February 6, 1990: Billy Idol Motorcycle Accident

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billy idolPop-punk icon Billy Idol definitely proved that the title of his album that he had just completed, Charmed Life, was prophetic when on February 6, 1990, at about 8:30 a.m. he ran a stop sign on his Harley-Davidson and collided with a car. Rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Idol had broken his leg between the knee and ankle and suffered a fractured left forearm. Seven hours of surgery enabled Idol not to lose his leg, which was fixed with a metal rod to keep it firm.

“The leg bone had gone straight through the jeans…” he later told Q magazine, “and had ripped the muscle to shreds…. And there was blood all over and everything, and I kept blacking out and I was in all this pain, and I came to on the operating table with somebody going up my shirt, cutting the clothes off me.” His first thought: Thank God he wasn’t wearing one of his favorite leather jackets, and it had to be chopped up to get it off.

Related: Review of Idol’s autobiography Dancing With Myself

Aside from the pain, medical expenses and recovery time, Idol lost out in other ways due to the accident. Movie director Oliver Stone had recently cast him for a part in The Doors but Idol’s injury greatly reduced his role. He had also been slated as the ideal person to play villain T-1000 in James Cameron’s movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day and lost that role. For his “Cradle of Love” promo video he was only shot from the waist up.

Despite all that, “I was lucky to have a life that’s worth getting better for,” Idol said later. “It was great fun to wake up in the hospital bed after the accident and realize that if I did get better, it was worth it.”

In 2010 he hit a discarded tire while on his motorcycle and incurred an injury that later required foot surgery. Yet Idol happily continues to ride.

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