Bloody Eye: An Unbalanced Force


The vast majority of performance sports come down to one word: speed. We all want to go fast. And once we’ve gone fast, we embark on a relentless quest to go even faster.

But we’d be fools to ignore the rarely spoken, never-forgotten fact that speed is dangerous. It’s been 350 years since Isaac Newton told us objects in motion stay in motion unless acted upon by “an unbalanced force”, but we’re still out there trying work around it somehow.

Forty-six-year-old Eric Koff met his unbalanced force on the second afternoon of 2012. After a bike ride through the upscale area of Corona del Mar (a beachside community nestled between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach in Southern California), Koff and his friends were heading for home a couple of miles inland.

That’s when he encountered the ugly side of speed.

“We were going about twenty to twenty-five miles an hour when multiple spokes broke on my front wheel, locking the wheel,” he says. “When that happened I went head-first over the handlebars, literally driving the right side of my face into the ground.”

After an ambulance ride to a nearby hospital, doctors discovered a collection of injuries that included a concussion, a broken nose, sinus fractures, a shattered cheekbone (fixed with a Titanium plate) and major damage to the orbital floor of his right eye.

It’s hard to look at the images of Koff after the crash and find a bright side. The guy is a complete wreck. But he has found one anyway.

“I am truly thankful for two pieces of equipment: my helmet and my Oakley M Frames,” he says. “Lesser lenses could have broken, possibly injuring my eye. But these lenses took the full force of the pavement and stayed intact, protecting my eye. Prior to my accident I was well aware that Oakley had impact protection, but I had no idea that they would have held up to a 25 mph impact.”

Stories like Koff’s justify the time and engineering resources Oakley’s Mad Scientists invest in the impact protection built into every pair of Oakley lenses. Relentless high-mass and high-speed impact testing is conducted to ensure that Oakley lenses will hold up in precisely the kind of real world scenario Koff describes.

“I would say that 90 percent of the riders I ride with wear Oakley,” he says. “Not sure if its because they like the style or the safety.”

Or maybe both.


Danny Evans


February 16, 2012

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