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Wear your helmet - a sad story

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Jun 18, 2007 6:23 am

Later this morning, I'm taking off work to attend my 34-year-old cousin's funeral.  Friday, he made the mistake of taking off for a cycle show on his new Harley without wearing a helmet.  He crested a hill only to see a truck pulling a cattle trailer coming at him, make a left.  The story is conflicted at this point, with a sheriff's deputy telling the family that he was likely only traveling about 40 mph as he crested the hill.  The local news indicated a different scenario with more speed.  The end result is the same.  My cousin was thrown from his bike as he locked up his brakes and he ended up under the trailer.

He was conscious and speaking to emergency personnel, but witnesses indicated to the family that his head started swelling.  The local hospital attemped to stabilize him before he was airlifted, but he died in the emergency room.

Would he have lived if he'd worn a helmet?  We'll never know.  All we know for sure is that without it, he died...and much too young.  As a recovering addict, he had a real story to tell.  After serving time in prison for cooking meth, he made it all the way back, successfully kicking the habit, driving a truck for a local manufacturer, and counseling those trying to beat the habit.  He recently made a public expression of faith and after an up and down relationship, became very close with his father.

I don't ride my bike without a helmet, but I see a lot of folks who do.  Given the possibilities, I can't understand why people choose to play Russian Roulette with their lives.  If you're one of those who like riding with the wind in your hair...think about this before your next cruise.

R.I.P, Kevin...and Godspeed...

Jun 18, 2007 6:56 am


Later this morning, I’m taking off work to attend my
34-year-old cousin’s funeral.  Friday, he made the mistake of
taking off for a cycle show on his new Harley without wearing a helmet.

Sorry about your loss. These things can be overwhelming, make sure to take some time out to process the totallity of it all. Not a bad idea to take a week off.

As for the helmet, that makes things so much worse from a grief perspective since the death isn't "clean". What everyone can take pride in is this person's legacy of acheivement in kicking a meth habit and turning their life around.

Jun 18, 2007 11:55 am

Sorry about your loss Indyone.

Jun 18, 2007 12:17 pm

Indy - sorry for your loss, and thanks for sharing the story.

Jun 18, 2007 12:51 pm

My prayers are with you and your family.

Jun 18, 2007 1:32 pm

I pray that God’s strength helps you and your family get through this loss.

Jun 18, 2007 1:43 pm

I’m very sorry to hear about your loss, Indy.

Jun 18, 2007 2:21 pm

Very sad. Sorry to hear about your loss.

Jun 18, 2007 2:34 pm

I always wear a helmet and usually an Aerostich riding suit. I don't get the no helmet thing, as well as the flip flops and shorts thing. The road is hard, brain injuries permanent, and skin takes a long time to grow back.

Regardless of his speed, it sounds like too much speed for a blind intersection or driveway. Something we all do and most of us don't realize until it's too late. Fortuntately, we rarely have to pay the price. Really, there is little we can do to protect ourselves from these types of road situations. Speaking for myself, it's unlikely that i would slow down for a blind driveway, even if I knew it was there.  In some parts of the country I'd have to walk the bike. So, driveway or intersection, regardless of his speed I don't think your cousin was doing anything wrong or anything, short of walking the bike, that would have changed the outcome. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And that's as unfair as life gets.

There is no way to know the alternate outcome. What ifs will torture you. Six years ago a close friend of mine died in a one bike crash in Colorado. He was found at the bottom of a 90 foot ravine next to the highway. No knows what happened. Was he forced of the road? Did he lose control? We just accept that we will never know and visit his grave at Ft Indiantown Gap whenever we can. He too died way too young.

Indy, sorry for your loss, ride safe.

Jun 18, 2007 4:53 pm

We all have friends and families who have died too soon or will do so.   Sell life and disability insurance to those you care about or refer them to somebody to do the job.

Jun 19, 2007 12:45 am

Very sorry to hear about this tragedy. Lets hope that thru your post, some good can come from the story.

My cousins 22 year old son, a great kid, died a few years back of an overdose, just as he seemed to be getting his life together. He had been clean for some time, and just had a weak moment, and relapsed. His mother found him in his room and couldnt wake him.

My cousin was devasted, but immediately looked to find a way to make sure his kids death helped others. He set up a foundation, and took (and is still raising money) donations, which are being donated to local hospital detox units, to buy more beds. This came from a time when he took his son to a local hospital, and was turned away when he needed it most, due to a lack of beds available. My cousin also set up a website, to promote the cause, with pictures of his son, and a place where all the people who knew him, still to this day, come to post their memories, and talk to Josh. Its .

Anyway, the point is, Indy, like I said, good can come from any situation, no matter how tragic. May Gd be with you and your family, and may someone be helped by your situation.

Jun 19, 2007 1:39 am

Indyone -

I'm sorry to hear of this tragic accident.  I appreciate having the choice, but always ride with my "lid" on.  Peace to you and all of your family.


Jun 19, 2007 2:26 am

Condolences Indy…

Jun 19, 2007 3:40 am

Thanks for all your kind posts & PM's.  Today was a long day, but by the end of it, I was back in the goes on.

His employer put my cousin's sleeper rig in the funeral procession and the sheriff's department did a nice job of holding the traffic back. The Sheriff, who ironically was my cousin's old parole officer, couldn't say enough nice things about the positive changes in his life.

I'll miss him...he was a good kid, but seeing him get a nice send-off makes it easier...thanks again, guys and ladies...

Jun 21, 2007 1:03 am

Indyone, you made me think about it!  I’m 53 and this evening I was going out on a ride I walked in and took my helmet out of the bag and put it on–my two daughters ( one is in the medical field ) came up and said Thanks Dad for wearing your helmet.