Monday, November 28, 2011

Training and proper gear do make a difference

I attended a toy run weekend before last put on by the Association Motorcycle Club and ABATE of Arkansas.inmemoryof

I saw several local Harley folks with patches on their vests that said, "In loving memory of" and then 2, 3, 4 or more patches below with the names of friends who presumably were killed in motorcycle accidents.

I've been a member of the Indianapolis BMW Club for about 30 years and I can't recall any member of our club being killed in a motorcycle crash. We've had our share of crashes, but no fatalities that I can think of.

I put the question to members who frequent the club message board and, so far, nobody can come up with an Indianapolis BMW Club motorcycle fatality.

Tim Balough came the closest with this:

Yes. I think it was in the early 80s. Gentleman in his 70s had a heart attack on the east side of Indy. he was on the interstate, and after the heart attack, missed a turn and hit an abutment.

I went to visit his widow with another club member, but I can't remember the gentleman's name or which club member.

Given the circumstances, I’m not inclined to count this as a motorcycle fatality since there’s a good possibility that he was dead before his bike crashed.

I also got these replies:

I count myself fortunate to ride a BMW. As a medical helicopter pilot in Indiana I have seen my fair share of motorcycle deaths and serious injuries.  None of them involved a BMW. Two nights ago a young man was killed despite some really talented medical professionals doing their best.  

As a helicopter pilot I expect something to go wrong and am always looking for landing spots if the need arises. In 25 years of flying I haven't had the  need yet.  Every time I get on my r1150rt I expect to hit the pavement so I dress accordingly. In 3 years of riding I haven't had the need yet.  I like to think of myself as a pessimistic optimist. Some folks just call this bipolar :-).

Keep riding safely,
Bob Gaudet 

AE-39 base pilot


Hi all: I am Bob Nevitt a fairly new member. My K1200 is my 5th BMW, but that is another story. I can't even remember any serious accidents in the 44 plus years I have been involved with BMW. The Harley guys, and I have quiet a few customers with HD motorcycles, they all break almost every safety rule I have committed to NEVER do. I am a private pilot also, and the "Eight hours from the bottle to the Throttle" is double with my bike. I wont go TEN FEET with out a helmet, gloves and good jacket regardless of the outside temp or weather conditions.

My Harley customers, on the other hand rarely wear a helmet, just the "smart" ones, and where our club motto is "Ride to Eat" theirs could be characterized by " Ride to be free" or more correctly Ride to Imbibe.

I personally witnessed a low speed fatality where at 30 miles an hour, a car pulled out in front, and BAUM. There was no chance.  The rider went about 30 feet and landed on his head. There was gray matter visible.  I got religion there after.  The Harley guys are a less careful bunch and a lot do self maintenance, and that can go either way. But my head won't stop safely at any speed with no helmet protection..
There is  the other aspect of the rougher MC clubs.  They often speed,change lanes, and don't signal intentions, plus all that chrome is heavy and hard to stop.  It is a different world.  I've seen both sides.  What is scary is the crotch rockets with 165 HP at the wheel and 0 to 160 in 12 seconds.  They seem hell bent for destruction.  I didn't get this old by being stupid.    Just a few thoughts .  Bob Nevitt

And this from Theresia Shearer:

As the saying goes…there is old and there is stupid. There is no old stupid.  

The race track performance of the crotch rockets is scary…but the scary part is that the riders often lack of skill, knowledge and experience…see old, stupid.

Unfortunately the Harley stereotype is often earned. On the other hand I have a Harley riding friend who has come very close the last two years to setting a Bonneville speed record for his class on a highly modified crotch rocket.

John, I also cannot remember any fatalities. We’ve had several serious accidents in the club but ”all the gear all the time” had to do with a lot of the folks walking away. Okay, so maybe they didn’t always walk away from the accident but they finally walked away from therapy! In every case that I’m aware of, the riders firmly believed that their use of safety gear made a difference.

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