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Motorcyclist Gets Violently Rear Ended And Lets The Free Birds Fly

Chaparral Motorsports
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January 27, 2019
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Last Updated: August 7, 2020

One of every motorcyclist's worst fears came true this past summer when Adam Knight, aka Atom, was rear ended at more than 70mph by a pickup truck. The event was caught on Atom's helmet-mounted GoPro and while the impact was extremely violent, luckily he wasn't severely injured. Despite the incredible force of the speeding truck slamming into the rear of his 2010 Yamaha Stratoliner and ejecting him from the bike, it was Atom's immediate reaction of flipping the bird and cussing at the driver as he slid and spun across the highway that has garnered quite a bit of attention on his YouTube Channel. The video has been up on his channel for about three weeks and has nearly 100K views. Atom's response was a total gut reaction but one that almost every motorcyclist can relate to and appreciate, as evidenced by the more than 350 comments on the video.

Watching a person slide and spin along the highway while flipping the bird and cussing back at the driver who just plowed their motorcycle is one of the craziest things I've seen in recent memory. Oddly enough, after chatting with Atom via email I learned that things didn't end with what we saw in the video. His accident was just the start to a series of unfortunate events related to inattentive drivers-more on that later.

The accident took place back on June 16th 2018, which coincidentally was the same date Atom had made the first payment on his new (to him) Yamaha. Atom was traveling on interstate 20 in Bossier City, Louisiana. As you can see it was a partly sunny day with some threatening rain clouds off to his left. "I'm almost always an ATGATT rider, but I thought I'd enjoy a breeze for a bit as it was 90 degrees on that day.... big mistake," Atom told us.

Once the clouds opened up and the light rain turned into a deluge, Atom says he was going to get off at the next exit which was only a few miles ahead to get out of the rain while putting on his leathers. Unfortunately that didn't happen.

Atom was traveling down the highway at 65mph and just after waving to a fellow rider who was taking respite from the rain under an overpass a GMC pickup stuck his rear fender at more than 70mph. The force of the impact shot the bike forward and ejected Atom off the back. As the motorcycle, still upright, careened towards the side of the highway it eventually hit a culvert on the side of the road and tumbled leaving a trail of saddlebags, fairing, and other debris scattered about. Atom on the other hand landed on the highway and began to slide and spin until he came to rest in the middle of the lane he was traveling in. Atom estimates he slid more than 100-yards. "Definitely my personal best for a slip and slide," he stated.

In the video you can see the middle of the truck's front bumper caved in from the hit as the vehicle is hydroplaning behind Atom. Thankfully the driver stopped. Despite suffering from back pain and the driver trying say that Atom stopped in front of him, Atom was able to quickly decompress and begin to assess the situation.

Back up the highway, as soon as he heard and saw the accident, the biker Atom had waved to just seconds before immediately took action. "He was an amazing individual," Atom stated. "As soon as I was hit, he made a point to flag down traffic to have them slow down and then he sprinted down to check on me. I definitely owe him a beer or three."

Although Atom's immediate reaction was probably how most of us would have responded, after seeing and hearing the offending driver's legitimate concern for his well-being, Atom's ability to quickly let his anger subside without escalating things any further with the driver, or worse attacking the driver, is highly commendable-especially given the circumstances.

This is probably partly because he was suffering from four misaligned discs and one herniated disc in his back, road rash, and whiplash. However, after chatting with Atom I think it's mostly because of his good natured disposition (did you notice the Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) patch on his vest), respectful attitude, and understanding that accidents happen. Atom even mentioned in the comments section of his video how the driver was genuinely concerned for him and therefore he chose to blur the guys face so the internet wouldn't try to harass the guy.

What we don't see in the video is that after the police arrived the rain had stopped and another driver passing by was paying more attention to the wreck than the road and ended up swiping into the median. After the tow truck showed up, seeing that Atom was going to be ok, the other biker was going to make his way back to his Victory motorcycle that was still under the overpass. However, just as Atom finished giving the guy a hug and thanking him for checking on him another inattentive driver in an SUV panic stopped, swerved, hit the side of a car, and came to rest on top of the Victory. As you might expect, the Victory was a total loss as well. Needless to say, the cops, emergency personnel, and tow truck drivers had their hands full that day. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured.

Here's the kicker to this part of the story, remember earlier how I had mentioned that Atom has just made the first payment on his Stratoliner that day, well the Victory owner had just made his last payment. Such a weird and unfortunate coincidence.

Aside from the back injuries which Atom says took months to recover from he is quite lucky things didn't end up much worse. His Stratoliner on the other hand wasn't quite as fortunate as you can see in the pictures Atom provided. The bike was basically totaled.

Atom said the officer wrote the driver up for speeding and not maintaining a safe distance and wrote up the incident as "weather related." As for why the video (which Atom has aptly dubbed "Flip'n Slide") was posted to the internet several months after the accident, Atom says he was waiting to get everything hashed out with the insurance company. "After my lawyer showed the video to his [the GMC driver] insurance company, they were very cooperative. That GoPro was an amazing investment," Atom stated.

Atom is back on the road on two wheels again, this time on a Road Glide. He says he's thinking about taking up motovlogging. He's happy to share the video and enjoys commenting and replying to all those who watch it. While he says he laughs now every time he shows it to someone he hopes people will watch and learn from it. I asked him if he had any advice for both drivers and riders after going through this and his response was:

"Drivers, please don't text and drive. Looking away from the road for a couple of seconds is all it takes to change a life forever. Riders, I recommend everyone ride with a GoPro or some sort of camera, it makes all the difference. Lastly, dress for the slide, not for the ride. It's the only reason I'm still here to tell my story."

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