Some of you may know that my wife just purchased a 2007 SV-650S model a couple of weeks ago. This is her second bike, and the first time in over 7 years that she has ridden one. I convinced her to buy the SV, as it is a much more forgiving tool to learn proper technique, and skill building than a modern 600CC sportbike.
She has taken to it slowly, and was getting her groove back until yesterday. This is where the gravel comes in. As with many country roads across this country, and around the world, there are gravel driveways, and the DOT often fills in holes along the roadside with loose gravel. Inevitably, some of this gravel enters the road surface, and oftentimes covers our riding lines completely. This situation becomes even more hazardous when the gravel is present in a curve.
The best course of action in this circumstance is to look for the cleanest line possible through the hazard. If that line takes you over a double yellow, and there is no traffic headed towards you, then by all means, cross the line. Roll off the throttle slowly, and commit to the turn. If you hit the gravel, you should be at a safe enough speed to correct your line if the need arises, or find the safest escape route if the bike is uncontrollable. Above all, DO NOT grab the brake! This immediately causes the steering geometry of the bike to become unstable, and your line is now non-existent. Stay smooth, keep your wits about you, and do not alter your course unless the situation demands it.
My wife was in an accident yesterday that involved this exact set of circumstances. She knew what to do in hindsight, but her survival instincts took over. She saw the gravel, and her mind told her hand to grab the brake. She was already committed to the turn, and there was no way to overcome the braking action. In this case, she went down hard at about 50-55mph, and her left knee took the brunt of the impact. She then slid along and tumbled a bit to end up next to the bike.
Now, on to the part about the gear. Whatever you do, spend some money on gear. At the very least, buy a helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, and pants. The only protective gear she wasn't wearing were boots and pants. She wore normal jeans, and tennis shoes. In the course of the accident, her shoe flew off, and it is only by the grace of God that she did not suffer any injuries to her feet and/or ankles. She was wearing a Scorpion EXO-400 helmet, Shift motocross gloves, and a Joe Rocket mesh jacket without liner.
Some of you have mixed views on whether or not riders should wear mesh protective gear. Let me tell you right here and now. Mesh saved my wife from suffering many more injuries than no gear at all. Anything is better than wearing nothing but your street clothes. Spend the most money you can right now. Don't give the excuse "well, i'm saving for the good gear." While you are saving, your ass is quite literally on the line. Cover it, and still save for better gear if you can.
Before you ask, she is doing just fine, and thanks everyone for their wishes. She will heal, and that is all that really concerns me. My reasoning behind this post is to help someone else avoid the same situation. We are all riders of mixed backgrounds, and various levels of expertise. Something like this does not discriminate, the only way this can come out in a rider's favor is skill, seat time,and a cool head under stress. Use your heads out there people, and ride safe.