On Dec 24, Dennis and I decided to take a ride and, as usual, Peekaloo ran to her gear. Since it was Christmas eve and cagers tend to be particularly distracted around the holidays, we opted to visit a park about 2 miles from home. Small town, slow traffic, nothing drastic.
Since the weather was chilly, we didn't stay long. Around 1pm, we decided to head home. Dennis and "Peekaloo" were ready before me so, unlike our usual routine, I told them to go ahead without me. After all, we were practically around the corner from home.
They exited the park as I was mounting my bike. As I merged into traffic, I looked ahead and saw an 18-wheeler's trailer on the northbound left lane while the cab was turned, blocking the northbound right lane. I saw a car close to the cab and thought "wow, that truck tried to turn right in front of that car!". Then it hit me. My husband and child would have been heading in that direction.
Several cars were ahead of me but, heart in my throat, praying hard, I rode the quarter mile to the accident and saw both of them splayed on their back, limbs at incredible angles, not moving. I have no idea how, but I managed to stop the bike and remove my helmet and gauntlets while running towards them. As I approached, I saw my daughter try with her broken arm to reach her daddy's leg. She was calling to him. The truck had attempted a right-hand turn from the left-hand lane (both northbound), immediately in front of them. As much as we practiced evasive and stopping maneuvers, this time there was absolutely to reaction time.
The experience from this point is still too difficult to put into words even to close family members. I cannot blog about it right now. Possibly never. All I can say is that the injuries were so severe they had to be airlifted. The reason for this post is to let all those who have followed this blog of our "invisibility" experience (it seems the truck driver didn't see them before attempting his illegal turn) and to exhort all riders to seriously consider wearing all the gear all the time, even for a 2-mile drive. According to the paramedics, ICU doctors, and several surgeons, the only reason I still have a husband and youngest daughter is because of his safety-gear obsession.
They have been through several surgeries. "Peekaloo" came out of ICU on Jan 1st and is now home and, with a lot of physical therapy, should make a full recovery (or close to it) , albeit with extra hardware attached to her bones. Dennis fared worse, since they were riding 2-up so he got hit front and back (truck and "Peekaloo"). Though he's out of ICU, he won't be coming home for a while and he may never ride again (at least not as a driver), but we are optimistic. Or, as in the terms I now think of, "cautiously optimistic."
Since the accident, I don't know why, but I've been asked several times how much we paid for our gear, especially our helmets. My answer? Whatever the price, it was worth every single penny.