Saturday, July 3, 2010

Death by Motorcycle

Yesterday was great weather for riding. Blue skies and lots of sun made for a warm day, but my mesh coat and pants kept me comfortable. Traffic was also light because of the holiday weekend. Commuting was more enjoyable than usual.

While I was riding along at a brisk pace on my SV650, a flock of small birds (sparrows?) exploded from the bushes to my left and flew across the road. A grey object about the size of my fist punched me in the chest. Ouch! The bundle of feathers bounced off my right thigh and then my boot. The little guy didn’t have a chance. I had cars to contend with, so no time to think about it or stop.

At the next light, I took a quick survey of the situation. My left mirror was knocked out of place. I suspect the bird hit that first, then my left chest, my right thigh, and right foot. I pulled a small feather out of my coat and re-adjusted the mirror before the light turned green.

I’ve nearly hit several birds before, but we’ve always managed to avoid each other. This morning I have a small little bruise to remind me of the encounter.


  1. I did in a downy woodpecker on a long trip a year or two back. He hit the windshield and bounced away. Funny that it took only that 0.01/sec to identify the bird. The guy riding behind me saw it happen, asked what I had hit.

  2. I also was driving (a car) down a very rural road once and several quail jumped up and flew in front of me right over the hood for a hundred yards or so before turning aside. I think they were teenage birds out for a thrill.

  3. Glad you were OK. Imagine living in Florida and getting hit by a pelican. I guess it must have happened to someone.

  4. Dear Chris:

    Twice in my life I have nearly been knocked out of the saddle by turkey vultures, which are amomg the ugliest of God's flying creatures. The first time was on the Blue Ridge Parkway, entering one of that roadway's endless left turns. The bird came out of the bushes, and took the path of least resistance, which was the ditection of the pavement. The damn thing was the size of a cardtable amd refuced to go for altitude. It flew alongside me, at visor height, two inches away from my helmet.

    Quite franjkly, it scared the shit out of me.

    On the second occasion, a flock of turkey vultures was feeding on a dead deer by the side of the road, an bloted into flight all around my bike. Not fatalities in either case.

    I haven't been riding nor writing about riding in a while for some health considerations, wehich precipitated a visit to the cardiologist last week. But I am headed back toward the top of my game again.

    Fiondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. Poor bird! Seriously, those kind of things can make you jump off your bike seat. Had a hawk dive down and hit me on top of the helmet once. Amazing how hard they strike.

  6. Rogers: I had a hawk fly right in front of me for a while it was pretty amazing.

    Gary: I would imagine a pelican would hurt. Got me thinking hitting an ostrich would be exciting too!

    Dear Jack: Vultures are pretty ugly. I'm glad you got to look at them up close without any damage beyond your shorts. :)

    I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble. First Sharon, and now you. Go good!

    Irondad: Yea, the little guy didn't have a chance. His friends made it, but not him. Hawks are very impressive. The bald eagles along the river are also amazing.

  7. Dear Jack: Go good = no good. It appears neither of us can type. :)