In the blink of an eye, your whole life can change...

It's been a while since I have communicated with anyone from the Vespa Club, but I just wanted to share my story.

I have ridden my trusty LX125 for the past 8 or so years- I use it as my daily commute and it is my only ride. I was about to clock up 40,000km's and serviced it regularly and it was a great way to get around.

In late February, I was on my way to work early in the morning (as a Postie in Hawthorn) and I was involved in a collision.

I do not remember the accident as even to this day I have post traumatic amnesia and can't recall the collision, the ambulance ride or anything.

I woke up in a brace at The Alfred 5-6 hours later.

I now have the Police Report so I at least know some details:I was literally a block and a half from leaving home at 6:30 am when an oncoming P-Plater tradie didn't give way to me and turned without warning and I have T-boned his Toyota Hilux. 

I was thrown from my scoot and was knocked out.

I had all my gear on- armoured jacket/high vis vest, full face Bell Helmet, kevlar knuckled gloves, moto boots and Covex jeans.

The impact still managed to give me two compression fractures in my spine (T2 and L1) and has restricted my movement and activities for 3 months while they heal. The vertebrae are squashed, and will never bounce back. 

After several days in hospital, I went home and couldn't use my left leg- I had developed a DVT in it and couldn't walk and had to go back to The Alfred.
I spent another five days there as I had an infection in my knee and was on IV antibiotics and had the blood clot in my lower leg treated by blood thinners.
I have been in the Trauma Unit before and it's not the best place to be at any time let alone during a pandemic which was just starting to ramp up here!

I also have had debilitating vertigo and concussion for 3 months. I had returned to work (on limited duties) but my concussion was still prevalent and I was making it worse. The vertigo condition (BPPV) is where the ear crystals (responsible for balance and movement in your body) get knocked out of the ear canal during a head trauma and this makes you extremely dizzy and sick. I felt like I had permanent jet lag, but assumed it was concussion, and kept going to work for a month like this!

After feeling ill and nauseous and not being able to walk straight anymore, I went back to The Alfred ED and sat there for 6 hours until Dr's figured out what was wrong with me.

Fast forward to the past two weeks, and I've been ordered off work and I am currently undergoing rehab at Epworth Hospital Concussion Clinic.

All of this has been extremely challenging, life changing and stressful- I just want my life to be back to normal and my memory to function well and not feel dizzy and fatigued all the time.

I have always been a careful rider, worn my gear, not done crazy speeds (well, on a LX 125 I am pretty limited) and stuck to my lane. I don't even lane split or filter as car drivers don't look out for us two wheelers at the best of times, and I don't tempt fate.

Then this happened.

It just goes to show that you can be the most diligent rider out there and you can cross paths with the wrong idiot.

In case you were wondering: my beloved Scoot was a write off, and I got out of hospital the first time and had to go to a place in South Melbourne where vehicles are towed to get my personal gear out from under the seat.

Weirdly, my blue ignition key was snapped off, so had to use my master key. I took a few photos of my mangled ride and got my gear and left gutted.

I awaited for the Insurance Vehicle Assessor to call, but I already knew what the verdict would be.

I had to wait 5-6 weeks for the payout, as my Insurance (Swann) had to get the Police Report to determine liability.

I got paid out, and a bit too prematurely (or optimistically) went and found a second hand LX 2008 model with virtually no mileage on Gumtree and got a RWC and bought it. But since my Post Concussion Syndrome diagnosis, I have been ordered not to ride just yet.

I need to source a rear luggage rack and top case- harder to find (without paying crazy money) than I thought. The real kicker is, my old scoot had a Vespa Windscreen,  top case and rack- but once the bike is a write off, all of this belongs to the Insurance company. If I could have sourced the wrecker who dealt with my bike, I would have happily bought them back. I did just purchase a Windshield from GPS Imports, as they only had one left in stock for my model.

It's yet to arrive, but I will tackle that installation when I get it.

I will also need to gain my confidence back and this will be a gradual process I suspect.

I understand that it wasn't my fault, but my confidence is still shattered over this incident- as anyone's would be, I guess.

When I finally get over this concussion and get the all clear to be back on a bike (both personal and pushbike at my job) I would like to meet up with some riding buddies and go for some short rides.

If anyone wants to message me about this, I would be so grateful.

I have been in a very bad way, and the company would be therapeutic. 

So, my parting message to you all is: wear your gear! I don't want to go into gory details of what Trauma Doctors see and how they all commented on how my injuries could have been A LOT worse.

I am sure with the increase of scooters on the road for food delivery and how almost all of the riders don't wear protective gear, there's been a huge spike in accidents and bad injuries.

I am covered by TAC for my medical treatment, rehab and income support, and for that I am truly grateful.

At the end of the day, I just want to get better, and hopefully will ride again.

Thanks for reading.

- Sam

 

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Hello Sam

Thank you for sharing this experience and I do hope your recovery is quick now that you have a diagnosis. I am guilty of skimping on full gear for those short rides but you have illustrated the protective benefits for me to keep front of mind. Your story also highlights how quickly and innocently life can change.

I have found club rides attract more attention from motorists in a positive, supportive way. The appeal of many Vespa is hard to resist and the numbers make us more visible. My solo rides often encounter more examples of drivers disrespecting my space on the road or simply not seeing me. The latter might be improved if I were to wear my hi vis vest.

It is great to read you are still wanting to ride and totally understand the hit to your confidence. Riding near the tail of a club ride is where I feel most relaxed on my scoot. Solo rides exploring the hills near home are also special rides for me. My work commute is a slow, short trip but even that makes me smile. 

Hopefully we see you on a club ride shortly and feel free to message me if you would like a lead out, or supporter, on a local ride. Whatever you do be sure your choices make you happy. 

Cheers

Thanks, Gary for your great advice and encouragement.

Hope to see you one day in the future for a ride.

Hi Sam, thank you for sharing your story. You are very brave. I have spent the last 18 months learning and practicing on an LX50. Yesterday I upgraded to a Primavera 150. I live in Southbank, not too far from you if you ever feel like a ride. Take care, Andrea

Hi Andrea, wow! You had an LX50! Don't see too may of those.

Congrats on the Primavera- such a nice model!

When I recover from this hideous concussion, I would be up for a ride for sure! 

Hi Sam, thanks for your story and hope your recovery is going well, your story should be read by all members as it’s a reminder of the vulnerability we all ride with. 
Hopefully when your injuries mend the joy of riding will return.

All the best,

John & Bren

Thanks so much John and Bren

Sam- Speedy recovery- when the time is right- please PM me -and only too happy to buddy up for some short trips - to get you back on the horse.

Luke M

Thank you Luke.

(Not sure if I have met you before?... my memory is still a bit patchy)

My "new" ride is getting started every couple of days so the battery holds up, and I hope to be back soon as I get medical clearance.

Sam, despite all that has happened it sounds like you are doing AMAZINGLY well. Not to play down your injuries at all, but to play up your courage, and your determination - well done, amazing.

Good to share your story - as a reminder of how vulnerable those on two wheels really are

Keep getting better.....

Thank you Tufan. I don't think I am courageous!
Stubborn, yes. Determined, most definitely!

I hope you are going well.

Hi Sam, I may know someone with a luggage box and rack for a LX. I do know it needs a new lock. Would you like me to try and chase it up? Do you have a budget? No point if your number can’t match his. It’s black from memory.

I will privately message you, Wes

I am interested in either/or both.

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