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Thread: My brother-in-law, a plea and a rant

  1. #1
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    My brother-in-law, a plea and a rant

    Just over a week ago, Friday night at about 8:30, my brother-in-law, Jack was riding to his house to get changed from his work clothes, when a young woman pulled right out in front of his motorcycle. While no specific data is available, several of the people who arrived at the scene right after the accident said that the girl initially said that Jack had swerved into the median and hit her, then when the cops said that the scene did not support that, she changed her story into "I did not see him". (No, this is not my rant, even though I can think of a lot of things to say to someone who makes that claim)

    Anyway, this all happened near Monk's Corner, SC, but due to the injuries, Jack was life flighted into Charleston, SC to Medical University of South Carolina's trauma area. The extent of his injuries include two fractures to his spine (one at the neck and one in the lower back area), a broken right ankle, a collapsed right lung, and minor bleeding in the brain. He remained in intensive care until Monday early afternoon, then was transferred to a normal bed for a couple days. Unfortunately, the bleeding in his head started again, and he developed pneumonia, so on Wednesday, he was transferred back into ICU, where is is at this time I write this. He is again recovering nicely, and my wife continues to relay me good news on his condition. Even with the two spinal injuries, it appears Jack will suffer no paralysis, though it was questionalble at first. However, it will be a long healing process, even as they get him stable and on the road to recovery.

    So my plea to all of you is to keep Jack in your thoughts and prayers, and help us, his family and friends, speed him to a quick recovery. My wife, who flew to Charleston that Saturday from Colorado (she is an OTR truck driver, and was driving west through Nebraska when she got the news), will be staying in Charleston with some friends until she can feel comfortable he is going to fully recover. I had driven down there Saturday from NC, but I had to come back to my work after Jack was initially moved out of ICU, so I get my status updates from the wife as often as she can, so I will keep you all posted as significant changes occur.

    Now, on to my rant. The accident report made it clear that Jack was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Several of the people at the hospital, when first finding out about Jacks accident, asked "Well, was he wearing his helmet?" Why is this the first thing people think of when someone is involved in a MC accident. As I listed above, most of Jack's injuries had nothing to do with a helmet being used or not. One of the nurses I talked to actually stated that had Jack been wearing a helmet, the spinal injuries could have actually been worse, resulting in paralyses. The majority of injuries Jack sustained were the direct result of hitting the windshield of the girl's car, and the hitting and sliding on the road after he bounced from the window. Where would that helmet have helped him with his collapsed lung, his broken ankle, or his spinal fractures?

    Now I live in a state where helmet use is the law, but I still do not see them as the cure all, everything will be great if you wear one type of thing. Yes, there are just as many accidents I am aware of that the helmet saved a life, but there are many, though not made public, where the helmet actually aggravated the injuries. So the question should not be "Was he wearing a helmet?", but more like "Was there time for evasive moves?" or "How could the cage driver not see the headlight of his motorcycle?"

    End rant!
    I appreciate the use of this forum to vent it, and appreciate the help I know you, the members of this forum will be giving Jack, his family, and his friends.

  2. #2
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    I'm sorry to hear of yet another motorcyclist down and injured by a seemingly irresponsible car driver.

    I for one will certainly keep him in my thoughts. Our members are always supportive of each other and I expect they too will be offering support.

    Hang in there and don't let the politics of the helmet law distract you from the primary objective of getting your BIL well. As you pointed out, the arguments depending on the circumstances, can swing both ways.

    The bottom line here is that a careless driver took out yet another motorcyclist. Not that your brother was acting improperly in any way.

    God Speed!
    "What does it mean to you? For me, it's something I just do."

  3. #3
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    HDRules, I agree with FX. At this point just try and be there for your Brother-In-Law and let all the other stuff go for now. Jack will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    All the Best,
    Tugs

  4. #4
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    Rodney, the obsession about helmets is the only obvious safety issue that the average non-rider can focus on when it comes to a motorcycle crash. If you notice, I didn't use the term "accident", because to me there is no such thing as an accident... there is only negligence.

    The non riders can't focus beyond the helmet, because there is nothing else in their minds that can protect a rider. To them, any injury by a rider who is not wearing a helmet is strictly due to the lack of a helmet. They don't understand that leather is easier to replace than skin, that ankle high boots prevent ankle knobs sticking out of holes in the skin, that gloves prevent walking around without a palm. It's even harder to fathom a busted spine... as if the helmet had magical powers that protected the whole spine.

    To them, a calf bone crushed between a bumper and a motor could have been prevented if the rider had only been wearing a helmet. There is no logic to it, and there is nothing to sayto them that will correct their misguided judgment.

