We don’t run gruesome bike crash videos on CMG, and when we run any crash videos at all, we consider them beforehand very carefully. They’re low-hanging fruit for some websites eager for clicks, but if you’re enough of a knuckle-dragger to want to watch them, go to those other sites. They’re easy enough to find.
Hammy Moto’s video last week was a bit different, though. He’s a young rider who now lives in southern California and creates weekly videos for the 22,000 subscribers to his You Tube channel. Generally, his videos get a few thousand clicks each with some notable exceptions, but last week’s is up to a million already: it shows him losing control of a speed wobble and sliding his bike ( a 2012 Kawasaki Z1000) right underneath a moving tractor-trailer.
“I was merging onto the freeway, checking traffic while I ventured over to the carpool lane,” he says in the YouTube comment. “When I got next to the carpool lane, I check if it was clear again, then merged in while quickly accelerating in first gear. When I got up to enough speed to pass traffic (Traffic was doing 75-80 mph) I changed into second gear (where the clip starts). First mistake I made was having my weight WAY too far back on the bike while accelerating, that mixed with the extremely bumpy freeway and the acceleration of the bike caused the front wheel to go extremely light. Thus causing the violent speed wobbles.”
The speedometer is obscured in the post-edit to hide the real speed, which appears, in the occasional glimpse through the blur, to be somewhere above 90 mph, or more than 150 km/h. Hammy Moto clearly experienced a tank-slapper, or speed wobble at least, probably right after landing a wheelie, and wasn’t able to save the bike (Rule 1: Slow down without touching the brakes. Rule 2: Hang on tight with your knees at least, but try to relax your grip on the handlebars. Rule 3: Pray to your god.).
Hammy Moto is the first to admit he was incredibly lucky. Certainly luckier than Russian vlogger and stunter Olga Pronina, known online as Monika9422, who was killed last August when she crashed her BMW S1000RR into a road barrier in Vladivostok.
“I love it because it forgives me my foolishness, for saving my sorry ass,” she once wrote about her motorcycle. “Thank you for never failing me, for making my lonely nights better, for helping me to forget troubles of my life, for training my body and my brain.” She had 191,000 followers on Instagram because her viewers wanted to see stunts on a hot bike and skimpy clothing on a beautiful woman; we don’t know if she was filming when she died, though she was riding so fast the rear wheel was found 600 metres from the wreckage of the bike.
We ran Hammy’s video because we want to remind riders that there are always consequences to their actions. He was clearly riding far too fast for the conditions, accelerating on the “extremely bumpy freeway” to the top of the revs in first gear, then passing traffic that’s already driving at 80 mph on a 65- or 70 mph-limit highway. The video is a way for us all to see what will probably happen if we ride with the same abandon on a public road. If Hammy had been killed or seriously injured, we would never have published the video, of course.
There is an argument for doing so, however. In 2014, police in Norfolk, England, released the helmet cam footage of the crash that killed 38-year-old David Holmes when a car turned in front of his speeding motorcycle. They did so because his mother asked them to do so.
“I know he rode fast that day. He loved speed. He loved motorbikes,” Brenda Holmes told an interviewer, before explaining her reasoning. “This isn’t an easy thing to do, but I just hope that somebody benefits from it, that motorists slow down, they look before they turn into junctions. They think, ‘there’s a motorcyclist, yeah he’s going fast, what might he do?’ Motorcyclists think, ‘there’s a car driver, what might he do?’”
That was a brave decision, and the footage is horrible because most of us can associate with it. Holmes was riding at an estimated 155 km/h in a 100 km/h limit when his Yamaha FJR1300 hit the little Renault; the young driver later pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, though that’s no consolation to anyone.
“The consequences of fatal collisions are devastating for all involved and as such our message through education has to reflect this,” said Norfolk police Chief Inspector Chris Spinks. “I firmly believe this footage is powerful enough to make riders and drivers think about their behaviour on the road; and most important of all, change it for the better.”
That link above is probably the only exception you’ll see to CMG’s firm policy of not running crash videos that involve injury or death, which we maintain for obvious reasons. It’s been viewed more than 100 million times since going online and it must have done some good, surely.
Hammy Moto can only dream of such viewing numbers for his monetized channel, but you never know – his video is remarkable enough that it might even do it. We can all learn from it, but I just hope the notoriety and income don’t make him forget the one-time-only hand he was dealt.