Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Box of Shame #6: Be wary of parked cars…

Author: site admin
Category: The Box Of Shame

My buddy Kreig pointed out that it has been awhile since I posted a Box of Shame entry…

Most of my Box of Shame stories have been about my long suffering GSXR. Some have been mechanical blunders on my part while others were just slack maintenance. This story, on the other hand, is more along the lines of a “wrong place, wrong time” story, so hopefully it won’t make me look as much the idiot as some of the earlier stories.

When I lived in Atlanta, there was a group of us that would gather every Tuesday night at Cafe Diem to hang out, kick tires and tell lies. Many of us hung out on the SERIDERS mailing list while a few other regulars were non-riding friends. Just a great group of folks, many of whom I still keep in touch with and of whom I have many great memories.

One of those friends was Andy, the owner of Cafe Diem, who always supported all of us bikers that would regularly visit his great coffee shop. Among the things he did for us was allowing us to park our bikes on the sidewalk in front of his patio so we could keep an eye on the motorcycles when hanging out there. I often got there first on Tuesday and got the “prime” parking spot on the sidewalk next to the entrance.

On particular rainy night, we were all gathered inside the cafe. We had a pile of wet rain gear dripping in the corner, a stack of helmets clearly marking our area and a big group of noisy folks around three or four tables all deep into our weekly B.S. session. A hesitant, nervous looking woman approached the table and asked if anyone there owned the white motorcycle parked out front. I owned up to being the owner and was shocked to hear her report that from her seat in the front she had watched the bike get hit by a car. Since the bike was a good 8 feet away from the road, protected by a 6 inch high curb and between big steel light poles, I thought that unlikely. In fact, my first assumption was that this was a joke someone was pulling by having a stranger report by GSXR was damaged.

Despite my disbelief, I followed the woman outside and found my GSXR was in fact leaning up against the small picket fence surrounding the patio and a car was halfway up onto the sidewalk next to the bike. My bike had in fact been run-over but that is when things started to get strange. You see, the car wasn’t running and was, in fact, empty! What’s more, it had been backed over the curb (denting the rims and probably rashing the underside of the car) just barely missing one of the light poles. While I was accessing the damage to the GSXR a very shocked young woman walked out of Cafe Diem clearly not expecting to see her car on the sidewalk. As it turns out, the lady had taken a sharp right turn off the street and parked her car in the parking lot next to the cafe. Since she’d made the sharp turn, the steering wheel locked with the wheels turned to the right when she turned off the car. Whether she forgot to park the car in gear, I don’t know, but she definitely didn’t use the parking brake and the transmission ended up in neutral. The car started rolling slowly backwards down the entrance ramp into the parking lot but slowly arching to the right, eventually rolling out into the street, back around tothe sidewalk, up over the curb and straight into the side of my bike.

Bent GSXR fairing mount

The GSXR had the added misfortune of being knocked over onto one of the posts supporting the patio’s cute little picket fence. This post basically impaled the upper fairing busting through the fiberglass and bending the upper fairing bracket. The front brake lever was broken off, along with the front and rear right side mirrors. The lower fairing on the left side of the bike was cracked where the car’s rear bumper nailed it and the clutch lever broke in half where it contacted the trunk of the car.

I had one of my friends give me a quick ride back to the house to get a replacement brake lever, then returned to install the lever and ride the bike home. I then spent the next month getting the lady’s insurance company to pony up the money necessary to put new bodywork, levers, mirrors and fairing brackets on the bike. It turned into a $1500 tab a few months to track down all the replacement parts including some lighter (and cheaper, saving the insurance company a few bucks) Harris race glass bodywork. I still keep the bent fairing bracket in the Box of Shame to remind me that even parked cars can be dangerous!

[image from my photo collection.]

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