Fleeing from police at 157 MPH, a 19-year-old Yamaha R1 rider lost control in a gradual curve. The bike's dead. The rider? Amazingly, he survived... to face Aggravated DUI, Reckless Driving and Criminal Speed charges when he's released from hospital.
A few summers back, I was going to Brainerd International Raceway every month to watch the CRA races. Volunteers to work the corners at the races, waving flags, manning the radios, etc... would be granted a free camping pass, so my girlfriend and I volunteered every time.
On one of the first times I went, I got to witness a spectacular crash. I think it was middleweight class, whichever is mostly 600cc bikes, and I was working corner 2alpha. Turn 1 is a high, wide banked turn, so even literbikes can go WOT through that corner, if the rider's got the nads to pin it that fast. Turn two is almost as wide, but flat, and the bikes are usually slowing down for Turn 3. Nonetheless, still going close to 150 when entering the turn( IIRC).
I didn't see the crash start, but I looked when I heard an abrupt change in RPM from the bike, and the rider was skating across the pavement next to the bike. They hit the dirt, and he tumbled a few times, rolled to a stop, and ran off as far from the track as possible.
The bike, on the other hand, dug into the dirt and catapulted itself high into the air. It came down and exploded into pieces.
We flagged the race, moved the shrapnel, and dragged the immobilized bike remnants over to the fence.
Later that night by the campfire, I was having a beer with a guy describing the crash I had seen. He said "Yeah, my bike is fucked. And my pinky kinda hurts."
Longass boring story short, the proper equipment can (not will, just can) turn a catastrophe into a non-event. If this drunken kid was wearing full leathers, boots, etc..., he very well could have stood up and walked (more likely limped) away from this carnage, depending on several factors.