Janice’s Story

On September 9th, 2005, I was involved in an accident on my motorcycle. The mishap occurred while traveling along Collins Grove in Dartmouth. First off, I was coming home from Halifax and was cold – really cold – so I stopped into Tim Horton’s (Five Corners) to put on my leathers, but got gabbing and then side-tracked, so I decided to just jump on my bike and get the heck home. It was cold! So off I go towards home and on my way up Portland Street (when I’m approaching Portland Estates) I see that there is a string of traffic and the police are detouring traffic up Spring Avenue. I just want to get home – I’m freezing! I arrive at the bottom of Collins Grove and decide I don’t want to ride on my clutch all the way up the hill behind a line of very slow moving traffic, so I swing around to get back to Dorthea Drive and scoot home. Little did I know that the street had totally changed since I was last on it. You used to be able to ride straight through to Spring Ave from Collins Grove – something I guess the community didn’t like because all of a sudden they put in a new boulevard. So you would have to stop and go around it. Well, with no street light and no warning signs, I’m on top of the corner and the curb and looking ahead, when I see the corner fast approaching me! Now I see the garden ahead in the boulevard, I’m sure I can get through the garden and to the other side safely and then venture on. It was on me so fast that I really didn’t have much of a choice other than to get up over the curb and get onto the other side. When I first saw the curb I grabbed onto my brakes and “Waaaaaaalaaaaaaaaaaa!!” I locked up my brakes!

I thought that I should tap on my brakes and get myself out of this situation.. So I go for it! Tap tap tap.. Okay – I’m out of the locked brake situation. So on I go. But I ride with my feet on the controls pointing outwards. Big mistake! Here I am in a situation and motoring out of control on my bike through a landscaped garden with my feet out! Little did I realize there were poles sticking up out of the garden that you couldn’t see – they were in the ground for the cable and electricity for the condos on Collins Grove. So on my travels through the garden with my feet in the outward position I hit a pole, and and in doing so, I knocked my foot off the pegs. Big fat ouch!
I don’t really remember my chin hitting the windshield but the bruises inside my mouth told me I did. So when I get to the other side of the garden I put my bike down, very carefully. Now my bike is pointing one way and my body is pointing in another. So that tells me that in my head I was saying “Jump! Jump! Jump!” Thank goodness I didn’t run into a car because there was a whack of traffic there. I know there were a lot of cars present and for some strange reason I got to put my bike down oh-so-carefully alongside the curb. I looked up and thought “Thank goodness I’m not hit and I’m okay. Then I looked down to my foot. My foot is now off – and the only thing holding it together is the ligaments and muscles… like my foot was knocked off!

Sooooooo what else is a gal to do? I started to scream my face off, and loudly. And I continued to do so until the ambulance got there – and the paramedics poked me with a big fat needle full of “shut the chick up medicine.’ My little angel in all of this was Carson. He heard the crash and came running out of his house. I looked over into his driveway to see a big honkin’ bike sitting there. So there was a sigh of relief there: a fellow biker. Phewwww. He will understand all of this. And he did. He called 911 and stayed with me along with several others until the ambulance arrived. I kept saying to him, “Ya gotta look after my bike.” And he assured me that everything would be okay. He asked who he should call. I said, Mark, my neighbor. He was a biker too and he would take care of the situation. Bikers, bikers, bikers.. I knew I could count on bikers.

Mark was there within minutes to take my bike back home to where it belonged while I was taken off to the hospital to get that foot put back into place -because it hurt! I’m lying in Emergency, and in come the police. The officer says to me, “I’ve come to see you – and I’m a biker too! I wanted to see you were okay and tell you that I think you handled the situation well. You did everything possible to avoid the worst.” And then he proceeded to hand me a ticket for not having my insurance on my bike. $930.00! Ouch. However, he gave me time to produce it so that I wouldn’t be nailed with a fine that high. I had it on the bike – they just couldn’t find it! So all was cool. He was a young police officer and while I was in emergency, anticipating surgery to get my foot back on he stood there and handed me back my helmet and says to me, “Here is your HAT back,” knowing very well that I was riding my bike with a NON DOT approved motorcycle helmet. I just looked at him and said, “I’m going to change that, I promise!” And with that said, he turned around and walked out of emergency. No fine! Finally some luck!

I let out a huge sigh of relief because he could have charged me for my hat too. Where was my head in this situation? I’m embarrassed to tell the story, but also feel this could have happened to anyone. At that time – DOT was not being enforced, leathers didn’t matter, getting home was #1. All for what? I have certainly changed my views now on leathers, DOT, and not being aware of my surroundings.

On the days that followed I became aware of how fortunate I was to have wonderful people around me for support, the right kind of insurance to handle increasingly large medical costs, and an understanding employer to allow me to heal before going back to work. Wayne, family, and my neighbors were my greatest supporters! My neighbor and my brother Bill and Lorraine, showed up on our doorstep the day after the accident to offer their support. They also continued the flow of Tim Horton’s coffee for weeks! After showing off my road rash and broken bones, I started to think about those bikers that have gone down in similar or even more serious crashes. And I always wanted to figure out a way for me, as an individual, to help bikers who don’t have anywhere else to turn. I was so fortunate. I had everything. But I thought endlessly of those that didn’t have that luxury.
That is when I thought about doing something for the bikers. Pam, Marlene, Rene and myself – and so many others – it’s always been on our minds. That is what happens when you are in that situation. We need help and we need awareness. It’s a way for us all to help out by supporting awareness through education. Through this society we hope to:

  • Help Bikers Down
  • Provide safety information
  • Help bikers become aware of different insurance coverage options
  • Provide assistance for those in need

So with that said, and the story told, I hope you will support us – and stand behind the bikers – and make a difference in many biker’s lives! If you have any stories you want to share please send them our way!

Janice Gould
http://www.novascotiabikers.com

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