While I've never had any real interest in riding a motorcycle (I feel a heck of a lot safer in my van!), all the recent press over George Clooney's accident made me wonder how many celebs haveÂ experienced motorbike crashes. The results were kind of astounding. Be sure to grab your helmets before you read on:
:: Ann-Margret : An accomplished rider, she nonetheless was thrown from her bike in Brainerd, Minnesota in 2000. She received a broken arm and four broken ribs.
:: Gary Busey: An avid motorcyclist who was vocally anti-helmet, he nearly succumbed to head injuries in a violent crash in 1988 after picking up his Harley from a repair shop. Luckily, he landed at the feet of a police officer who took care of his wound until medical help arrived. Not surprisingly, he's now a supporter of motorcycle helmets.
:: GÃ©rard Depardieu: In an interview, the actor admitted to having been involved in more than a dozen motorcycle crashes. One of them broke his leg in five places. He still rides, however, claiming that the "feeling of freedom" is something he'll never be able to give up.
:: Peter Fonda: Lost a half-inch of his height due to surgeries required after breaking his back and neck in a 1985 motorcycle wreck. He still prefers riding a bike to a horse, however, revealing that he'd "never been bitten by a motorcycle."
:: Billy Idol: Was bedridden for several months in 1990 after his motorcycle was struck by a car when he accidentally ran a stop sign in Los Angeles. His leg was mangled and nearly had to be amputated. A photographer who saw the electrodes and IVs attached to Idol in the hospital jokingly referred to him as a "Cyberpunk," which Idol used as the title of his next album.
:: Adrien Brody: The Oscar-winning actor from The Pianist crashed his motorcycle into a car in 1992, sliding feet-first through a crosswalk. He refused to ride for several years after the frightening ordeal.
:: Guy Burchett: An employee of Elton John's Rocket Records, his fatal motorcycle crash prompted Elton to write and record "Song for Guy" in his memory.
:: Bob Dylan : Much conjecture surrounds the nature and severity of his 1966 motorcycle accident, after which he "reinvented" himself, alienating many of his fans. Some say the wreck nearly killed him; others claim it was staged to give Dylan some time off.
:: Eric Estrada: The CHiPs star was involved in a motorcycle accident during the show's production in 1980. Injuries included a broken wrist, 12 fractured ribs, and collapsed lungs. Producers incorporated the mishap into the show's storyline, filming Ponch's scenes from his real-life hospital bed.
:: Ashley Hamilton: As if the pain of two marriages that lasted a total of 10 months wasn't bad enough, Ashley's been unfortunate enough to endure at least two notable motorcycle accidents.
:: David Hasselhoff : Lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a pole in Los Angeles in 2003, causing minor injuries to himself and his passenger, then-wife Pamela Bach. Both were wearing helmets.
:: Lauren Hutton: The supermodel/actress crashed while riding a motorcycle for a charity event supporting the Guggenheim Museum in 2000. Luckily, Dennis Hopper had persuaded her to wear protective leathers and a full-face helmet, so her serious injuries were limited to a leg broken in several places.
:: Brian Kelly: Best known as the father on the 1960s TV series Flipper, Kelly was injured in 1969 when the engine on a borrowed motorbike blew up. His right arm and leg were paralyzed, all but ending his promising acting career.
:: Takeshi Kitano: One of Japan's most respected filmmakers and the winner of several international movie awards; he was hospitalized for a month in 1995 after a serious motorcycle mishap.
:: Mark Knopfler: The Dire Straits frontman crashed his motorbike into a car in London in 2003, fracturing his shoulder, collarbone, and seven ribs.
:: T.E. Lawrence : The British army officer who became famous as "Lawrence of Arabia" lost his life in a horrible 1935 motorcycle crash.
:: Daryl Mitchell: The funnyman known as "Chill" appeared regularly on The John Larroquette Show and Veronica's Closet before being paralyzed from the chest down in a horrific 2001 motorcycle crash. He went on to appear in the sitcom Ed and hasn't let his mishap slow him down.
:: Liam Neeson: While aboard a Harley in 2000 near his New York home, he collided with a deer. The accident broke the actor's pelvis. He was found lying on the side of the road.
:: Barry Oakley and Duane Allman: Allman, 24-year-old guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band was killed in a 1971 motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, when he crashed into a semi-truck that had pulled in front of him. Oakley, the band's bassist, was killed in a 1972 motorcycle less than a mile from the spot where Allman had suffered the same fate a year earlier.
:: Keanu Reeves: Broke his ankle in a 1997 motorcycle crash and had to rely on crutches for several weeks.
:: Don Rich: A regular on Hee Haw as the leader of Buck Owens' band, the Buckaroos, Rich lost his life in a 1974 motorcycle accident while on his way to meet up with his family after a recording session.
:: Ben Roethlisberger : This up-and-coming Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was said to be near death following a 2006 motorcycle accident in which he broke his nose and his upper and lower jaw and lost two teeth. He was riding without a helmet and didn't have a valid license.
:: Arnold Schwarzenegger: His massive muscles didn't keep the bodybuilder from breaking six of his ribs and spending several days in the hospital after a 2001 motorcycle crash. The injuries occurred when his chest hit the windshield of his bike as he swerved to avoid a car that stopped short in front of him. Five years later, he was riding again (with son Patrick in the sidecar) when a car backed out in front of him. This time, Arnold received 15 stitches in his upper lip.
:: Seal: The singer recovered after a motorcycle accident in his youth. The scars on his face aren't a result of the injury, however, but of his life-long battle with lupus.
:: "Big" John Studd : The 6'7" professional wrestler tried his hand at acting with Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, but fell from his motorcycle during filming. He believed that the accident "“ and not his heavy steroid use "“ caused the cancer that took his life in 1995.
:: Steven Tyler: In 1981, the Aerosmith lead singer tore open his heel after his motorcycle hit a tree when he was on his way to pick up daughter Mia from her babysitter's house. The injury took nearly a year to heal completely.
:: Kerry Von Erich: The pro wrestler lost his foot in a 1987 motorcycle wreck, but continued to wrestle after being fitted with a prosthetic device.
:: Ken Wahl : The up-and-coming actor (who won a Golden Globe for his role in Wiseguy) had already survived multiple motorcycle accidents when a 1992 crash caused spinal damage from which he never fully recovered.
:: Kellen Winslow, Jr.: The Cleveland Browns tight end tore knee ligaments in a 2005 motorbike crash. Neither speeding nor doing wheelies, Winslow hit a curb in a parking lot and flew over the handlebars. The accident cost him the rest of the NFL season.