Harley Davidson Street Bob: Surprisingly harsh ending to 44 years of motorcycling

Well all my life, one of the few bike marques I had never owned nor ridden was Harley Davidson. So after 7 years and >100,000 miles on Triumph Rocket III Roadsters, why did I buy a 2020 Street Bob.? Beats the hell out of me… although when I jokingly sat on it in the Youles Motorcycles Blackburn showroom and Paul Threlfall (Sales Exec) shouted over to me ‘Start her up, Will…’, that was probably the moment I was sold.

Awesome exhaust note. Just awesome. So awesome that Debbie (the beautiful wife) insisted I only start the Harley at the far end of the drive so as to minimise neighbour disturbance. Without a doubt the loudest bike I’ve ever owned, although not an annoying sound.

Put 5 months and 7,000 miles on her – not the fastest at top end (not fair to compare to the Roadsters though) but quite happy cruising at normal motorway speeds. Plenty of torque so surprisingly nippy for normal riding.

Did not like the tubed tyres – something I was planning on changing. Was considering two options – cast wheels or upgrade to Fat Boy 114 (had seen gorgeous Cherry Red one).

The Surprise Ending – In A Blink of an Eye

Anyways – kind of a moot point now as she has been written off.

Long story short: Range Rover parked on the pavement, facing same way I was travelling, swung into a hard u-turn as I drew level with him. Swatted me like a fly. Absolutely nothing I could do. There are some things that not even 44 years of road sense and motorcycle survival instincts can prepare you for. Literally happened in the blink of an eye, did not even touch brakes.

If you look at the pics below, you can see how the front of the bike is squashed flat, with surprisingly little damage apparent otherwise – and the damage to the Range Rover wheel arch where he slammed it into me. Almost exactly 90 degree impact.

Bike gone, along with left leg below the knee. Pretty much everything broken except head and right leg. One week in ICU, four weeks in Major Trauma. Still in hospital as I type (happened on December 20th 2023).

Harley Street Bob Squashed

On the bright side, still alive and pushing forwards. A bonus considering I 100% thought I was going to die at the side of that road. I was a mess. The fact that I lived still amazes me. A testament to the skill of the paramedics who attended the scene and the Doctors at Preston Royal. 2 hours to stabilise me and get me in the ambulance, A6 closed for 6 hours at M61 Botany Bay turn-off.

Be careful out there.!

To be continued….

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