I guess the best way to characterize my little collision from behind on Wednesday night is, “It could have been a lot worse”.
So, it’s about 7:15 PM, it’s still raining a bit… just enough to require a rain jacket over my leather jacket, but not enough to warrant rain pants over my leather britches. I head for home on my BMW R1100S — which serves as my all-weather daily commute bike — and begin to wash the work day out of my mind by enjoying the ride, noting I actually like riding in adverse weather for some strange reason. Probably not the best habit to have, but certainly not the worst.
Anyway, because Cobb County has decided to screw up a few more intersections by ‘slowly’ adding more lanes and more traffic lights, my preferred route home is no longer something I take on a whim as they’ve now put in two left turn lanes that are no-left turn except on green arrow. So, if I miss the turn light I can sit and wait 5 minutes or take Alt. Route #2 which sends me through two ‘challenging’ intersections from hell that demand your full attention and a lot of mind reading to anticipate what the inDUHviduals in their cars might be up to. The first one is a collection of 9 lanes, each with a different traffic flow, i.e., 3 yield, 4 stop and two that don’t stop.
The second one presents you with motorists coming from the left on a one-way two-lane street moving anywhere from 35 to 55 MPH, noting it’s hard to see that on-coming traffic even on a good day, never mind on a rainy night. This is one of those intersections where rear-end collisions aren’t all that uncommon, noting I’ve tapped someone here before in my truck.
Well, I made it through the first intersection without any stress and thought I’d be able to make an easy merge onto Cherokee Street from Chicopee Street at the second intersection from hell without have to stop at the Yield sign. However, as I neared the merge I could finally see the on-coming traffic flow and sure enough there were a couple of fast-movers so I decided to stop instead of attempting a rapid acceleration on the rain slick road.
A mere second after I came to my stop I heard it… the sound of a car’s front tires locking and skidding from behind. Typically I keep an eye on traffic coming from behind, but at these half blind merging lanes with yield signs you have to turn your full attention to looking at the on-coming traffic. So, I never saw it coming and a nano-second after I heard the skid I was quite surprised to only feel a slight bump and then watched my right side case pass me before it hit the pavement and spilled open. It actually took me another nano-second to realize what had just happened as I was certain I was going to be hammered from the rear by the car. Whew, that was close….
The motorist got out and was extremely apologetic, concerned and said exactly what I said when I tapped another car at that intersection…. “I thought you were going…”. To make an already too long story short, I collected up my side case and its contents, along with the three broken latch pieces as the young man wrote his name, license and phone number down for me and was also able to loan me a small bungee cord to hold my case lid shut for my ride home. I was actually in something of a half daze and probably a little shocky from the involuntary tensing-up that happened just before the anticipated impact and subsequent relaxation that sends your blood back into the lower part of your body. Like I said, I knew I was extremely lucky to have not been sent flying to the ground and putting a broken bike on a flatbed wrecker instead of picking up a few broken parts off just a side case.
I felt bad for the young man because I knew it was just an accident; been there done that at the same intersection. But, to make matters worse, I could also tell and he later confirmed that he didn’t have deep pockets and had just been able to get back into the workforce after being one of the millions who lost their jobs over the past few years. He wanted to make me whole on the damage and I forewarned him that those side cases were very expensive to replace ($549 each); but, I’d see what I could do to fix as much as possible to limit the repair costs: we’re all-too familiar with his situation based on our kids’ struggles over the past couple of years.
Anyway, once at home and upon closer inspection the two latches that hold the lid closed had been broken-off but looked like they could be re-attached with epoxy so that would easily save over $200 vs. buying a replacement lid, getting it painted and putting the correct decals back on. Yesterday I finally had a chance to give the epoxy fix a try and it actually worked pretty well. If the epoxy doesn’t hold long-term I have another fix in mind that will definitely do the trick.
However, the multi-function box — the gizmo with the handles, latches, key, etc.. — would need to be replaced as the latch that holds the case on the motorcycle had been broken and is not sold as a replacement part. But, on the bright side, I found the $200 part with the $40 worth of special pop-rivets needed to install it one Ebay for $165. So, as it stands now, the total repair cost may only amount to $175; $10 for two tubes of plastic epoxy.
The new Multi-function box should be here Monday so with any luck I’ll have my side cases back on the bike by Tuesday.