I have a few stories for you...... FIrst off I raced for a few years while i wa in the military, due to operational commitments i was only able to make make 6 races in 2 years. I have yet to lay a bike down on the track during a race or track day...... Now to the interesting parts.....
I had my 2002 F4i in pristine condition then one morning I pulled up to an intersection where there was quite a bit of dirt all the way through it. I came to a complete stop and continued through the interection. After slowly starting off and figuring I was out of harm I leaned and gave some throttle. The sand had spread lightly through the intersection where it wasnt really visible. Long story short....... low side at 15mph.
New one..... Went down to pick up a friend who had the weekend off from manuevers in the military academy. On the way back to my house (3 hrs away) I had to stop to refuel. We got the fuel and were getting back on the interstate goin through a 270 degree clover and i was only going the allowed speed limit for cars (had i been by myself it had been much faster) hit a patch of oil or sand, or maybe she leaned a little too far, not quite sure, but hte bike lowsides from under us at about 30mph. It came to settle in the big triangle between flowing and merging traffic. Thankfully it stopped there or it would have been a massive interstate shutdown for a while. I gave her my leather jacket and was wearing a thick sweater. My right elbow was ground to the bone and she had a few scratches off her knees. When we first got up i asked if she was alright. As a true biker she looks at me and says at the same time.... "Is the bike ok?"
Ok F4i rod bearings go out so the bike is down and I borrow a friend's wife's GXR-600. Taking a group from the base through the curves I used to live was absolutely wonderful. Here is the yahoo map. banning, ca to idyllwild, ca
http://maps.yahoo.com/;_ylc=X3oDMTExNmIycG51BF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLWJ1 dHRvbgRzbGsDbGluaw--#mvt=m&lat=33.835765&lon=-116.79535&zoom=12&q1=banning%2C%20ca&q2=idyllwild% 2C%20ca
we get up to Idyllwild and sit down for a great lunch and a couple of hte guy are commenting on how the ride was so nice. Halfway up there is a natural spring fountain to get some water. So then comes the waitress we order our food and keep talking our sea stories about riding. One of them looks me dead in the eye and says, "That was an awesome ride.", interjects the waitress, "Until you hit the gravel...." Great way to jinx an entire ride. On the way back down I am in the lead and carving some great lines with no traiffic holding us up and the other 6 riders in tow. ONe guy comes up on my side during a straightaway saying that one of them dropped their bike. I flip around and head back up to check on it and he already has his bike on the road and is doing ok. He dropped his bike beacuase of an $80 ipod. Now i try to get back in my groove, come around a corner and the rear brake locks. I keep the wheel straight to let it settle and am heading right into the oncoming traffic lane along with the guard rail. Tire lets off and go to lean hard into the curve to get back on my side of the road and guess what..... GRAVEL!!!! Layed the bike down about a 60 mph lowside and it slid along the guard rail. I was wearing my leather jacket, jeans, boots, gaunlets, and of course a helmet. Got one heckuva razberry on my hip and a my jacket sleeve was shredded, but the bike was ridable and I was alive.
On my way to work, which is only 12 miles from my house, I passed by an apt complex fire on the right hand side of the road. Doing everything correct, I slowed down, moved to the left lane so I was visible to emergency vehicles or traffic coming out. Got half a block from the situation and began to accelerate and I hear a screeching tire on my left. I watched a small red car turn in front of me and thought, "This is going to hurt." Propped myself up on the pegs o i could clear over the car instead of hitting the frame and got some frequent flyer miles. Once I had made sure I finished moving I stood up and walked to the side of the road yelling obscenities at the lady and picking my bachpack up on the way. Seeing as there were enough people who saw the accident and were dialing 9-1-1, I called people at work to cover my shift. Inside the ambulance I started laughing hysterically and they thought I was going into shock. When they asked me why I was laughing I told them, "My buddy's bike just got paid off!" I was purchasing the CBR from a friend of mine. After all was said and done my ankle were severely sprained and I had broken my left wrist. Took two months to walk again without moonboots. My Left radiu has a plate and my left ulna is permanently out of place. I am currently rebuilding the engine on the F4i, again, also rebuilding a 954 I purchased from a friend of mine. As soon as those are running, I am back on two wheels.
In every instance I have been down proper gear has saved my skin/life. Wear it and live by it. My family lives in Florida where there is no helmet law. I will never ride without gear no matter short the ride up the road to the store or on a long trip with friends.