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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Hit & run!

Yet another acquaintance of mine (a Vietnam vet) has been struck while out riding, this time from behind. He flew through the air for several yards, and had the added misfortune to land on his face, breaking both cheekbones and assorted others. The perpetrator fled the scene; there were no witnesses. At least he wasn't killed, but the road to recovery will be a long and painful one.

Not too terribly long ago I lost a cousin (and her boyfriend) because someone pulled out right in front of them on U.S. 1 in Philly from a side street.

I myself was nearly killed in '96 (no) thanks to a pickup truck who cut right in front of me and then locked up his brakes. In fact, I had to endure surgery on this magnificent brain due to that incident. A lot of people may not realize this, but the stopping distance for a motorcycle is much longer than a vehicle with 4 (or more) wheels on the ground.

Just about invariably, the people who do these things claim to have never seen their victim(s) until it was too late.

I know of a lot of people who don't ride anymore, because it's too dangerous. I cannot say that I blame them, but it sure seems unfair that in most instances, the people who commit these crimes get away with them.

It seems to me that the driving test is way too easy, since so many motor vehicle operators seem to be barely in control at any given time.

The penalties for these things are obviously insufficient...

15 Comments:

Blogger Barb said...

Too much of the time, if the cardriver doesn't stop at the scene of the accident there is no way to identify them.
When you are riding(driving) a cycle ,you are aware every minute that you had better be paying attention.
In cars it is a different tning. Talking on the phone,eating ,shaving,putting on make-up ,making the kids behave are just a few of the things cardrivers do. I know two accidents caused by hitting at a bee,and changing stations on the radio.Many people steer their car in the direction the are looking ,and so I don't walk on streets without sidewalks ,now. I couldn't tell you how many times I had to jump for the curb.And I don't think they really were trying to kill me.
I will pray for your friend,and you ,too ,buddy. you be careful out there.

April 24, 2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I may have told you this once before, but I try to be very careful around motorcycles. I've never owned one myself, but have been a passenger quite a few times. I know what it feels like when some dimwit is riding up your proverbial tailpipe. However, I recently did cut some guy off on a motorcycle and got the expected 1-finger salute.

I swear, I don't know where he came from. I try to keep my wits about me, and I look in my mirrors every 10-15 seconds or so, but I totally missed this guy! I felt really bad, but I don't think I was zoning or anything. No cell phones. No radio to distract me. I just never saw him.

I was changing lanes from the fast lane into the middle lane, and apparently he was either in the middle lane or changing from the right lane into the middle lane. I had my blinker on, but he never saw it. Go figure.

Be careful my friend.

April 24, 2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger mig said...

You better be careful.

I can't believe that someone would leave the scene. No matter how bad it looked, it is sooo bad to leave. That is cowardess with no boundaries.

I will pray for you friend, I am so sorry for him. It is painful just thinking about it!

April 24, 2006 10:48 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

So sorry to learn of your friend's
injuries due to a criminal on the road.

My brother USED to ride a bike nd now he has no knees.He says there are only two kinds of bikers;one thats been down and one that is going down.

Never having been on a bike,I can still relate to the trauma of being in an accident.In 1997 on I85
going to Charlette,NC....I was hit by an 18 wheeler and it changed my life forever.

April 24, 2006 11:45 PM  
Blogger Beerme said...

I have had some friends lose their limbs and their lives to four wheel blunders. I have had many run-ins with idiots while riding bikes and while driving four wheel vehicles. People are crummy drivers, for the most part, and those driving four wheel vehicles have even less concern for their driving skills and common courtesy. I tell people all the time that it is different when it is your leg between you and the next vehicle, instead of your fender.

That said, some years ago, while I was still driving and riding, I nearly hit a guy on a bike while pulling out of a parking lot. There's no excuse, but as others have said, I didn't see him. I was mortified! But believe me, if I could miss seeing a biker, being a fellow biker and acutely aware of the ignorance of drivers to our presence on the roads, anyone could do it.

Oh, and I've been down, so I know what can happen. I haven't ridden for twenty years, now, because to me it's just not worth it (except for the short ride on my brother's Harley last year-wooh-hoo!). I love it, but it's dangerous enough with fenders...

April 25, 2006 7:11 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Well, you all know how I feel about this subject...

So, let me just say, yes, bikes are cool, BUT anyone who rides is taking an ENORMOUS risk. And anyone who rides in the city is just plain CRAZY IMNSHO! A bikes profile is just a fraction of a 4 wheeled vehicle, so the odds of not being seen are increased.

A friend of my mom's killed a biker. It was dark and raining and yes, she never saw him. He lost his life, and she has to live with what happened for the rest of hers.

Also, no helmet laws are insane! It's the law to wear a seatbelt in a car, but someone on a bike doesn't even have to protect their head? WTF????????????? You want to feel the breeze in your hair? Stand in front of a fan.

Grrrrrrrrrr.

[breeeeeeeathe]

Glad to see you blogging again camojack!

April 25, 2006 7:48 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

Add me to the list of wimps! I've always been somewhat frightened by the thought of hitting the road unless fully wrapped in some sort of cage. Biking looks like a blast, have had a few opportunities and enjoyed them well enough but, like I say...a wimp.
All the best for your buddy and a speedy recovery!

April 25, 2006 8:20 AM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

I tried to post three times last night, but it wouldn't go through!

Jack, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend! I hope his recovery goes well.

I don't have any statistics, but I don't think drivers hit motorcyclists any more often than they hit other cars, it's just that it's much worse for the biker because they hit the pavement [or something else] without any protection!

