Shit… I Crashed!

It was the last day of the trip and I was almost home. In fact, a mere 300km from home. Southbound along the Malaysian North-South Highway, I just passed KL and was somewhere near Nilai, at about 10am in the morning, the GS went into a violent tankslapping mode. I fought it for a couple of seconds, but failed to regain control. I was eventually ejected from the seat of my GS – at highway speeds.

Did I high-side or or did I low-side? I honestly don’t know. I experienced retrograde amnesia. Till today, I have absolutely NO recollection of the accident as it happened nor the first 10-15mins after that – there’s a disturbing void in my memory.

Accident along NSHW, near Nilai.

According to the the first few good samaritans who stopped to help, I never quite lost consciousness. But I experienced anterograde amnesia. 

“Where am I?”

“How far am I from JB?”

“What’s your name?”

I must have repeatedly asked the same questions to the same people at least 10-20 times.

Battered up GS. =(
The damaged Scorpion AT950 helmet.

My very first memory of the incident was me sitting by the side of the road with 2 pairs of eyes looking down on me. Yes, I recalled asking the same 3 questions to the 2 strangers (for the final time). It took me a couple of seconds to realise that I had crashed. The GS was about 5 meters away. Somebody must have helped picked it up and side-stand it. 

I stood up, unaided, and evaluated my injuries. “Thank God! Not too bad…” I remember thinking to myself. Apart from some slight feelings of tenderness around my right elbow, shoulder and ribs, I was generally doing okay. The right elbow area around my Klim Induction jacket was torn, but the D30 armour must have helped absorb most of the impact. 

Being transported to Seremban Hospital on an emergency ambulance.
The GS gotta be towed.

It wasn’t until just before the ambulance arrived, that the pain on my right shoulder started amplifying. 

Oh gosh! I must have broken something!

As I was transported to Seremban Hospital on the ambulance, the pain continued to grow. A couple of x-rays in the hospital confirmed my suspicion – I had a broken right collarbone. The pain on the fractured right clavicle was intensifying. I asked the attending ER doctor if I was stable enough to fly. He said I should be, and I immediately asked to be discharged.

After a 50min Grab ride from Seremban Hospital to KLIA, I was booked on the first MH flight back to Singapore. I asked for wheelchair assistance, and was wheel through immigration and to the door of the airplane. 

My fractured right clavicle.
Now I’ve got a metal implant.

Upon arriving Singapore, I was wheeled to the waiting ambulance and straight to the hospital, where the right clavicle shaft fracture was confirmed along with multiple rib fractures (2 ribs). The rib fractures were sufficiently minor to allow conservative treatment – just plenty of rest. The clavicle? Well, after 2 days of hospitalisation, I now have 6 screws inside me and a metal-reinforced collarbone.

Me in hospital the morning after surgery.

Guess I’ll not be doing any rides for a little while now…

27 thoughts on “Shit… I Crashed!”

  1. My sympathies. I had just that issue when driving home a brand new air cooled R1200GS Adventure.
    I had the large aluminium panniers and Givi top box. There was a strong headwind. The main contributing factor though was an under-inflated rear tyre. I managed to control it somehow – at 80mph.

    1. Aww! That sucks! Glad you managed to recover. In my case, I’m almost certain it wasn’t underinflation. The GS comes with a tire pressure monitoring system (RDC) and I am pretty religious when it comes to maintaining correct tire pressures.

      1. This one did not have sensors. Mind you I reckon the BMW rear tyre pressure is too low. I often carry huge weights. I now inflate to over 40 lbs, and have not even had a trace of tank slapping on that air-cooled bike and the three water-cooled R1200GS Adventures since.
        You look OK other than never being able to go through the airport metal detectors. How is the bike?

        1. Last I recalled, I’ve had my rear at 2.8-2.9bars – that’s around 40-42psi. Don’t know about the metal detectors part yet, but bike’s back in Singapore and currently in the workshop for damage assessment. The insurance company is taking care of it now.

  2. My sympathies! On the airport metal detectors, request an implant card from your specialist. It will certify that you have a medical implant in the event you set off metal detectors. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much, my own metal implants don’t trigger most airport metal detectors (some countries seem to set them more sensitive than others)

  3. My deepest sympathy bro .
    Hope recovery process is a smooth one for you with no complications .
    Be very careful those thundery nights .

  4. I was once told by a very experienced rider that any weight behind the rear axle contributes to increased instability at speed. Your top box and looks to be along way behind the axle. I’m not saying that this is could be the sole factor but this combines with any tyre pressure issue, cross wind & speed may have an influence. Did you have any excess weight in the top box?

    1. Hi Tony! I’m quite aware of placement of loads on the bike and its effects on handling. Loads should be placed as low as possible, and as close to the bike as possible. I’ve always loaded my panniers before the top box. When touring, my top box is usually relatively empty and filled only with items I need quick access to – rain gear, paperwork, etc. I also leave it relatively empty so that I’d have enough space for bulky stuff such as my riding jacket and helmet when bike is parked.

      1. In my experience on three R1200GS Adventure bikes, wind and tyre pressure are the major factors.
        I only had issues once and top box/panniers had nothing in them. I really don’t know how I stayed on the bike (at 70mph). This was a brand new air-cooled Adventure on the way back from the dealer. I hadn’t checked pressures and rear tyre was 32psi (same as front). No issues afterwards with rear at 40psi. I travelled 2,000 miles last April to/from Barcelona. I was carrying a *huge* weight – tent etc as ‘pillion passenger’, and a really fully loaded top box (Givi Trecker Outback 48L) and BMW aluminium panniers. I had 42psi rear, and not even a hint of issues, even at 95mph. Keeping the bike upright when stationary was a different matter (8-)#

  5. Hey hope your recovery is going well and that it won’t hurt so much in the cold!

    I ride the same bike, i noticed that when i put normal loads, the front begins to feel much lighter than i like and i am very light as well, 60kgs, so imo, the rear shocks are just not built within a good weight range for me and perhaps for you.

    I went up to fraser hill and around the corners it just did not feel planted. I love the bike and i believe that its not the bike, just the settings of the shocks. So now i am in the midst of changing both to (wilbers) my specs and probably getting a much better dampener for the front.

  6. Sorry to hear about this. I wonder what happened. I have a bike like yours 2017 r1200gs triple black. I do diys too so ive read a couple of your articles also. Very helpful.

  7. And what about your dashcams? Did they record anything during the incident?

  8. Hi! did you adjust or removed the steering stabilizer? apparently it was added to 2014 1200 GSs specifically to prevent tank slappers.

      1. I have only had one serious issue like that on an 800GS with large top box and panniers. I controlled it by tightly holding the steering very straight, and not trying anything else. It slowed down and stabilized.
        The steering shock absorbers are there on my 2019 R1250GS Adventure.
        It is probably too heavy a bike though to suffer. Not even a hint of instability.

  9. Thanks for sharing. Very scary situation. Hope your recovery is complete. How has it affected your riding since the incident? Has it changed your riding style or affected your confidence?

    1. It’s been some time now, and I’ve made a full recovery. Thank you for asking. It had not changed my riding style nor road confidence, although I do recall a short period of nervousness when I first got back on the bike. My doctor was surprised at the speed of my recovery too back then. Lol

    2. I had a similar situation on my R800GS – and on the ride home after buying it!. I think the two BMW panniers (and strong headwind) caused it. I am amazed I didn’t come off. The answer for me was to fight to keep the steering steady and straight. I may have also used the foot pedal.
      …. and it recovered.
      Not the slightest sign of the issue on any of my four R1200/50GS.

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