightly downhill section where my speed picked up unknowingly to me. Next thing I know there is a sharp right hand curve at the end of the straight away.

    80077509-S. 80077515-S.

    Pic above: The sharp? right hand curve. Note the missing concrete guide posts. (Captions by David Unk)

    Was in a sort of forested area with underbrush along the side of the road. All along the outside of the turn were three foot high cement posts spaced about every couple of yards. Locked the wheel briefly which started to fishtail the rear. Figured I would be better off going into them with some control instead of sliding into them. My last thought before I hit them at perhaps 100 kph was that I was well and truly ****ed this time.
    Woke up in the dark, in pain beyond belief, broken motorcycle bits all around me, the front of my helmet smashed off, and unable to get up. The bike was lying 5 meters away with the headlight still on pointing away from me. My right eye was almost swollen shut, and my back felt like the mafia spent a day working me over with base ball bats. Did not even know where the road was, but cleverly reasoned it must be above me. So crawled on my hands and knees up to the road and and waited long periods until a car would come come by. Tried to sort of crouch upright and wave my broken helmet at cars to get them to stop. At this time was about 10 pm at night. No one would stop. Realized at this point things were getting a bit serious as the bike could not be seen from the road, and I was worried about going into shock from the pain. Crawled back to the bike to get the flash light from the tank bag and went back to the road. Now finally a truck full of local villagers stopped when they saw me waving the flashlight . They did not speak a word of english, and my Thai was not working too well as they spoke a sort of local dialect. My phone, cash, and passport were in a sort of fanny pack which was located in my left side Jesse bag. That bag took a direct hit on one of the posts, was smashed open, and all the contents strewn over the underbrush. Potentially a ugly scene as I cannot communicate what I wish to the the villagers, which is to sort of secure the bike and get to the hospital in Dan Sai before I pass out. In my sort of fogged out brain I realize I must find the small green fanny pack to get the ball rolling because of the phone.

    At this point I can stand a little bit with lots of pain. So in a sort of comedy scene myself and some of the villagers scour all around for 15 minutes until I find the green bag in the green underbrush. Thank god, phone time!! A quick call to my friend David, who speaks very good Thai and now things were rolling. Sorted out a local guy to spend the night with the bike, jumped into their truck, and then off to the Dan Sai hospital where David was waiting for me to show up. A very nice small regional hospital, much better than you would expect in a small town. Took pelvic x rays which showed nothing broken. Had a huge black eye from the helmet coming apart and my face hitting something. Looking at the helmet I think I think my face went into one of the posts. Other than that, nothing........
    Oh wait, lots and lots of pain. My back looked like it had only a small bruise on it while at the hospital. Was not until the next day my whole ass turned blue....Spent the night there, and then called another friend of mine named David who was in Chiang Mai. Sorted him to come out in my truck and pick me up along with the broken bike. He showed up in the afternoon, so all of us then went out to the crash site. The local guy was still waiting there the next day, and he had carefully covered the bike up. Bike was sitting upright from salvage effort from the night before, so just sort of dragged it up the embankment onto the road, and then dead lifted it ( not me ) into the truck.

    80077512-S. 80077513-S.

    By this time a sort of crowd of local villagers had gathered. They were looking at the cement posts that were knocked over and the smashed up bike, and kept asking her where the dead foreigner was. When my girlfriend pointed to me helping to load the bike onto the truck , they just shook their heads and kept saying amazing that I had life in me. Think they are right.

    Looks from the scratches of the front of the shield my face went
    directly into one of the posts. Think I am lucky to still have a face.

    Winner !!!! Yeah baby kicked some ass on that post.....
    Price my Jesse bag had to pay for killing the post
    Price my butt paid. I think if it had hit a couple of inches higher it would have crushed my spine leaving me shopping for a KTM wheelchair for life...I suspect you have to hit
    something pretty hard to create that level of bruising. No wonder I hurt so much in the hospital.....

    During the bike salvage effort the next day my girlfriend kept telling me to hurry up on the loading of the bike. If the police came by and saw the broken post they would have charged me for it, about 300 baht.........

    1. No fool like an old fool
    2. Do not ride at night
    3. Ride fast for what???
    4. Riding alone adds to risks if problems come up
    5. 13 hours of riding on short sleep dramatically affects judgement

    Here is a link to all the photos: ... /my_photos[:D]
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  3. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    Horrifying report - glad you are alright and that the damage was not terminal, either for you or the Duke.
    Take it easy and mend well.
    PS - pics won't open.
  4. mja34

    mja34 Ol'Timer

    fook me sounds like you where lucky! good to hear you will mend again,reckon its time for a honda sonic soon to slow you down,see you in december and take it easy. marcus in the uk

    marcus ackerman
  5. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Oh the pain...... Lord take me now, I am ready !!!
  6. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer


    First off, great to see you made it out the other side relatively unscathed. I can't think how horrible it could have been.

    I heard about your off and the recovery from Jeff at the Jai Yen cafe. Also nice to see friends pile in and help sort the situation out. As riders we can be a solitary bunch and this points out a benefit of riding with friends.

    Forget about looking good. hell this is life and we all take swings at things we shouldn't and end up coming up worse for the wear. Nice to see you share with us to remind everyone to keep good judgement.

    Nice eye make-up!! You remind me of some mid-eighties disco patron gone wrong[B)]. Now its time to fess up. Rumor is the wifey cracked you upside the head for eyeing some massage ladies a bit to long[:D] then went to pummeling the bike with a wok, and you've fabricated the bike crash to cover it up. Is it so?

