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Fatal Day Riding in Virginia

Discussion in '24-7 Lounge' started by Bill Hagan, Oct 16, 2020 at 7:46 AM.

  1. Bill Hagan

    Bill Hagan GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Above Pott's Camp along Braddock's route, Virginia
    Yesterday was a tragic day for another motorcyclist.

    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.

    https://www.whsv.com/video/2020/10/16/man-killed-augusta-county-motorcycle-crash-2/


    [​IMG]

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

    Bill

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

    NavyDad Just got it firing!

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    Wow. Kind of at a loss for words. I've been riding for a lot of years and have witnessed a few to many accidents. Seen bent bikes and ambulance rides, but never a fatality. Sobering message for just how quickly things can turn ugly in this sport we love.
     
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  3. Raven

    Raven Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Famiglia

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    Yikes! That's a horrific way to end a fall getaway. I've visited a friend in the hospital that had a near fatal crash but never had to endure the terrible feeling of witnessing one in person. I feel for you and especially his lifelong friend.
     
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  4. GT-Rx®

    GT-Rx® Administrator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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    Bill, I feel for you and his riding buddy, never fun. Thankfully (knock wood) I've never personally witnessed a fatality on the road, though I've came up on plenty, and/or had them happen behind me... but in the racing world, it's status quo, so I've grown a bit numb to them unfortunately. I've also witnessed far too many riders getting a heli ride out, but I think almost all survived.
    When I was quite young, one of my Dad's riding buddies that I used to tag along with, invited me along with his best friend and lifelong riding buddy, to do a trip to the Dragon (my first of many). After high-speed passes in both directions with zero issues, and after stopping at the T.W.O. campground (I still have the shirt!), we left headed south on 129 to the base of the damn and over the river bridge, where it was the slightest bend at the end. I watched in my mirror in horror as he rode straight off the road at the end of the bridge (pic added below), and into a small ditch, hitting a mound along a jagged rock wall, and get catapulted ~20' in the air, rag doll style, landing on his back (thankfully) but breaking it in the process. The medical attention in that area in the late 80s was poor to say the least. That was not fun early on in my street riding career. He was one of the many uber-talented guys, that used to lecture me every weekend on "riding slow bikes fast," not vice-versa. Years later, I moved to Boston, and he ended up buying a VTR-1000 SuperHawk that sadly took his life in less than a year. Godspeed Ray... ironically his day of birth was on the same day as your incident.
    Nowadays, I see far too much ego, with far too little talent on mega-powerful machines with similar results. A common occurrence on almost every weekend here in the canyons of SoCal.
    On the crash you posted pics of, and looking at that 21" front rimmed HD and that gradual bend, it's really disappointing to say the least. Far too often the following rider gets sucked in by quicker riders. The best to his Family and friends, and his riding buddy. May he continue to twist the grip high in the sky.

    129-ToD-Dam.jpg
     
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  5. Louisv97

    Louisv97 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    Hope ya'll stay safe out there.
    May that brother ride in peace.
     
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  6. Louisv97

    Louisv97 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    Ortega Highway looks like a Christian road with all the crosses alongside the road.
     
  7. GT-Rx®

    GT-Rx® Administrator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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    Well it is a very “religious” road. :smirk:
    St. John O'Sullivan of San Juan Capistrano Mission had launched a plan to have the highway named in honor of the Spanish pioneer Don Jose Francisco Ortega, who aided Father Junipero Serra in establishing the missions.
     
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  8. Louisv97

    Louisv97 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    Why go to college for history lectures when I have you Todd :rofl:
     
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  9. Bill Hagan

    Bill Hagan GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Yes, that was impressive. :clap:

    And, Todd, WRT your comments, and as you likely know, that 129/Deals Gap/Cherohala area remains a challenge for many, especially when a crowded circus on the weekends. Medical response is much improved.

    Ray must have been quite a rider.

    I have just learned, BTW, that the deceased rider in the incident I saw had a son: he, too, died in a motorcycle crash in 2016! And his buddy who led our little trio watched his brother die on a dirt bike when they were teens!

    I am off in a few minutes to a Guzzi brunch in Maryland on my V7. I will be (appropriately) careful; in other words, I'll be mindful of all of this, but not paralyzed by it, either.

    Best,

    Bill
     

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