FELLOW MOTORCYCLISTS GET SMASHED ON THE PAVEMENT EVERY DAY. And many live to tell about it. This morning I learned that one of my neighbors, a young 21-year-old rider, has been in the hospital for several days and is expected to remain there for another 2 weeks, before he can go home for a projected 6-month recovery.
Due to the severity of his road rash and mangled flesh, he is being treated as a burn victim.
The incident resulted from a hit-and-run driver. Witnesses say the offending vehicle violated this rider’s right-of-way and sped off after smashing into this motorcyclist and catapulting him through the air. The rider was brought to the Intensive Care Unit of the local hospital and placed in a temporarily induced coma while they cleaned and removed the dirt and gravel embedded into the abrasions and lacerated flesh that encompassed 25% of his body.
Because the contents of his pockets were strewn widely upon impact, and therefore no identification was with him when he arrived at the hospital, he was admitted as a John Doe (unknown person).
Accordingly, family could not be notified of his circumstances.
When he didn’t arrive home that night or to work the next day, it took over 24 hours for family to track him down via phone calls to police and area hospitals. (They were looking for a specific person, not a “John Doe.”)
To make matters more interesting, it turns out he does not have a motorcycle license or insurance (both required by law in California) and he had been drinking beer.
He was issued a citation for Driving under the Influence (DUI).
Based upon the severity of flesh damage, a reader might wonder what this young rider was wearing when he went down.
The answer: not much.
He was riding in shorts and a T-shirt. (Although he was wearing his helmet, which is also required by law in California).
The hospital care he is receiving costs $25,000 per day.
It should be noted that he owns a leather jacket with armor reinforcements and other riding gear and I usually observed him wearing such when riding. (Although I had also seen him riding in short pants).
One more interesting fact: He had just purchased his street motorcycle a few weeks earlier. (Although he did have prior dirt-bike riding experience).
When aroused from his morphine sleep, he said “I’ll never ride a motorcycle again.” The future will prove that true or not, but I would guess that if he does take to two wheels again, he will wear his gear.
Except in states that require helmets, any motorcyclist has the privilege to choose to wear whatever he or she deems appropriate. But I think the risk is high for any new riders, and especially young riders, who may not have gained the necessary respect that should be accorded to the potential dangers of street riding, and instead are solely intoxicated by its pleasures.
This rider made a number of mistakes. Among them, one could speculate that had he not been drinking in the first place, he might have been able to avoid the accident, even though the official responsibility is imputed to the driver who left the scene of the accident.
Although the circumstances surrounding this incident may provoke varied perspectives, it should be emphasized that this rider did survive and in time, he is expected to recover and he will likely be wiser in the future.
This event reminds me of the numerous mistakes I made as a young rider. At times I have wondered how I survived those early years. Regardless, I do have a more respectful attitude than back then and as much as I still enjoy riding, and could not imagine giving it up for anything, I have much more experience and better gear than when I was a kid. (And I’ve survived a few accidents myself).
Wishing you safe riding!
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