  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    What really made me laugh was at the hospital where the drunk orderly trying to move Robert from the emergency room up to his VIP suite had to stop and vomit over the rails en route. I did not get photos of this but I should have. It was impressive & poor Robert was not even aware what was going on he was in so much gentle pain. Photos of the accident site & bike will follow once I get back from Laos.
    (Barry BBQ I hope you're working on your Phi Ta Khon trip report, as it was quite eventful.)

    Keep The Power On
  8. Tom Forde

    Tom Forde Ol'Timer

    Hi Robert,
    God all mighty, bloody accidents follow you around, and I thought riding through Laos in the dark with you was dangerous!
    Hope you are healing well.
    See you soon
    Tom from Oz

    Once u go Asian, forget about Caucasian
  9. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Hi Robert
    Glad to hear you wernt badly injured
    I was always riding thru the nite on my regular trips from Phuket to Samui, will certainly pay a bit more attention, especially as I actually enjoy riding at nite in Southern Thailand as it is so much cooler.

    Take care and hope you heal up real soon
    John (Koh Samui Red GS1100)
  10. scot harper

    scot harper Ol'Timer

    Kricky Ricky, glad to hear your slill in the land of the living.
    Buying the farm like that shorens the odds, on a possitive note.
    Chicks dig scars but not holes where the eye was.
    So guy stay upright, an buy chag all round for your rescuers.
  11. filip-gsa

    filip-gsa Member

    Hi Robert,
    Glad to hear you are okay now. Wish you a good and quick recovery. The blue spots look scary!!!
    Filip and Marleen
  12. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Oh no the big guy is checking in now. [:(] You are right Greg on both counts including rushing to make late happy hour with tea drinkers.....A classic case of get home-itis.
    Humor is where you find it. Riding earlier that night I was thinking about your no night riding rule. The other funny part was in fact the guy puking. I had originally asked for a private room for the whopping cost of 700 baht. However there were only stairs going up to the private rooms on the second floor. Sooo I had to try to walk up them. The whole time there I had been lying face down on the gurney. So the attendant ( loose usage of the word ) guy pushes me to the base of the stairs. Partly in shock, injected with pain killer,and lying down for hours I tried to suddenly stand up and walk up stairs...... Hmmmmmm
    I made it up one stair before I was a whisker away from pass out time. Now cannot even get back on the gurney. David had a great picture of lying at the base of the stairs mustering strength to get back on the gurney.

    80077508-S. 80077507-S.

    Finally get back on and hear all this endless puking. About the last thing I want to hear as I feel sick and on the verge of passing out myself. Tried to cover my ears ! Did not find out until the next day it was the attendant himself. I was then then pushed off to the public ward. As there was a major festival going on in town almost everyone in the ward was drunk or injured from being drunk. The guy in the bed next to me looked half dead and kept asking the nurse for more whiskey. So much alcohol fumes in the air I would have been afraid to light a match. I lasted about about 5 minutes there, and decided I wanted a private room no matter what...Realized the problem was I had transitioned too quickly from a horizontal to a vertical position on stair attempt number 1. So sat up in bed for a while, felt better, and then decided to make one more attempt on the vicious stairs. Got hold of David and off we went. This time took my time and made it up the stairs. Ahhhhh nirvana !! Pleasant room, air conditioning, cute nurses, and a small TV showing only Thai channels. Thank god I had my internet surfing phone or I might have died from boredom. Was in so much pain sleep was impossible.
  13. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Pic above: The sharp? right hand curve. Note the missing concrete guide posts. (Captions by David Unk)

    Hmmmm. Seemed sharper at night !!!
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I dont doubt it was a bit sharp at the KTM speed you were probably travelling at - have you checked your GPS tracks yet?
    You're a lucky man yet again, and what impresses me is that you still keep riding, plus have the courage to post your little spills on the board. There are others who are not so brave.
    What is still a mystery is what happened between the accident time of approx 8 pm & 9.45 pm when Robert phone in requesting help. Mr KTM himself does not even seem to remember, so perhaps he was even knocked out cold for awhile or was too busy fumbling around in the dark on his hands & knees looking for a flashlight so he could find the road. Either way - well done.

    Keep The Power On
  15. Peter R

    Peter R Ol'Timer

    Robert, Those concrete posts are very dangerous, There must be a plastic alternative one or even a wood post would be preferable. A friend of mine from Petchabun totally demolished his ZX12R with those. He was in a a very similar situation to you, riding alone, bend tightened up, and at night. Luckily like you he is a tough fellow and only bruises to show for it although only the engine of his bike was saved, everything else was scrap.
  16. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

    Just remember the rule of bonzo riders.... If your buddy goes down and you see bright red arterial blood spurting, reach for your first aid kit. If the blood is dark red and flowing slowly, of course you must reach for your camera first to fully record the moments of post impact. This tends to quickly put an end to any defensive trash talking later on in the bars.[:)] That road DID seem more curvy at night. Maybe I was going faster than I thought...........
  17. Peter Hooper

    Peter Hooper Ol'Timer

    Hi Robert,
    Good to see you survived the Crash Dummy Testing program. That was the easy bit - now for the hard bit - the safety gear analysis. I noticed the lower face part of your helmet has detached on the sides. Is it a good quality helmet and were you happy with its performance? I notice the visor is scratched but it didn't shatter. We see a lot of claims about quality vs price vs safety but the only real test is what you have painfully accomplished. What other safety gear were you wearing ? Boots, jacket ? In your present delicate state you may argue but it seems to me that it could have been a whole lot worse.
    Get well soon,

    "The Journey is the Destination"
  18. Snail

    Snail Ol'Timer

    After surviving assaults by KTM's concrete posts and gravel maybe there should be a "lesson two" in this saga. How to survive Thai (public AND private) hospitals.........

    I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it!
    If being sane is thinking there's something wrong with being different, then I'd rather be completely f***ing mental

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