    The easiest way to deal with these people is to politely point out, without going into any argumentative detail, that the outcome of the accident wouldn't have been any better for him if he had been wearing a helmet. Don't try to convince them that a helmet would have been useless under the circumstances, just express your concern for your friend and try to point out the difference between a spinal injury and a skull injury without getting into an argument about it.

    We'll never win the discussions with the uninformed. Statistically speaking, helmets aren't that effective in saving lives when it comes to the majority of motorcycle collisions. You live or die by the luck of chance, or by the hand of God, all depending on your perspective.

    Let your friend know that all of us at Riderinfo are pulling for him. Keep us informed on his status, please.
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  5. #5
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    My wishes for a speedy recovery. I agree with FX's views. Fortunately a good friend of ours went uninjured this week when he was rear ended in a hit and run this week. To all that know Gumbo, for his sake he is lucky the Victory is made like a tank. The bike suffered extensive rear fender damage but everything has been repaired. Although I do wear a helmet. I realize it is not going to save me from spinal injury, crushed ribs or broken limbs. The point should not be made, especially by emergency medical workers whether a helmet was worn or not. The first concern should be the welfare of the injured.
    If at first you don't succeed then skydiving may not be for you.

  6. #6
    Very best wishes twoard full recovery to your Brother in law.

    "Could sucessful evasive action been taken?"

    I will bet my bottom dollar, the answer is NO!

    Never having met your brother, I belive with all my being that there was no way for anyone to avoid that collision, except for the neglegent witless lying cage driver that caused that accident.

    It is almost too much to ask that an insurance company actually pay a ligitamate claim such as this. With 99.99999999...% of lawyers, insurance, politicians and beaurocrats giving the rest a bad name. They will cock up some story just to get out of it. I'm hoping they don't get away with that and they fry in hell for trying.

    There are some people crass enough to suggest, and some people stupid enough to belive that you can't hurt a cyclist with a helmet and the headlight on. Years ago a drug crazed woman got out of Murder II because the girl did not have a headlight on her bicycle.

    I sincerely hope that Jack doesn't have to put up with those stupid people.
    Promote Hunanism (extra spicey)

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    I am glad to hear that your'e brother in law is doing OK.

    It is a very sad fact indeed, that in today's society, everyone wants to find a way to somehow blame the victim in an accident. It just has to be his fault because he was not wearing a helmet. So because of that fact alone he must have been driving at an unsafe speed, driving under the influence, driving wrecklessly, hell he probably wasn't even wearing a condom. Whatever reason they can use to blame the victim. No matter that the person who caused the accident lied about it. I didn't see him, or hear him, or even smell him. I would like to agree with H2O on this issue, but even if you keep your cool, you will never be able to educate non or anti bikers to the true facts about helmet use. In PA we don't have to wear a helmet. I do by choice, mainly because I want to set a good example for my son. But we also have a law in PA that you cannot wear a helmet in a cage. Because they restrict your vision, ther hamper your hearing, and they can cause significant overheating of your cranium. More people die from head accidents in my state each year per 10000 licensed drivers in cars than do on motorcycles. I don't have any easy answers. I do know that I personally confront each and every person that does something stupid to me or others on bikes. And I will continue to do so. I am gentle at first, but I let the other persons tone set the stage.

    HDRules, I hope that your brother pulls through without and real adverse side effects. And I hope that the person that caused his injuries pays for the rest of her life.

  8. #8
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    My deepest condolences, and wishes of a speedy and full recovery for your brother-in-law. Additionally, as the other posters have stated, not having worn a helmet seems to be the only explanation that non-motorcyclists can come up with when an injury occurs, short of some halfa#%ed bulls*%t about how dangerous motorcycles are. So far as i'm concerned, it is not the motorcycles that are dangerous, its the cages. Once again, sorry to hear about the injury, and best of luck with recovery for all!

  9. #9
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    Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts and well wishing. I wish I could give you better news about Jack, but I can only say that he continues in his recovery. He will remain in ICU until his pneumonia goes away, but the bleeding from his brain has once again stopped. Shirley says he is extremely aware, even with the drugs they are using. A little scare where he stopped moving his feet and legs passed after about a day and a half, so again, no signs of any paralyses are there.

    I will be going down there again Friday, and the wife will stay as long as she needs to. I will update you again when there are any new developments.

    Again, thanks for the kind words and thoughts from each of you.

  10. #10
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    Sounds like there is hope. He obviously has the will and the support systems he needs to get though this. He is fortunate to have the family he has.

    Keep us updated. We will all be thinking of Jack and all of you.
    "What does it mean to you? For me, it's something I just do."

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