An almost life changing early sunday morning motorbike ride

Bell Full face helmet saved my face!
At 4 May 2014 I did wake up at 6 in the morning and at 6:45 I did send a message to my wife in Bangkok "I am off for a short morning ride". At 7:30 she did receive the call every wife / girlfriend of a motorbike rider is afraid for ..... from a hospital in Khon Kaen that I was admitted in the hospital due to an accident. "What happened? Is he OK?" And the telephone was transferred  to me. Under the influence of adrenaline  I was feeling well, although I had a broken shoulder.

While riding from Khon Kaen on route 12 in direction of Chompae I passed a intersection and was ahead of the cars and scooters. Yes, I did speed up a bit but slowed down quickly again also. After a few km I saw a scooter coming from the left going to the left shoulder of the road. No u-turn in sight. But the scooter did go to the left lane where I was riding. So I used my horn and lights and moved to the right lane. But the scooter did go to the right also crossing my path. I did not want to go all the way to the right and being forced to collide with the cement road-divider. I remember that I realized that colliding was unpreventable and I remember that I heard the sound of impact. The scooter did hit me at the left side, halve way my motorbike. Although it is weird because there is no damage whatsoever on the left side of my motorbike. In hindsight something from the scooter did probably get entangled with my jacket. I also remember myself flying in the air and rolling over the road looking behind for cars. Lucky no cars! And looking in front to my motorbike skidding on the road. Lucky my motorbike did not flip over like I did.

Spidi leather saved my torso mostly!
Thank you Bell Helmets, Rivit and Spidi Leather for protecting me as far as possible! My Rivit gloves are only a little damaged, although I have a small cut in my thumb. Thanks to whoever that there were no cars riding behind us to crash us and that we both survived it with only minor bodily damage. Well ... minor!!!!

Within a few minutes people stopped, a security guard took care of traffic and called emergency service. About 20 min later I was in a real ambulance on my way to KK Ram Hospital. In the meanwhile I had noticed I could move my right arm much too easy. After a X-ray it was sure "Head of humerus broken in 4 pieces". I was offered a few options and a few days to think about it. For updates about the aftermath of my broken shoulder see Fixing my broken shoulder

While my wife was still in Bangkok she called our neighbors who were at the hospital in 10 min, settled the hospital bill and brought me home. Thanks for having great neighbors! Seeing all the young doctors at KK Ram and having heard a lot of bad stories about it I did choose to go to Bangkok. So 2 days after the accident I was on the airplane to Bangkok. And admitted at Samitivej Hospital where a week of surgery, minor complications and recovery followed. Thanks to the great service of nurses & doctors at  Samitivej Hospital I managed very well. Of course also to my fantastic wife who did stand by me 24h/day 7d/week. And thanks to a group of friends who did came to visit me an cheer me up. Thank you all!!!

And of course a big thank to Expatriate Healthcare Insurance and their local representative of  Eurocross. Great and fast service! Thank you guys & girls! I am now in the process of a 3 to 6 months painfully "post operative physical training" to make my shoulder work again like it was before.

Lessons learned:
  • NEVER, never ride without a good full face helmet!!!!!!!
  • Always wear good gloves, jacket and shoes.
  • Have a good insurance!
  • Always have a card with emergency telephone numbers with you!

  • Wasted helmet & leather jacket
  • Damaged motorbike (although only minor to mostly fairing)
  • Broken phone
  • Hospital bill for 7 days + surgery
  • Physiotherapy for the next 8 months
  • Many taxi trips to hospital in BKK
  • Flying to/from KK/ BKK a few times
  • Staying 1 month in BKK for medical care
Although I think I am not at fault I did choose a settlement where we are both considered riding careless. I could have gone to court but that would take months or years. And the other party had no insurance and probably no money. So going to court would result in the same. The damage to the motorbike looks only plastic to me and was fixed within 2 weeks. But the recovering of my broken shoulder has now taken almost 3 months and will take at least a few other months. And 100% recovery is very unlikely.

Update October 2018 : My shoulder is OK but it will never be 100% the same as before. Sometimes stiff and still needs daily training.

Left side shoulder torn open, with just a bit of bruising
torn out pocket. Close your pockets while riding!

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