I am currently trying to create a dramatic introduction for one of my characters, John Smith. The current iteration of the idea has him suddenly colliding with a solid wall on a motorbike, which sounds lethal at high-enough speeds.
My question is as follows: with the right protective gear, what kind of speed does the vehicle have to be traveling at to achieve the effects I am looking for? I am specifically looking for a numeric answer.
I would appreciate some feedback on how to tweak or tone down the accident if it's still difficult to survive. I haven't been able to find a lot of info online, as it deals with traffic accidents only and I'm not convinced that these scenarios are comparable.
Time period: early 2020s - early 2040s
John Smith, a 20 year-old, is riding home on a motorcycle during dusk time. He is wearing all the proper safety gear:
- A good helmet
- An electronically-controlled suit jacket with airbags and spinal column protection that engages when the jacket detects that an accident is imminent
- We can assume that this protective gear is built out of much better materials than today, but unfortunately still no miracle carbon nanotubes, applied phlebotinum linings, or force fields.
John loses focus for a second, doesn't realise he accidentally drove through a portal.
- Portals work using the plain old "speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out wormhole" principle of operation, but are much harder to see, and are not colour coded. Certainly harder to spot in limited light conditions.
John suddenly emerges out of the other portal, while maintaining most of his momentum.
- The portal exits 1-1.5m above ground in a confined space
- The confined space consists of an enclosed room (a scientific research lab), sized 12x20x20m
- He is now hurtling towards a smooth, flat wall that reaches all the way to the ceiling
- There isn't enough time to steer or make an emergency stop that would avoid the accident completely
John crashes into the wall, which can be made of anything between bulletproof glass and concrete in terms of hardness. Fortunately he is not impaled or otherwise by the wall itself, just a simple impact. He may or may not impact the wall separately from the bike.
He is immediately found by the lab staff who have rudimentary medical training. They are just about trained enough to establish that he can be moved to the hospital safely (i.e. no spine/skull damage), and know how to do so themselves. They cannot call the ambulance.
John may have to spend anywhere between 6 weeks and up to 6 months in hospital to recover physically, while in a medically induced coma (for reasons that I'm willing to handwave or work around). He is otherwise mentally and physically unimpaired after a maximum of 8 months pass from the accident.
- The bike already decelerated to a safer speed due to passing an intersection earlier.
- Wall partially absorbs the impact, like an inverted crumple zone. I think that the right kind of reinforced glass (or similar material) should stretch out the length of the impact to make it more survivable.
Bonus: how do John's chances of survival change with his age, or the speed of impact?