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Fatal Riding Day in Virginia

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Yesterday was a tragic day for another motorcyclist. 

I am posting this on several Guzzi sites and sent email to same effect to folks I know:

Kathi and I had gone to Lexington, Virginia, on a spur-of-the-moment anniversary getaway.  She was in the Mini; I, on the EV.  I got a great fall ride in; we both walked the BRP for a few miles.  It’s a lovely area at near-peak fall foliage time.  It was a very nice overnighter. 

My return ride became a nightmare.  

After I left Lexington and did a few miles on SR 39 — a great twisting delight I knew well — I turned north on SR 252.  This was a “new road” for me.  After a few great miles, I caught up with two cruiser riders.  These guys were skilled, and it was fun following them on a road that they clearly knew well.  The first guy set a fine pace and his lines through all curves were textbook examples.  The second rider did the same.  I did not once see a misstep; following them kept me from mistakes, too.

Then, just after we had all topped a hill with a right-hand curve, and were through that turn, the second rider inexplicably went off the road into a ditch, was tossed from the motorcycle, became a flailing rag-doll, and hit a telephone pole. He was alive when I got to him, but unconscious.  

His buddy — they appeared to be in their ’50’s, and had known each other since the third grade — was composed but understandably distraught.  The downed rider died before EMS and LEO’s arrived.  

I should add that all Augusta County first responders — the state trooper (in charge of the scene); deputy sheriffs; and EMS personnel — were at the scene in astonishing times and were all very professional.

Yes, the unfortunate rider wore a helmet, but no ATGATT — “All The Gear All The Time” for non-motorcyclists getting this; Kathi and I always wear it, plus Helite airbag vests.  That said, I doubt that any amount of protective gear would have saved him. 

Difficult to “unsee" or forget that afternoon.

Here's the brief news story and "not graphic" pix of mine of the aftermath.  The second pic shows the hill, curve, ditch, pole, and ruts from the motorcycle’s entry.  I can only speculate that he had a medical event or fell into the “target fixation” trap.  





How quickly an otherwise great day on a motorcycle can become a sad afternoon on a country road.


P.S.  Yes, of course, I will continue to ride, but add this experience to my reasons to be vigilant.

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What a sad day. I have seen people die on motorcycles, and it serves as a reminder that this is a dangerous hobby and should be treated as such. 

My thoughts go out to you, the guys friend, and the guys family and loved ones.

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Very sad.

Could he have gotten a flat tire? Blow out? That happened to me a few weeks ago going 40mph on my trail 90.. up at the lake where I grew up not wearing any gear so I wasn't this time. Coulda been a lot worse.





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That's a real sad one Bill, sorry that you had to witness and live through that. I'm certain that your presence brought great comfort to the victim's friend.

Please be very careful using tools or doing things with any risk involved for the next few weeks while your head is busy digesting what you've just been through.

You may never know the true cause of the accident, but I hear of similar fatals in my area on a semi-regular basis; that innocent looking curve is deceptive, seems like a bit of a downhill, off camber tightening radius, with shiny patches on the pavement; there can be room for error or minor miscalculations on a light, responsive bike, but on a heavy cruiser, the weight and momentum can be very unforgiving when things go sideways. 

Condolences and prayers to all those involved.

Thanks for sharing and keeping us mindful


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It's sad day to lose a fellow rider.   I remember 15 years ago in Texas at a Suzuki Bandit Rally.  I met one of the ralliers at the breakfast cafe, had a great conversation, he had two young daughters.  The group of us, perhaps a dozen, went out in slow procession and he missed a corner and died at the scene.  I'm still confounded with what happened as I was the back of the line and everything was so confusing and tragic when I got to the scene.

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He was about the right age for that unexpected heart attack if he hadn't been keeping up with his yearly physical exam. That was about the age I had to start staying on top of various heart related issues. My half brother died suddenly at 52. (!) I have a half sister that is still going strong at 93, though..

Just the same, the Reaper told me that tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Enjoy life..

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