Many people are so into constantly "multi-tasking" these days, both at home and at work, and they believe that they can continue this behavior behind the wheel, too! WRONG! They get so distracted, plus they're in a hurry and frustrated with traffic, etc...making for dangerous and often lethal consequences! Of course, we cannot overlook that the "dumbing down" of America plays a big part in the number of crashes, too, since the dumber people are...the worse they drive!!

April 25, 2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Barb:
Too many drivers are paying too little attention to their driving...and so, people die.

Hawkeye®:
I'm always trying to raise people's awareness about this issue, since I have been so profoundly affected by it over the years.

mig:
I am careful; to survive as a rider requires one to be the consummate defensive driver. Some folks still manage to "slip under the radar", though. In 2001 a woman made a left turn in front of me, then saw me in mid-turn...and stopped, right in front of me, the idiot. I've had a number of near misses with left turners, so I'm always on the lookout for them, but this particular moron was using her right turn signal, so I disregarded her. Of course, by stopping directly in my path, I couldn't avoid hitting her. New wheel, tire and front end on a Springer Softail plus labor ran approximately $4K. The nitwit had the nerve to ask me if I had insurance. I did, naturally (full coverage), but that was irrelevant. When the policeman arrived, he had to explain that yes, it was indeed her fault.

Maggie:
The guy I mentioned isn't actually my friend, he's the friend of a family member. That's why I referred to him as an acquaintance. But the person who harmed him is definitely a criminal, as you said.

Beerme:
I still have some hearing loss in my left ear because of the incident in '96, the one that necessitated the evacuation of an epidural hematoma in my skull. And, I've been the victim of a number of other incidents. I've also known a number of people, family and friends, who have suffered and/or died while riding. But I love to ride, so I keep doing it.

As Nietzsche said: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger".
(I'm pretty freakin' strong by now)

MargeinMI:
Crazy, yes, perhaps. But I've been called worse, and I can take it. Like my brother said the other day, about when people ask him why he jumps out of perfectly good airplanes to skydive. He asks them why they get off of their perfectly good couches. The bottom line is "no risk, no reward".

And I never wear my seatbelt, either. I've got this real problem about being told what to do.

boberin:
Well, speaking from personal experience, "hitting the road" (literally) can be quite painful.

'da Bunny:
I tried to post yesterday morning and blogspot wouldn't let me; had to wait until evening.

I get more than what I pay for here, though, since I pay nothing for this blog...

April 25, 2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger JR said...

Like a moth to a flame another drunk was attracted to the tail light... Give him a week, he will be back at that same location and at the time driving drunk again....

April 25, 2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

JR:
It's too bad those drivers don't just drive into something that won't kill or maim anyone other than themselves.

Like those murder/suicide types...if they'd just start with the suicide part, the murdering could be avoided.

April 25, 2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger camojack_senior said...

In flight training you learn
that a scan to check for other
aircraft in flight should be done
in 20 degree segments.You cannot
spot everything by turning your
head, you must focus on each
portion.Saying that I must admit
that I stopped at a stop sign
and checked the road only to
pull out on someone i didn 't
see. thank goodness their mind was on their driving thus avoiding
a catastrophe.While driving in
traffic you don't have time to
scan like you do in an aircraft,
so yoyu must be much more aware
of all vehicles in your vicinity

April 25, 2006 10:15 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

camojack_senior:
If only the requirements for acquiring a drivers license were anything like those for getting a pilots license, there would be a lot less drivers...and consequently, a lot less accidents.

April 26, 2006 7:23 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

I also have an aquaintence who was in an 'accident' (auto) recently. Why the quotes around accident? It was really a 'waiting to happen at any time.'

This young man (24) was on a 48 hour drinking binge with no sleep. He had been released from a half-way house 2 months before and just finished his probation 2 weeks earlier for a previous drunk driving offense. At 3:00 a.m., he called my friend to come pick him up 'cause he wanted to party some more at her house. She said no and told him to stay where he was and go to sleep. He MADE THE CHOICE to get behind the wheel anyway, missed a curve and crashed into a tree in a field. He lay there for about 3 hours, the engine on his legs, until he regained enough of his wits to find his cell phone and call for help. After being air lifted to UofM Hospital, he has had one surgery on his legs, with many more to come to reconstruct his knees, ankles and feet. When he has recouperated enough, he will be going to prison.

How sad. I'm praying for his recovery, and for him to learn from the error of his ways. Thank God there was no one else involved in the crash.

My friend is feeling guilty for not going to get him, knowing he was on his way to her house--it's really knocked her for a loop. She visited him several times so far (about a 2 hour drive one way), and has now conciously decided she has to put it aside and concentrate on things she can control in her life. Her heart, I'm sure, is still in turmoil. I'm praying for her also.

I also know folks whose favorite past time is to go bar hopping on their motercycles. (Another serious concern re: my girlfriend getting a bike as they are friends of hers.)

sigh.

April 26, 2006 7:42 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

MargeinMI:
Drunk drivers are definitely a concern for all of us.

Riding a motorcycle while intoxicated is quite foolhardy, but usually the only person who suffers for it is the one who does it, plus (possibly) anyone who is so lacking in judgment as to be their passenger.

In my younger days, I was guilty of such behavior, although not very often. I was lucky to have gotten away with it, and now that I'm older and (supposedly) wiser, I don't do such foolish things anymore.

But I understand your concerns; they are valid ones..

April 26, 2006 8:44 AM  

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