Motorcycles and Helmets
Wednesday May 15, 2013 Scott Zwiefelhofer, 45 was traveling south on 11th street headed home from work. When he was hit by a white GMC Envoy at Sawyer Rd & 11th Street. The driver of the white Envoy fled the scene, leaving Mr. Zwiefelhofer to die.
First of all, I wanna say that any one who flees the scene of a tragic accident resulting in death due to their negligence, the runaway driver should automatically get life in prison. Just my personal opinion on that.
Second issue I had with this news article and all the other articles involving motorcycles is this statement, “He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.”
When I shared the article on my Facebook page, another avid motorcyclist friend of mine known as “Model T” commented with this statement, “Mentioning what someone was wearing is an insult. Imagine a report that a woman died in a car accident was wearing blue pumps and a white hat. A fellow burned to death when his car caught fire but he was wearing his seat belt.”
I have read several articles over the past few years since 2004, about accidents involving motorcycles & whether the rider was or was not wearing a helmet.
This May 29, 2013 will be my 9th year anniversary of my motorcycle accident. In which a deer t-boned me while I was doing about 65-70 mph on Illinois 64 headed back to Rockford. I was the third bike in line, just behind “Old Man” & my daughter. I seen the deer standing there, thinking if I could just get passed it. But thanks to the lead guy cracking his pipes, it spooked the deer & it charged right for me. The impact of the deer broke the keys off in the ignition I tried to down shift but it was stuck. The deer kept kicking me, thank heaven for my windshield, it kept the deer from knocking me off the bike. I rode my bike for what seemed like forever, trying to get the bike to slow down, but it wouldn’t, finally the deer spun around to the left side and forced me off into the ditch. I remember getting cut on the face by the tall grass, I remember seeing the barbwire fence to my right side. Then suddenly everything went BLACK.
“Am I dead?” I thought to myself. I heard nothing, no sound, no voices, nothing. Then when I realized, I wasn’t dead, I heard voices. “Where is she? Do you see her? Where’s the bike?” I tried to get up, I couldn’t. I realized after what seemed like eternity, that I was on my back looking up at the night sky. I couldn’t move, couldn’t stand, couldn’t move! “OH GOD!! I’m paralyzed!!!” Then I left out a moan, because no words were forming I could hear them in my head, the words just wouldn’t form from my mouth.
“Old Man” found me first. Then I heard the crying from the other wives, and all the phones calls to 911.The medics showed up, I lost consciousness again. I came to when they were telling me to wake up, my right leg was on fire, and someone needed to get the weight that was on my chest off, cause I felt like something was on top of me. Later, I found out that I shattered my left clavicle when I flipped forward hitting the windshield, pulling it off with my collar bone. My right leg sustained a lot of damage. I had a torn meniscus, the posterior cruciate ligament (or PCL) had been completely torn in half, requiring reconstructive surgery. I opted NOT to do the surgery. It’s a grade III injury, my knee is considered “unstable.” The medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) were also torn, considered grade II injuries. My leg was a very dark deep purple black color, bruised to the marrow. I was off work for just short of one year.
The first statement most of the doctors made to me after I told them what happened was…“you should be dead!”
WOW!? Really?! The second was the question…”Were you wearing a helmet?” My answer was always taken with that look of shock…“NO, I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but I was wearing all my leathers & eye protection!” Third question was “were you drinking or taking any drugs?” My answer for that one was the same, “NO!”
My non-religious friends would say “you are truly blessed.” My religious friends would say “you’re so lucky.” Which shook me to my core. That’s a topic for another post. Back to the subjects of helmets. You can ask any hardcore biker their opinion of wearing helmets. It’s always the same. They have stories of those people they knew that survived an accident wearing helmets & those that died wearing helmets. I think it boils down to skill and reaction time of the rider. Another thing that most be addressed is that people driving cars really do need to pay better attention. Put the phone down! Stop texting. Stop talking on the phone. Just pay attention to what’s out there in front of the windshield. I was taught by my husband, the other guys had been talking over dinner about “just going straight, hit it head on, don’t try to avoid it.” That’s what I did, I didn’t panic. I did forget about the kill switch.
I personally dislike wearing full face helmets, because they are heavy and when the wind is hitting the helmet, it even seems heavier, awkward, painful. A person feels like they are listening underwater or are in a tunnel. I do have a half helmet, do I wear it? No. We all have choices, just choose the one that feels best for you, unless you live in a “helmet law” state. There’s no choice there, it’s the law! If you have to wear a helmet in your state, why not wear something too cool? Like the “Predator, or something strange like these or just a half helmet.
My heart goes out to those families who have lost a loved ones in a motorcycle accident, but I truly believe wearing a helmet is just one of those cosmic things…if it’s your turn. Never take your loved ones for granted, they could be gone in the blink of an eye.