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June 2007

Your Responsibility to Stay Safe

I've now known 4 people to get in serious motorcycle accidents.

Person 1 - a friend at Apple was riding with friends in the hills of California, and a deer ran out in front of him. He plowed right through the deer, skidded with the bike on top of him off the side of the road, hit the drain pipe, and settled in the woods. He broke his hip, and had numerous bruises. After he got out of the hospital and I went to visit him at home, he showed me his protective gear. His helmet was completely totaled. His leather jacket and pants were shredded beyond all belief. The spine guard he had on had a few very deep dents from where he hit the drain pipe. I believe today he still has hip problems occasionally, but is otherwise fine.

Person 2 - Accident on his dirt bike - was just out riding and lost control. His helmet was completely split in two. He only broke a couple of ribs besides the obvious bruises and scrapes, and today is fine.

Person 3 - Lost control on his motorcycle and was in a coma for a couple of weeks, besides breaking his hand very severely. This happened a few months ago, and is still recovering and having physical therapy to regain 100% full use of his hand. His helmet saved his life though.

Person 4 - Lost control of his motorcycle riding home from work. Broke his spine, was on a respirator, and died this past week. Chris, you will be missed by everyone who knew you. Your smile was infectious, and I was very happy to have known you.

I've been thinking a lot lately of all of these accidents since hearing that Chris Rummel died a few days ago from his injuries. All 4 of these people were very safe riders. All 4 wore helmets. All 4 didn't die immediately because of their helmets.

The one thing that most amazed Leif and I when we first moved out to Colorado is that there's no helmet law. I guess that does make sense, I mean if people don't want to wear helmets, why should they be forced to? It's their lives. Our neighbor is a very avid Harley rider with a wife and 2 young kids. He doesn't wear a helmet, and told me once that any accident he gets in, will be serious enough where a helmet wouldn't make a difference and he'd die anyways. His wife told me the other day (when I was talking to them about Chris) that he's a safe rider. Do I worry about him? Yes, he's a friend of ours, and I don't want anything bad to happen to him.

It doesn't really matter how safe you are, it's the other people on the road that can cause the problems. In the situation with my friend who hit the deer, he was as safe as they came - he even had full body protective gear when he did long all day rides, because he said "you just never know." You don't ever know. He didn't expect a deer to suddenly come running *right in front of him* on the road. Chris didn't expect to lose control of his motorcycle, a few miles from his apartment. His was just really bad luck, and nobody knows exactly what happened.

I guess I just don't understand if you can take a small preventative measure like wearing a helmet, why you just wouldn't do it.